Welcome to the segment where Lindsay tells the world humiliating information about herself. Generally relating to her likes and dislikes, and sometimes other things.
I have a confession to make; I love Britney Spears.
Even when she’s shaving her head bald, accosting paparazzi, marrying wildly inappropriate would be rappers, being a crappy mom, or not wearing any underwear.
I will admit that there was a time when it became very hard to defend her, so I stopped. I joined in the jokes about how she’d turned into a trainwreck and was crazy and all the other judgements people liked to sling in her direction, but secretly I was on her side. And then recently I was reading the view point on someone who was complaining about Lady Gaga and how “weird” she was. They actually said that people should like Britney Spears instead of Gaga because Britney’s been consistently normal. I almost choked on my own spit and couldn’t help marveling over how short a memory the public has. But when it comes to this particular superstar I don’t mind that people have moved away from their opinions that she needs to be committed, because I actually am a fan.
My Britney history is speckled at first and then firmly planted. Britney’s …Baby One More Time came out when I was a junior in high school. I was determined to hate her. She was just a blonde bimbo who sang a song that everyone liked, and that age I was determined to hate what everyone else liked. I refused to listen to the full song, probably because I subconciously knew myself to be a pop music loving fiend. But then, like the Spice Girl’s before her, the inevitable happened. I heard the song once, then twice, and by the third full listening I was singing along. The next thing I knew I had “…Baby One More Time” on repeat in my car and bought the CD. It was 1999. The following year Oops!… I Did It Again was released. I was on my Senior Project and could leave for lunch whenever I wanted. I took an early one, drove to Beachwood Place Mall, forwent food, and bought two copies of the disc; one for me and one for my sister.
It wasn’t as if I was an outward Britney maniac. I never wore tee shirts with her face emblazoned on them or joined a fan club. And after one failed attempted, she broke her ankle and cancelled, I’ve still never been to a concert. I didn’t even talk about her all that much. It was just me listening to her music and dancing to it. And that was really no different than anyone else. She dominated MTV’s Total Request Live, which I watched everyday for some reason that at this juncture in my life I can not fathom. It was high school; there was no shame in liking Britney Spears. Still, I had a reputation of arty nonchalance to uphold so I didn’t talk about her much. That didn’t mean that when one of my friends gave me a jokey keychain I didn’t put it on my backpack.
And then there was college. My first year I went to the Ohio State University’s satellite campus in Mansfield, Ohio. I had only spoken to one of my four roommates prior. I was shy and not really looking forward to ingraining my life with a bunch of people I didn’t know. Then the first day I arrived, after I’d unloaded all my stuff and started fixing it up. Before my mom even left, my roommate KS came into my room, looked through my CDs and nearly blew through the roof as she asked me if I liked Britney Spears. I had two of her CDs in my collection; it wasn’t as if I could deny it, and at this point in my life I wasn’t really even embarrassed about it so I just said yes. If I said that was the catalyst that made us form a life long friendship I would be lying, we weren’t even particularly close for awhile, but somehow the fact that we both liked Britney and weren’t afraid to share that information became some sort of bond between us.
Every two years Britney would release a new album and I’d be anticipating it relentlessly from when I realized it had been about a year and a half since the last album. Britney was released my second year of college and then In the Zone two years later.
And then something happened. I was in Chicago visiting my sister when she read online that Britney had gone into a hair salon, asked for a full shave, and then did it herself when she was denied. It was on the heels of some increasing erratic behavior, hanging out with Paris Hilton (the ultimate crime), drinking, drugs, marrying and then divorcing Kevin Federline, a couple of upskirt photos where she’d be caught going commando. All this stuff I wrote off. Who cares, of course she is, poor judgment, and what about the skeases who are sticking their cameras in her crotch? But when she shaved her head and attacked a paparazzi car with an umbrella I had to wonder… had she really lost it? Was all my defending for naught? I had always sort of understood. She made choices that didn’t make sense to me, but what did make sense to me was that she was trying to make sense of her life. Britney was born December 2nd of 1981, that makes me a little bit over a month older than her. She’s my age. If I had been exposed to the scrutiny, the betrayal, the smothering, the money, and freedoms that she had been I’m not sure I wouldn’t have gone a little crazy myself.
I didn’t make a conscious decision to go underground with my Britney love, but it happened. Even still, when she released her “comeback” album, Blackout, which she couldn’t tour for, performed disastrously at an MTV event, and released a video that looked homemade of her on a stripper pole, I found myself (internetless at the time) with my laptop after close at Panera trying to steal their free WIFI in my car to download an advance copy. And despite all the personal problems she incurred in and around that particular album, I still quite liked it.
And then finally, even though she was still a tabloid favorite, she faded a little bit because her antics weren’t as crazy. She settled down, started making reasonable decisions, and then in December of 2008 she released Circus. The lead single “Womanizer” was a certified hit, her first number one since 1999, the second single, “Circus” reached number three, and the third “If You Seek Amy” reached the top twenty. The album sold four million copies worldwide, up from the three million Blackout received. And she promoted the album with a successful arena tour. Britney was back. And of course her fans started coming out of the woodwork.
Her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale, comes out this month, March 29th. I may or may not already have a copy.