I have a secret that I have been hiding and yet relishing every second of...
For the past month I have been listening to Britney Spears for the first time in my life and in the last week have been hitting repeat on three of her songs.
I have been repeating them so much that they have started soundtracking pieces of New York for me. When Ms. Brit first came on the scene, I immediately rejected her. I was cooler than bubble gum pop. I listened to Pearl Jam and Fiona Apple. I thought Britney's music was shallow and really bad. I judged this girl.
But when Britney started to fall apart, she finally became interesting. She became real, alive, a breathing woman with layers and complexities. At first I probably thought she was looking for attention: a starlet fallen out of the spotlight. But when she shaved her head, I thought, "Damn. She is not kidding." I followed the Britney tabloids, though I found them shameful. But it felt as if we were all watching a train wreck that we, as a society and culture, created. There was something so vulnerable and honest and hideous and frightening about this sex icon, pop legend, come completely undone.
Only now, as I listen to an album that is not new anymore, but new to me, do I appreciate and respect this artist. Sure, the lyrics are given to her, the music is manufactured, but there is something eerily powerful about hearing her sing, "Piece Of Me."Fame is murder and it takes a brave woman to rise from the ashes of world wide humility to try again for something she loves and hates but even moreso may not completely understand. It is ambition of the fiercest kind.