New Britneyology

Will she do it this time?!

Posted by: Karenannanina on: February 19, 2016

Britney fans have become expert at the sport of straw-clutching. The slightest rumor of activity by Ms Spears and we all go crazy! So what are we to make of the hints she and Larry Rudolph gave in recent interviews to the effect that her 9th studio album is 80% complete? It seems like reality, not just a vague aspiration. So what’s it gonna be like? It’s different, Larry says, it’s a “turn”. Her last few albums had been straightforward pop but this has a really interesting vibe, contains a lot of cool stuff, and she sounds amazing on it, better than she has “since I don’t know when”. AND she’s done a lot of writing on it, along with some other interesting writers.

Larry’s obviously pushing our buttons here. What do we always demand on the fansites and forums? More substantial, deeper, less poppy material? Check. Better vocals? Check. More writing? Check! These promises are standard fare, every time. According to Larry, Britney says this her favorite album that she’s ever, EVER done but she always says that! At least she hasn’t said it’s her most personal album this time, so the critics don’t have THAT stick to beat her with.

Larry does say something interesting, however. He says that sound-wise the album is very “Britney meets The Weeknd”? So what does that mean? Can we even imagine how it might turn out? The general consensus (summarized by Wikipedia) on The Weeknd portrays a somewhat controversial alternative form of r&b, characterized by “forlorn echoes, falsetto vocals and a pleading, anxious tone”. Arabic influences have been observed, and unconventional samples, drawn from rock rather than r&b sources, that convey a sense of sexual menace. His emotional, plaintive lyrics often express feelings of hurt and deal with subject matter such as sex, drugs, and partying. Hermione Hoby of The Guardian characterizes The Weeknd’s songs as “narcotised-slow jams” and delineates their message as “partying is an existential experience, sex is fraught with alienation, and everything registers as unreal and unsettling”. One might also mention wall-to-wall misogyny and foul language.

Wow! Well, we can’t really expect Britney to make music like THAT, can we? But can we abstract some generalizable characteristics from it: Deep, slow, moody, emotional, intense, intricate, bass-heavy jams with meaningful lyrical content? Songs like “Wicked Games”,”Drunk In Love”, “High For This”, “The Hills” or “Earned it” but with less misogyny? As someone who adores Britney ballads, that would be all my dreams come true. But with less controversial lyrics and a slightly lighter touch would it be more like “Britney meets Selena Gomez”? Will they even give us ballads at all? The last few albums have offered no cause for optimism.

I’m the least cynical person on Earth, but my feeling is that the “meets The Weeknd” influence is going to be more like “Britney, Max Martin, Dr Luke and Will I Am were on their way to the club when they saw The Weeknd coming the other way and said Hi.” In other words, we might at best be able to expect something like “I Can’t Feel My Face” or… well… that’s about it, really. It seems to me that, every time Britney feels the urge to step outside of herself and make her mark with something significant, something or somebody pulls her back. The only exception, obviously, is “Blackout” – which is also the only album on which she herself was Executive Producer.

What do you think?

15 Responses to "Will she do it this time?!"

I don’t know what to think but her managers should really stop talking beacause they always hype her already neurotic fanbase and when they fail to deliver on what they promise (70% of the time, even if the content is still quality IMO), they go mental and can’t appreciate anything she does.

I don’t really like the Weeknd but Britney’s magic midas touch works wonders so I’m not too worried. Also, since I’m one of the few chosen ones who’s still very fond of “Britney Jean”, I don’t have the thirst than most of her supporter have toward this album.

I think Larry called her last two albums Ray of Light esque, and both times he was wrong.
I’d say Femme Fatale is sort of a focused on fun, focused on adventure, almost edgy pop, with a few odd tracks (Gasoline, How I Roll)
Britney Jean is obviously a poppy tribute to her personal feelings which sometimes controversially involves sexing (Tik Tik), dancing (Body Ache) but also means trusting other people (Passenger), working hard (Work Bitch) and recovering from romantic set backs (Till It’s Gone, Don’t Cry)
Should’ve sold it as that, pop but with personal events scattered in it. Not whatever either her fans anticipated erronously or Larry made it seem falsely.

Larry needs to quit doing that, it inflames the already half out the door set of her fans, and confuses the more optimistic ones too. I mean, I have seen worst explanations for albums (1989 is not a tribute to friendships and fun times with friends, it’s more like, things which keep happening to me (IKP, C, WD, BS, HUGTG) and this guy who came back), but he’s up there with the twisting the truth to suck up to whoever.

I hope by The Weeknd he means Lana Del Ray, Lorde, Carly Rae Jepson’s Emotion, Melanie Martinez, Halsey esque sadcore indie pop experimentation, with better lyrics, and or some louder rock influences for a change. Really put out something nobody could see coming, or even understand without really thinking about it. Something that makes people frightened.

I’m keen for this album, Britney seems to be really feelin’ herself this time around, her performances are better, her attitude is better, she seems happier and more at peace, and have to healed some of her frayed nerves due to her knee accidents!

Have there been many credible rumors about the producers who’ve been involved this time? Hopefully it won’t be the Usual Suspects.

She has posted photo’s, rather excitedly, on her instagram of some new people she has worked with, hopefully for the best, DJ Mustard is confirmed, Alex Da Kid is confirmed, Justin Trantor + Julia Michaels, Chantal Kreviazuk, Simon Wilcox and Ian Kirkpatrick, all on her twitter/instagram, so some nice new faces.
http://www.breatheheavy.com/exhale/index.php?/topic/673287-confirmed-rumored-album-9-producers-updated-july-31st/

I know we sometimes talk as if Britney leaves a lot of her best material on the editing room floor, but she has great instincts for what adds to the underlying narrative of her work. That’s why I can’t believe the 9th album could be TOO different.

Don’t forget, The Weeknd’s new album was heavily produced/co-written by Max Martin.

The closest Britney has come to The Weeknd’s sound in the past would have to be “Early Mornin'”, “And then we Kiss,” “Blur,” “Unusual You,” and “Phonography.” I’d love to have an album full of tracks like that!

Oh man, an album of Early Mornin’ and Blur’s would rock!
Good point about Unusual You, I don’t think there is a Britney fan who dislikes that song.

I like these songs because they give Britney’s natural voice to shine. She needs this type of song more than anything. I’m done with the Max Martin bops, honestly. I want something deep.

they give her voice *room

I’m particularly fond of Early Mornin’. It’s quite a special track in her discography. It’s very sophisticated and refined. Most of In the Zone was, but this was a different kind of elegance. It sounds so good after all these years.

I must admit I’m kinda sick of the “In The Zone” praise. I liked most of the album but I don’t want her to repeat herself.
Also, after doing my own research, the “Britney had control over the era and did it her way” propaganda that’s being pushed on every platform is FAR from true. It was actually the beginning of the end, in many ways (until she started coming back in 2012/2013 with X-Factor and Vegas). All her Michelle Bell songs were thrown to the garbage bin, in favor of more hyped collaborators, and she later wrote on one of her blog in 2004 that sometimes less is more and that she would do things differently next time, which she did for the original version of “Blackout”!

This post was not made to bash her 4th era but I think people are too harsh on some of her albums, that are as good or better IMO, and always mention this one with rose colored glasses.

PS: I found the letter!!! “[…] I’m not the type of person to put blame on other people, but I do feel that some things which were done for me were not always in my best interests. Looking back, I feel now that on my 4th album “less is more” should have been the way to go.”

I upset myself because her recording company/team are so SO cowardly and afraid to put out really dangerous/out of character/different/breaking character music.
From what I know, Femme Fatale was altered and messed with, from a ballady urban thing and she changed that into a more tourable before trend pop album, Britney 01 got edited down from a thing called SHOCK YOUR MIND into a more pop, child friendly record and of course the Original Doll cancellation and artistic disruption which screwed with her mind and sense of control over her life, A LOT.
Her team can be such cowards sometimes, and do the easy thing opposed to the challenging thing.
I don’t think she’s a puppet, but I do think her team influences her against her better instincts and chance to really hit people with powerful, personal, music which she really feels.

But I honestly don’t think she’s the only one who has to revised her albums, a few times, before it comes out. It’s just blown out of proportion with her because just like everything she does, there’s always speculations and overreactions.

The record label has to approve of the CD before it’s released, and it’s logical she mostly stays on the safer side (though, I truly think she’s more adventurous that most of her peers, sonically, since her third album). Indeed, they know she will barely promote and defend her record so she can’t afford to really go outside the box from a financial point of view.

Yeah, besides the fact that half the time if the album doesn’t do average they will drop it so fast. Britney Jean barely got two singles, and they do it to others.

Recording company’s as a whole are getting more cowardly and less likely to put the work into a album (post release), or go hard the other way and make the artist work on the album for 5 years, even if it’s really good as it is/was, or lets a artist spend way to long on a album and make like it’s coming “Soon” when soon is like, 3 years from now.

Britney definitely gets to the most judgement for working the system, taking advice, changing the material to suit her needs and or ever compromising a little on her ideals to get an album out. Other artists probably compromise a lot more, and get a lot less hate for it, and get away with literally the least effort and still get credit.

I don’t know, just recording company’s annoy me, The Kesha/Lipsha thing totally triggered me, and I can only think of one GOOD one, who actually has it’s shit sort of together, and lets it’s artist create.

Exactly. You would think she was the only one who is influenced by the business side of what she does and that her peers are free “chanteuse” who get to release whatever they want out there. It’s ridiculous. The music industry is an industry, a cutthroat one at that, especially for female popstars.

Pink had to got the safer route after “Try This” flopped even having to work with Max Martin, Kelly Clarkson had to do damage control ever since “My December”, Rihanna’s dark “Rated R” was followed by the sugary “LOUD”, Beyonce had to go generic pop after “B’day” almost underperformed and then go sexual after the “classy” 4 was a financial dissapointment, Avril had to add safe pop/rock tunes to “Goodbye Lullaby” (great album) so it ever got released! The list goes on and on…

The ones who get to decide the most of their output are probably the alt/pop/indie girls but even in their cases, there are probably struggles and limitations we’re just not aware of.”

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  • Sarah G: You should write an In-Depth of Glory or even Mood Ring (that's a groovy tune)
  • Sarah Giansanti: First off, yeah! I've missed your writing haha Secondly, I've always been baffled of how people can say Britney's not a singer... Derr, that's her
  • Aline: Great article as usual. Please Karen, never stop writing for the site. I love your thoughts about our queen!