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Battle for The Gays: Britney Inc. vs. Lady Gaga

April 4, 2011

I often refer to Britney Spears as “Britney Inc.” I call her managers, wardrobe/makeup appliers, Starbucks runners, beatmakers, audiotuners, and public relations wranglers her “handlers.” From what I can tell, Britney makes hardly any of the decisions about what her music sounds like, what songs she’ll perform, or when she will perform them. Even through obvious mental illness, her handlers keep the albums coming and Brtiney, Inc. keeps on making money.

Britney Inc.’s newest album “Femme Fatale” hit online and real stores last week. Overall, I like it. And let me tell you why: although Ms. Spears’ handlers are dubbing the album’s songs as “another round of percolating love songs and pumping bachelorette-party anthems,” anyone who listens to the album will know the real demographic they’re going after: the gays.

The “gays” are people who love to dance. And love to dance on top of things…like giant speakers or burly shoulders. Whether they be gay, straight, man, woman…whatever. They just gotta dance. It just happens that often the best places to do this are clubs in your local gay district (mine is the historic Castro, just a hop, skip, and a jump away).

This is not Britney Inc.’s first foray into the world of the gays. My dance obsessed friends in college absolutely adored her and many entire club nights were celebrated in her honor. What has changed between then and now, is that now there is no pretense. Her first big performance in forever was originally slated to be at the San Francisco Castro Theater only to be changed at the last minute to the Bill Graham Civic Center to accommodate the huge crowds. And though her performance was NOTHING liker her old ones the crowd was still very supportive of her second try at a comeback.  The beats on “Femme Fatale” can’t lie: these songs are meant for people who love to dance with people who love to dance – the gays.

Here are a few of my favorites with obviously fantastic video ideas:

Inside Out – The beats here are hard and slow (think Katy Perry’s “E.T” without the “we will, we will, rock you” vibe). The song itself is about one last hookup in a relationship that’s clearly ending: “Gotta look my best if we’re gonna break up.” When I picture the video for this song, I see Britney being seduced one last time by a married man and hating him for it (think Carrie in SATC when she cheated on Aiden).

(Drop Dead) Beautiful – The lyrics try to be punchy but fail (“You look so sick/I think I caught the flu“). However, it’s a catchy beat and I picture the video having Britney as a queen of a Amazonic zombies (to capture the “drop dead” part) who go after men who look smart…so they can eat their brains of course!

Wanna Go – This is a “solo sex” song. It’s just kinda funny and again has a good beat. I think a fun video would be a whole bunch of random people doing mundane jobs fantasizing about guilty pleasures (including with Britney in some provocative positions).

Til the World Ends – Okay, talk about anthems! This song takes advantage of the electronic music movement that’s taking over the mainstream airwaves in many ways. It has the theme of dancing “til the world ends” and even has the rise and fall in the middle of the song of every trance song known to DJs. If you’re not following this beat there’s simply no hope for you. The video did a good job of people having a good time, even though the world might actually be ending.
(One song I can’t STAND is Criminal. Seriously, whoever wrote that should be shamed in a public venue. With shackles and everything.)

BUT, all of this is in light of Lady Gaga’s recent release of “Born This Way” that uses Madonna’s “Express Yourself” beats to say:

No matter gay, straight, or bi/
Lesbian, transgendered life/

I’m on the right track baby…/
I was born this way hey!

This song also targets gay, straight, women, men…whatever. And Lady Gaga has been much more politically engaged with the LGBT community. She has even pleaded with the President to get rid of the US military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that refused to let men and women serve if they expressed they were gay. There is no confusion. No one will think that Born This Way should be played in the limo on the way to the next bachelorette party. It’s not about sex, it’s about the politics of sex. But that’s not always what people want to be dancing to.

So who will win – Britney Inc. or Lady Gaga? My prediction is that Britney Inc. will win in the end, but the actual Ms. Spears won’t notice and won’t care. Lady Gaga will pretend not to notice as she crawls back into her egg to sleep at night or whatever it is she does in there.

“Femme Fatale” delivers sexy and sultry beats, and in the end, people who fight the struggle for equal rights sometimes just want to let it all out on the dance floor. Amiright?
Britney Inc.’s Femme Fatale: 3.5/5 Stars
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