clap clap blog: we have moved

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Caught the first 15 minutes or so of the Britney ABC special last night before I had to go to practice.

The first thing they did was a performance of Toxic. With an orchestra. Now, let's just break down why that was really funny.

1) There was a live orchestra.
   a) The orchestra parts on the original song were almost certainly sampled.
   b) The orchestra was playing these sampled parts live.

While, at the same time:

2) The vocals were clearly not live.

So a live orchestra was playing a sampled part while the singer lip-synced to prerecorded vocals. It was perfect.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not gonna get all "It's so artificial!" on your asses. It was goddamn pop music. This is what it's supposed to. Matter of fact, I really appreciated and loved the ridiculous extreme they were taking it to. (Also, I want my own orchestra.)

That said, as Miss Clap observed, Britney needs to stop trying to be Madonna. It's understandably hard for someone who comes of age in the context of pop stardom to transition gracefully--in a game where three months out of the spotlight is death, taking the time necessary for real self-reflection and -development is impossible--but at the same time, she's really got one more album to find an image and sort of stick with it for a while or I'm leaving.

More than anything else, I think she needs to find her sense of humor. Madonna had this, although it was clearly acheived by getting into the game later in life. Prince had it in spades--honestly, I'm insanely jealous of his ability to say hilarious things with a totally straight face. (Like, "Gett Off"? And how about "Kiss," where he manages to sell a line like "You don't have to watch Dynasty / to have an attitude" and then pull off the so-sincere-it-hurts vocalization that closes the radio edit?) So Britney needs to get a bit more of this, I think. She needs to watch the VMA performance of "Like a Virgin" and note just how friggin' funny it was.

Anyway, this is all getting a little overblown and E!-ish, so I'll stop.