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September 03, 2007

Am I A Hundred Years Old?

Songs from the upcoming Britney Spears album have, predictably, leaked onto the interweb (1, 2), and folks are agog at how bad they are. So I hooked up my gramophone and took a listen. And while I agree that they're very bad, they sound very bad in a way that's indistinguishable from any song Fergie has ever recorded. Also, they're too loud, and my prostate hurts.

September 3, 2007 | Permalink


I must be old, too, because I also think that Fergie and this new Britney are completely indistinguishable. Wow, what horrible schlock.

I suppose the difference is in the music videos? /snark

Posted by: anon | Sep 3, 2007 7:53:45 PM

I must be a thousand years old.

Who the hell is Fergie?

Posted by: gregor | Sep 3, 2007 8:00:43 PM

Thanks, Ezra. Now I have to get my computer de-skanked.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Sep 3, 2007 8:15:40 PM

(a) This new-fangled device call 'the Internet' is very useful for seeking out such factoids...

...but taking pity on the extremely, extremely elderly folks, (b) Fergie is the front singer for the musical group 'Black-Eyed Peas', as well as a solo artist. The band does lots of high-flash, low-substance R&B.

If it helps, you can think of Fergie as the Deborah Harry of the new millennium. Though arguably not nearly as cutting-edge, original, or talented.

Posted by: anon | Sep 3, 2007 8:22:18 PM

Not to be confused with Furby, and interactive robot popular during the 1998-99 holiday season.

Posted by: Sam L. | Sep 3, 2007 8:38:16 PM

OK I know Black Eyed Peas. So I am only five hundred years old.

Posted by: gregor | Sep 3, 2007 8:40:31 PM

Not having ever been a fan of her music, I'm not in a position to judge whether these songs are any worse than what she's done before.

I am quite certain, however, that if her personal life wasn't in such a prolonged and public free-fall to the bottom, the reception to these songs would be quite different.

If Federline gets custody of the kids, then Popozao just might become a #1 hit.

Posted by: Stephen | Sep 3, 2007 8:50:29 PM

Holy shit, Britney is bad. News Flash! I would contend, as I think several others have above that this music from Brits isn't significantly different from anything else she's ever put out. It's just the context has changed.

I think most people really miss the whole arbitrary nature of the major labels and the music business. There seems to be this feeling that there really are some of kind of cyclical changes in quality. I hate to say it but I think truth is much less exciting. The truth is, at any given there is always some great stuff out there and a lot of crap. What floats to the top is as much a matter of luck and circumstance as hard work or talent. Toss in a big dose of marketing muscle and you have a business that strives with every fiber of its being to only repeat the last success it had. Innovation, of all things, is strenuously avoided.

So yeah, more of the same from Brits except this time, we all know what her genitals look like.

Lucky us.

Posted by: ice weasel | Sep 3, 2007 9:37:40 PM

If it helps, you can think of Fergie as the Deborah Harry of the new millennium. Though arguably not nearly as cutting-edge, original, or talented.

Wha? I thought that was Gwen Stefani?

But the real question is - are Britney's new songs as bad as Britney's old ones? I mean, that's a high standard to live down to.

Posted by: NonyNony | Sep 3, 2007 11:08:25 PM

Yes, Gwen Stefani is the Deborah Harry of the new millennium, though not as cutting-edge, original, or talented.

Fergie is more like the Vanity of the new millennium.

Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Sep 3, 2007 11:20:35 PM

Ezra, so it's happening to you already! I've been in "hey you kids, get offa my lawn" mode for at least 15 years now already -- maybe longer. It's fun! I get to put my natural grouchiness to use in a way that at least is culturally recognizable.

And since our country is going to hell in a handbasket in about a million different ways, if you're a cranky old lady (or man) these days, at least you have no lack of legitimate things to shake your fist at. Everything from popular movies to fashion to politics really were much better 30, 40, 50 years ago, dammit! I know it's reactionary to say such things, but it's largely true, sad to say.

I hope I live long enough where we get to the point where it's not true any longer. Though I shudder with horror to think that anyone might look back on this era and see it as a golden age of anything (because that will mean things will have gotten far worse than even I could possibly imagine).

Posted by: Kathy G. | Sep 3, 2007 11:55:46 PM

Wow. I had no idea music could be so loud it could make a gentleman's prostate hurt! Oh the things I learn on the internet!

Posted by: ShortWoman | Sep 4, 2007 12:17:15 AM

Wow, the old people smell in this thread is pretty strong.

Also, Fergie's album, or at least the singles off the album are ridonkulous and Britney Spears "Toxic" is one of the best songs of our young millenium.

Posted by: DRR | Sep 4, 2007 2:11:55 AM

I heard a clip of Hulk Hogan's daughter on TV the other day and I thought she sounded indistinguishable from Britney or any of the other ladies out there.

None of them can actually sing so there is lots of studio magic applied to make their voices sound passable has also made them indistinguishable from one another.

Posted by: Steve Balboni | Sep 4, 2007 3:24:03 AM

Wow, I must be a brazillian years old because I blame Madonna for standardizing that warbly psychotic marine-mammal register adopted by singers who just plain suck and take up permanent residence in Sucktown instead of evolving rudimentary skills.

Yeah, they start out as tween hotties more suitable for the vid medium than the mic but jeez do even the more talented ones have to slide downwards and default to THAT HORRIBLE SOUND.

They're like dolphins might sound getting their open brains probed with steel instruments. (Disclaimer: I'm a member in good standing of critter rights and my point is that I find the sound not only aesthetically objectionable but kind of horrific.)

Aging boys default to a different affected suckage but I'm too bleary from my post-long weekend cooldown to get into it.

Even singers who are genuinely, even awesomely, blessed with serious pipes -- eg Christina Aguilera who diminishes herself with crappy adolescent song selection in a deal with the marketing devil for packaging convenience -- default to that eardrum-puncturing style that every second tweener hottie with more looks than talent use.

Click my nic for one of the few times I've heard Aguilera singing like a grown-up in this genuinely touching tribute to James Brown. CA's even wearing a little silver vest lie the Godfather himself wore.

At first I was disappointed the show's producers gave it to her when Mary J was in the house, but damn if Aguilera didn't bring it. (MJ and JB should both be in the righthand side of vid selections if you want to compare.)

Posted by: Ellie | Sep 4, 2007 5:22:17 AM

Do not worry, Im 26 and I also feel like an angry old geezer when listening to pop. This must be made for 12.

Posted by: Tomas | Sep 4, 2007 5:29:27 AM

NonyNony-- you know how Britney 1.0 sucked, but her songs had irresistable, catchy hooks that guaranteed they would earworm their way into your head? Like 'dah DAH DAH DAH' from "Hit Me Baby One More Time"? Britney 2.0 sucks, but there are no earworms. I listened to one of those yesterday singles and for the life of me couldn't tell you a single thing about it beyond 'it sucked' and "Britney used the word 'bitch.'"

I'm sort of grateful, actually.

Posted by: Persia | Sep 4, 2007 9:30:16 AM

Fergie is the front singer for the musical group 'Black-Eyed Peas', as well as a solo artist

Is it true she's also the former Duchess of York, or is my friend who told me that just putting me on?

Posted by: rea | Sep 4, 2007 9:30:54 AM

When I was a kid, people who listened to music like Fergies (the spice girls and back street boys) were ridiculed endlessly and forced to sit at the lame short table at the front of the lunch room.

Posted by: soullite | Sep 4, 2007 9:32:57 AM

rea: That's a different Fergie.

Posted by: the Other Paul | Sep 4, 2007 9:41:43 AM

God, that sucks dead donkeys. I'm 46 and loved Toxic, and I think Richard Thompson was dead on to include "Oops, I Did It Again" as one of his songs of the millennium, but these new songs are awful. Britney-the-singer-and-dancer was completely interchangeable with any other ambitious, fit, mildly talented young woman, but she once had the best dance-pop songwriters and producers. What happened?

Posted by: Mary | Sep 4, 2007 10:46:06 AM

When I was a kid, people who listened to music like Fergies (the spice girls and back street boys) were ridiculed endlessly and forced to sit at the lame short table at the front of the lunch room.

You say this like this is something good.

Posted by: DRR | Sep 4, 2007 12:32:02 PM

The songs suck, which was too be expected. How are we to even know its really Ms. Spears singing? They are so computer enhanced it could be me screeching away, though I doubt it as I don't recall being in any recording studios of late.

Posted by: Jake | Sep 4, 2007 12:44:05 PM

Look, they're not terrible, but Britney's success has never been simply about music; it's the whole package of steamy video, slightly naughty public persona and heavy breathing songs. The #2 song certainly fits the latter criteria, but I am curious how she can mesh up the video performance and the public persona meant to seal the deal. The general public is going to have a hard time matching the smutty songstress to the new mother of two kids with personal problems that's been on display for more than a year. And that's why the music biz whispers seem so key: she could fix this, but to do it she needs to listen to people who know what they're doing (like reconnecting her and Justin for a duet, or recording with a key producer like Timbaland who can get her into the top 10). There's a reason stars need handlers, and it's because there's a package to present to really be a pop star (cf, Madonna, who's just come off an album that sounds essentially just like these singles... which, by the way are about everyone - including Hilary Duff - copying Kylie Minogue). I don't hate the woman, or her music, and she's given competent smutty bubblegum before and she could again. But if she insists on flailing around without help, she'll fail. And probably in front of the camera. Which is just sad, really.

Posted by: weboy | Sep 4, 2007 12:56:14 PM

"I don't hate the woman, or her music, and she's given competent smutty bubblegum before and she could again."

I'm not sure Britney has a second act in her. She'll always be a celebrity, but I doubt her ability to artistically chameleon in the way she'd need to.

She's a textbook case of Premature Michael Jackson Syndrome.

Posted by: Petey | Sep 4, 2007 4:37:33 PM

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