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Interests include dance, music, and culture of all -brows. Join me on my journey to compelling prose. (Twitter: @_ajohnny)
It’s sort of fitting that the whole foods, trader joe’s, tesco, kroger’s, jewel, alberston’s, winn dixie, piggly wiggly have all become the places where a majority of consumers vote and protest. The grocery store is one of those places in capitalist society that’s so good at covering up all the production and labor. As well, they really do look like the ideal market where everything is staged to illustrate a peaceful coexistence.
Trader Joe’s is especially great at this. They go to unseemly lengths to pull it off. It really squicks me out (just on an aesthetic level) that they’ve won the reputation of ‘friendly “”“local”“” grocery store.’ Do most people not read it as overcompensation?
1. this is the biggest struggle. when i said there are at least ten britney songs i can’t choose between without experiencing physical agony, what i meant was — this is horribly morbid but, sometimes i wonder, if britney died suddenly god forbid say a million rosaries, which song of hers would i write about for the singles jukebox, i mean that sounds fucked up and isn’t not fucked up but i also, to be vain but honesty, feel i would have a responsibility, and thus should be prepared, and usually, usually it comes down to these two (the semifinalists: slave 4 u, because it crystallizes so much that was and so much that would be, and also that beat is immortal; and do somethin’, because it is at heart my #1 britney holy text, i see you looking at me, some kind of freak / got what you need, and probably no one else would want it because no one cares as much about the original tracks on my prerogative as i do, because the world is full of sinners.)
like, i can’t believe you would do this to me, but on the other hand i basically think “gimme more vs. piece of me is the biggest struggle” is the most objectively correct britney opinion a human being could have. i said to threelisabeth that to choose between animal and the harold song almost doesn’t make sense because what is the harold song without animal to fit it into a life, and what is animal without the harold song to clarify the stakes, and it’s a similar thing for these fraternal twins. a great novel is, generally, a great novel partly because almost every bit of it contains almost all the things it encompasses, and that’s why blackout is a masterpiece. once i tried to make a list of the britney-est britney songs, and then i realized it was just blackout + slave & do somethin’.
the thing is that gimme more — not even the song, just those two words — that’s the essence of britney, throughout. that’s one more time. that’s crazy. that’s why it matters that she covered the rolling stones and threw her jacket off. that’s get naked, and it’s also heaven on earth. that is every line on every song on britney. that is every beat on in the zone. i mean, it’s also just “pop music,” but that’s not not why britney’s great. i’ve used the funhouse mirror imagery for blackout before and it’s because: that’s britney to the world, and the world to britney. feels like a crowd is saying. a constant escalation on both sides. and that’s literally just the title. that’s not even getting into i see you, which is another essence of britney (and, really, my ultimate reason for considering britney the key juncture — all you people look at me etc. etc.) i see you and they keep watching in the same song. there’s a reason that i started thinking about britney when i was thinking about that guy on the street who wanted to fuck me from behind, who wanted me to know that he was thinking about fucking me from behind. they keep watching. two different demands of more, two different sights, we can get down like there’s no one around, that awareness of the impossibility of freedom, that grim defiance. and i haven’t even touched it’s britney bitch because can you, even, can i, can anyone, anymore. i always need us to remember that in 2007 it’s britney bitch meant i’m not dead. i always need us to remember that it’s britney bitch coexists with DANGER DANGER DANGER DANGER.
but piece of me! piece of me. lord. everything that gimme more dances around, piece of me lays out. everything gimme more admits it can never really have, piece of me lays claim to. you want a piece of me. it’s not a question. you want a piece of me and feels like a crowd is saying gimme gimme more are two ways of telling the same story. but piece of me does away with desperation. gimme more embodies the spirit of blackout, but piece of me clarifies why it matters. piece of me suggests there is a freedom in deciding you are free. piece of me argues that you can decide that your own evaluation of your life is more important than anyone else’s. piece of me rattles off images of the dehumanized britney while sonically embodying the posthuman britney. gimme more gives piece of me the underlying stakes it so blithely crushes under a perfect heel, and piece of me is what keeps gimme more from collapsing in on itself. piece of me is fragmented in a way that refuses the whole, refuses the whole in a way that gives the whole reality, gives the whole reality while denying us access. also: i mean please.
i think… i think that piece of me is more important, ultimately, is more immortal, is an inescapably crucial part of any primer in a way that you could potentially argue gimme more out of, although it would be hard. but in my heart of hearts, i think i choose gimme more. for the beat, honestly, if i have to give a reason that is barely more legitimate than a coin toss. but like, catch me tomorrow and i could choose otherwise.
2. this one is easy, me against the music, no question. i’m a longtime apologist for that song, as you know, and i dunno, i consider boys solidly b-list, basically. it exists to prove slave 4 u wasn’t an outlier. which is a valid purpose, and it also functions in other interesting ways in conversation with that song — i mean, i’m a slave for you, boys: sometimes a girl just needs one, out of context are like, baby feminist bait, but in context are just about bodies, in context these songs are about desire but are also about ways to view desire, i’m not trying to hide it, about the real fantasies beneath the hormones, and when a girl is with one then she’s in control, not not what i was getting at here.
me against the music is kind of sillier, and suffers the unfortunate situation of having its most significant historical context also be 100% the worst thing about the song, i.e. madonna. i mean it’s not perfect. what is up with the mix in the verses. madonna is seriously so worse than redundant. but every time we come back to all my people in the crowd, i’m like, yeah, okay, yeah. i’m there. it’s got a magnetism to it.
as for why the pairing: hmmmm. could it be because of pharrell? i mean, because of the pharrell/madonna parallel. or, i actually just remembered, revisiting boys now, “i wanna see what you can do,” which is i guess a precursor to MATM (and also, obviously, circus). and, “let’s turn this dance floor into our own little nasty world.” the dance floor as a space that exists but also as a space that you call into being. it’s an opportunity, but one you have to make use of or it may as well not exist. it’s a playground and a challenge to rise to. it’s kind of the opposite of “dj / you build me up, you break me down” — i was reading zadie smith on roland barthes today, and, basically, in boys, in MATM, “the DJ is dead.” i am not sure if that is what you mean.
3. …baby one more time, kind of for a similar reason as above in that stronger exists mostly in opposition to …baby one more time, which is great and “my loneliness ain’t killing me no more” is crucial, but it’s also… i mean: oops! charts a number of potential courses for evolution, which is cool but also why it’s one of my least favorites. stronger is an important statement to have existed in the world, but i am also glad that she followed the path hewn by, i think most of all, what u see is what u get. i mean, what’s an entire album of stronger. isn’t that just alanis morisette. (NB: i have never heard an alanis morisette album in full.) i guess, …baby one more time, because feminism isn’t my mom, and also even my mom has to admit that …baby one more time is killer. …baby one more time, because i care about that ellipsis more than about any other instance of punctuation in the history of language. …baby one more time, because, you know, more. need. now. because it’s good to get to a point where your loneliness ain’t killing you no more, but i love it when pop, especially dumb pop, especially dumb pop about a dumb teenage crush on a boy who is probably emotionally stunted and cute only in the blandest way and thinks talking about his hobbies ad nauseam is the same as conversation, i love it when that takes on life or death stakes, because, #same. because stronger is important, but …baby one more time is inescapable. because britney said she knew it’d be a hit because it’s the kind of song you want to hear again and again, and she was right.
bless this whole post
I think it’s really amazing how stuff Jim Henson did with puppets still looks awesome today but 300 looks dated as hell.