Britney Spears

10 Teen Pop Songs With Decidedly Disturbing Lyrics

Alice Bolin recently wrote an excellent essay for The Toast about just how disturbing Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” is if you really stop and think about the lyrics. Not the chorus, specifically, or the weird pseudo-religious video — no, just the air of loneliness and sadness that surrounds the lyric in general. It evokes the sort of desperate hunger of teen love, which is appropriate enough given that Spears was only 18 when she sang it. But anyway, its catchy tune belies its generally depressing lyrics — and really, when you think about it, there are plenty of pop songs that fit this description. Here’s a selection of the most disturbing. … Read More

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The Untold Stories Behind 10 Rock ‘n’ Roll Threesomes

There are lots of rock songs about sex, but a whole lot fewer about menages à trois, and you can see why: the ones that do exist are almost universally terrible. This seems like a blot on the music industry’s collective copybook, so we figured there might be some merit in investigating the circumstances behind a bunch of famous threesome songs. You’ll never believe what happened next! … Read More

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20 Forgotten Movie Roles of Our Favorite ’00s Pop Stars

Thanks to Justin Timberlake’s prominent roles in Inside Llewyn Davis, Friends With Benefits, and The Social Network, we’ve grown used to seeing the once peroxide-blonde ‘N SYNC star acting with aplomb on the big screen. No one else from the Billboard charts of the 2000s has made it to Timberlake’s level of feature-film success. But even JT started somewhere — namely, with the made-for-TV prince-and-pauper redux Model Behavior (2000). As it turns out, tons of other pop stars tried to earn their own “/actor” crowns in movies you may (The Aviator) or may not (Carmen: A Hip Hopera) have seen. In celebration (and in memoriam) of these forgotten career detours, we bring you 20 films that — surprisingly — feature pop stars from the beginning of the… Read More

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The Unexpected Lessons of Growing Up With Britney Spears

We took a break from analyzing dead British authors to talk about Britney Spears in English class my sophomore year of high school. I don’t remember what was said, exactly, but I can tell you for certain that we took the conversation seriously. The teacher, a brilliant guy with a radical bent who viewed such issues through a decidedly second-wave feminist lens, wanted us to think about what it meant to have a singer basically the same age as us twirling around on MTV in what amounted to a naughty schoolgirl uniform, singing, “Hit me, baby, one more time.” … Read More

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Why Do We Talk About Britney Spears Like She’s Not a Prisoner?

I’m a bit behind on this, but I came across Jody Rosen’s review of the new Britney Spears album over at Vulture, and I cannot stop thinking about it. His review begins with, “Let’s be honest: Britney Spears may be the most boring person on the planet,” explains that by way of, “She has been in the public eye for two decades and has never evinced anything in the way of a personality,” and then adds, for good rhetorical measure, that, “She’s antimatter in a belly shirt.” … Read More

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Forget the Tabloid Headlines — Joe Jonas’ Essay Is About the Toxic Reality of Disney Stardom

What ever happened to the Jonas Brothers? If the need for an answer to that question has been nagging at you, then rejoice, because middle brother Joe Jonas has narrated a tell-all as-told-to essay for this week’s New York magazine. While much of the commentary about the piece has focused on its most headline-grabbing revelations — Joe smoked pot with Miley Cyrus! Joe got laid at 20! — the most interesting parts of it relate to the Jonas Brothers’ relationship with the Disney corporation. … Read More

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A Second-by-Second Guide to Britney Spears’ ‘Britney Jean’

Britney Spears’ new album Britney Jean is streaming in its entirety via iTunes right now, a week ahead of its release. The record’s been met with plenty of interest — it’s Spears’ first since Jive Records went belly up, and it’s her latest bid to reclaim the Queen of Pop throne she ceded to latter-day starlets like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. But is it any good? You’ll be delighted to know that our benighted music editor Tom Hawking listened to the thing so you don’t have to. Click through to read his second-by-second breakdown. And pray for him. … Read More

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‘ARTPOP’: Lady Gaga Reaches the Limits of Control Freak

Do you remember what pop stars were like before Lady Gaga? It seems like a stupid question to ask just five years into her career, but her aesthetic and attitude spread so quickly upon her rise to fame that it’s easy to forget how different she was from most of her predecessors at the turn of the millennium. A meta-pop star whose career has been marked by carefully orchestrated spectacle, she ended an era when women in music were widely characterized as out of control. But in the past few years — and especially with the release of ARTPOP — Lady Gaga’s meticulous image policing has begun to get in the way of her music. … Read More

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