10 Years Ago: …BABY ONE MORE TIME

Perusing a supermarket tabloid today I was reminded that 10 years ago this month Britney Spears’ first album was released. As I write this, I’m again listening to …BABY ONE MORE TIME (yes, from start to finish.) Reluctantly, I have to say this: much as I wanted to hate this album when it came out in 1999 (and again tonight), it’s just not that hate-able. The album is well-produced and I’m forced to admit there was a brief moment in time when Britney Spears’ vocals actually approached something akin to singing — key word “approached” since it’s all vo-coded and processed like the Velveeta cheese her music has always been.

Musically, …BABY ONE MORE TIME is completely corporate feel-good, sanitized-for-your-protection, hooky bubbly pop. It’s a weird combo of understandably top-40 hits with pure camp bullshit like “E-Mail My Heart” (what a groaner) and the final track on which Britney, inexplicably, covers Sonny & Cher’s “The Beat Goes On.”

I still think the album cover is extraordinarily vulgar pop kiddie porn, with a beaming, slightly cross-eyed Britney on her knees, too-short skirt hitched up to here and the none-too-subtle shadowy opening between her thighs inviting every pervy uncle to feel good about ogling her no-no parts. I still think Britney’s mother should have been locked up for pimping her underage daughter(s) — look at the fate of poor Jamie-Lynn! And I still question if there’s ever been any “there” to Britney Spears beyond the packaging and marketing and generic video whoring (OK, arguably she was once a quite good dancer.)

I couldn’t recommend this album to save my life since, as I mentioned, this is manufactured corporate poison. Nonetheless, I can admit that my pal Abi and I still swap dance mixes of more recent vintage Britney tracks. Clearly I am not entirely immune to the charms of Ms. Spears.

For the moment, I’ll just tip my hat to the batshit crazy, ratty weave, half-dressed maniac who gave up her kids for another ride on the short bus to fame.

You are too much for me, Britney; I wish I knew how to quit you.

Originally published at http://jdftunes.blogspot.com.

“Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead.” — Tony Kushner