Jorge Lopez

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I’d Rather See You Bare Your Soul

Whitney Houston - Central Park, NYC   Septembe...

Image by asterix611 via Flickr

Whitney Houston has been making the headlines for her triumphs as well as for nearly drop kicking her comeback efforts with a less than stellar performance on Good Morning America.  Oh yeah and then there’s I Look to You, her first new album of original material since 2002’s Just Whitney.

I Look to You has so far garnered generally positive reviews but many reviewers have singled out one notable aspect: rarely does Whitney actually address the ups and downs that caused her image and career to nosedive.  In the end, we’re left with a satisfying and certainly welcoming comeback that does little to shed any new light on Whitney Houston aside from hearing her now slightly huskier voice again.

These reviews got me thinking of Britney Spears.  Britney has built a successful career out of using her sex appeal, dance moves and the right team of producers to craft appealing pop music.  And still, we have yet to know anything about Britney except for her public meltdowns and that one heartbreaking moment when she broke down in tears and admitted she was “sad” in her “Britney: For the Record” documentary.

Madonna once told Britney “I’d rather see you bare your soul” (see: “Me Against the Music”) but even now after the release of Circus,  we don’t know very much about Britney Spears except for the all the names people use to refer to her as she stated on “Piece of Me’”.

Being a confessional singer/musician doesn’t necessarily have to translate into a sacrifice of album sales.  Madonna proved this when she released the deeply personal Ray of Light album back in 1998.  Tori Amos may not appear on the radio nor achieve major sales figures anymore but most people will agree that her songs like “Me and a Gun” are amazing pieces of music.  Below is the video for Madonna’s “Drowned World / Substitute for Love” video which was not released here in the states.

Perhaps the current pop music landscape simply doesn’t allow music artists to say how they really feel.  After all, Kelly Clarkson tried it and nobody cared.  Mariah Carey may not necessarily fall under the category of pop music but I question why a woman who’s now pushing forty can’t release something a bit more mature than a song where she feels the need to attack Eminem (see: “Obsessed”).  Did she forget about the tremendous success she enjoyed with “We Belong Together”?

I can thoroughly enjoy a frothy pop song as much as the next person but is getting personal in pop music a surefire way of obliterating any remote chance of getting radio airplay?  I always thought that music was at least partially about discovering songs that you can identify with and often reflect your own life experiences.

I’d Rather See You Bare Your Soul

Whitney Houston - Central Park, NYC   Septembe...

Image by asterix611 via Flickr

Whitney Houston has been making the headlines for her triumphs as well as for nearly drop kicking her comeback efforts with a less than stellar performance on Good Morning America.  Oh yeah and then there’s I Look to You, her first new album of original material since 2002’s Just Whitney.

I Look to You has so far garnered generally positive reviews but many reviewers have singled out one notable aspect: rarely does Whitney actually address the ups and downs that caused her image and career to nosedive.  In the end, we’re left with a satisfying and certainly welcoming comeback that does little to shed any new light on Whitney Houston aside from hearing her now slightly huskier voice again.

These reviews got me thinking of Britney Spears.  Britney has built a successful career out of using her sex appeal, dance moves and the right team of producers to craft appealing pop music.  And still, we have yet to know anything about Britney except for her public meltdowns and that one heartbreaking moment when she broke down in tears and admitted she was “sad” in her “Britney: For the Record” documentary.

Madonna once told Britney “I’d rather see you bare your soul” (see: “Me Against the Music”) but even now after the release of Circus,  we don’t know very much about Britney Spears except for the all the names people use to refer to her as she stated on “Piece of Me’”.

Being a confessional singer/musician doesn’t necessarily have to translate into a sacrifice of album sales.  Madonna proved this when she released the deeply personal Ray of Light album back in 1998.  Tori Amos may not appear on the radio nor achieve major sales figures anymore but most people will agree that her songs like “Me and a Gun” are amazing pieces of music.  Below is the video for Madonna’s “Drowned World / Substitute for Love” video which was not released here in the states.

Perhaps the current pop music landscape simply doesn’t allow music artists to say how they really feel.  After all, Kelly Clarkson tried it and nobody cared.  Mariah Carey may not necessarily fall under the category of pop music but I question why a woman who’s now pushing forty can’t release something a bit more mature than a song where she feels the need to attack Eminem (see: “Obsessed”).  Did she forget about the tremendous success she enjoyed with “We Belong Together”?

I can thoroughly enjoy a frothy pop song as much as the next person but is getting personal in pop music a surefire way of obliterating any remote chance of getting radio airplay?  I always thought that music was at least partially about discovering songs that you can identify with and often reflect your own life experiences.

Britney Spears “Womanizer” Review

030904-N-9593R-008 Washington, D.C. — Recordin...
Image via Wikipedia

I often engage in random musical discussions with my co-worker who apparently is impressed by my so-called “pop music expertise”. Now I like to think that while pop music does remain my forte, it’s not the only genre I’m knowledgeable in but there’s no more need to digress.

Sometime last week he explained to me that had heard Britney Spears’ new tune “Womanizer “off of her upcoming Circus album and wasn’t too thrilled with it. My own listening to popular radio has been sporadic but I did manage to listen to a little of the tune although I was too distracted to really pay attention to what the song was saying or whether it was any good so when he asked me whether I liked it I told him I would reserve my judgment of the song until I actually gave it a thorough listen.

After listening to “Womanizer” I’ve concluded that while it’s not a bad song, it is a bit of a letdown. The song almost comes across like a middle or high school girl calling her boyfriend names in order to hurt his feelings. This could be because the word ‘womanizer’ is repeated so incessantly in the chorus…but then again so was “Gimme More”.

What made “Gimme More” sound a little more grown up was the minimal yet very catchy and sexy beat that perfectly went with the song and evoked the actual setting of being in a club with the temperature set to “borderline stifling” and seeing Ms. Spears getting down on the dance floor.

To illustrate, consider “I’m a Slave 4 U”. I obviously can’t speak for everyone in terms of how they reacted to the tune back when it was released but every time I listen to the song that killer beat by The Neptunes sounds dirtier than it did before, thereby giving more emphasis and credibility to lyrics like “Don’t you wanna / Dance up on me”.

Again I don’t think “Womanizer” is bad. The relatively simple and frequently repeated chorus can quickly become ingrained but I think Ms. Spears could do a lot better, especially after the strength of the follow up singles from “Blackout” like “Piece of Me” which did a perfect job of blending hard beats with defiant lyrics.

Despite being slightly underwhelmed (perhaps my expectations were too high) with the lead single from Circus, I still have high hopes that the Circus album will be an even stronger album than “Blackout” which was sadly overlooked and will help Britney in her slow but steady return to the limelight. She’s proven that when she’s given the right team of producers, the results make for some truly killer pop music.