Over at Beyond Academia, Sammee has a post up in response to our theme of "the music we study/the music we love." Check it out!
Sammee brings up the spectre of Britney Spears, rightfully pointing out that popular music studies often neglects popular music that is, you know, popular. I myself always complain about the scholarly neglect of pop singers like Patti Page. One statistic I've seen says that Patti's "Tennessee Waltz," released in 1949, was the best-selling single by a solo female artist until Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" came along in 1992. And yet, Patti is always just a footnote in pop music textbooks, or even worse, is used as an example of how boring music was before rock and roll came along.
Britney Spears is special though. I'm a huge fun myself, have been since a college roommate introduced me to her. I was a bit old to have been on the "Hit Me Baby One More Time" bandwagon; for me the song that sold me was "I'm a Slave 4 U." I bought Britney the day it came out, and likewise saw Crossroads on opening day and now force my friends to watch it on DVD. I try hard to not let my love of Britney become some sort of hipster ironic thing. Luckily I'm not very hip, but it can be hard some time, especially with the recent drek she's been releasing. I also try not to turn her into a campy diva, because I find that soooo old, but again, when she goes and performs like she did at the MTV awards, it's hard not to imagine her backstage in a sequined pantsuit downing bourbon and barbiturates. No, I want my love of Britney to be pure. Not hip, not campy, not guilty, but pure and unashamed.