Is Britney Back?

You want to be rich and live the high life? It’s simple, you work bloody hard. Britney Spears gives us all a lesson on how she got to where she is in her new song “Work B***h”.

Although her career has been dotted by rough patches and personal problems, Britney is still one of the most successful female pop artists ever. However, her reputation as a performer has suffered through the years with a very public meltdown, accusations of lip synching and unimpressive dance moves. But in the video for her new song, Britney seems to be back on form. She looks amazing, exudes confident and performs killer choreography. Is she back for real this time? Or is this another half-hearted attempt at another comeback?

Britney first burst onto the scene in her provocative school uniform with “Baby One More Time” in 1998. Her debut album went to number one in several countries, and she was the bestselling female artist of 1999. She quickly became America’s sweetheart, experiencing massive commercial success. She seemed to have it all; beauty, talent and success. But soon, cracks began to appear in Britney’s well-polished persona.

Britney first started showing signs of a troubled child star when she married her childhood friend, Jason Alexander in Las Vegas in 2004. The surprise wedding shocked the world; but what was even more shocking was when it was annulled 55 hours later.

This was quickly followed by a succession of erratic behaviour including shaving her head, being charged with a hit and run, admission to rehab, a custody battle for her kids, hospitalisation, and psychiatric evaluation.

Her well publicised meltdown was laid bare for the world and the press to disect. The intense media coverage that she got made me, as a journalist, angry. The paparazzi hounds who chased and followed her probably added to her mental deterioration, while gossip columnists tore her to shreds.

Her comeback was welcomed by all her fans who just wanted the old Britney back. Her edgier and darker record “Blackout”, was released in 2007 and was a success, with the lead single “Gimme More” charting well in many countries around the world.

However, Britney was not back on form as her fans had hoped. Her performance at the 2007 VMAs was widely criticised. She lip synched the whole performance, looked uncomfortable and seemed unsure of her dance moves and lyrics. It was clear that Britney was not, as we had all hoped, “back”.

Her stint on X Factor USA proved to be quite a flop for her too. She appeared to be very confused on the show, spoke very little or not at all, and didn’t look like her usual self. She also needed to take regular breaks during filming, apparently due to her suffering from ADHD. Simon Cowell commented on the Britney X Factor disaster, saying, “I think she found it very uncomfortable. I kind of booked someone who couldn’t talk, which is a bit of a problem when you want someone to judge.”

I’ll always defend Britney, as I feel that people don’t realise how difficult her life must have been. From a young age she was thrust into the lime light, scrutinised from every angle by the world. To be hounded and chased by paparazzi and fans from the age of sixteen, having no semblance of a normal life, has to affect you somewhat.

But is Britney back now? Well, from what I’ve seen in her new video, I would like to think yes. She looks more like her pre meltdown self than ever right now. Her music is top notch, and she certainly puts on a show with “Work B***h”. But the real test will most certainly be her two year Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood starting this December. We’re told by her manager, Larry Rudolph, that the show is going to be a superb production, with Britney herself confirming “I’m definitely going to be singing live”.

I genuinely have my fingers crossed that this is a full comeback for Britney. The pop world needs its queen back.

Suzanne Cooper

image: humajasmine via

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