December 3, 2008 | Comments ()

By TK | Music | December 3, 2008 |


Welcome to part one of today’s music reviews. Part two to follow in about an hour.

britneycircuskv7.jpgBritney Spears: Circus
[Jive Records]

This may come as a surprise, but I’ve never listened to an entire Britney Spears album. I’m not much of a MTV-Teen-Pop afficionado. But to avoid further accusations of delving too far into the obscure, I figured I’d try something different. So for the last couple of days, I’ve been working my way through Circus, the sixth (sixth!) full-length album by the queen of teen pop, Britney Spears, who recently took the MTV VMAs by storm (for what that’s worth). It’s been an interesting experience, and while it stuns me to admit this, the truth is? It’s actually not that bad.

OK, I’m fucking with you. It’s terrible. Wretched. It’s 45+ minutes of my life that is ruined forever. I want to take a red-hot poker to the brain and sear away that memory and its accompanying shame. Look, I’m not so pretentious that I can’t see the value in pop music. I’ve got a thing for Mandy Moore. I think that while she’s pretty much terrifying, Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” is kind of a badass song. I think that while it’s not my thing at all, Justin Timberlake’s definitely got some talent. But this was just … bad. Right off the bat, Britney tries her very best to channel Rihanna-esque thumping dance beats and repeated choruses in the radio hit “Womanizer.” Problem is, Rihanna’s “Pon De Replay” is an effective, bass-heavy club anthem that effectively uses repetition to (I assume) get people’s feet tapping and hips swaying. “Womanizer” is instead a heavily digitized, annoying mess of a track, and while she’s shooting for coquettish and sexy, it instead comes off as annoying, whiny and stuttered. “Kill The Lights” suffers similarly, and is made worse by one of the most annoying trends on the album — the absolute absence of anything unique. Each of the dance tracks has a thumping bass beat, a squeaking background effect that sounds like someone taking a mallet to a litter of baby chickens, and then some whiz-bang electronica. Couple that with a vaguely sing-song chorus repeated ad nauseum, a digitally processed pseudo-rapped vocal, rinse, repeat, kill me.

Even the rare tracks where Brit tries to be a little different bit fail. “Unusual” attempts to use a vocoder in the vein of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” (if Imogen Heap was hopped up on crystal meth), but instead just sounds like a series of robo-Britneys singing into a tin can … with the omnipresent pounding bass beat. Yeah, it gets old quick. Perhaps the most painful is the ballad “Out From Under.” Featuring a chorus that clearly makes it a breakup song, it’s made worse when you realize that this is a cheesy, tacky ballad about … K-Fed. Barf. Double barf.

Just as MTV has now turned into mind-stabbing, ear-punishing torture, so is this record. Dammit, all music has good aspects. There’s no bad genre of music, and pop music is no exception; it may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t make it inherently bad. But thanks to the likes of Britney and MTV and whoever the mindless zombie producers are who continue to be determined to shit on all that is good about music, pop music is now like a dirty, nasty infection, spreading like a virus. Britney Spears is no better indicator of the irrelevancy of MTV. Given that at the most recent, and arguably one of the worst, MTV Video Music Awards, she won three awards, I can think of no better statement to close out this mess. Spears’ music is perfectly reflective of MTV — repetitive, vapid, irritating, and pointless.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shower in bleach and jam pencils in my ears.
TK

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Wednesday Music Reviews, Part 1 / TK

Music | December 3, 2008 | Comments ()




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