Tag Archives: Britney Spears

Music and Messages

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The other day on my way to work I found myself listening—and I mean really listening—to the lyrics of Katy Perry’s newest hit single, “E.T”.

EMILY SAIDEL: Katy Perry’s hit song “E.T.” (featuring Kanye West) has been in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks. While there is a lot to be said about the lyrics–sexually fetishing “the other”, a female voice asking to be a victim–I am far more fascinated by the music video, particularly when contrasted with Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends.” Both pop stars are dealing in apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic visual images, potentially weighty images for dance songs in difficult economic times. However, each deftly avoids delving into the consequences of the destruction of civilization by concentrating on sexuality. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Britney Spears’ New Album

AKIE BERMISS: Last week, AOL put Britney Spears’ entire new album, Femme Fatale (which came out yesterday), on their site for free streaming. The entire record, from start to finish. Every track. It was… illuminating. Now if you’re like me, you probably spend most days of the year forgetting that Britney Spears even exists. She is so beyond relevance and meaning that it seems inconceivable that she is still making music.

JESSICA BADER: When it comes to music, I have a major weakness for the sort of teenybopper pop that was popular when I was in middle school. All of those bright, shiny odes to love lost, found, or unrequited, performed by conventionally attractive people in their late teens and early 20s, produced by Swedish masterminds, still take up residence on my iPod today, running me the risk of total humiliation and never being taken seriously again should that device fall into the wrong hands. Britney Spears was one of the biggest stars of that moment, her second and third albums in particular overflowing with sublime pop gems that I enjoy just as much at 24 as I did at 15. Her latest work, however, does not live up to that peak. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

SNL: Tina Fey/Justin Bieber

HOWARD MEGDAL: Nicely executed right-wing fantasy of what the Census is. And is there anything funnier than watching Michelle Bachmann and company realize, Wile E. Coyote-style, that making their base paranoid about the government will result in representation losses via census count?

ZOË RICE: Indeed this one was a chuckler. I looked forward to what each next inappropriate census question would be, and I was not disappointed. Finally they’ve gotten the Obama-vs.-right-wing tone and material just right. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

90s: The Golden Age of Music?

AKIE BERMISS: I should make it clear from the outset that it is not my position that the 90s was THE golden age of music. Just perhaps one of many golden mini-eras that come and go with the tides. And I should also make it clear that there is very little scientific evidence to back up the arguments I am going to presently make. What follows is, rather, a pseudo-scholarly attempt to draw up a basic outline of musical trends in the last half century or so.

I speak, of course, of music. Of the last great golden age of music: the 90s. But not as an isolated incident, rather, as a the most recent evidence of a decidedly unproven trend of artistic flowering under a Democratic presidency. It seems curious to me that we can so often think of artistic artifacts as being simply art’s domain when, in fact, we all know that outward influences are always at play. That often art is a sign of the times. Or art can act as a cultural and societal artifact as potently as an “artistic” one. Certainly anthropologists look to art in order to gauge the tenor and timbre of a civilization. Why shouldn’t we (albeit on a more micro-level)?

STEPHON JOHNSON: While the 90′s could be considered last real golden age for music, the way music was consumed and experienced back then might cloud our judgement of the decade. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Music Piracy

STEVE MURPHY: Record companies sue fans because record companies are stupid. That’s all I can think of. They have to be stupid. I could end this article right there, but I suppose I should explain why the RIAA is stupid.

DAVE TOMAR: Even before Napster and the lawsuits, the RIAA and the record companies had a serious problem on their hands. But it wasn’t just about changing technology. This was a problem of product. Let’s call it the Mouseketeer Syndrome. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

State of Female Musicians

AKIE BERMISS: I feel a little out of place trying to speak authoritatively about female musicians. Or maybe just a bit silly. This would be a much more powerful piece if it came, perhaps, from a woman. However, I think there is something to be said for a man coming forward to aid in the dispelling the stereotypes about female musicians. Lame as it sounds, its something like solidarity.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Somehow we managed to go from, “Hi, I’m Kathy Valentine, and I’m out of my f-cking mind and having the best time ever,” to “Hi, I’m the Blond Pussycat Doll, and these are my tits.” Is the genre de-evolving?!

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: The truth is, there are a ton of incredibly talented and unique female musicians out there. You just won’t hear the vast majority of them on commercial radio. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Auto-Tune: Part of the Artist’s Toolbox/No Cher, I Don’t Believe

Different forms of vocal and instrumental manipulation have been used for decades in pop music and the feigned outrage over Auto-Tune comes from a lack of historical perspective.

STEPHON JOHNSON: Certain songs make you think of certain times in popular…

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off