Have you heard Britney Spears’ new #1 single “Hold It Against Me“? Reviews are mixed, but there’s no doubt the song is enjoying massive chart success, and strong sales for her upcoming album Femme Fatale are sure to follow. But would it make you uncomfortable to learn that Britney has not answered a single question about the song or her new album, let alone performed her single yet?
A few years back, South Park did an episode titled “Britney’s New Look,” in which Britney Spears shoots herself in the head due to the pressures of fame. She survives the suicide attempt, but blows her entire head off. From that point forward, Britney is wheeled into the recording studio to sing, and pushed onto stage to perform, headless, for her adoring fans. As usual, South Park might have been onto something more literal than even they envisioned.
One of Britney Spears’ biggest stans (“stan” equals “stalker” + “fan”), the Prophet, wrote a wonderfully honest post where said he “can no longer support the Femme Fatale era” due to concerns over Britney’s handling and mental health. Making comparisons to Michael Jackson (remember, Britney is still legally under a receivership, meaning she has the legal rights of a minor child), the Prophet writes, “I will always love and support Britney as a person, and I’ll always love her music (which is second to none), but I don’t agree with how I think she is being handled this era, and I believe that supporting this era financially is telling ‘Team Britney’ that I endorse what they are doing, when I don’t.” Similarly, Jeff Benjamin tweeted, “This whole entire era is so sketchily done & weird how Britney is seemingly the only one NOT involved in her album. I don’t get it.” Something is really amiss. The “Hold It Against Me” video was so heavily edited that even my untrained eye picked up on the fact that “Britney” in many parts of the video wasn’t even Britney at all.
When Britney finally emerged to make her first public statement about her #1 single(!), her voice had dropped an entire octave and she seemed physically ill. Watch this promo video for Good Morning America and ask yourself, does this sound normal? More importantly, if you like her song, does it matter? Do fans have an obligation to stop buying music they like because they’s concerned about the artist’s treatment and/or wellbeing? Depending on how Britney’s scheduled performance on March 29th turns out, we as a society might need to do some serious soul-searching.