By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
February 5, 2000: To 12-year-old boys (who I've seen many times staring at Britney posters at Kmart and Walmart . . . I think the supposed "Lolita" factor is silly and relatively minor in comparison), she must seem like the proverbial unbelievably sexy OLDER WOMAN (hey, she was a middle-school prom queen). No teenager since MMClubAnnette has pulled that off in the last 40 years. If Brit was a Barbie model, she'd be "SINGING DANCING BARBIE"; she truly is an excellent hoofervery physical, and probably also as good a "singer" for her times as Ginger Rogers (great dancer) was in 1939. We'll kindly leave acting ability out of the comparison (Brit-Brit's obvious TV destination would be a Friday-night TGIF series, where acting ability is not a big prerequisite. . . . "Pondering movie offers" like she's doing now is a typically bad career move, but with her 1000% charmed life she'll probably get some great supporting role, or even a full-out Desperately Seeking Susan fluke).
MJH vs. Brit? Missy Joan is fearless and rowdy, an Aries, but not known as athletic; Britney, as everyone knows, was a tomboy, a basketball point guard. Two fire signs, they would probably beat the holy hell out of each other. It strikes me as a weird coincidence that Britney and Christina Aguilera (the two femme 21st-century pop-giant prototypes) are mindless Sags, whereas the old rock royalty stereotypesMadonna, Mick Jagger, etc.were rampaging-ego Leos. You put the Sag factor into it, and dancing makes total sense. Hey, who said the Age of Aquarius had to be about hippies! Hippies were the most horrid dancers who ever lived, it drove me nuts.
February 18, 2000: People whose parents bad-mouthed "Mashed Potato Time" and "Loco- Motion" back in the day are probably the ones who can't stand Britney. (Re: Dance or Die, the motto of all the girls back in 1965-66 junior high dances.)
March 14, 2000: In case you weren't in a grocery checkout line over the weekend, the Staron Friday had Britney's contractor/schoolteacher parents bellied up in bankruptcy court summer 1998 right before she left for her shopping mall promo tour. The article's implication was that the 17-year-old was somewhat traumatized by seeing the family car being repossessed, and might henceforth be a little more . . . driven. It was all obviously her fault, since her Mickey Mouse Clubjob hadn't paid beans. Lots of Freudian levels worthy of kooky superstar families like those of Elvis, Madonna, the Beach Boys.
April 29, 2000: The new single finally hit local radio today. A stale remake of " . . . Baby One More Time"? Nah, to my ears "Oops! . . . I Did It Again" is one of the swellest pop singles of the past 10 years. The choruses' stacked vocal sounds have their own parking space in the Abbaworld Hall of Fame. If Max Martin at his best is a one-man Bjorn & Benny-channeling Phil Spector for today's dance music generation, then the best Martin/Britney tracks do a helluva job channeling Anna & Frida when the A*Teens have to go to bed early. Mark my words, 20 years from now "Hit Me Baby" and "Oops" on oldies radio will seem like songs that've been around since the dawn of time, as definitive of their era as "Da Doo Ron Ron."
May 5, 2000: The one really weird thing about today's Rolling Stonecover story is that not once did it mention Max Martin by name. Considering that each classic track inches Max a bit closer to being this era's Goffin-King and Phil Spector combined . . . well, maybe Max read a Phil Spector bio or two and decided that "cult of personality" was not something to strive for. I actually slightly prefer Britney's chipmunk-Mariah vocals to Ronnie Spector's cartoonish chipmunk-Frankie Lymon.
May 8, 2000: Trapped for two long weeks at Boy Scout pioneer camp way back in July 1965, I pronounced "Satisfaction" and its tin-can-beat-from-hell the most monotonous, boring, and annoying song of all time. Since I had been following rock radio for a full six months, crossing age 12 into teendom, obviously I was a perfect authority on all things historical. Folks, I don't care if Britney farts all the way through her upcoming remake. How could it be any worse? Keith Richards thought it was a stupid song; I thought it was a stupid song. Jury closed.
May 9, 2000: MTV First Listen. Britney says that, while r&b and rock are hep to throw in on albums, her first and foremost allegiance is to pop music. Right on, sister. Her live performance of "Oops" has a That '70s Show color scheme fittingly screaming Abbasilver with yellow pants.
May 12, 2000: At the risk of enraging millions of Stones fans, let me reiterate my Britney = '65 Stones theory. When the pre-"Satisfaction" Stones metamorphosed from a scruffy, wonderful r&b band (with a pretty good singer who wore sweatshirts) into the world's best-known prototype "rock" band (with a poofy superstar up front), a few original fans like me might have hit the snooze button, but not even a blind man could have missed their archetypal status. Or their immediate influencewitness 1,275,436 of the 2,109,329 American garage bands the very next year.
The Stones probably weren't the best, at anything, but that's beside the point. What they excelled at was their grasp of the Van Halen Theory of pop music: THEY APPEALED TO BOTH SEXES. When I see totally normal hunky guys whooping for Britney on TRL, going, "Yah! Britney! Woooooo!," I'm initially dumbfounded. Then I remember that eternal mantra: Guys thought David Lee was cool, girls thought he was hot. Just as surely as '60s Jagger/'84 David Lee Roth had enough of a "bad boy" vibe to successfully work the opposite-sex angle, Britney has just enough "bad girl" and plenty enough tomboy to work the sexy dance thing for boys 12 to 18 who would never, ever, ever listen to pop music otherwise.