Pop goes the early noughties, part five: It all goes down to Britney

“I’m A Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears | I’d be a hypocrite if I insist that pop nowadays is overtly sexual as opposed to the past. There’s always been sexual references in music from the time of the Beatles: if we’re talking about the period I’m focusing on this week, it’d be Britney Spears sweating around to impossible dance moves on “I’m A Slave 4 U” or wearing an almost sheer onesie on the Grammy-winning (yes) “Toxic”. Christina Aguilera, another pop princess of the late-90s, went raunchy with Stripped, and notably with “Dirrty” and that hormone-inducing outfit. But I sometimes wonder whether the current pop crop would have lasting careers like them both. Okay, that’s not exactly spot-on – Britney went on a downward spiral, after all – but will most of today’s pop artists end up being footnotes? Sure, Katy Perry and Rihanna – two more artists playing with their sexuality, in different ways – are doing well. (Does Taylor Swift fall under that category, too?) But the likes of Ke$ha, or the rest of the turbo-pop ilk littering the charts nowadays – what about them? Will they give way to the guitar-led stuff from the Lumineers or Phillip Phillips, or to the ballads of Adele? Not everybody can be Beyoncé, after all. (Thanks to Ale for the recommendation – and to Edsel, for indirectly causing that recommendation. Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

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