Britney Spears looks quite the adult on the cover of the December 11 of Rolling Stone magazine, dressed casually in a gray T-shirt and jeans, with a pink-and-white striped adornment slipped into her navel. A hint of a tattoo peaks out above the jeans’ waistline, and Britney is looking off to the side, cradling her smiling face with her left hand tucked under her chin. She seems to be watching something fascinating out of view, and I imagine it’s a flair bartender flinging Beefeater bottles, or maybe ex-husband Kevin Federline’s video for “Lose Control.”
On that reference, I’ll cop to this: Until yesterday, I’d never seen the “Lose Control” video, but I did catch it yesterday on YouTube. It’s wildly entertaining, in a rejected-American Idol audition sort of way.
But I’m reading the Stone story and I’m struck that I am, in fact, reading this story. The first paragraph informs that when Britney is blond, she’s happy. When she’s brunette, she’s sad. When she’s pink, she’s crazy. So it seems Britney Spears has “mood hair.” We aren’t told what it means when she’s bald. Certifiably insane? Wracked with latent guilt and ill intent?
The lead shot of the 10-page spread-o-rama is of Britney in a black mask, looking sort of like the Hamburglar (that’s an old McDonald’s commercial character, kids) or Robin, the Boy Wonder.
“I feel like an old person now,” Britney tells interviewer Jenny Eliscu. “I do! I go to bed at, like, 9:30 every night, and I don’t go out or anything, you know what I mean? I just feel like an old fart.”
- Beyond the Weekly
- Britney returns (Rolling Stone, 12/11/08)
Britney was 26 years old at the time of this interview. She turned 27 last week. Maybe she’s angling for an endorsement deal with One-A-Day Silver vitamins (for seniors!), reasoning that it’ll be great to have some sort of income on which to rely when she actually is old. But if she’s feeling old-fartish at 27, by age 40 she’ll be lucky to still be fit enough to dance in high heels (see page 56, a shot of her in a rhinestone-bedazzled nightie sort of getup, shakin’ it while enjoying the effects of a wind machine).
There is mention of Circus, Britney’s latest album, which is getting pretty good reviews. It’s actually receiving higher acclaim, from what I’ve read, than the Killers’ Day & Age, which might owe to the very low expectations for any sort of entertainment product featuring the 2008 model of Britney Spears.
I saw her famed but ill-fated performance at the 2007 Video Music Awards at the Palms, and that spectacle did not inspire me to run out and download or purchase any new Britney Spears music, like, ever. But one thing about Britney is, when she’s lined up properly and isn’t acting like she’s consumed five liters of Ny-Quil for breakfast, she’s good. She’s a really good dancer. She’s cute. She can lip-sync pretty well.
The story goes on to report that Britney has little freedom, or rather that she has as much freedom as her behavior over the past few years merits. As the writer notes, “Britney today has about as many legal rights as when she was in the Mickey Mouse Club.” Britney’s father, Jamie was a hard drinker and abusive figure during her childhood, but today he runs the show. Britney steers clear of trouble mostly because her father has hired a team of security officers, and one rumor the story recasts is that even Britney’s phone calls are tracked and she’s not permitted to drive her Mercedes Benz. (Maybe she should cover The Beatles’ “Drive My Car,” something someone should whisper into Jamie’s ear sometime.)
And on it goes. She wants her life back, yet she’s heading off on a world tour. Britney’s life does have some semblance of normalcy, if normalcy can be meant to include a bunch of Armani-suited hired hands to make sure the focus of attention doesn’t somehow go goofy again.
Fascinating stuff, maybe tragic, and what is inarguable is that I read this sucker all the way to the bottom. So would you. That is the magic of Britney Spears.