“I want to do things that people have never seen before. I don’t want to be considered a role model.”
In order to promote her upcoming performance special on HBO, Britney Spears took time out of her virginal schedule last week to speak to a group of television critics. While the above quote was in relation to the stage show (to take place at the MGM Grand in Vegas), it might be a metaphor for where Britney’s going, and how she’ll look and sound getting there.
With a new album due November 6, and her acting debut already in the can and set for release, it’s clear that the next year is crucial for Britney. In a few short years, Spears has morphed from teeny-bopper to sex machine, while still, amazingly, retaining her PG image with parents of small children. But with recent reports of late-night boozing and some very adult activity with (or without) her beau Justin, Britney’s grip on the Zoog-TV crowd is tenuous at best. Details are sketchy about the sound and vibe of her as-yet-untitled new record. If her stable of producers latch onto the latest trend, the new music will likely come out of the blocks employing elements of 2-Step Garage, the same hyperactive proto-R &B style that N*SYNC fleeced from the UK clubs. But it doesn’t really matter. From day one, Spears’ people have carpet-bombed culture with Their Girl. Sure, she sings a little bit here and there, but it’s not like anyone dug on “Oops…I Did It Again” for the heavy lyrics. On November 6, nothing will change. Except maybe Britney’s status as a role model.
”When I’m on television, that’s not really reality. It’s a fantasy world that I’m doing. I don’t go to the store in a red cat suit, and I think it’s up to the parents to explain that to their children.”
According to reports, Britney conducted her interview wearing what was more or less a suggestion of purple cheesecloth. She’s also reportedly hooked up with Cher, that aging mistress of fishnets and lingerie who is slated to duet with Ms Spears during the HBO event. Cher’s also been nice enough to lend her protégé the services of Bob Mackie, the designer responsible for her boatload of flashy trash. With the two of them onstage, yodeling a re-version of “It Takes Two” as their respective record companies light up cigars made of C-notes, parents will have to explain a lot to their children. Like just who the hell Cher is. And all we’ll need are the gypsies to crash the party.
It’s obvious Britney is ready to move on from her, ahem, role model status. As well she should: enormous Summer tours mounted by both N*SYNC and the Backstreet Boys have suffered, and new material by Jessica Simpson hasn’t exactly caused a revolution in the pages of Teen People. And when not one but TWO siblings of Nick Carter, not to mention Joey Fatone’s father, are touring on the strength of their respective Boys’ fading stars, it’s time to re-tool your image. Why Britney decided on Cher to help her do that is puzzling, especially when Madonna lobbied for the job. But there’s no question that the latest resurgence of Popstar is dead, and Britney, her retinue, and Jive Records are not going to be caught on that sinking ship. So 2002 is a big year. Our Girl is already too sexy for her shirt. What’s left in her bag of tricks?
Somebody get Hef on the horn…