‘What Am I Doing?': Britney Spears, Like Many of Us, Gets Kinda Existentialney
So, real talk: one of the many simultaneous blessings and curses of being a Britney Spears fan in 2016 — and believe me, there are many — is that she very much does not care about fame, nor does she seem particularly interested in matching the height of global success she once commanded at the peak of her popularity.
Sorry, but she already conquered the world years ago! She's more interested in chilling out and playing Pokémon Go with the boys these days.
That might prove awfully frustrating for fans hoping for a little more (moah) from her. Like, why are you teaching little girls how to dance to the sound of mid-'90s Madonna when you could be filming a visual album or doing some late night TV interviews or something?
But in all honesty, she looks and sounds happier and healthier than she has in years, and she just gave us an incredible album last month. Who could complain? (Well, "Mood Ring" as a single would be nice, and we still need a music video that isn't bogged down with behind-the-scenes controversy, but..let's not get ahead of ourselves.)
As a result, it's not a complete surprise to see that, when asked about her longevity in the music industry in a NME interview for a new cover story dropping tomorrow (September 15), she opened up with a rather honest answer.
I try not to analyze it too much. I love what I do and I think that helps because it speaks for itself when I perform. Seeing other artists continue to do this kind of thing inspires me too. Because sometimes I’m like, "What am I doing? Like, I could be a teacher.' But then I see other people doing it too and I’m like, 'Well, you know, it’s probably all they’ve known for so long, so it just kind of makes sense.'
For some fans, that might be alarming at first. She's daydreaming about becoming a teacher? In the middle of Glory promo? But then, isn't that one of the things we love most about Britney? It's when she gets introspective, For The Record style, that she's at her most interesting.
This is her job. She loves it. And sometimes, she doesn't. Getting a little Existentialney about what she's doing with her life? Now that's relatable. (And see? She doesn't always shut down interviews when she's not being presented with dumb questions.)
Keeping it real is, to quote B herself, so much better: I don't need her to pretend to enjoy things she doesn't, like, say, singing her old songs in a car. It's true that promo's part of this gig, but no one realistically enjoys every aspect of their job — even pop stars. Britney is just more (often amusingly) transparent about that than most.
As for the music itself? Britney has repeatedly said in interviews throughout this era that before going in to write and record Glory, she told herself: "Dare to suck!" In spite of her own self-doubt, she's more passionate about her music than ever. And for the first time in a while (since In The Zone, really), it feels she's being truthful about her creative involvement. (Thank you, Amazing A&R Karen!)
"Honestly, this is the first project where I’ve really been hands-on," she told NME.
"I was really specific about who I worked with and I’ve been learning to say no. I’m a people-pleaser, so that’s hard for me – even if I don’t like something, I’ll do it just to make a person happy."
So sorry, Britney Jean. Awkward...
Boldly, NME also asked Britney about some of the nicknames given to her by her adoring followers, including Godney and The Holy Spearit. (These are stan terms I may or may not have personally helped to popularize over the past several years if you've been following along with me from MuuMuse.)
"That’s just how the fans are, and I don’t want to let them down," The Lord and Saviorney declared, blessing us lessers with a formal acknowledgement of our existence — okay, I'll stop.
"At the end of the day, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. It’s really flattering, but I don’t know if I can set my bar that high. I’m sure a lot of them have almost felt like they’ve grown up with me."
In other words: she's flattered, truly, but maybe don't call her Godney to her face during your Piece Of Me Meet & Greet.
To be a devout Britney Spears fan is to accept the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with the price of admission. (Hello, her love is a mood ring!) I may be unbelievably biased and a little crazy bay-beh, but the Glory era is one of the most unpredictable, real and wholly enjoyable rides she's put us through since Blackout.
Bring on the Apple Music Festival showcase. (Also, that NME cover design is incredible.)
The full NME story arrives tomorrow.
Britney's Best Dance Breaks: