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Criticism | ‘Britney’ marks Britney Spears’ incredible aesthetic maturation

When Britney Spears made her monstrous debut in the music business with the release of “… Baby One More Time”, she established herself as the epitome of teenage music and quickly became a worshiped idol the world over. . Her success rose to astronomical levels soon after, with “Oops!… I Did It Again,” whose songs were already moving away from simple romantic liaisons and already demonstrating an appreciation for empowerment and independence.

Eventually, Spears would face one of the most critical moments of his new career: coming of age. After all, she couldn’t remain a teenage symbol forever, which would lead her to seek out different forays for future art endeavors. What no one imagined was that the singer-songwriter would do it very quickly, initiating a frenetic growth process that would come to life in the underrated “Britney”. The eponymous album, in the making with several frequent collaborators of the Princess of Pop (such as Max Martin and Rami Yacoub), debuted in 2001 and, despite mixed reviews at the time of disclosure, has aged the better. possible and is now recognized for opening a new chapter for the performer.

The artist has immortalized his image confined to explosive, dancing pop gum, marked by bubblegum worms and memorable hooks that have dominated and continue to dominate radio stations and playlists across the planet. To migrate between genders and bet on radical change, Britney would have to sit down and rethink how she would now like to be understood by her fans – and find herself in a sensual body-positive soliloquy that demonstrated the transition from adolescence to life. adulthood. And that’s when, twenty years and two months ago, I shocked everyone with the first single “I’m a Slave 4 U”. Filled with subliminal messages, the song begins with the lines “I know I can be young, but I have feelings too,” including its place in a separate industry and constantly rocked by structural machismo – after all, not only men had the right to talk about sexual freedom.

Impacted by the rise of R&B and hip-hop, which returned to the mainstream scene in the 1990s by groups like En Vogue, TLC and Destiny’s Child, Spears realized that she had all the elements in hand to deconstruct what people thought of her: beyond the aforementioned track, we have the dense exuberance of “Overprotected”, written and produced by Martin and Rami, in which she returns to address the issue of fame and how she got there managed to break free from the restrictive shackles of those around her, stating that “I need time, love and fun… I need myself.” Although there are no similarities with “Stronger”, there is a dialogism with the track of “Oops!… I Did It Again” through a theme which also appears in “Lonely” (“why are you kidding my head?”).

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Ballads are making a comeback and, as is to be expected, wear out and abuse pop and piano progressions. “I am not a girl, not yet a woman”, one of the singer’s signatures, brilliantly explains the purpose of the album in question and premeditates what one could expect from her bright future: “I do not am not a girl, not even a woman ”, translation borrowed from the title, is the maxim which sums up the anxieties of someone who has become aware of his body and his mentality and who now knows how to choose a path and go from there. before ; “Let Me Be” ode to Janet Jackson, one of the main inspirations of the record, with a more contemporary scope guided by the fusion of dance and R&B and by subtle synthesizers which reinforce the charm on which the singer draws; “That’s Where You Take Me” is an ambitious and different iteration, but the result is not as pleasant as the others, which is why it gets lost at the end of the trip.

It’s remarkable how, while paying homage to so many who came before her, Spears builds a very clear journey that began in 1999 and has grown increasingly intriguing and engaging. As she struggles to control her voice, signing some of the songs on the album, she surrenders to the nostalgic escape of “Before The Goodbye”, surrendering to dance and glitch pop and creating a parallel. recognizable with the chorus of “Your Disco Needs You”. By Kylie Minogue, released months earlier; “Bombastic Love” takes it one step further and travels to the UK, following in Billie Piper ‘s footsteps with “Something Deep Inside”, fomenting deep, sobering pop. And, more obviously, the re-recording of the classic “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”, which, despite good intentions, makes mistakes similar to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, of the previous work.

“Britney” may slip into more expressive places than the Princess of Pop’s two previous albums, but it reveals incredible maturity for someone who, so young, has already topped the charts and the hearts of so many. It is not possible to comment on a “turning point”, as it would occur two years later; we must rather understand that the celebration of sensuality came as a weapon of empowerment for an artist who would no longer be quiet and resolute.

Rating per track (Digital Deluxe Version):

1. I am a slave 4 U – 5/5
2. Overprotected – 5/5
3. Solitaire – 5/5
4. I’m not a girl, not a woman yet – 5/5
5. Boys – 4/5
6. Anticipate – 4/5
7. I love rock’n’roll – 3/5
8. Cinderella – 4.5 / 5
9. Let me be – 3.5 / 5
10. Explosive love – 5/5
11. This is where you take me – 2/5
12. When I found you – 3.5 / 5
13. I run away – 4/5
14. What is it like to be me – 4/5
15. Before the farewell – 4/5

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