Category Archives: Better Artists Than Gaga

I’m Alive!

I’ve been distracted by the release of the best pop album of the decade (well, since 2010 began, anyway), Femme Fatale.

Trouble for Me, I Wanna Go, and Trip to Your Heart will change your lives!

Buy the album when it comes out on March 29th — or, better yet, the Premium Fan Edition!

More updates soon.

PS — Psst…I dragged Slant Magazine’s flop review of Femme Fatale, which asked what Britney’s appeal was:

Well, let’s try to answer your question: what is Britney’s appeal?

Obviously, much of her appeal depends upon the legacy she built during her first five years, which, in case you were in a coma for, were some of the most explosive that pop culture ever had the pleasure of experiencing. She was as ubiquitous and bombastic as Lady Gaga is today — without all of the haughty pretension that the latter is currently infecting the pop scene with. From the Catholic schoolgirl outfit (Britney’s idea) to the iconic VMA performances from ’00 (the glittery faux-nude outfit), ’01 (the snake) and ’03 (the Madonna kiss), to her world-class dancing, Britney always delivered a hypnotic, intoxicating set of imagery to go along with her world-class pop. She and her collaborators have delivered so many gems to us — …Baby One More Time, Oops!…I Did It Again, I’m a Slave 4 U, Toxic, Womanizer, and so on. Many of her hits were indeed co-written by her (including Me Against the Music and Everytime), but I don’t see why that matters. (By the way: who chose Toxic as a single? Who came up with the video idea? Britney. You don’t know that, of course, because Britney doesn’t care about getting all the credit, unlike some arrogant pop stars that I can think of.)

But quite frankly, much of her musical appeal is her distinct, unique voice. People confuse having a powerhouse voice with the ability to sing well. Britney Spears’ voice is, quite honestly, fantastic. It’s wonderful for pop. It’s got a thin, sexy, girlish quality that is also found in the likes of Kylie Minogue, another pop queen who confounds the critics. Those types of voices are perfect for sexy, minor-key-dominant pop. Ask yourself if Christina Aguilera could have ever pulled off a song like Kylie’s “Chocolate” or Britney’s “Breathe On Me.” Or even some of the new songs, like “(Drop Dead) Beautiful,” “Trip to Your Heart,” and “Trouble for Me.” Only a singer with Britney’s voice could have pulled those off. She is the essential ingredient in her music. Her songs wouldn’t work in the hands of Katy Perry or Rihanna. Hers is one of the only voices in the industry that is not interchangeable with someone else. It’s absolutely anything but generic.

And as for songwriting? Rihanna’s “Loud” has no credits to her but her voice. Mariah Carey doesn’t write her own songs. Beyonce steals songwriting credits, for God’s sake. But no one constantly criticizes them for their “lack of involvement” on their records — even though, as I’ve mentioned, Britney indeed has written or helped write a few of her big hits!

Is the reason that you people don’t ‘get’ this that Britney doesn’t care about promoting herself as the second coming, like Lady Gaga does? Thank God for it — the woman is as down-to-earth as it comes. She’d never go out there like Lady Gaga, talking about “giving birth to a new race” because of her cultural appeal. She is delightfully appealing as a person because she tries so hard to maintain some sense of normalcy. And my God, she was nearly destroyed by the media culture that created her — but she, unlike Elvis, unlike Whitney Houston, unlike Michael Jackson — came back and overcame her problems. She could have ended up destroyed like those other icons. She didn’t. She came back to hit #1 again and again and again. She’s had three #1s since her big comeback. It’s absolutely amazing, and not enough credit is given to her for how much she’s had to deal with and what she’s overcome. Maybe she made herself a target for stupid media critics, but she’s remained a real person throughout everything. She’s just the whole freakin’ pop package and I don’t understand why this is so difficult to understand.

Dragged that ho!

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Look What I Found!

Justin Bieber: “People Say It’s Artistic…I’m Like…You’re An Egg”

Bow to Godstin Biebsus, my favorite male pop artist right now. When asked about Lady Gaga’s egg outfit, he remarked: “People say it’s artistic and stuff. I’m just like…you’re an egg.”

For this alone, he is forgiven for his imprudent comments to Rolling Stone about abortion and health care (issues that the journalist in question had no business asking him in the first place):

He also remarked that he told Gaga to back it up a second when she attempted to hug him while wearing her infamous meat dress.

Coupled with his shout-out to Britney Spears (“his girl”!) on his Twitter, yesterday was a wonderful day for Biebsus Christ!

Thanks to commenter Ducky for reminding me to post this!

Check Out Britney’s Grammy Outfit!

LOLLLLLLLLLLLL

 

10 Songs You’ve Almost Certainly Never Heard — But Should. Now.

Most visitors to this site are pop fans, I presume. I’d like to introduce you to some other (mostly) female-fronted music — most of it with pop sensibilities — that’s a bit obscure. Much of it is metal — and some of it is quite heavy — but I would ask that you give it a chance.
If you’re willing to try ’em out, I would point pop listeners to tracks 2, 3, 5, and 6. Welcome to female-fronted metal!
Oh, and 11, too. The most indispensable pop song that nobody’s heard! Dammit. Go listen to that now!

1. “Falling Down” by The Birthday Massacrehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koQwGlVbde0 — Let’s start out with something relatively mainstream. The Birthday Massacre blend synthpop, gothic rock, and a mainstream, Hot Topic-style sensibility into their music. This song is absolutely captivating. A mid-to-uptempo track that evokes a sentiment roughly akin to “How could I have been so foolish?” (Gothic rock, female-fronted.)

2. “In for a Kill” by Tarja Turunenhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x9T7Y9_FtA — 4:47 to 6:20 only (I also recommend the first 90 seconds of the video, representing the song “Anteroom of Death”). Tarja, the former lead singer of Nightwish, has crafted her second solo album, and this song is the standout. It’s got an incredible pop sensibility while still maintaining a sense of dread. Her accent is very thick, but if you can get past it — or even embrace it — then I have no idea why anyone would dislike this song. (Symphonic metal, solo female)

 

3. “Days of Crying” by Dawn of Destinyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYZlHsn6BNE — Damn. What I really wanted was the song “In Between,” a six-minute epic that more perfectly captures the will to triumph than anything I’ve ever heard. However, this will have to do! This power metal steamroller is a perfect distillation of everything that I love about this sadly-unknown band. Listen to it and stand in awe! (Power metal, female-fronted)

 

4. “Cet Enfer Au Paradis” by Dark Sanctuaryhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gMR02KZXEI — Quite possibly the most gorgeous, heartbreaking song I’ve ever heard. I can’t listen to it more than once at a time, but I always turn back to it. It’s incredibly powerful, especially through headphones — and the tension just builds and builds. (Neoclassical darkwave, female-fronted.)

 

5. “Destiny” by UnSun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwcIHpCV1Qg — This song is absolutely breathtaking. A mid-tempo metal song with — oddly enough — a driving guitar solo — the mood evoked is of new horizons and beginning anew. “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way…” The chorus repeats frequently, but the melody is absolutely spellbinding. (Gothic metal, female-fronted)

 

6. “I Call Her Sickness” by Rawkfisthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJhU6xYDmB4 — 0:42 to 1:20 only. The band is so obscure that all I could find of this video on YouTube is a forty-second clip from a video montage of “lesser-known bands.” The band’s name is absurd, but the chorus of the song — which is in the video — is very tense. (Gothic metal, female-fronted)

 

7. “Aiwass Aeon” by 1349http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er_tYHanixI— This song is pure, nihilistic, destructive hatred! It slashes everything in its path. The riff is very menacing and the vocalist sounds like a demon. (Black metal, male-fronted)

 

8. “Gladiator” by Operatikahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s86TeFOmI-g — This song, to me, feels like a call to arms: the fight is on the horizon, and you must face it! Infusing speed metal with a gothic sensibility, the only downside to this song is the mediocre production. But the tension-building is masterful. (Gothic speed metal, female-fronted)

 

9. “This Is How I Disappear” by My Chemical Romancehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSgFCzGBjcg — I’ve changed about four people’s minds about My Chemical Romance after making them listen to this song. No reason why your mind can’t be changed, too. Dramatic, theatrical, very intense — and the lyrics are quite good. My most-played rock song.

 

10. “Saturate Me” by Mandy Moorehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4143g-ZXI-Y — One of the lost pop gems of the 2000s. The chorus evokes feelings of being revived and having new life breathed into you. Plus — she sang this as a 17-year-old pop star. Love her to death, but has Britney ever sang any lyric akin to “Forsaken, left here in my barren desolate: my soul is evaporating, won’t you saturate me?” Ah!

Oh, and..

11. “One Shot (7th Heaven Remix)” by The Saturdayshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7Pj1xO28eU — Listen to this song. Right. Fucking. Now. If you haven’t done so yet — and I’ve pestered people with many status updates about this most amazing of pop songs. My most-played pop song of all-time, this song is what would happen if you caught ABBA on a good day, set them up in a studio in 2010, and trained them to work with modern-day production tools. Everything a pop song should be. I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times and it’s still spellbinding, to me.

 

Also check out:

“On and On” by Agnes

“Last Shut of Your Eyes” by Visions of Atlantis

“Frozen Garden” by The Crest

“Funeral for Yesterday” by Kittie

“The Death of Love” by Cradle of Filth

“Out In the Real World” by Stream of Passion

“Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times” by Emperor

“This Is My Life” by Fefe Dobson

“Fly On the Wall” by tATu

“Don’t Cry Out” by Shiny Toy Guns

“Virtue and Vice” by Delain

Britney’s Real Competition: It’s Not Lady Gaga

EDIT: I mistyped first-day spins as first-week spins for “Bad Romance,” “Only Girl,” and “California Gurls.” I alternated between the two words a lot in this article, so this wasn’t intentional. It’s been corrected. Forgive, please! OK, thanks. Anyway, here’s the article —

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Britney Spears has spent the past week shattering records: her incredible new song “Hold It Against Me,” which smuggles industrial, dubstep, and rave beats onto American radio, annihilated Mariah Carey’s first-day spin record to debut with an astonishing 700 plays — only to go on to defeat Eminem for the first-week spin record, too, racking up an unprecedented 4,600 plays. The song is set to debut at a mind-blowing #16 on the pop charts, tying Madonna’s “Frozen” and failing only to match Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover.” But a word of caution about the “Dreamlover” record: what matters more is absolute, not relative domination: “Hold It Against Me” outdid “Dreamlover” on all of the fundamentals. “Hold It Against Me” only ranks lower because of its impressive competition (“Firework,” “Grenade,” “We R Who We R”) — in a weak field, such as the one that “3” faced, Britney might have even debuted in the Top 10.

Most incredibly, though: the track is set to follow “3” to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Britney only the third artist ever — Celine Dion and Mariah Carey are the others — to have more than one #1 debut to her name — and only the second ever — besides Mariah Carey — to have two consecutive #1 debuts. (With her second single imminent and more goodwill behind her than ever, could Britney destroy this record, too?) Wow.

There is only one other artist who could have dropped a single, grant no radio interviews, no live performances, and no buzz campaign — and have it arrive to this kind of reception. His name was Michael Jackson.

This confirms that Britney’s “competition” is now taking place primarily in the history books, not the charts. The new argument should be about where she ranks amongst pop legends: others in her lane include Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Madonna. Lady Gaga is in the rearview mirror, trying to outdo contemporaries like Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Ke$ha. (Compare Bad Romance’s first-day spins — 180 — with California Gurls’ — 200 — and Only Girl — 200.)  All of these artists have been on the scene for only a few years. That Britney is even being compared to them is merely testimony to the fact that she is sublimely relevant this far into her career in a way that Celine Dion was not fifteen years into hers. The interest in Britney has not let up and shows no signs of doing so: and right now, it’s for all the right reasons — her top-rate pop music and the imminent return of her legendary dancing skills.

Britney Spears has retained a mystique that other artists simply can’t come close to: an intangible aura that makes people want to know what her next move is — even nearly thirteen years after her debut. She doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks, she doesn’t have to embark on a media blitz, and she doesn’t have to “live her act” in public — indeed, her humility and down-to-earth sensibility is evident for all to see every time she goes out in some trashy weave or refuses to bother with make-up. She just doesn’t care about public image — and thank God for it. She lets her work speak for itself — and it does. She smiles, places her single on iTunes — “Oh, I’ll just leave this here” — and the entire pop world loses its mind. The power of Britney in that arena is like nothing since Michael Jackson. If we’re going to talk comparisons, Britney’s total domination should draw questions of whether she has cemented herself as being in the same ranks as Madonna and Michael Jackson yet, or whether it’s going to take another five years — not whether she can outdo the latest It-Girl who only hit it big two years ago.

Psst…the Demo for Britney’s New Single Has Leaked

In case you haven’t heard it, the demo of Godney’s new single “Hold It Against Me” has leaked. Bonnie McKee, one of the song’s co-writers, is the vocalist, and the producers are icons Max Martin and Dr. Luke. Some idiot fans are claiming that this sounds like a Ke$ha reject, which simply indicates that they don’t know how a demo works: it’s to demonstrate a rough sketch of how the song will sound — melody and lyrics, mostly — with a basic beat underneath of it. McKee’s voice is similar to Ke$ha’s, too, adding to the confusion.

Everyone who has heard the full version says it’s the most brilliant pop song she’s put out in ages. The real thing is expected to drop as soon as tomorrow.

PS — As beautiful as it is, the thirty-second dance version of the demo that’s floating around is bullshit and fan-made. Vocals are mixed too low; someone just threw a dance beat over it and changed the key.