Introduction: They say parody is the highest form of flattery, and if that were true then Britney Spears would qualify as a certified musical genius.
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Article by: Bryan Maleszyk
The Britster has been on a "self-imposed" 6-month hiatus ever since walking off the last show of her Dream Within a Dream tour in Mexico City due to "weather conditions." The 20-year-old girl has been the reigning Queen of Pop for the last three years, and it doesn't seem like she had ever taken a break after "Baby (One More Time)" hit the airwaves in October 1998. After three albums, a starring role in a movie, a tanked relationship with her male pop counterpart, and a few media oopsies (all of which, oddly enough, happened in Mexico), the girl deserves a rest.
After three only three months, however, it's back to work for Brit.
Who can blame her? Her album sales have decreased almost exponentially per release and she is suddenly dealing with an audience that requires more of a pop star than bearing a belly-button ring and looking cute in low-riders and pigtails. For all the parodies of "Baby (One More Time)" and "Oops (I Did It Again)," you don't see one single parody of her video for this summer's "Boys," which starred Michael Myers in character as Austin Powers, grooving with Brit-Brit in her under-things.
Any bubblegum pop princess should recognize this as a bad sign. The general public's disinterest in poking fun at a cultural icon is the surest sign that the icon has lost its significance in the mainstream. In essence, Britney Spears is becoming a parody of her own success, and without reinvention the former pop diva who ruled the airwaves during the turn of the millennium will become nothing more than Barry Williams in Lycra-Spandex.
Massive reinvention of public image is what keeps Madonna from having to do community theatre. If you keep reinventing the wheel, your audience of 12-18 year olds suddenly grows up and demands that you learn to play an instrument or something. Image change is nothing more than recognizing who your audience is. In the world of pop music, success is only measured by the amount of people who are paying attention.
Don't count Britney out yet. Unlike Christina Aguilera, Michelle Branch, or Norah Jones, the name Britney Spears now conjures up images less girl-next-store and more massive corporation. She's the Starbucks of the Pop Music world. If Britney, Inc. can avoid over-marketing her past tours and her current image -- and she can change with her audience -- we'll be back to making fun of her in no time.
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