Yup, it’s Britney’s birthday, bitches.
And since few artists have made as big or long-lasting a splash in the pop music pool as Ms. Spears in the last decade – seriously, try to name even three – it’s time to put the crazy jokes to official rest and show the woman some birthday love.
The crush we had on Brit when she first appeared on our tv sets back in ’99 (RIP, TRL) is a teenybopper ballad compared to the dance-floor pounding love we feel for her now. Her career has veered far away from the sports bras and track pants fashion of her early days. And we all remember those antics that hoisted her into daily tabloids and turned her into pop culture trash. But the woman has made a run of it, releasing three records in the last four years to the highest critical acclaim of her career, showing that she could successfully outgrow the teen dream act that most people long considered trivial.
I’ll admit that when I started writing this post, my appreciation for Britney was lukewarm at best. I have nothing bad to say about her, but it’s been a while since I’ve followed her career. I can’t name her most recent single or relay the plot of her last few videos. But one recent night, I found myself in a YouTube vortex of Britney videos. I knew the sexy jungle snake and diamond-nude suit were shocking back when I was fifteen. But I wasn’t expecting to watch them 10 years later and still be wowed by the bold, uber-athletic, and visual-gasmic elements of her performances.
If you think of another performer who’s matched her level of electric dare-devilry, the list is seriously short. Only Beyonce can compare, but in an apples to oranges sort of way. In terms of full-scale, full-sensory stage acts, Britney stands alone. How many teens from today’s pop charts will still be a force ten years from now? The prospects are dim.
She may not steal the spotlight in the same way she used to, but given that she’s now a 30-year old mother of two young boys, I’ll forgive her for that. The life she’s led in recent years is another reason I’m dedicating major fist pumps to this woman. Despite signs that she would wind up in the tragic class of former teen stars, she beat her own major battles and continues to do what she does best. Not unscathed, but stronger than yesterday (aww, I couldn’t resist!).
Tabloids still like to spin their strange stories, but now they’re much more tame. After two crazy marriages, several stints in rehab, and yes, the shaved-head incident, what else would possibly shock us? She’s done just about everything, and she’s not stopping yet. Maybe that’s what shocks us the most.
Britney, happy birthday. Keep being your crazy, small-town, country-bumpkin self. As long as you bring us dance hits until the world ends, I won’t hold it against you.