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Britney Scores A Major Hit With “Gimme More”

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Proving once again that bad publicity isn’t always bad, Britney Spears scores her biggest hit single in almost nine years as her new single, “Gimme More,” leaps from 68 to 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s time for Britney to have a drink … well, maybe not. Her critics will loudly point out that the song is only doing well because of digital downloads; after all, it’s not getting much radio airplay. However, people who understand radio realize that this format has become more irrelevant than the Sony Walkman.

Measuring a song’s success based on radio airplay is very inaccurate. That’s why Billboard is slowly moving to a chart system that also takes into account digital downloads and Internet streaming.

“Gimme More” was released to somewhat positive buzz until Britney’s disastrous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Then, the song was widely reported as a flop and Britney’s career was declared over for the tenth time. The lesson in all this is a truly good song reaches beyond all the hype. This reminds me of 1994 when Madonna’s career was declared over for the tenth time and despite a bad wave of publicity that resulted from a David Letterman appearance, her new single, “I’ll Remember,” reached number 2 and became the longest charting Top 40 hit of her career.

I have never really been a Britney Spears fan. Most of her music is more processed than bubble gum and her voice has always reminded me of a drunken girl doing karaoke. In 2004, I started having a little change of heart. Despite the backlash from her short Vegas marriage to Jason Alexander, her single, “Toxic,” the second release from In The Zone, became a huge hit and deservedly so. The hard jamming dance song was a shining light in a year that gave us nothing but boring rap songs. Then, she followed up “Toxic” with another hit, “Everytime.” If one can ever make a case that Britney has talent, this would be the song to use. Beyond the song, the video was one of the last great videos played on MTV.  Britney was on her way to getting an ounce of respect – even though she still had a long way to go.

We all know what happened after she married Kevin Federline: the divorce, the crotch, the haircut, rehab, the MTV Video Music Awards, Chris Crocker, the custody loss, etc. It’s easy to poke fun at somebody when they're down, but the fact that America is taking joy in Britney’s crash says a lot more about us than it does Britney. Are we using Britney’s downfall to cover up for our own insecurities? In any case, let’s hope that the hit status of “Gimme More” is the start of Britney’s personal and professional rehabilitation.

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About Daryl D

  • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pageartist.cfm?bandID=463156 JC Mosquito

    Well, dd, I would ask – what’s a hit mean anymore? It it about airplay? Sales? MTV rotation? I think I heard this Britney song once, and I haven’t bought it, nor my friends, nor any of the young people I come into contact with regularly. I could say the same thing about the new Springsteen, though, except I bought it and have heard it more than once.

    I guess nowadays when someone tells me a song is a hit, I don’t know from whose perspective they speak, and frankly, if anything, I’m more likely to suspect a so-called “hit” as an event manufactured by a record company than anything. Don’t tell me it’s a hit – don’t tell me if somebody’s getting back at someone on the Karmic wheel – tell me if the song is any good.

  • daryl d

    Excellent post, JC. I think I consider it a hit because despite what Britney is going through, the song is selling very well. I also talk to a lot of people who like the song.
    But really, what is a hit? From the 1950s to the 1980s, a song that charted in the top 10 was most likely a “hit.” But something happened in the 1990s where the definition of “hit” changed.
    One of the reasons I hate Mariah Carey with a passion is because she’s one of the people responsible for undermining what a hit is. Several of her so called “number 1″ singles were NOT hits at all. They tested poorly at radio and were hated. But Mariah and her management developed a new system where they would charge 49 cents for the single, while most other singles were priced at $2.99. She also made deals with the record distributors to display her singles at the front of stores.
    When Billboard changed their chart system to rely on airplay, payola climbed like crazy. When Billboard changed the system to take digital downloads into account, artists – such as Mariah Carey – would allow “free” downloads of their songs. I don’t know the answer of what makes a hit anymore. I think this is a good idea for a column, thanks!

  • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pageartist.cfm?bandID=463156 JC Mosquito

    Freely given to you, dd – have fun with it.

    BTW – read producer Jimmy Bowen’s (I believe it’s an auto-)biography – there’s something said about Garth Brook’s manipulation of the industry that, whle being different from Mariah Carey’s situation, still mirrors how “business” makes “music” moreso than the musicians do sometimes.

    BTW2 – the “drunken girl doing karaoke” line I thought was quite funny, although it might bring you some grief from the cheering section.

  • daryl d

    I’ve been meaning to do an article on this for a long time. How funny that Mariah’s management has somehow managed to have articles about this removed from both the google and yahoo search engines. They were all there about a year and a half ago until people started blogging heavily about it. I know about what Mariah did for a fact but respect the fact that Blogcritics needs links to back up information. If anybody can find information about Mariah’s chart manipulation, please post here or email me at my address listed in my profile so I can do my article. I promise it to be one of the best articles Blogcritics has ever had. It’s not just about Mariah either.

  • Affordable

    Excellent point, JC.

    I think it is a real hit because many people who I know like the song. And they don’t care too much what is the story behind the curtains.

    However, I still have this feeling that somehow record companies affect our opinion and how we should feel about a song.