Written in January, 1999, “Baby One More Time” was Britney Spears’ “break out CD”–the release that made her a star. Unlike her later CDs, it exemplifies Spears as a “virgin” character, focusing more on the ideas and prospects of love in an emotional sense, rather than that of a physical endeavor. The album topped charts and contained multiple record-breaking tracks. Furthermore, it created a huge fan base amongst adolescent females, which carried over (and evolved) with later releases.
Spears’ second album, “Oops I Did It Again” was created a mere year after her previous. Despite this short production time span, the CD consisted of several singles and “radio frequents.” Likewise, it also included a previously unattempted (by Spears) song: a cover. Spears, still within her “virgin image,” did a modern rendition of Neil Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” using her vocal chords as the trumpet. Unfortunately, this did not receive the high acclaim her other tracks had–her audience could not appreciate the classic-gone-pop style. This marked her first, and last, cover song.
Her third release, “Britney” began a trend of “sexuality” within her music. Written entirely as a rock-opera, this album featured a story about a girl “becoming a woman.” With over 30 tracks of ballads, pop, hardcore, jazz, ska, and several other genres, the rock-opera follows the character “Britney” as she discovers womanhood. The listener joins her through experiences such as love, sex, death, and horse racing. The two-hour CD is an adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster of unforeseen events and heartbreaking downfall. The record, however, did not achieve as much success as her previous work, and, as result, her rock-opera styling ended here. Experimentation, however, had only just begun.
In 2003, Britney Spears released one of her strongest albums: “In The Zone.” The entire record consisted of nothing but ambient sounds commonly heard on the television program The Twilight Zone, placed underneath her vocals. Unlike previous records, her singing was not entirely in English: often, such as in the hit song “I Am Space,” she would invent her own language (she dubbed this language “Spearsian”). This gave the CD a “traditional” feel, almost like that of an early-African tribal song. While reception was varied, it remained in the Billboard Top 50 for over three hours, and sold well over two million copies. Today, it is still in circulation and is frequently played at raves, particularly toward the end. Many people believe that this CD birthed the being known as Lady Gaga.
“Blackout,” 2007, marked a dark time in Britney’s career. After a terrible accident at the Bronx Zoo in 2005, she became permanently blind due to toxic spillage. She was unable to write and compose music for the following year and a half. However, with much determination and failure, she eventually found herself creating music again. Her resulting record, “Blackout,” focused entirely on her surroundings. Each song contained the motif of what she could see: nothing (or, blackness, as the title suggests). There was, effectively, nothing other than descriptions of blackness throughout the entire CD. The album won her a Grammy nomination for “Least Inspired Music,” but the hole left by her blindness never fully healed. She began to spiral into a confused state.
Spears’ life, by the time of the release of her next CD, had become a mystery to most people. Her movements and appearances were chaotic: no one knew where she would be, or what she would do, next. In order to epitomize this, she created her penultimate album: “Circus.” This CD returned to her narrative format of writing, in which she created an unknown character–closely linked to herself–and allowed the listener to experience her life. The being was seldom seen, we learn, and lived chaotically, often in the shadows and beyond society. The album concludes with the character dying–but, her death is but a metaphor. The being ascends to a new level, becoming something humanity was not yet ready for. The album sold well amongst the Mormons and the lyrics have been taught at religious schools across the nation ever since.
In 2011, Spears’ composed her final album: “Femme Fatale.” Through this CD, we learn that the character in the previous release was, in fact, Britney Spears. After going blind, she had spiraled into depression (as we learn in track one, titled “I Spiraled Into Depression After Going Blind”). Every day, she began to lose both the metaphorical and physical image of society. Faces faded and so did social norms. Crime and liberty became one-in-the-same. As a result, she “died,” instead becoming a superhero–someone to redefine the border between good and evil–known as “Daredevil.” Her senses, after the terrible accident at the zoo, became vastly improved, and her sight-loss no longer became a crutch, but rather an advantage. By track 47, we learn that she is no longer an artist, or a girl, but a hero. She prowls the night, listening to the world and fighting for us. Track 70, sadly, tells us that she will no longer release music. Her tone settles and her voice falls to a whisper as she ends the track with her final goodbye: “Hit me baby, one more time.” The record shatters (each time) and her voice is gone. Unfortunately, the album earned a mere 2-stars average and featured “too much sexuality,” (Roger Ebert). Spears was later killed two weeks after release. According to reports, she had mistaken one of her weapons with her walking stick, effectively impaling herself through her palm, straight into her brain. The funeral was held with a closed casket.
To this day, many people still believe she is alive–hiding in the shadows, waiting to save the next life. But, no, she’s dead. So is Tupac. And Elvis.
Just kidding, all of her CDs are about sex.