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Britney Challenge

16:18 Posted by Alison
I was struggling with a bit of writer's block one day, when my friend Ryan challenged me to come up with 500-1000 words on Miss Spears in 45mins as a way of getting the words to come out.

This is the un-polished, unedited result.

The word ‘icon’ gets thrown around a lot these days. Airtime and a fizz of pizzazz have lead to numerous brands, dance moves and performers being labelled ‘iconic’ during their fifteen minutes of fame.

To be a music icon, you have to cause a stir. You have to change at least one section of the industry in such a memorable way that your defining moment is irreversibly seared onto that period of pop culture. Your entire persona becomes a symbol for the impact you’ve made- your clothes, your voice, your name- but that ever elusive X-Factor is what can transform the brief glitter of fame into full blown stardom.

For me, Britney Spears is an icon in the making. Every since her …Baby One More Time video hit screens around the globe, Britney has been confirming her position as a figurehead of pop culture with every move she makes. In the UK, The Spice Girls’ popularity was dwindling after five became four, ballads dominated the charts and moody indie types The Verve had lead the way at the BRIT awards. The last young woman to come out of America and have British chart success was LeAnn Rimes (with, yes, a heart-wrenching power ballad), and it very much seemed that transatlantic pop had lost its punch.

Cue Miss Spears. …Baby One More Time in all its pink pig-tailed, school’s out, back flipping glory brought some long awaited vibrancy back to the charts, and as a twelve year-old girl at the time, it felt like the younger generation were triumphantly reclaiming pop music. Finally, here was some more new music that you could dance and sing along to- something accessible but slightly naughty and something perfect for the early-teen market.

As Britney’s career progressed, it felt like fans like me were growing up alongside her. Looking back, album tracks like ‘Email my Heart’ and ‘Dear Diary’ are hardly deep, but during your teenage years (when every day feels like a rollercoaster) sometimes poetic lyrics and complex layered melodies aren’t what is needed. When you feel your early high-school life is dramatic enough, often the simplest of songs and concepts can help you make it through or lift your spirits until the end of the day.
The beauty of Britney’s music is it is catchy enough to stick in your mind, but malleable enough for you to develop your own memories and associations to complete the listening experience.

As for the woman herself, she has never been afraid to be own person. The outside media loved to portray Britney as a pop puppet, but the fans have long known of her sheer determination and love for what she does. To me and thousands of others, goofy and endearing Britney has always seemed human, but never more so than during her downward spiral between 2006-2008. For many people, such a sad time reminded them of the connection they felt to her, whether it be due to the constant background she provided to their past or their affection for a girl who was living their shared dream. However, what has made more of an impact on me is the way she has built herself back up and slowly begun to lift her head up high. The strength shown in having all you’ve known fall away and realising that the dream is not so perfect, but still dusting yourself off and carrying on has cemented her status as a resilient and committed entertainer.

Britney Spears is the little girl dancing and singing into her hairbrush and the star performing in front of millions. She is the daydream of an extravagant white wedding and the reality of an emotional divorce, the vixen on stage impressing countless fans and the doting mother desperately trying to give her sons the best start in life. She is laughing and dancing in a club with friends and scribbling in tear-stained a notebook after a break up; the front page headline and the name at the bottom of a family Christmas card. She is the embodiment of ordinary and the extraordinary and so with such recognition, influence and provocation of intense emotion across the board, she is a blossoming modern day icon (in my eyes at least).
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3 Response to "Britney Challenge"

  1. Ryan Said,

    Awesome :)

    Posted on 18 September 2009 at 17:18

  2. Anonymous Said,

    wow great read, i'll admit it brought tears to my eyes in a good way!!!!!!

    Posted on 18 September 2009 at 18:31

  3. Anonymous Said,


    totally agree!!!:)

    Posted on 18 September 2009 at 21:48


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