New Britneyology

Perfume (In Depth series)

Posted by: Karenannanina on: April 8, 2014

Perfume was written by Britney, Sia Furler and co-producer Christopher Braide. It was produced, recorded and engineered by Will.I.Am and mixed by Joe Peluso. The vocal production was by Christopher Braide. For the main track, a genuine string orchestra is credited (but no other musicians), and no additional background singers are listed. For the Dreaming mix, Christopher Braide provides piano, guitar and programming, mixing is by (Britney regular) Serban Ghenea , and Sia is credited with background vocals.

This heart-piercing, rather disturbing song provoked a fair amount of controversy when it first leaked. Anticipation had been keen. We knew that the highly-rated songwriter Sia Furler was involved, but few people seemed to take notice of the fact that Britney herself took a writing credit, which is not something she does lightly. We had heard Britney say that her album Britney Jean would be her most personal yet, so were expecting something that bared her soul.

Britney revealed that the song was about her breakup with Jason Trawick and commented that the song was “incredibly special to me because it hits close to home, and I think the story is relatable to everyone. Everyone’s been through an insecure moment in a relationship that’s left them vulnerable and I think this song captures that.”

Sia Furler went public to praise the quality of Britney’s vocals on Perfume. “Your vocal on this tune is outstanding”, she tweeted. And co-writer and producer, the UK’s LA-based singer/songwriter/producer Christopher Braide, said “When I was producing her vocals, it was obvious to me why she’s still one of the greatest pop stars ever. Unmistakably Britney, effortlessly iconic.”

However, the finished product received mixed reactions. Many loved it without reservation. Many loved aspects of it, such as the highly unusual and original lyrics and Britney’s unexpectedly powerful vocal. But, sadly, many found it rather underwhelming melodically and there were grim mutterings that Sia had sold Britney short and handed her best songs (like Diamonds and Titanium) to other singers. Let’s consider this allegation.

I’ve heard people describe Perfume as a power ballad, but it certainly isn’t that. A power ballad is a showpiece for vocal pyrotechnics, with sweeping verses whose chord sequence builds tension that is then released in a triumphant, declamatory or cathartic chorus. Perfume is almost the exact opposite, with verses whose short, stabbing phrases create a feeling of anxiety, followed by a chorus whose undemonstrative but insistently hammering melody offers protest and a determination not to be crushed – but no resolution. The only comfort the singer manages to obtain is with a little bit of rather touching self-hugging when she chants the repeated lines “I’ll never tell…” as if trying desperately to reassure herself.

Britney doesn’t do cheap melodrama, screaming, “belting” and long, sustained notes, and this song was written by and for her. It’s a song that smoulders with plenty of heat rather than blazes. It’s a song of self-confessed paranoia and a very feminine way of working it out. It’s a song that nags away at you, just as the singer’s insecurities nag away at her. And maybe it’s this, and the subdued nature of the climaxes, that disappoints some listeners while captivating others. I think it’s a very clever and subliminally effective piece of song writing, albeit an unconventional one.

Needless to say (this being a Britney project) controversy attended the Perfume video too, with director Joseph Kahn becoming increasingly agitated about the inferiority of the version released as compared to his original cut, which had a powerful storyline and was a full minute longer. “Britney’s performance is unbelievable. A true artist in it. Game changer. Official cut is a good video as you’ll soon see. But it’s a true loss not to see what she really did. It’s incredible. Beyond other artists,” he said. You can see his point. Britney looks gorgeous in the official version, but it consists of little more than a lot of repeated scenes strung together and you barely see Britney for more than a second at a time.

Britney garnered a decent amount of critical praise for her excellent vocals (about which I will have more to say later) and, from some, for her input to the composition of the song. But those so-called fans who refuse to give her credit for anything were having none of it. Although, for once, they couldn’t realistically argue that Britney wasn’t singing on the track, they came up with a clever “double whammy” instead. They claimed that Britney was merely copying Sia’s “guide vocal” or “demo” and therefore the credit for Britney’s vocal should go to Sia! And, since the song on the supposed “guide vocal” or “demo” contained the same words and music as the finished version, that meant Britney couldn’t have co-written it either!

Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, there is nothing out there that can realistically be described as a “guide vocal”. The item they’re using to make their case, and which also figures in all of the supposed “duets” featuring Sia and Britney, is a 50-second snippet (or a bit of it) from a live performance subsequently given by Sia. Part of it she sings in a deep, muddy, alcoholic kind of voice so even if this WAS a guide vocal, Britney didn’t follow it! All the tics and techniques Britney uses are very obviously and recognisably her own. Meanwhile, some of the so-called “guide” and “demo” vocals and many of the “duets” simply use Sia’s backing vocals extracted from the Dreaming mix. The conspiracy theories dissolve in front of our eyes!

Now for the songwriting issue. Britney is known in the industry as someone who does NOT steal credits for songs she hasn’t co-written. So, looking from the right end of the telescope, this fact on its own proves that Sia’s snippet couldn’t be a guide vocal or demo! In addition to that, Britney felt confident in saying that the song was about her break-up with Jason, and she couldn’t have said that if Sia had presented it to her as a “fait accompli”. After all, Sia is (arguably) a lesbian, or at least bisexual, so who knows what or whom the song might have been about? The perfume idea is the kind of thing that would really work with us g/g girls!

Here are the words:

Verse 1 Part 1
Do I imagine it, or do I see you stare?
Is there still longing there?
Oh I hate myself, and I feel crazy
Such a classic tale
Current girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, I’m trying to be cool
Am I being paranoid? Am I seeing things? Am I just insecure?

Verse 1 Part 2
I want to believe
It’s just you and me
Sometimes it feels like there’s three of us in here, baby

Chorus Part 1
So I, I wait for you to call
And I try to act natural
Have you been thinking ’bout her or about me?
And while I wait I put on my perfume,
Yeah, I want it all over you
I’m gonna mark my territory

Chorus Part 2
I’ll never tell, tell on myself but I hope she smells my perfume
I’ll never tell, tell on myself but I hope she smells my perfume
I hide it well, hope you can’t tell but I hope she smells my perfume
I hide it well, hope you can’t tell but I hope she smells my perfume

Verse 2 Part 1
I wanna fill the room when she’s in it with you
Please don’t forget me
Do I imagine it, or catch these moments?
I know you got history
But I’m your girlfriend, now I’m your girlfriend trying to be cool
I hope I’m paranoid, that I’m just seeing things, that I’m just insecure

Verse 2 Part 2
I want to believe
It’s just you and me
Sometimes it feels like there’s three of us in here, baby

Chorus Part 1
Rpt Chorus Part 1

Chorus Part 2

The song begins with a gently percussive keyboard figure, then piano enters at right. Brief seagull sounds create a picture of a lonely girl on a beach. Then Britney begins to sing at center, where she is placed throughout the song. There’s no double-tracking. In Verse 1 Part 1 she sings against piano chords and the continuing keyboard figure, then kick-drum thumps introduce Verse 1 Part 2. Here deep synth bass notes added, and a few more sparse kick drum beats provide punctuation. Scratchy synths whirl around a brief pause before the chorus.

For Chorus Part 1, there’s a much more intrusive accompaniment of deep, single-note synth bass, synth chords and heavy drumkit. Here and there, reverb added to Britney’s vocal gives a false impression of backup vocals. For Chorus Part 2 (I’ll never tell…) the piano reappears. Before Verse 2 begins, we hear the string orchestra. Verse 2 Part 1 receives a busier production than Verse 1, with synth chords replacing piano. Verse 2 Part 2 includes sparse synth bass, and continuing synth chords, then the piano returns.

Chorus Part 1 reiteration is similar to first occurrence, but the repeat brings in a full production of string orchestra and choral-style backing singers. Chorus Part 2 features string orchestra and piano. The song ends with atmospheric wind effect which recalls “Someday (I will understand)”.

The “Dreaming” mix is perversely named, since there’s nothing especially dreamy about it. It utilizes a lot more synth atmospherics and a repeated, fractured-sounding and far-from-comforting percussion. Piano introduces Verse 1 Part 1 and accompanies Verse 1 Part 2. In Chorus Part 1, some twiddling with the EQ makes Britney’s vocals sound harsh and bitter. But in Chorus Part 2, her voice becomes soft and confidential. The production remains fairly sparse for Verse 2 and the Chorus Part 1 reiteration and repeat, but in the Chorus Part 2 reiteration Sia sings the wordless “wailing” counterpoint referred to above in my discussion of the conspiracy theories.

Britney’s year of coaching equipped her to deliver a vocal of sustained power, but not of the mindless, bombastic kind. There’s a kind of breathless character to Part 1 of Verses 1 and 2 that expresses worry and insecurity so clearly. In Part Two (and commonly to both verses) her voice quivers on the word “three” – she is choking up – but then, quite unexpectedly, she sings “of us in here, baby” with a kind of wheedling tenderness, as if she’s pulling back from a confrontation she knows could be damaging and almost begging forgiveness for her suspicions. It’s a wonderful little touch. In the chorus, propelled by that heavy beat, she’s really just venting, and this she does with vehemence and forcefulness. Overall, it’s the kind of unobtrusively creative interpretation we expect from Ms Spears. Interestingly (and this says a lot for Christopher Braide) Britney’s vocal doesn’t seem to have been “corrected” very much at all, and several little imperfections can be heard, especially in the harsher environment of the Dreaming mix.

36 Responses to "Perfume (In Depth series)"

Excellent in deep depth Karen.
Perfume is archetypal in the story line, which could be cliché, but our B-girl doesn’t let that happen. I think her delivery of the song, based on reality ,is definitely poignant . The song feels like Everytime’s older, mature, big sister. When I’m emotionally vulnerable, Perfume makes me cry.

Me too! It was actually quite hard to write this review without crying.

“Overall, it’s the kind of unobtrusively creative interpretation we can expect from Ms Spears.” I couldn’t agree more, Karen. Unlike some of Britney’s other tracks, which have to grow on me, I loved Perfume from the start. The tenderness in her voice, as you aptly described it, is what distinguishes Britney and makes her music so enjoyable. I was surprised Perfume wasn’t a commercial success.

You’re so right about your observation that it’s not a power ballad a la “Someone Like You”. What you said about how she holds back in “of us in here, baby” really makes me think of her vocals in “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” and how similar that song is to “Perfume” in some ways. Britney always articulates her lyrics so idiosyncratically. I always hear “Or is there still longing there?” as “‘Cause there I stood longing there?” because I feel like she as an “ah” after the first “there” and maybe to match the cadence of the “see ya stare” in the previous line.

OMG this “Britney doesn’t do cheap melodrama, screaming, “belting” and long, sustained notes, and this song was written by and for her. “>>>>>>>>>
soo right!
i dont get ‘fans’ who complain about Perfume. they prolly connects it with its chart performance. i remember 1st reaction was overwhelming in the fanbase. but then ppl noticed ‘lack’ of melody and hook. i mean, c’mon, not each song should sound the same. and just so everyone would know i do think that Perfume is way better that Chandelier!!!

“They claimed that Britney was merely copying Sia’s “guide vocal” or “demo” and therefore the credit for Britney’s vocal should go to Sia!”

Funny, people said that about Rihanna with Diamonds too. I think it’s just because the conspiracy types hear Sia’s conventional “belting” voice and think the “weaker” vocalists must not be able to sing that way themselves, even though both Britney and Rihanna have proved they can, on occasion.

This song never quite impacted me. It’s nice, just kind of there. I do like the “of us in here, baby” line because it’s so delicate and I like that you highlighted how feminine the song is. I think quite a few songs on Britney Jean are such accurate sum-ups of the emotions and experiences we have as women.

I have never quite understood how people can hear Sia on Perfume. First time I heard it was a trip back to the ‘Oops’ era. Britney has ALWAYS sounded like that so the claims of her then copying Sia really annoyed me.

Excellent analysis, Karen, congratulations.

I love Perfume… You can almost hear Britney’s anguish suffocating her by the end of the song. I feel the build-up to the climax as a sort of pain which just keeps growing until the song ends. It’s definitely not a conventional climax, more like a subtle one. It’s not in your face but you can FEEL it. That’s why the lack of middle 8 was a good choice rather than a bad one -and that’s something that bothered some people as usual pop songs do have a middle 8 or at least a bridge.-

I love both versions but prefer the original. It’s just seems to capture the essence of the song a lot better, thogh the Dreaming Mix is reeeally beautiful and kind of gloomy. To me, Perfume is one of the highlights of this era and one of Britney’s best ballads in general. Simply magnificent.

And her vocal is UNBELIEVABLE. Chills down my spine every time.

By the way, I think the ‘Dreaming Mix’ IS dreamy. I think the sonics are made as to evoke beautifully cold, dark landscapes, which usually relate to the gothic and the dreamlike -and also to the first description in detial of the song we got-. Overall it even reminds me of early Evanescence sonic wise, but in a more sophisticated sort of way.

I lloooovvveeee this song. Definitely, one of top ten fav Britney songs. Although, Perfume is a “ballad” it is not your typical radio stamped approved ballad. Since the sound is so different, I too am surprised that it didn’t have much commercial success. I guess sometimes the public is behind the times….

Unfortunately payola is a real thing. Record labels have traditionally paid huge sums of money to keep a song in rotation. The music industry is ruled by politics, so the relationship between major record labels, marketing, distribution, promotion, and development channels is crucial. The wealth of the major labels and the right political alliances within the industry and promotion (tv, radio, magazines, internet, retailers, etc) plays such a huge role in guiding sales. Hollywood has a similar power structure.

Although I don’t think Perfume would have been a wild success, the lack of promo surely didnt help.

Thanks Karen. I’ll be very interested to see how time and hindsight perspective will spin this whole “Britney Jean” mini-fiasco that has erupted within the fanbase. There seems to be about a 2-3 year grace period before fans will begin rewriting history and bandwagon-praising a previous album/song/era that was initially received with scorn and disappointment.

In the case of “Britney Jean” I’ll admit I’ve had to somewhat detach myself from the whole thing altogether. I find the current state of the fanbase to be so corrupt and so negatively brainwashed that they hardly know which is end is up anymore…but I’ll save that for a different rant.

As far as Perfume – I think it’s an amazing track, full of raw heartache and an almost eerie mix of conviction and uncertainty from Britney. The lyric “I hate myself and I feel crazy” is such a powerful admission of the shame and near-insanity one can feel when having fallen under the spell of paranoia and suspicion in a relationship. I don’t think I need to elaborate on how the word “crazy” has relevance to Britney, and the admission “I hate myself” is rather disturbing as well. This is not the traditional “are you cheating on me?” ballad in a sense that there is really no spite or vengeance in her tone, but more like an extremely vulnerable and soul-bearing confession of weakness on HER part.

All in all it’s a beautiful, rare gem that I believe deserved more praise than it initially got.

It’s like “Everytime” again – full of self-hatred, taking it all on to herself and not blaming the guy at all. So typically Britney, and I bet this has been the cause of so many of the problems in her life.

yeah, she has issues with that. It’s why she’s so down to earth, but why she gets in so much trouble….

“Purfume” is so special to me. This song actually relates to my life. I experienced almost the exact same thing. I also suffer from paraniod thoughts, most of the time for no reason, but sometimes I have reason to be worried. “I hate myself and I feel crazy, such a classic tale” stuck with me for months. “I’d never tell, tell on myself” also hits on that feeling like you’d like to speak up, but you can’t or won’t. “am I paraniod? Am I seeing things? Am I Insecure”
?”, ‘I know you got history” “is there still longing there?”. All things I asked myself in 2012 where I was sorta dating this guy, but he still habitually picked his X over me, his X from what I understand likes his friend better and excluded him a bunch of times. It’s awful being in limbo like that.

The song has a nice repeatition of ideas and responses. The verses read well together, like poetry.

This song still makes me cry. It’s been like 6 months and it still makes me feel things. I’ve said half kiddingly that Britney Jean reads like a journal for me since at least 2011!

(and in the case of Alien and Passenger, my whole life)

“Perfume” is the aural version of the merry go round a paranoid person goes through! As I’ve said it before it reminds me of Madonna’s “Till Death Do Us Apart” where the cheerful and somewhat “upbeat” production can make you think, if you don’t listen to the lyrics (something I can do since english is not my first language), that it’s not a sad and tortured song… The Dreaming version takes away that subtlety and when she says she wants to fill the room, she truly does and you can’t help but empathize with her struggle.

Everything we’ve been debating about such as the sense of longing hidden in plain sight or the “Sehnsucht” found in her music is present in the song.

By the way, thanks for posting a 100% music related piece of writing about “Perfume”! The track suffered from all that is wrong nowadays in the way Britney’s material is received in that people talk more about their suspicions (unknowingly mimicking Britney’s modus operandi, the person they love to hate so much) and what’s surrounding her story than the music itself. I think the most ridiculous thing I read about this song is that she couldn’t relate to it! LMAO If you can’t hear how immersed and invested in the song she is, in how she pronounces every syllables, you’re the one with a problem not her.

Last but not least, I went to a clothing store today and heard “Perfume” being played in public for the first time.
Good synchronicity <3

In some cases, you could have sworn they’d written their reviews before (or without) hearing the album! It gave them an opportunity to air their prejudices – and to show that their knowledge of Britney was located somewhere in 2007.

Historical context may be taken into account (if you’re basically a writer on pop culture and celebrity straying into music reviewing because it’s a damaged celeb) but it shouldn’t be allowed to dominate the review.

I love Perfume…. her voice is amazing and the lyrics are simple but so heartfelt and meaningful. It still amaze and frustrate me how fans keep going on about BJ NOT being personal.

I too thought it would do better commercially. Like you said Karen, it’s like critics didn’t even listen to the album and like radio isn’t even giving it a chance. The more something plays on radio, the more popular it gets and the more it will be played on radio… but you have to give it airplay to begin with damn it!

unfortunately cash rules everything around us

money spins records, and the execs have a strategy

They spent alot of money on the Work Bitch video, and it didn’t perform to their liking. I also get the sense that Britney putting her foot down on the “explicit scenes” for the video may have bothered them, since Britney + explicit sex = controversy and we all know (including Britney) that Controversy = $$. Either way, WB did well but not enough for them to promote Britney Jean (like at all…I mean why spend marketing money on an already established artist & when others are hungry for fame…this is the sorta business model of the record industry, they don’t believe in or care for their artists – they essentially pimp them out according to sales/popularity projections)

Britney’s lack of concern for fame, actually provides her with freedom.

excellent review

The word ” smolders” in your review was perfect.

And addressing the conspiracy theorists (omg will they ever stop) was unfortunately necessary. Those fans are the ones with the greatest attatchment to ego, it’s as if they are unconsciously preparing to crucify her in case Britney has another “meltdown”…btw I hate using the word “meltdown”… it’s so removed from reality and largely a media creation. Speaking of which, her whole persona is presented to us through the media (that IS the definition of media!!) and as such we see her through a filter. In order to be an effective reader, listener, fan, etc. you have to read between the lines. And I’m happy to see some people have this ability as it relates to Britney, because she is such a media scapegoat and what we are told is not always the truth…but as long as the lie is perpetuated and repeated, it becomes truth for some….ugh..but I could go off on a tangent w that, so I must not digress.

To appreciate Britney fully requires a moment of being grounded and the ability to see between the lines. Perfume is a great example of subtlety, as it helps to elaborate or build up what we know about Britney. Essays could be written on this, and “they” say BJ is not a personal album. (who are “they” anyways? —> the voice of the unfulfilled ego, yelling belligerently…that’s who) I understand why people don’t wanna give Britney credit, but there comes a time where we must let go of our attatchments and learn acceptance. I was moved by the simplicity of Perfume, and even a little surprised by how candid and revealing it really is.

There’s an interview w Sia where she describes her songwriting process – when collaborating she interviews the person she is writing with, and as such gets “inside of their head” and learns that which currently occupies their thoughts. Going along with the overall storyline presented to us of Britney, it is fitting that she would be occupied with thoughts of a recent breakup of 3 years. As I understood it, talks of marriage were in place. And in interviews she appears hurt when discussing her breakup, but with that sorta Britney-esque cavalier-spirit that you see/feel her invoking during hard times. She is a living example of a person who makes it through hardship, time and again…and for her, the media’s portrayal will always be a force of opposition, yet she’s here with us today. It literally gives me the idea that there is a lesson to be learned here in diligence and opening up. One of the lessons this teaches me is to be honest, vulnerable and keep going. Life can be bittersweet, and the rewards may not be close but ya never reach the finish line without action.
For Britney to open up any more and share another piece of herself w the world is particularly moving to me, and I will take that inspiration in honor of a strong woman who tries hard and doesn’t always get what she deserves. Honesty would be the single most revolutionary concept for humanity to start actually believing in…

I like what you said about appreciating her sharing a part of her personal life when her personal life has always been so consistently compromised by the media. It’s so baffling at this point in her career that people are always obsessed with one form of subterfuge or another she’s always been quite up-front and giving in her music and music videos about the things that matter — emotional truth and human experience and the joy of free expression.

Yeah, I’m glad there are people who understand the larger picture. Before Britney was old enough to vote or even of legal age to purchase cigarettes in the U.S., she was catapulted to a level of stardom that is reserved for those legendary iconic types who are described as “larger-than-life”. There isn’t a single modern celebrity in todays culture who dominated the public’s attention like she did. It’s hard for people to understand the full dimensions of her fame, partly because it was presented to us through the narrative of an increasingly unreliable media front. Over half of her life has lent itself to a sorta dramatized soap-opera concocted by various writers, paparazzi, “insider” sources, music label hype, fan fanaticism, clandestine legal proceedings, multiple talking head pundits, bloggers, forums, interviews, articles, mis-quotes, documentaries, and the actual catalog of her music /video/and performance legacy thus far.

Her life plays out as probably the closest parallel to the Jim Carrey movie “The Truman Show”…if you were to average the number of events/days in her life she has been captured on film/video, that we know of, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was close to a daily or certainly weekly chronicling of her life. She played such a strong hand in the building up of contemporary “celebrity culture”, as the tabloids and paparazzi grew in numbers and power simultaneously with her.

And yet, with all she has given us the critics and some fans, placed an unrealistic expectation on a Britney album described as “personal”. To this vampire mentality, they expected blood and near death from her if she had the audacity to describe Britney Jean as “personal”. The problem with BJ’s criticism lies more in the expectation of her awaited album being described as personal. In many ways, how much more personal can it be? Like what room is there for her to expose her self further? Another clear indicator that the quick write off of BJ is based upon the critics’ expectations (therefore prejudice & bias) is the universal fixation on the word “personal”.

What is clear to me is that Britney has been crucified over and over again. She is a sort of media scapegoat. It’s not hard to see the obvious irony of a pariah with her level of success, wealth, and accolades. This indicates a social ill and a deep denial, a sign of desperate need for a spiritual rebirth. Psychoanalysis of this issue would go far in describing a depraved society…coincidentally Britney touches upon this theme w the opening track “Alien”, and proves insight in her journey in acceptance, place, purpose, and the foundations for opening herself up again. Much of the album deals with uncertainty, faith, love, loss, letting go, insecurity, anxiety, vulnerability and all the real things that people actually feel.

Anyways….I could go off on that, so back to Perfume.

It’s so simple, honest, and so specific in being “personal” that any argument to the contrary so far reeks of credulous arrogance related to their Britney-hate-projections of a deep denial, or just downright insanity. If you look back on Britney’s lovelife, you can actually see how the revelation in Perfume holds true. It’s very plain to me that she wants love, will go to great lengths to work for it, and will make sacrifices for her love.

If Perfume (the message/story/theme at least) doesn’t break your heart, then you are either inexperienced, unable to express affect, or simply not human. It is the kind of revelation hardly a person is able to make. And yet despite the powerful effects of paranoia + jealousy + suspicion + insecurity in a romantic relationship, she doesn’t go “psycho” on her man but instead holds herself together w whatever comfort “marking her territory” can bring her. She is altogether heartbroken, hurt, feeling inadequate, while believing in love, and in all her hurtful confusion she mitigates it with the least forceful offensive possible.

Goddamn thats heartbreaking. It literally reinforced and strengthened the way I will treat a lover, because it gave me insight into that mindset. A big take-home message for me is – in a romantic relationship, all of your lover’s feelings are important, and it is part of my duty to help her feel as safe as possible whether or not I am around.

I also hurt for Britney’s obvious pain, confusion, loneliness, dilemma, and inability to find true happiness yet. But that hero inside her keeps going. I literally wanted to give her a big hug, but instead she was the one who lifted me. The attitude overall in Britney Jean, is like that juncture between the end of mourning and the first step towards rebuilding.

By the time I’d finished reading that, tears were rolling down my face.

We should let 7thSonOfA7thSon write an article about Britney’s fame. He’s already one of my favourites “member” to have ever post on this site.
I think he could shed a new light on the notion of perspective and rehabilitation!

By the way, speaking about rehabilitation, I think Britney will probably be rehabilitated in the future like ABBA were (they were the epitome of bad taste and kitsch, at one point). Yet with “Muriel” and “Priscilla”, they found a new life and a new audience after being featured proeminently in both movies.

aww shucks

I see Britney as a human being, and apart from the aspects of her as an entertainer she has given us an ongoing story. It’s up to the people who receive the story to interpret it. And the negativity, I’ve come to realize relates to real life. She is very much like that popular pretty girl stereotype, with all the money & material things of this world. And at the same time, that archetype always (literally always) elicits the deadly sin of envy. I’m no Christian, but I emphasize the deadly sin of envy, because it is of grave concern how we as humans treat each other….even in the closed domain of thoughts. Personal thoughts get corrupted, and when the emotions of a person are stimulated they are eager to receive and justify any & all negative bias inherent in the vast majority of media portrayal. It is a deception, and one of great violence how so many live vicariously through celebrities. Envy, anger, wrath were listed as deadly temptations & deadly sins, and whether or not you are religious the danger is there.

I find it strange to defend a person in her position. Why is not apparent to more people that she is being unconsciously used as a sort of punching bag to vent and deter our failings as individuals (and project them onto her)? I wonder how people don’t pay more attention to the fact that a celebrity who has not actually done anything personally offensive, could elicit such strong (and often concealed) vitriol. In everyday conversations with people I can make my point, but there is a whole world at large who literally get angry and have such harsh opinions on celebrities but not politicians, or strong opinions on fashion but not on human history. It’s ass-backwards where our ideals are today. It’s an incredible hypocrisy how most people who would make a snarky comment on Britney are also fat, out of shape, on antidepressants or love someone who is, lack ambition, and are filled with vice…

That is part of the reason I enjoy this site, and the vision behind it. Karen describes Britney as a damsel in distress, and I am sad to agree that this is the case. The only way to fight against the cruelty towards her is to speak of the truth.

I am a male, and I love females truly and deeply. I see the sexism so widely accepted as the norm, and I feel it is part of my duty to use my masculine voice to address that. Even in that statement I feel a sense of patriarchy in the need to defend a woman, but I would never consider myself above or stronger, just different. And I would be lying if I didn’t see a strength in Britney that I admire greatly. That is a huge reason why I support her, because I see her efforts often between the lines, and so many of her obstacles are artificially created by the influence of media persecution. I have literally had to defend Britney in my personal life to the degree where I have to use “alpha male” tactics. Luckily I am well liked and can defend myself physically and intellectually (it’s funny how quickly people generally will change their opinions when they are forced to defend themselves).

p.s. I’d love to submit a formal writing. I actually have that on my radar, and I will certainly let Karen know. Thanks for your kind words. I actually enjoy your comments quite a bit. It’s great to see many different intellectual, well thought out, and mature reflections here from various people. It brings me joy to see it

The saddest thing I came across, on a popular music forum, is a medically depressed person who mocked Britney’s problems (the classic robot and zombie transparent retort) because he wanted to fit in. But the hypocrisy doesn’t stop there because you would see that same poster defending GaGa’s “Born To Be Brave” bus. It was unbelievable and I had to expose the discrepancy of it all.

Yeah, it’s sad because while people point the finger they could be focusing on the finer things in life and building a life for themselves. It is doubly ironic that some people essentially owe their livlihood to Britney, as she provides the story to mock. When someone hates or dislikes something, the sensible thing to do is not pay attention to it. I spend little time focusing on the things I dislike, especially as it relates to music and art. I could rant about music I “hate”, but I don’t see the point in wasting my time or energy forming thoughts about something I hate. It’s hypocritical, paradoxical, ironic, and counter-intuitive but yet it drives such a large portion of critics and forum dwellers motivation and output.

It reminds me of the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”…which I don’t entirely agree with. But we aren’t talking about criticizing the nazis, or condemning political wrongdoing…we are talking about vitriolic rantings and constant cynical coverage of entertainers. It seems simple, if ya don’t feel entertained, then find something else and forget it. That is the starting point of most of my criticism towards that mindset and irrational behavior. And while I my viewpoints may seem negative towards theirs, it is in actuality a plea for people to recognize the truth and the more important things in life. And ironically, those more important things are actually in line with the love of oneself, productivity, their pursuit of their own happiness, and the greater good of mankind since all thought & action has consequence.

I spend some time commenting and discussing Britney in a social context, which is motivated by the beauty I see within her and of course my reverence for her. But it has multiple meanings and effects. I stand for truth, justice, against sexism, against hate, open mind, and for critical thinking. When I see comments influenced by media propaganda, I see and feel how it undermines the progress of society and mankind as a species. How can we coexist when we project our insecurities, fears, and flaws onto a media created pariah like Britney? Coexistence is one of the greatest challenges of the future with globalization & military technology to ensure mutual destruction. And Britney is a topic that can actually begin addressing some of these concerns. If we as individuals truly loved ourselves, then we would not take pleasure in another’s downfall, and most likely root for their success or at the very least leave it alone. I cannot be the only one who realizes that anti-Britney mentality is unneccessary, pointless, wasteful, and a complete misplacement of ideals.

I would love to see an article from you, SeventhSon. So far, only Michelle has followed through and actually submitted a guest article – don’t let her be the last!

Sure. I will e-mail ya when I follow through. I wanna make it thorough and research based, and more organized than my usual meandering comments. I may not get around to starting it for another wk, but I will letya know. Thanks

Don’t worry about making it perfect. I’m an editor and I can polish it up and sort out any glitches for you. xoxo

Don’t Cry
I couldn’t actually say all it is I could say about Perfume. I tend to write stream of concious, and kinda ended it before I got too wrapped up in the emotion.

The beauty of art is in it’s truth. And the beauty of opinions is that the truth touches and relates to people in different ways. I learn from Britney songs. At first that statement sounds questionable to some people, but she represents something great about the feminine spirit. I am open to her literal message and the deeper or more subtle ones that are surely there. And the fact that she has survived the length of time and the roller coaster of her career, also contains a lesson.

Britney and her music has certainly brought me to tears on various occasions for different reasons. Perfume expresses a certain sadness, longing, and insecurity but the beauty to me, is that she has worked it out and has survived it. What she leaves behind, may seem counter-intuitive… but it is ultimately a feeling of hope and a message of faith for me. Like her confession (she did tell on herself thru song) also means such awful emotions can pass. The fact that she has become more self-aware of herself is a positive message I take away from it. It’s like how a heartbreaking drama movie can provide motivation or increase our ability to feel. Isn’t life so bittersweet?

i’ve followed Brit for 14 years, we had break downs at similar times, she taught me life skills and gave me words for some of my philosophy’s, and yet, I still am learning to be stronger, to be wiser, to be freer, to be better, from her. Passenger is teaching me things, as is Alien…

I feel ya. Her life story outside her works helps to reinforce a positive message. There are so many themes and her story can be seen as tragedy and comedy. Even her subtle mannerisms help deepen her story, reading between the lines. Despite the harsh backlash she has consistantly received, she remains one of the most positive celebrities and hardly has a negative thing to say relative to her time spent in interviews and candid moments. I’ve seen celebrities who have complained or insulted other people more in one year of their fame, than in 15 years of Britney’s fame (which says even more when you consider that her level of coverage and media focus on her is far greater than even some of the most famous celebrities today). And when you further consider that she was so young, and therefore more prone to react emotionally, it really says alot about the content of her character. Her early days were provide some endearing moments of her naivete, where she unintentionally reveals some of her tragic flaws such as her trusting and people pleasing nature (which adds to her public image of a sweet girl). It’s a shame that she was taken advantage of and the deep hurt that she dealt with is apparent .

I have always been fond of kind people, and to see her hurt and confusion unfold in the past is heartbreaking. But the way that she has gone about her life is admirable, as most people would adopt a “F the world” type cynical mentality. Its rare to see a person uphold principles of optimism in the face of such betrayal, public humiliation, and vitriol. The part very few actually factor in, is the incessant overbearing negativity thrown at her with complete abandon by all forms of media and slanted portrayal. To deal with public pressure, which is constant and insidious, is so much more monumental as she must also battle her daemons on her own terms while simultaneously dealing with life on life’s terms. One current example that touches on this is – when you look at Lindsay Lohan she breaks down constantly. I don’t blame her, or say this to insult her in anyway, but I use her story to illustrate an example of public pressure and how difficult it makes things. It shows Britney’s strength even more when you consider that Lindsey doesn’t have kids, didn’t go thru the all the divorces and breakups, and her level of fame overall actually pales in comparison. But still Lindsey is a decent analogy, because she has been stigmatized by the media, and is under the close watchful and judgmental public eye. Again, not to blame her but her attitude is more of a cynical and angry one towards the public. I still don’t see her as weak tough, because her struggles have been difficult and the media takes delight in her downfall which makes it harder to cope with.

The warrior inside Britney is hard to see for some, and part of that is how we receive our information. If you consider that we get almost all of our “news” on Britney through the filter of media, then it becomes easier to sort out the myth from the truth. Once more people can see past the influence of media and how they paint her character, it becomes apparent how many assumptions we have about her and how easy it is to believe.

I’m not saying I am immune from deciphering the deception, or that the deception is always done intentionally, but I am painfully aware it exists. For example, I used to talk about Britney’s relationships as tough I knew what actually went on. The truth is there is very little I know with certainty, much more that I have to make an educated guess on, and a large majority of the “facts” & trivia about her past relationships that I have no authority to make a statement on.

Media, especially beginning with her fame, has a secondary motive to reporting on her and covering updates. It’s motive boils down to the dollar, and there is an ongoing side-story that plays out like a soap opera…how much of this soap opera is scripted or premeditated I am not entirely sure, but it is absolutely apparent if you separate opinions from facts and look a little deeper than surface area. It’s amazing to me how such invasion into her life there is, and how much mystery remains at the same time. This is what gives her that “Rock Star” mythology like Elvis Presley or other such larger than life icons. Even words like “breakdown” are largely concocted by the media, and in the “breakdown era” we still lack the full details, and have been presented with possible side stories that may or may not be legitimate at all. I am almost certain that Britney could see huge fame again, but it would require an A&R strategy and buzzwords like “breakdown” “controversy” “comeback”, etc to be marketed and promoted the right way. Politics can literally make or break an artist.

I doubt she wants that level of attention anymore though. I see her shying away from the media, avoiding promotion, and giving off a “boring” persona (which I’m not thoroughly convinced isn’t a purposeful act on her part to mitigate the invasive nature of the tabloids…she has said many things to indicate this, such as “purposely wearing the same clothes and dressing down and boring”). If she wanted to be noticed, all she’d have to do is put a pink wig on, pull a controversial stunt, collaborate with the right people, or turn to the hype machine. Her fame is solidified in my eyes, and I see her riding the fence so that she can jump back into the game or start a life of relative (but not complete) privacy. For this reason, her immense fame and stature in the industry, I don’t worry about whether or not she will be here and have a career in the future. Besides, at any point she could go independent and not worry about sales. I understand why some fans worry about whether or not she will be around, but the real issue is if she wants to be around. She may not ever have the same role in the spotlight, but if fans can let go of statistics & sales figures she may continue making music, movies, and performing. If it’s her prerogative, and I see more reason to believe she will continue on in some form, whether a top 10 act or a top 200 act remains the only question (but not one that I personally care about). I just want those unreleased songs and some new music in the future, and I’ll have my favorite pop artist forever on my raydah.

Comments are closed.

  • Karenannanina: I agree with you about the residency. It's the road to irrelevance for an artist. But a new album would be a golden blessing for her fans. Her albums
  • George: Spot on thoughts on the issue. Honestly, I don't... really care whether she does the residency or not? As long as there is new music, I'm fine. P.S: G
  • Sarah G: You should write an In-Depth of Glory or even Mood Ring (that's a groovy tune)