Britney Spears: Is it time to reconsider the singer's legacy? (2023)

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Britney Spears: Is it time to reconsider the singer's legacy? (1)

By Nick LevineNovember 30, 2022

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Britney is "the most influential pop star of her generation," with names like Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey and Charli XCX, writes Nick Levine. Is 2022 the year to reevaluate the singer?


The ongoing emancipation of Britney Spears was one of the defining events of 2022 pop culture, and the singer isstill making headlines. Spears is a superstar who inspires a unique kind of devotion: Her fans are so loyal that they started a social movement, #FreeBritney, to bring global attention to the conservatorship that denied the arts agency her personal and business affairs for more than 13 years. . . The restrictive legal regime –describedby Spears as "abusive", but imposedamid concerns about his mental health– ended in November 2021, allowing him to take control of his own life and career again. In June this year she married her partner of six years, Sam Asghari; then, in August, he returned to the charts with Hold Me Closer, a deft collaboration with Elton John that combines elements of his classic songs Tiny Dancer, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, and The One. It peaked at number six on the charts. US and three in the UK, becoming their highest charting single in both markets for a decade.

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If Hold Me Closer feels like a measured return—it's a top-notch duet with an instantly familiar chorus—it's soulful, too. Even if it doesn't mean a long-term return to recording and touring for Spears, who at this point owes nothing to anyone but herself, it presents a good opportunity to reassess her musical legacy. Spears didn't always get what she deserved: a particularly cruel attituderevisionfrom their successful second album, Oops! ... 2000's I Did It Again dismissed her as a "true cipher, a costumed doll programmed to satisfy as many different fans and fantasies as possible." But 24 years after her success with ...Baby One More Time, an iconic debut single that defined a new golden age of teen pop, it's no exaggeration to say that Spears is the most influential pop artist of her generation. .

Britney Spears: Is it time to reconsider the singer's legacy? (2)

Initially dismissed as a 'dress up doll', Spears has proven to be a singer, a performer and one of the most influential pop stars of her generation (Credit: Alamy)

She has been hailed as an inspiration by everyone from Lady Gaga, who in 2009describedher as "the most provocative interpreter of my time", for Lana Del Rey. "There's something about Britney that attracted me," Del Reyisin 2012, "the way she sings and the way she looks." Most recently, acclaimed British-Japanese singer-songwriter Rina SawayamaisSpears was the first artist he fell in love with. He remembers watching music videos of her when she was a child and thinking, "I love her like a big sister." Spears' videos may be high-concept affairs, where she played a reclusive Hollywood actress (Lucky) or a vampire flight attendant (Toxic), but with the 2000 single Stronger, she proved she could grab our full attention with nothing more. than their dance moves. and simple accessories like a chair and cane. Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Styrke is equally effusive when asked how Spears has influenced her as a musician. "Oh, how come she hasn't done it herself?" she told BBC Culture. "She inspired a perhaps delusional striving for pop stardom [in me], wanting to be a pop princess with a pure heart. Her voice, her dance, her blonde hair... it was all influential. ".

Without fear

Spears is also a longtime LGBTQ icon who has influenced the contemporary drag scene with her high-octane dance routines. Jonbers Blonde, a drag performer from Northern Ireland who was a finalist on the latest series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK, says she was particularly entranced by two of Spears' audacious performances at the MTV Video Music Awards. In 2000, Spears delivered a clever mix of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and Oops!... I Did It Again that really showcased her commanding stage presence and precise dance moves. Then, the following year, she sang I'm A Slave 4 U with a live python hanging from her shoulders. "I think it was the bravery that she showed in her appearances on MTV that inspired me," says Blonde. "In drag, you have to be fearless, even coming out in drag is brave, and that's something Britney definitely is."

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Britney Spears: Is it time to reconsider the singer's legacy? (3)

Spears gave an iconic performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, singing I'm a Slave 4 U wrapped in a Burmese python (Credit: Getty Images)

So why, given all the accolades from the artists who followed in her wake, is Spears still a bit underrated? In part, she is the result of what we might call an "origin story." As a child growing up in Kentwood, Louisiana, a small town in the Bible belt of the United States, Spears displayed an unearthly talent for acting. "She was in my own world. I found out what I'm supposed to do at a young age," she recalled in 1999.Rolling Stone magazine cover. At age 12, after appearing on the talent show Star Search and several television commercials, Spears was cast in The Mickey Mouse Club, a hearty Disney variety show in which she sang and danced with her future A-mates. listers.Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling. But when she launched her music career in 1998, four years after she ended the show, the "Mouseketeer" label seemed to stick a little more to Spears than to her peers.

It could be argued that Spears' rise in the late 1990s was so meteoric that the media at the time had trouble processing it. Written and produced by Max Martin, the Swedish songwriting genius who has penned more Billboard Hot 100 hits than anyone except John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Spears' irresistible 1998 debut single...was just a smash, but a pop culture phenomenon. Aided by a memorable music video in which Spears opted to wear a schoolgirl outfit, a look often interpreted as suggestive but also reflective of her age, it became one of the best-selling singles of all time. the times. Her debut album, also called ...Baby One More Time, ended up selling 26 million copies worldwide after spawning other big hits with Somes and (You Drive Me) Crazy. "When ... Baby One More Time was released, the market, particularly in the US, was saturated with boy bands," says Alim Kheraj, a music, culture and LGBTQ journalist. "I don't think since Madonna there has been a female artist that has really exploded in pop like that."

Ultimately, the song's delivery, timbre and performance is all Britney. She is in control of the music – Alim Kheraj

In 1999, Spears was successful enough to embark on the Baby One More Time Tour, a 56-date North American crossover, but her popularity came with some scorn. Because she was so young and hadn't written any of the songs on her debut album, it was all too easy to dismiss and dehumanize her as a mere "pop puppet." “I have no doubt that, initially, Max Martin had a big part to play in the way that…Baby One More Time sounded,” Kheraj replies, “but ultimately the delivery, the timbre and the playing of the song are all by Britney...She's in control of the music." For Kheraj, this downplaying of Spears' creative contribution was enhanced by a toxic combination of sexism and classism. "From the beginning, the media called Britney 'stupid' and 'trailer trash,'" she says. Sometimes this snobbery was a bit more veiled, complete with condescending misogyny:Rolling Stone reviewfrom his debut album he said that Baby One More Time [the song] managed to "effectively turn this small-town Louisiana-born ex-Mouseketeer into a jailbait dynamo."

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Britney Spears: Is it time to reconsider the singer's legacy? (4)

After starting out as a teen star, Spears honed her vocal technique and wrote more of her own songs, inspiring the likes of Lady Gaga and Charli XCX (Credit: Getty Images)

When it emerged in the late 1990s, at the end of an era dominated by powerhouse vocalists like Celine Dion and Mariah Carey, Spears' distinctive voice was often underappreciated. Kheraj points to her third, more mature album, 2001's Britney, on which she embraced R&B on I'm A Slave 4 U and soft rock on I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman, as the point at which she really came into her own. honed his vocal style. "She pushes her voice into whisperier textures, playing with the different sounds she's able to create to elevate a song," says Kheraj, comparing her to Kylie Minogue and Janet Jackson in that regard. "Although, in my opinion," she adds, "Spears' ability to be an actress in her own voice, taking on different pitches, timbres, and vibes, is unparalleled." Andrew Watt, a producer who worked with her on this year's Elton John duet Hold Me Closer, echoes that assessment of Spears' vocal technique. "She's amazing at layering her voice and dubbing, which is one of the hardest things to do," he said.The Guardianin August, adding, "She's so good at knowing when she's got the right take. She's taken full control."

finding her voice

As Spears' career progressed, she also took more control of her music early on in the creative process. Kheraj says he liked finding collaborators who "disrupt the pop status quo," such as the R&B duo Neptunes, who produced his early-2000s hits I'm a Slave 4 U and Boys, and Moby, who worked in his trance. Early Morning' influenced theme. The latter appeared on Spears' 2003 album In the Zone, her fourth, on which she co-wrote eight of the 12 songs, including the beautiful ballad Everytime. "The video was always on MTV when I was 11 years old, and I remember feeling so sorry for her," says Styrke, referring to the song's pitiful lyrics, as well as the video that shows the dark side of fame. "Hearing that [now] still makes me feel so sorry for her."

In the Zone was another step for Spears, but her magnum opus came four years later with 2007's Blackout, an incredibly groundbreaking album she produced. Home to the smash hits Gimme More and Piece of Me, Blackout not only featured cutting-edge production that blended elements of techno, EDM, and dubstep (then a very new genre); it also highlighted Spears' bravery. A song that sends negative perceptions about her at the time, Piece of Me is as self-referential as pop music. "I guess I don't see anything wrong with working and being a mom," Spears sings. "And with a child on my arm, I still have an exceptional source of income." It doesn't matter that Spears didn't write it; she said everything she needed to get it out there. Blackout was a highlight, but Spears has shown a knack for picking winning material throughout her career. "Have you heard her albums? They're so smart," avant-garde singer-songwriter Charli XCX.isin 2014. "The way his songs are created is really amazing. I think [his] music is really interesting and smart."

In February 2008, just three months after the release of Blackout, Spears was unknowingly placed under a conservatorship that would last 13 years. She released four albums during this period, 2008's Circus, 2011's Femme Fatale, 2013's Britney Jean, and 2016's Glory. While Femme Fatale was sonically spectacular, spawning the impressive singles Hold It Against Me and Till the World Ends, it's arguable that only Glory was the work of a fully invested Spears. "I was very specific about who she worked with and learned to say no," she said.NMEshortly after the release of Glory. "I'm a people pleaser so that's hard for me, even if I don't like something I do it to make one person happy. I made sure this album was everything I wanted it to be. I was very selfish about it. ".

Britney sums up every aspect of what a modern celebrity is...she is the American dream, the cautionary tale, the redemption story and now a symbol of liberation - Alim Kheraj

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However, Spears' career between 2013 and 2017 was most notable for her epic 248-date residency in Las Vegas. Titled Britney: Piece of Me, it was not only a blockbuster that grossed a whopping $137.7 million, but also a game changer in terms of revitalizing the city's somewhat dated image. After Spears became a major attraction in Las Vegas, contemporary artists like Lady Gaga, Adele, and Jennifer Lopez applied for lucrative residencies there. Still, as influential as Britney: Piece of Me turned out to be, it shouldn't be overlooked that Spears allegedly played it under duress. In August 2022, she tweeted a link to a22 minute voice memoin which he described his "demoralizing" experience of living and working under the terms of his ward. "My performances, I know, were horrible," she said of her time in Las Vegas. "He was just a robot."

Britney Spears: Is it time to reconsider the singer's legacy? (5)

Spears has inspired a loyal following, with many fans taking part in the 'Free Britney' movement (Credit: Getty Images)

That shouldn't detract from the series of dazzling performances he gave early in his career, both on tour and in music videos. And if the #FreeBritney movement has taught us anything about Spears, it's that she retains an ineffable quality that makes people genuinely root for her. "My feeling for her from the beginning has been so special and different from other pop stars," adds Styrke. "And I think a lot of people feel the same way. For some reason, it seems like you really know her." Kheraj argues that the public's overwhelmingly sympathetic response to the details of her guardianship is further evidence of her lasting impact. "Britney Spears is pop culture [because she] encapsulates all aspects of what she is as a modern celebrity," she adds. "She is the American dream, the cautionary tale, the redemption story, and now a symbol of liberation." And there's no chance she's out of the spotlight entirely: Next year she's bringing a revealing memoir in which Spears vowed to address "events in my life [that] I've never been able to openly express." For this reason, even if her 2022 chart return turns out to be a one-off rather than a sign of things to come, Spears' place at the top of the pop pantheon is firmly secured.

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What is Britney Spears legacy? ›

Spears is a superstar who inspires a unique kind of devotion: her fans are so loyal that they started a social movement, #FreeBritney, to focus global attention on the conservatorship that denied the artist agency over her personal and business affairs for more than 13 years.

How has Britney Spears changed the music industry? ›

By gaining professional momentum through a progressive sex appeal, Spears altered the way female pop artists look and perform by turning risqué into the new standard. Had it not been for Spears' iconic, sexual image, the way current female artists present themselves today would vastly contrast modern day norms.

Will Britney ever sing again? ›

POP star Britney Spears is milling over a return to singing in 2023 - after initially vowing to walk away from her career. The 41-year-old singer is being besieged with offers for new tracks and collaborations after the success of her comeback duet with Sir Elton John, Hold Me Closer.

Is Britney Spears considered a good singer? ›

While she has solidified a place in the Pop pantheon, Spears has a controversial reputation as a vocalist. She is widely viewed as a lackluster singer due partly to her reliance on lip-syncing and her processed studio vocals, but also due to factors outside of her control.

What is the purpose of the Britney Spears documentary? ›

The documentary follows the life and career of American singer Britney Spears; her rise to fame as a global music superstar at age 16, her gratuitous and misogynistic treatment by the media and paparazzi, her highly publicized breakdown in 2007, the conservatorship that during 2008–2021 placed her involuntarily under ...

Why conservatorship was good for Britney? ›

The conservatorship arranges and oversees visits with her two teenage sons, whose father has full custody. It can take out restraining orders in her name. It has the power to make her medical decisions and her business deals.

What artist was inspired by Britney Spears? ›

From Ariana Grande all the way to Miley Cyrus, Britney's legacy remains intact with the pop ladies of today.

Who owns the rights to Britney Spears music? ›

Britney Spears - RCA Records.

Why doesn t Britney Spears use her real voice? ›

Spears was allegedly forced to change her voice during her rivalry with Christina Aguilera. Fans suspect Spears's team manufactured a unique sound for her as a way to differentiate her from her "Mickey Mouse Club" co-star Christina Aguilera who is also known for her impressive, deep voice.

Did Britney turn off her comments? ›

Britney Spears has officially turned off her Instagram comments!

Will Britney be deposed? ›

Britney Spears won't be deposed in conservatorship case, judge rules.

Who is the most respected singer in the world? ›

The 10 Best Singers of All Time
1Michael JacksonPop, Soul, Funk, R&B, Rock, Disco, & Dance
2Stevie WonderSoul, Pop, R&B, Funk, & Jazz
3Marvin GayeSoul, R&B, Funk, Pop, & Jazz
4Freddie MercuryHard Rock, Music Hall, Glitter, & Prog Rock
6 more rows
Dec 20, 2022

Who is Britney Spears favorite singer? ›

The artists that have influenced Britney are Madonna, Prince, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson. Although she has a lot to choose from iin their extensive discographies, Britney identified Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' as her all-time favorite song.

What is Britney Spears most listened to song? ›

Baby One More Time" The song that started it all! Whenever people think of Britney Spears, this song usually comes to mind first.

What was the conclusion on Britney Spears conservatorship? ›

Summary of Britney Spears Conservatorship. A California judge appointed Jamie Spears, Britney's father, as conservator of her estate in 2008. The court has modified the conservatorship order over the years. It finally ended on November 12, 2021, almost 14 years later.

Was Britney Spears conservatorship necessary? ›

In recent court filings, her father Jamie's lawyers had said the conservatorship was "necessary to protect Britney in every sense of the word". They said: "Her life was in shambles and she was in physical, emotional, mental and financial distress."

Why did people want to free Britney? ›

How did Free Britney start? Free Britney started when fans of the legendary Britney Spears became increasingly concerned about her legal guardianship contract, which allowed her father, Jamie Spears, to have control of her finances and personal affairs for thirteen years.

What does Justin Timberlake think of Britney's conservatorship? ›

Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was… what's happening to her is just not right." Further criticising the conservatorship rules that kept Spears under tight control, Timberlake added, "No woman should ever be restricted from making decisions about her own body.

How much would Britney Spears be worth without conservatorship? ›

Spears' net worth is estimated to be about $60 million, per Forbes. Most of her assets (over $56 million) are reportedly in the forms of investments and real estate, with just under $3 million in cash.

Why did Jamie Spears want to end the conservatorship? ›

"Jamie promptly took steps to end the conservatorship to ensure Britney's estate is not depleted by a self-interested entourage of handlers, counsel, and other persons feigning concern for Britney's welfare after Britney voiced her desire to take control over her life and career," the filing (which was reviewed by ...

Who is the best selling female artist of all time Britney? ›

Madonna is recognized by Guinness World Records as the "Best-selling female recording artist of all time".
100 million to 199 million records.
ArtistBritney Spears
Country of originUnited States
Period of activity1998–present
Genre(s)Pop / dance / electronic
Estimated sales100 million
18 more columns

Why is Britney inspirational? ›

Britney not only hopes to achieve personal growth but seeks to inspire that contagious touch of optimism. Alongside a quote inspiring courage, the singer honestly states: “I get how some people might not like my posts or even understand them, but this is me being happy…

What celebrities have spoken out about Britney Spears? ›

Since Britney Spears testified in her conservatorship case publicly for the first time on June 23, stars have spoken out to share their support. Among them are Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and former boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

Is Britney Spears still owned by her dad? ›

The conservatorship that had controlled Britney Spears' finances, personal life and medical decisions since 2008, and which for many years was controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, was terminated Friday afternoon in a Los Angeles courtroom.

Where does Britney Spears own property? ›

Spears has lived in her Thousand Oaks home since 2015 and it is thought to be worth nearly $14 million. The gated property sits within the exclusive White Stallion Estates community, on a plot of land measuring 21 acres.

What car does Britney Spears own? ›

But she is happy with her fleet of cars, which, over the years, has included several Mercedes-Benz. Most recently, her go-to option is the Mercedes-AMG SL 63. But Spears also seems to be holding on to her older rides, like this smart fortwo cabrio, which she's had for almost a decade.

Who refused to talk about Britney? ›

Bye!” Aguilera frowns and replies, “I can't, but I'm happy for her,” before being escorted away from the press line. Spears took to Instagram to express her dissatisfaction with the “Ain't No Other Man” singer's response.

Why is Britney Spears so nasally? ›

The pitch of Britney Spears' voice may have also changed due to her former smoking habit, according to SheKnows. This would certainly attribute to the slight nasal quality in her voice, and she may overcompensate for it sounding naturally worn out by making it higher pitched.

Why did Britney Spears turn her comments off? ›

Britney Spears shut down fans concerns over her recent activities on social media. The Toxic singer's puzzling posts sparked speculations among fans that she's not in charge of her social media accounts anymore. Reacting to her fans' concerns, Britney, 42, has switched off the comments option on her Instagram account.

What could be why Britney deleted her Instagram? ›

“I shut down my Instagram because there were too many people saying I looked like an idiot dancing and that I looked crazy. Honestly I was doing my best but it disturbed me to see people freely talk about it on TV … yep it hurt my feelings,” Spears wrote.

Why did Britney delete Instagram again? ›

Britney Spears has deleted her Instagram account after growing concern from her fans over her latest posts. The 41-year-old singer had been reminiscing about her past relationship with Justin Timberlake before admitting "she's learning" and sharing a video as she got a "regretful" tattoo.

Was Britney Spears conservatorship overturned? ›

LOS ANGELES — A California judge on Friday ended the conservatorship over Britney Spears, a 13-year arrangement that had granted her father and others almost total control over the pop singer's personal life and finances.

Did Britney get her estate back? ›

LOS ANGELES — After almost 14 years, Britney Spears is officially free of her conservatorship, a California judge ruled Friday. "The court finds and determines that the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is no longer required,” ruled Judge Brenda Penny.

How much is Britney Spears sister worth? ›

Still,, a popular site that estimates the net worth of stars, claims Jamie Lynn Spears' net worth is $6 million.

Did Jamie Spears sit for a deposition? ›

According to legal docs, filed in the California Court of Appeals and obtained by TMZ, Jamie says it's unfair the court ruled he had to sit for a deposition while Britney can get away without having to sit for one. The docs state, "The right to take a deposition can rarely be denied.

What is Britney Spears accomplishments? ›

Spears has also won a Grammy Award, six MTV Video Music Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, three World Music Awards, eight Teen Choice Awards, and 13 Guinness World Records.

Why is Britney Spears a hero? ›

Britney Spears is an example of a tragic hero because she was a sensational singer of her time who was brought down by the many struggles in her life. From a young age, Spears was a natural performer. As a child, she participated in a vocal entertainment competition called Star Search in 1992 (“Britney Spears”).

Who did Britney Spears influence? ›

From Ariana Grande all the way to Miley Cyrus, Britney's legacy remains intact with the pop ladies of today.

Who is considered the prince of pop? ›

American singer Beyoncé is frequently referred to as "Queen Bey". Canadian singer Justin Bieber is referred to as the "Prince of Pop". South Korean singer BoA is referred to as the "Queen of K-pop".

Did Britney Spears ever get her money back? ›

The pop star will finally have full control over her financial assets after a 13-year long conservatorship, following a heated hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday.

Does Britney Spears get an allowance? ›

With a fortune of some $60 million, Spears will be able to choose how she spends her money for the first time since 2008. For years, even as she was performing to sold-out arenas around the world, she was limited to a personal allowance of around $2,000 a week, according to court documents.

What celebrities are helping Britney Spears? ›

Backing Britney

Since Britney Spears testified in her conservatorship case publicly for the first time on June 23, stars have spoken out to share their support. Among them are Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and former boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

What does Britney Spears diagnosed with? ›

Pop princess Britney Spears has revealed the extent of her bipolar disorder and mood swings.

What is Britney's net worth? ›

What is Britney Spears' net worth in 2023? Spears' net worth is estimated to be about $60 million, per Forbes. Most of her assets (over $56 million) are reportedly in the forms of investments and real estate, with just under $3 million in cash.

Who is Britney Spears role model? ›

SHARON Stone revealed Britney Spears begged her for help when she was going through her breakdown in 2007.

Who is the queen of all pop? ›

Queen of Pop is a nickname most commonly associated with American singer Madonna.

Who is the queen of pop right now? ›

Madonna Louise Ciccone (/tʃɪˈkoʊni/; Italian: [tʃikˈkoːne]; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Dubbed the "Queen of Pop", Madonna has been noted for her continual reinvention and versatility in music production, songwriting, and visual presentation.


1. Burning Spear - Columbus
2. #FreeBritney: The Dynamics of Sex, Money & Power
(NYU School of Law)
3. Russ - Do It Myself (Official Video)
4. Jools Holland - How Long How Long Blues (Live At The Ritz 2.10.1994)
(Jools Holland)
5. Lil Durk - Glock Up (Official Video)
(Lil Durk)
6. James Patrick - Reconsider


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