Results for Britney Spears

interviews

Top Albums of 2005

The“Best Records”list: It's“a sacred thing”in pop music fandom, says Jim, requiring a discerning ear and laser-like focus. Thankfully, our hosts are here to help. After sifting through hundreds of records, and countless days spent listening (perhaps to the discontent of their wives), they‘ve managed to pick out their absolute favorites. Here’s what Jim and Greg say they'll still be listening to in 2006.

Go to episode 2
reviews
Femme FataleFemme Fatale available on iTunes

Britney Spears Femme Fatale

Britney Spears isn‘t a schoolgirl anymore. Seven albums in, she’s now a record industry veteran, which begs the question: is she over? Her latest album Femme Fatale debuted at #1, but with only 276,000 copies sold. That's nothing compared to artists like Taylor Swift and Eminem. And, as Jim and Greg add, where does Britney fit in these days when you have Katy Perry on one end of the pop spectrum and Lady Gaga on the other? They also wonder where she fits in on her own album, which has 28 songwriters and 13 producers. It's a well-oiled machine, and a very well-produced one, but Britney is almost incidental. Jim calls Femme Fatale soulless and gives it a Trash It rating. Greg doesn't argue with this, but recommends listeners Burn It just to hear the top notch production.

JimGreg
Go to episode 280
Circus (Deluxe Version)Circus available on iTunes

Britney Spears Circus

If you've heard about Britney Spears' new album, tour or documentary, then you know that she is trying to stage a comeback–her second in just over a year. The record at the core of it is aptly named Circus. As Jim and Greg explain, Britney is not only aware of her life dramas, but she's commenting on it. But the comments she, or perhaps her music team, are making are very disturbing. Take the track "Blur," which Greg imagines could only be describing a drug-fueled date rape. But, both critics admit that while troubling, the songs are some of the best-produced of her career. Circus is truly a guilty pleasure, and Jim and Greg give it a Try It rating–at your own risk.

JimGreg
Go to episode 158
Blackout (Bonus Track Version)Blackout available on iTunes

Britney Spears Blackout

Another big name album this fall is from Britney Spears, though these days she makes more headlines for her personal problems than for music. But, while everyone is analyzing her abilities as a mother (and live performer), Jim and Greg focus on the music. As they say — they listen so you don't have to. Though, according to Greg, maybe you should. Blackout is Britney's fifth album, but the first that Greg thinks isn‘t half bad. The production is first-rate, and Britney’s voice is almost unrecognizable and inconsequential (that's a good thing). Jive put a lot of money into this project hiring multiple producers and writers for individual tracks. And, on the production side, Greg thinks that was money well spent. He gives Blackout a Try It — but for Jim, it's a clear Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 100
Body Talk, Pt. 2Body Talk, Pt. 2 available on iTunes

Robyn Body Talk, Pt. 2

Swedish pop artist Robyn has been making music since she was a teenager. You might think of her as Sweden's answer to Britney Spears. But, she has since gone indie and edgy and began releasing a three part series called Body Talk last year. Body Talk, Pt. 2 feels like a full album to Jim. He loves her maturity and experimentation, noting that Robyn has even managed to make Snoop Dogg sound original. He gives it a Buy It rating. Greg agrees, and prompts Katy Perryto pay attention: This is how you make smart pop music. He doesn't hear anything as catchy as Body Talk Pt 1's "Dancing on My Own," but also gives the 2nd round a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 253
FutureSex/LoveSoundsFutureSex/LoveSounds available on iTunes

Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds

The final bit of news is the release of Justin Timberlake's second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds. The ex-teen heartthrob is all grown up and has aligned himself with producer Timbaland, as well as Rick Rubin and will.i.am, for a darker, more cutting-edge — and yes, sexier — sound than 'N Sync fans are used to. He's also launched an impressive live show that has the charismatic singer fronting an 11-piece band. It's just one of many adventurous moves that are impressing our hosts. Jim explains that with the exception of one bum track which tells the sad story of“a life ruined by meth addiction,”the diverse array of songs on FutureSex/LoveSounds all succeed. He gives it a Buy It rating. Greg agrees, explaining that the songs are fairly avant-garde and hook-less for a pop record. He does not think Timberlake is the best singer in the world, but he pulls off dance music as well as old-school soul. He also gives the album a Buy It. (By the way, Timberlake is not the only former Mouseketeer“dropping”a project this week. We want to extend hearty congratulations to his former girlfriend, Britney Spears, now the mom of two.)

JimGreg
Go to episode 42
lists

Best Cover Songs

In the age of karaoke and“American Idol,”it's easy to forget how great a cover song can be. But, as Jim and Greg discuss, an artist's interpretation of someone else's song can often be better than the original. In those cases, the performer brings passion and a new spin to a song. During the course of the show, Jim and Greg run down their picks for best cover songs. (For an even longer list of noteworthy cover songs, go to the thread on the Sound Opinions Message Board.)

Go to episode 79
news

Music News

Greg Kot attended the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit this week, so he begins the news by reporting back some interesting tidbits. First he heard Intellectual Property“Czar”Victoria Espinel's presentation in which she outlined her 33-point strategy for dealing with internet piracy. She wants the private sector to do more to police illegal activity. But when questioned by Greg, she didn‘t seem concerned about the fact that 95% of Americans are engaged in illegal internet activity. Greg wonders if we’re "back to suing consumers."

Greg also hosted the keynote address featuring T. Bone Burnett. The iconoclastic producer, who is known for his work on the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack and Robert Plant's Raising Sand album, again stood apart from the crowd when he announced that he advises young musicians to stay away from the internet. While this may sound like a luddite talking, Greg explains that Burnett is wisely suggesting that musicians worry more about their art than their distribution. Once that's figured out, everything else comes into place.

Next up are two chart curiosities. First, for over 50 years The Beatles have held the Billboard singles chart record for most appearances by a non-solo act. Now, they are dethroned by…Glee. The Fox cast recently paid homage to another chart-topper, Britney Spears, and those 5 covers, including "Toxic" sold over 400,000 downloads.

In the U.K. another hot young star is climbing the charts: Winston Churchill. The wartime Prime Minister ousted The Killers' Brandon Flowers from the top five, and he's now neck and neck with Phil Collins and KT Tunstall. Two of Churchill's most famous speeches appear on the RAF's Central Band's new album Reach for the Skies, marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Go to episode 254

Music News

First up in the news is the Future of Music Coalitions' report on the state of indie airplay on commercial radio stations. In 2007, after controversies surrounding payola, the FCC and four major radio corporations signed a voluntary agreement to air more local and independent artists. The FMC has been keeping tabs on how they're doing, and the stats are not good. Just as before, 85% of music on the radio comes from major labels. This may have been the conservative and profitable way to go for radio conglomerations in the past, but as the major label system crumbles, it would behoove radio to walk on the wild side a little more.

Following in the esteemed footsteps of Prince and No Doubt, Coldplay will give away a free live album with the purchase of a ticket to their Viva La Vida tour. Jim and Greg are always encouraged to see musicians try to give consumers a little more bang for your buck, especially since Coldplay tickets are not nearly as expensive as a lot of summer shows.

In other concert industry news, one group that isn't holding back spending in this economy is the corporate sponsor. According to IEG Sponsorship Report, sponsorships will hit an all-time high in 2009. Companies like JC Penney, Clorox and KC Masterpiece want to cash in on big name music acts. After seeing the Virgin Mobile-sponsored Britney Spears show recently, Jim and Greg wonder if these are such wise investments though. And, they shudder to think of the corporate presence at the upcoming Woodstock reunion.

Go to episode 180

Music News

Dance clubs and music venues in Las Vegas have become more popular than ever with one in four casino-goers skipping the poker table for the dance floor. Bigger and brighter laser shows, confetti, and exclusive artist/DJs in residence like Britney Spears, Elton John, Afrojack, and Deadmau5, have helped make Sin City home to 21 of the country's 100 most profitable nightclubs. Slot machines and prime rib better watch their backs.

Another burgeoning musical destination is of all places…your local library. A new content streaming service called Hoopla is being integrated into public library systems across the country in an effort to give patrons more of what they want. The fledgling Hoopla is still a bit weak in the movie department, but it does boast an impressive collection of music albums. All 300,000 of which are available for only the cost of library card. (Which these days, is thankfully, still free.)

Go to episode 411
world tours

Sweden

Jim and Greg have always insisted that rock ‘n’ roll belongs to the world. In our new series, the Sound Opinions World Tour, they prove it by zeroing in on countries that've made big contributions to global rock and pop. Their first stop is the largest exporter of music per capita in the world: Sweden. Swedish DJ and public radio host Stefan Wermelin is our guide through the country's musical history. Stefan explains that in the '50s and '60s, Sweden was a pop music backwater. Musicians churned out cut-rate covers of American and English hits. The '60s hippie“Progg”movement injected some originality and artistic ambition into Swedish music, but things didn't really change until ABBA hit it big with "Waterloo." According to Stefan, ABBA set the template for Swedish success. The band created big hits by co-opting the best bits of global pop music and stitching them together with meticulous production. That tradition of pastiche continues today with Swedish producers like Max Martin, the man behind a hundred-and-one Billboard Top Ten hits (Britney Spears' "…Baby One More Time" and Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" among them). But today, Sweden's also experiencing an indie renaissance in genres as varied as death metal, dance music, and Americana. Decades after ABBA, artists like The Knife, Lykke Li, Robyn, Opeth, and First Aid Kit are staging a second Swedish invasion.

Go to episode 379