By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
By Ray Cummings
By Nicholas Pell
Editor's note: According to a personality test the two writers took at Emode.com, Britney Spears is the inner rock star of both 18-year-old Harvard freshman Irin Carmon and 20-year-old Columbia junior Amy Phillips.
September 6. From: AmyOK, Britney . . . Here are some thoughts, just random stuff:
I still love "Lucky." It's such a perfectly constructed and well-oiled machine, like a Kraftwerk songso tight and slick and every beat absolutely where it should be, like it was made by robots. The harmonies are angelic, and the counterpoint could have come from some medieval chant. But it's weird that I like it, since the punk in me usually values emotion over technique, messiness over cleanliness. None of Britney's other singles do that to me, except for " . . . Baby One More Time." But the difference is that in "Lucky," she's inhabiting another character, and "Baby" and her other hits are all in the first person. So we're supposed to think Britney's saying she's "not that innocent." And I really don't care about Britney as a person. I prefer Britney the machine.
Back when the "Baby" video was constantly on The Box (whatever happened to that station?), I remember talking to a friend about how we hated the song, and Britney, yet couldn't turn the damn thing off. I think I understand it now. That video just captured some sort of zeitgeist that we knew we were a part of, yet tried to resist (especially since my friend had gone to Catholic elementary and middle school). And "Baby" is a great song, due in part to Britney's vocalsthat "oh baby baby" at the beginning could pass for PJ Harvey. And the bass is greatall funk-slap pornoand it's been pretty consistent since then; I hear the same bass sound on all her songs. Especially on "Oops! . . . I Did It Again," because it's basically "Baby II," except without the vocal urgency or cultural urgency.
Speaking of Britney's image, I don't give a shit about the boobs, but what about the nose??? Dude, am I the only person who noticed a huge difference in noses between "Baby" and "Oops"? Maybe I'm nuts, and it's just puberty . . . or something.
For my birthday last year, my mom got me a copy of the Britney and Lynne Spears Heart to Heartbook, because it's all about mother-daughter bonding. I haven't read it yet.
Fave Britney outfit: the Super Bowl arm sock.
September 8. From: IrinI spent the entire Super Bowl halftime show contemplating what the fuck that sock was doing on her arm. But at the same time, I felt kind of thrilled by that whole manufactured "Walk This Way" renditionespecially when Britney came out spitting artificial fire.
This summer, I butchered a pink Britney tank topa giftinto a halter that, in true Spears style, was much more audacious. I wondered if there was a way to wear it and clearly demonstrate the irony. Nope. I wore it anyway. Down St. Marks, a metal-laden punk said wistfully, "I wish Ihad a Britney Spears shirt." By Avenue A, a half-dozen curious glances and would-be-witty comments later, a ratty, overgrown indie-rock geek sunning himself wanted to know if I really was Britney. Maybe the top had revealed my inner Britneyness to the world? "No, but I wish I was," I lied. "Don't you?" He agreed, and for 10 minutes, we discussed what one would do if one were Britney for a day. "I'd probably spend the whole day in my hotel room masturbating," he concluded.
The entire Britney thing seems to come down to the conflict between real and fake. All of the favorite Britney debates center around that: Are her boobs (or nose) real? Is she really that innocent, really a virgin? (My roommate announced today that she personally wants to deflower Britney.) Can she really sing or dance? Do we really care? I kept thinking about this every time I saw her (or confused a clone with her and started theorizing anyway); then, the recent Rolling Stonecover article articulated it: "Real" is very important to Britney. Her upcoming movie, tentatively titled Not a Girl, is, in her estimation, "really real." Susan Sarandon is one of Britney's favorite actresses because she "has a realness about her." And one of Britney's biggest pet peeves, she says after a moment's thought, is "fake people."
September 21. From: AmyI haven't been thinking about Britney too much. On the afternoon of the attacks, I caught the first train I could to my boyfriend's house in Connecticut, where I stayed until Friday. While there, all we did was sleep, eat, and watch TV. The only videos I wanted to watch were r&b slow jams. Britney reminded me of everything the terrorists wanted to destroy. I just kept thinking of the "BRITNEY WANTS YOU" Rolling Stonecover on Michael Musto's wall, where she's in red, white, and blue.
September 21. From: IrinI heard she's going to donate a dollar from each ticket sold for her fall tour to children of police officers and firefighters. If that's the element the terrorists wanted to destroy, it's only surging out stronger.