The Undefeatable Britney Jean Spears
A 17-year old girl who’s an ex-Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer is dressed up in a 13-year old’s schoolgirl uniform and cast in an instantaneously iconic music video. This same teen then releases three albums that would go on to sell 70 million copies, go on three world tours and have acting roles in three globally-released films by the time she was 21. If I then told you by the time this teen was 25 that this one-time child superstar of superstars would be shaving her head, living as a divorced single parent and “going crazy,” it could almost be expected. However, as she nears 35, and after nearly two decades of recording music, Britney Spears has evolved past being a girl, is now completely comfortable as a woman, and is impressively on her way to being a superstar yet again.
For as much as we at Decades love to talk about how cool the ‘90s are, it’s this 2000s era pop priestess who likely deserves as much love as we give the ‘90s. To showcase just how cool Britney is, there’s a very real arc between Britney Spears and Elvis Presley that isn’t just tied to performing in Vegas. This linkage showcases just how massive of a star she is. Similar to Spears, Elvis did the following:
- released three iconic albums and had roles in three films before his 21st birthday
- had four consecutive #1 albums
- after eight consecutive years of releases had a stress and pressure-induced recording hiatus
- has an undeniable mystique attached to his career that is tied to a generation of kids and teenagers loving his visuals as much as they loved his music
2016 finds Britney Spears releasing her ninth studio album Glory while also in the midst of her third year of her Las Vegas performance residency at Caesar’s Palace. What’s interesting is that for an artist that so many have believed to be in “decline,” let the record show that Spears has released four albums since 2007, done two limited tours, released perfumes via Elizabeth Arden, been active as a charity contributor and also is raising two children aged 10 and 12, respectively. Though her last Billboard #1 single was 2011’s “Hold It Against Me” and she’s removed from an era of having four consecutive number one albums, the idea that Spears ever “fell off” could be argued to be completely wrong. If anything, Britney’s the 21st century’s ultimate pop music survivor.
Since Britney’s Vegas performances haven’t been publicly aired, her magnificent Elvis ‘68 Comeback Special-similar performance was recently alongside G-Eazy at MTV’s 2016 Video Music Awards. These are the same VMAs where in 2007, her performance of “Gimme More” signaled to the world that her life was in possibly falling apart in front of our eyes. Regarding her performance of “Make Me,” Billboard noted that it was a “subdued victory for Spears” that “checks off another box on her way to a revived career — not just as a pop superstar who once was, but as a pop superstar who still is.”
In 2011, Entertainment Weekly summed up Britney Spears’ career as “an American institution, as deeply sacred and messed up as pro wrestling or the filibuster.” As well, when artists like Nicki Minaj say that Spears’ success drives them because “once you keep at whatever it is you’re doing, people may not like you, people may not love you, but they will have to respect you at the end of the day. And that respect is all that matters,” the need to see Britney Spears excel is not just an expectation, but a necessity.
At Decades, we’re proud of Britney’s ability to endure and excel. We’ll be playing tons of her music in celebration.