There’s something engagingly crap about Britney and her ‘trailer-trash-with-a-budget’ aesthetic that is hard, try as you might, to resist. True some of the tunes are complete pony plops, but beneath the occasional reek there beats a solid gold pop heart.
The only faulting is that like her femme idol Madonna, she just tries too hard with too little. It’s like Rik Waller trying to convince us there’s a soul singer inside him (probably many more judging by his girth). Desperation is never an attractive quality, but beneath that pleading voice are some quality teeny tottering towers of tunes.
Kicking off with the abysmal cover of Bobby Brown‘s My Prerogative isn’t the shrewdest of moves. Luckily the kinetic thrills and sugar rush swooping eastern strings of Toxic put the world back out of balance. We then enter the ‘classic’ Britney period (her first two songs) to be beguiled and smiled at by the beaming delights of the pubescent schoolgirl thrills of Oops!…I Did It Again and the timeless Hit Me Baby One More Time (that not even Travis could ruin). These are gems with tongue firmly in cheek, with all the bounce and verve of unsullied pop ideals: heartbreak, promise and that one big yearning teenage crush.
Once you get past these though it’s an album of…one half really. All breathy cooing come on lines set to a variety of tunes that don’t have the same effect when seeing the Britser writhing around like a hog on a stick. No matter how hard she tries to ‘do’ sexy it’s about as arousing as Anne Widdecombe dancing naked.
Past that worrying mind picture or maybe because of it, Me Against The Music does possess a perverted charm with Britney playing Madonna’s sapphic toy with great aplomb. Then out of nowhere comes the uncluttered ballad Everytime which shines like a true gem in the Elizabeth Duke range. True it ain’t poetry in its icky predictability, but here it is a gossamer web wound around a classy melody. Alas from here on in it’s pap central with forgettable song after another falling like soft dominoes. Another early classic, Born To Make You Happy tries to resurrect matters, but it’s all a case of too little…ever.
Out of the two Disney Club-spawned brats who emerged de-Moused at the same time (Britney and Christina Aguilera), Christina seems to have come out on top with her initial dirrrty-ness dropped for some quality pop songs, whilst Britney’s desperation can look plain ugly. Christina is positively Tammy Girl compared to Britney’s Matalan. So it is her prerogative to be forever yearning for attention. Maybe her speed nuptials will calm her down into doing some homework on the tunes front, otherwise it’s a case of attention detention forever.