The Problem With... Britney Spears' "Criminal"

In the last months of 2011, Britney Spears' career is the cat in Schrodinger's sealed box -- it's both alive and dead. Most often, the swan song of a pop star's career is a Lifetime Achievement Award, which Spears received at this year's MTV Video Music Awards in August.

As a contrast from her earlier dance-floor singles, "Criminal" has a folksy sound. It starts with a Ren-faire recorder and a acoustic guitar chord -- it's like the first minutes of "Stairway to Heaven" but blander.

The lyrics and video seem like a steamy romance novel -- the girl-meets-bad-boy kind. The lyrics set up this guy as a smarmy scrub (He's a loser, he's a bum... he's a sucker).

It gets worse.  "The man's a snitch," which means he doesn't even have a code of honor that most fictional mobsters or bikers have.

The problem I have is this sort of story sets women up for relationships with sociopathic jerks. The film Last Days of Disco made a similar argument about Lady and the Tramp. It's disturbing to a nice guy like me, but I digress.

If the video's British setting is an indication -- and if Britney's career path parallels Madonna's -- Britney's at the Anglophilia stage of her career. Since Britney already tried to put on an English accent, all she needs to do now is star in a British "fillum" that flops, marry an English guy and drink tea at 4 p.m. every day.

From this point on, Britney's relevance is gonna see-saw as we see a few more albums and stunts. Unless Britney stars in something critically acclaimed like Evita, I don't expect this cat will wake up.

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Those who can't create criticize. It's a beautiful song and Britney sings it great.


This kitten's doing just fine! Stronger than ever and about to turn "30", and still looks stunning in everyway. Britney has been to hell and back but has learned the hard way. I think she is still a roll model and is like a big sister to rhose young upcoming artists. She sure as hell has taught us about "brand" and how to mske a few dollars. But most importantly is her style of singing and entertaining. The industry planned her life and career and said you will grow up on this day , sing this song, win this award ect. That only works for so mong until the world looks at Britney saying now what? She has had to carry on. With a few ups and downs Britney has managed to bounce back and be back on top and also be a great mom to her two boys. Auto-tune, computerized, digital, what ever the hell you accuse her for, shes she's a star and a damn rich, successful , powerful one at that. A professional business woman.


The problem with hipster, indie-rock, electronic media, critic-types is...  There's not enough space here to even begin...


You're too old to get the true deep meaning of the song I see. Britney is judged way too harshly. If Lady Gaga sang the exact song people would hail it as different, art, groundbreaking.

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