New Britneyology

Debate No.49: The right direction?

Posted by: Karenannanina on: July 16, 2015

We recently read reports that Britney had been in the studio with DJ Mustard, and this would not be incongruous, since his signature sound dovetails with her recent Iggy Azalea collab. So this is another hint that she wants to move in an edgier, more hip-hop-friendly direction for her next album. Whether her label will allow it is a different matter, but the girl herself seems to have a desire to push her particular envelope and is tuned in to current trends.

One side effect of this thinking is that she’s concerned about “relevance”, and this seems to translate into “you need lots of collaborations”. But what we always loved about her was her undiluted Britneyness and the fact that she didn’t NEED collaborations – unlike her more derivative peers, such as uber-collaborationist Rihanna.

I’m wondering if she’s forgotten something important. Away back in 2003, the critics were doubting her continuing relevance to the tots-and-tweenies age-group who had been the most visible component of her fanbase up to then. What they failed to understand was that her demographic was growing WITH her, and were – at that stage – mostly aged between 18 and 26.

My question now is this: has Britney herself lost sight of that fact? What demographic is she chasing now? Is there any hope of becoming relevant to the current 18-26 bracket? What conclusion would you draw from the thought that, maybe, her fanbase has continued to grow older along with her and is now typically aged (with honorable exceptions) somewhere between 25 and 35?

You’d think it would mandate albums full of mature pop, melodic, innovative and thoughtful – right? But didn’t Britney Jean lean that way? Uh…. maybe a little, but that was the good part. The not-so-good part was the sub-prime EDM, and maybe that wasn’t just because those tracks weren’t very good. Maybe that’s not the kind of music her current demographic requires? Maybe Britney Jean would have been a lot more successful if ALL of it had been like Alien and Passenger?

What do you think? Is she about to go in a totally wrong direction? Is she losing touch with her ever-ageing fanbase? What direction would be right for her? Give us your views and write as much as you like!

32 Responses to "Debate No.49: The right direction?"

I want/need her to do a personal pop rock electro jazz collection. Like the cancelled Original Doll record. She always comes close and every single album has a track or too pointing that direction. (Passenger, Rock Me In, Don’t Keep Me Waiting, never mind the leaked Bb Boy)
There is this song called Stupid Grin which is totally a option for her future. I want Britney Jean to be a slow transition into a completely different path, If only for her own artistic experimentation and communication. I think she would love it to try it out and then, you know, release it.

I think her or her people going back to the sound which worked before and playing catch up with what’s cool last year will not be satisfying. Eventually she will make a Bionic size mistake. She always writes a personal album then changes it to a pop one or compromises part of the mission statement. She needs to go hard with her own wants, or find a way to mesh both sounds effectively and support/explain it.

I would not mind a collab side project, between albums, with all the people who admire her, plus whichever tracks she’s done with others in her past. She is getting into a time in her career she can indulge in those projects for fun. She is in that level where she can do topical albums, collaborations, Christmas, covers, whatever she wants.

I’m thinking of Icona Pop’s new hybrid sound. ‘Emergency’ and ‘Clap Snap’ sound like Frankenstein monsters collages mixing classic American sounds like swing and blues with EDM arrangements and hooks. They’re both splendidly strange songs that I think would fit Britney just fine. But she’d be able to add more depth to them, for sure.

Chillin’ with You too was a cute experiment conflating trap beats and classic country. It’s a nice little song, I think.

I’m not interested in Britney going full rock chick, but yeah, I like those songs and that Dragonette track is nice.

Surely I’d like Britney’s new music to point into a more serious and adult direction than that. Those songs are very silly and tongue-in-cheek and Britney’s done that already plenty of times. Not that I want her to stop being silly of course, but I think it’s time for her to go for a sound that tries to please a more adult demographic. Janet Jackson released ‘The Velvet Rope’ when she was 31, for example.

Thing is – because Britney’s still so young, it’s natural that she feels the need to compete with newer popstars like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Rihanna. She’s, along with Eminem, Beyoncé, Shakira and Maroon 5, the true survivor of the commercial pop landscape from the 00’s (I’m not counting R&B heroes like Alicia Keys, Usher and Ciara). She’s veteran, but still a competitor. That’s why she needs DJ Mustard and I’m OK with that, but I think she should go for an adult sound this time. Maybe go where And Then We Kiss left? Early Mornin’? 🙂 That would be such a joy!

Oops, I forgot to mention Justin Timberlake. He’s definitely one of the most successful artists from that era – his last record was the second best-selling album of 2013, if I remember well. It was such a delightful listen – I wish Britney would work with Timbaland for once!

That lounge sound of Early Mornin’ would totally work for her, and give her space to do some more acoustic promo things if she so wishes.

As far as I am concerned she is the only one of her early 00’s women who is still around as an artist full time. Christina doesn’t tour anymore aka is part time, Mandy Moore splits her time between acting and singing, Jessica Simpson is still successful and cared about, as a branded clothe designer. Never mind the others of her initial era. Who knows who of the women who are around since 2008 will last. She definitely has earnt a level of respect and influence amongst the artists who came after her.

Well, I would say P!nk is more successful now that’s she’s ever been. I never remember her though, but she’s the general public queen.

yeah, Britney and Pink, weird combo!

Britney, P!nk, and Beyoncé – the Pepsi queens.

I think it’s easy to doubt current artists, but Rihanna’s been around since 2006 and she’s still hugely successful. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga’s future looks bright too.

We are in a comfortable place as Britney fans. She’s been around for ages and still finds ways to remain, if not relevant, at least current. Work Bitch is a cult gay classic, Scream & Shout was the 10th most successful song of 2013, and Pretty Girls is a moderate hit.

Still, Britney needs a hit that is HERS and hers only, and a successful album, too, to resolidify her legacy.

I’ve noticed recent Britney songs being used as background music on TV documentaries. Becoming part of the musical establishment?

The only other girl I’d consider also of that era, besides all the above listed from 2000 ish and still working is……Avril! Avril works like a machine. She also seems to really like her job still.
So, Britney, Beyonce, Pink and Avril. Interesting combination of the fittest and the most hard workers.

It’s funny that you should mention Avril. I have always been a fan of her material- she’s always brought the angst when many of her contemporaries did not. I feel that as of late she has not made a huge commercial splash, which is really unfortunate. Her last album “Avril Lavigne,” was criminally underrated in my opinion.

Here’s the strategy I’d like to see her adopt:

Instead of releasing an LP every 2 years or so, Release 2 songs together every 3 months (A more commercial A-Side and a more artsy B-Side). That would allows her to mix it up and stay fresh and inspired. Each season’s songs could have a different approach. This would also more closely match the way people currently buy/experience music (less album-oriented, more singles).

One pair of songs could have urban jams: one slow, one fast. Another pair could be a Christmas song and an emotional ballad. Another could be a poppy summer anthem and an artsy-fartsy dance track (AKA “Pretty Girls” and “Tom’s Diner”).

This regularly-scheduled approach would keep the public in anticipation of her new music and would supply fans with a steady stream of new material. It would also allow her to take chances that aren’t practical on an album. After all, if a duo’s risk doesn’t resonate, she can re-focus and bounce back in just a few months. It’s also difficult to try a bunch of things on an LP without critics claiming it lacks “focus.” The paired singles approach lends itself to experimentation while sidestepping this potential dismissal.

The A-Side and Flip-Side approach will give Britney 2 new songs each season to make an impact. Sometimes the intentionally commercial track may grab the public’s attention. But as she heads further down the path of uniqueness, she may lure the public and the industry to follow her!

Hi Jamaphone, and welcome to New Britneyology! That was a very interesting and innovative idea you proposed. Probably too smart for Britney’s record company, but if only…..

Love this idea!! Hey Karen, what in-depth are you tackling next? Staying on the Circus train?

I was thinking of doing “Shattered Glass” next, if anyone wants it.

Yes, one of my favourites!

Such a smartly written and produced little tune. Totally here for it!

yes please! and don’t forget it relates to the cry me a river video and how it’s kind of her own response to Everytime.

That’s a very good question you’re asking there Karenannanina and I don’t really know the answer.

The thing is: I liked BJ as a whole. I admit that the EDM songs were mediocre but even then, I still enjoyed them! It’s the kind of music I really like. But I also liked songs like Don’t Cry, Hold on Tight and Brightest Morning Stars. Those were the songs I wanted to hear from her so I’m glad they were on the album. So maybe Britney is torn between those two directions too: a more mature sound and something more dancy. But artists like Robyn show you can combine both sounds. I wonder why she’s not going that direction.

If she really wants to stay trendy she should pick songs that are actually good. We might have a problem when Britney really things songs like Pretty Girls are excellent. But I refuse to believe that someone, who gave us songs like Everytime and Toxic thinks that way. It just seems that her label is afraid to go a certain direction.

But since Britney doesn’t care about fame I really doubt she’s desperate to stay relevant or attract a young audience. I think she just does whatever she wants.

Funnily enough, the Superbowl rumors are still going strong around the web – stronger than ever, I would say. Blogs and fans have been discussing this possibility since March, and now supposedly reliable insiders are confirming it. If it happens, we wouldn’t be able to say Britney doesn’t care about fame anymore, would we? 🙂

I think that even if she thinks she has nothing to prove, she loves challenging moves! Vegas was one, and it was a huge success, seeing many thought she would never keep up with it or that it would be a giant failure. Why not trying the Superbowl?! That would hit really hard, and guarantee worldwide coverage.

I don’t really think Vegas was that challenging. I guess it was more an “easy” option for her for obvious reasons: no need to travel around, good for her kids… But I do agree that it was a challenge since no other young artist did it before her. But it turned out perfectly fine.

If she can peform at the Superbowl the way she does in Vegas then it’s goint to be a succes. She’s looking good, her dancing is more than ok, she has memorable hits… I thinks she should do it. Some people say it could destroy her career but those are the drama queens talking.

I get what you’re saying but we saw the preparation and all the pressure in “I Am Britney Jean”. Yet, she pulled it off like it was nothing and created a precedent, in the sense, more and more younger popstars are considering Vegas as one of the next step in their career!

If she’s at her Vegas best, the stage show is good and the playlist well organized (only Madonna has a better discography from the recent female performers), it can’t go wrong, I think.

I agree! I think we’ll be seeing an improvement in Vegas as well with the changes that have been announced. Perhaps an acoustic section! We could only be so lucky…. But I think some new choreography (slash choreographers) will show Britney’s strength. I have a problem with a lot of the choreography in the show. I think she got too excited about Work Bitch because a lot of their style doesn’t fit with her other hits. Regardless, Britney is always a forced to be reckoned with and she could definitely pull of Superbowl. I think it would be great to start with a ballad (Everytime?) and then she could tear up the dance floor by breezing through songs like Work Bitch, Toxic, and undoubtedly Baby One More Time.

I imagined a symphonic “Everytime/Someday/Hold On Tight” mashup to close her high energy Superbowl show. 🙂

I also want to respond to what you said about her desired age bracket. I’ve been a big fan of Brit from the earliest years. I turned 7 in 1999 and I’m 22 now. I did kind of lose touch with her from 2007-2010 and then really dove back into the deep-end of my admiration in 2013. So I’m on the younger side if we’re talking about the 25-40ish age bracket you mentioned, Karen. I’m not sure I can determine “who” Britney is trying to stay relevant to, if there’s any desired age at all. I think when it comes to singles like Ooh La La, Scream and Shout, and Pretty Girls she is more obviously reaching out to a younger crowd. I teach dance and I have students that are 7-9 who know and like Britney, they ask me to use her in class (which I do all the time). But then I’ve also connected with people my age up to 35 who devotely love her and appreciate her more mature offerings. I think she really is one of those artists that transcends age and time. In 2003 when In the Zone came out, a lot of the sexual innuendo didn’t really occur to me. I knew it was there, but that wasn’t why I tuned in necessarily. I was 11, I liked to dance and sing like Britney. It didn’t matter so much to me that I was practicing teasing boys, but I do it well now so… Ha!

Headlining Glastonbury 2016, which is literally 2 miles from the village of Godney in Somerset. Britney should be taken to the venue by river to mirror Elizabeth Taylor’s grand entrance in Cleopatra. It is absolutely perfect. This is my dream.

Her latest Vegas shows are really amazing. She’s smiling and full of energy. It’s great to see. Add the fact she went to the Teen Choice Awards (and looked hot!) and is now also going to the VMA’s and I can say it’s a great time to be a Britney fan. Too bad Pretty Girls flopped.

yes, somebody on here is talking about her incredible effort the last couple of months. So proud of her facing her TV Show anxieties head on.
NOW can the delusional haters and “fans” please PLEASE stop with the “She wants to retire” thing. She’s hitting the energy and enthusiasm of her teen aged self level. It’s incredible to watch!

They project too much. It’s not because they want her to retire, that she feels the same way. They complain about her not getting the fredom she deserves, yet are OK with speaking for her! Unbelievable! Lmao

PS: “Pretty Girls” was a cute summer song, which would have done wonder in an 80s movie (Think “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” with Sarah Jessica Parker and Shannen Doherty). Her aura in the video and performance was something we hadn’t seen in a long time so I consider it another steeping stone to the “Super Britney” that was within! 🙂

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)