Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spearing Pop With The Classic Mistakes: ". . .Baby One More Time" (single) By Britney Spears.

The Good: Lyrics, Voice
The Bad: Sound, Non-Britney track, Mis-sung, Hype.
The Basics: A perfectly cool set of lyrics and perfectly good voice are battered down into garbage; typical pop songs that fail to endure.

Well back in the day, in the autumn before ". . . Baby One More Time" was overplayed and Britney Spears was a household name, I had heard ". . . Baby One More Time" twice, I was wandering through Media Play and I saw the c.d. single on sale. Being December, I had a few extra dollars and being on sale, I thought I'd support this new artist. Why? I had heard the song twice and I had figured that there was no way Britney Spears' song would chart and be successful. At most, I anticipated a single hit. I was wrong. But my reasoning was not flawed. My ability to predict the success of the single was hampered by my hope in the taste of the American people. I shouldn't have bet against the tasteless masses.

The single for ". . . Baby One More Time" illustrates the best and worst of Britney Spears. It also illustrates graphically my supreme disappointment in the woman who has become a pop princess. First, the packaging. The c.d. single was made before Spears sold out to the Hollywood ideal of beauty. So she does not appear on the cover, or trading card inside, as a blonde. She appears as a natural brunette with some red highlights. Frankly, she looks better than when she sold out. There is something to be said about the natural look as opposed to the homogenous look that the masses appreciate.

As far as the music goes, there are two tracks by Spears, the single for ". . . Baby One More Time" and "Autumn Goodbye." There's not a fully decent track on the album. There's a third track advertising Imagine. Her thanking the listener for buying her single while advertising for a labelmate is shameless and pretty pathetic.

Ah yes, I was getting to the music. "Autumn Goodbye" illustrates that Britney Spears has the ability to sing. In fact, it shows she has a voice. Though the song often is overrun by back-up vocals and synthesizers, it's evident that she actually has a good voice. Too bad the lyrics to the song are repetitive and droll. It's the standard "Had a fling, lost a love, wouldn't it be nice if we had it back" track. In other words, it's pop drivel.

Conversely, there's not much not to like about the title track, ". . . Baby One More Time." The lyrics are actually good, they express a genuine understanding. The lyrics are pretty good. I don't fault songs for being overplayed. The problem with ". . . Baby One More Time" is that it doesn't use Spears' actually good singing voice. Instead, she uses a whinier, more marketable voice.

The real fault of the track is the sound. The lyrics are good, but they are not lyrics for a dance song. The song properly ought to have been a ballad, devoid of the dance beat and heavy bass. It could have been soulful and great, but instead, it was a pop/dance number. It kills the song. If Spears wants to last, she ought to use her natural singing voice to its full extent, worry less about dance showmanship and focus on combining good lyrics with an appropriate sound. It couldn't hurt for her to learn a musical instrument, either.

Until then, I'm glad to donate the c.d. single to charity and I hope someday I hear an acoustic, ballad version of the song. I can't say I'm sorry I've never heard from the group Imagine again.

For other works by female artists or performers, please check out my reviews of:
Live! Bad Kitty Board Mix - Sophie B. Hawkins
All The Best - Tina Turner
@#%&*! Smilers - Aimee Mann


For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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