"B.E.A.T." - Selena GomezPlayed 158 times.
"Adore You" - Miley CyrusPlayed 4236 times.
The Britney Spears Videography
#1 - “Toxic”
Album: In the Zone
If anything encapsulates what Britney was to her millions of adoring fans, what she meant to pop culture, what Britney essentially was, it’s “Toxic”. Pulled from arguably her best album, the song would go on to redefine the whole dance-pop genre. The video itself is absolutely one of the best pop videos every constructed. The naked scenes with her dressed in diamonds, the airline stewardess sequence where she seduces two men and the absolutely bonkers neo-thriller sequence through Tokyo and Paris: this video is nuts. Visionary, cinematic, ridiculously over-the-top and Britney handles absolutely every element of this video and song, that it is definitely representative of the zenith of her career.
I’m trying to get a ticket to the ARTPOP Ball. Who wants to go to Ft. Lauderdale with me? :)
60. Demi by Demi Lovato
Marred by its grab-bag production elements and shallow lyricism, Lovato’s latest effort is by far her worst. “Nightingale” and “Neon Lights” are fleeting moments of pop brilliance that show that Lovato still has time to come into her own.
Listen to: “Nightingale”, “Neon Lights”
59. Bangerz by Miley Cyrus
What makes Bangerz so much more disappointing is that Cyrus spends a majority of the album showcasing her skill with balladry. But, it is dragged down by the relentless hip-hop clichés and cheap, kitchy production.
Listen to: “SMS (Bangerz)”, “Wrecking Ball”, “Drive”
58. Stars Dance by Selena Gomez
While Selena’s foray into EDM produced some exciting results, it doesn’t make up for her lack of charisma. It’s well-produced, faceless and indifferent pop music. Luckily, there are a few tracks here and there that will definitely find their way to the club at some point.
Listen to: “Birthday”, “Slow Down”, “Nobody Does It Like You”
57. London with the Lights On by Stooshe
Singles like “Love Me” and “Black Heart” proved that this sassy, sixties-inspired pop/soul trio had something up their sleeve. Unfortunately, their biggest detriment may have been their unfortunate timing, because the album was killed more by its dated sound than lack of genuine talent.
Listen to: “Slip”, “Love Me”, “Black Heart”
56. Dynamics! by Holy Ghost
Dynamics doesn’t see Holy Ghost making too much of a sonic leap from their debut and it feels like too much of a repeat of previous material. Luckily, their indie-disco sound is fresh enough to get you moving on the dancefloor.
Listen to: “Bridge and Tunnel”, “Dumb Disco Ideas”
55. Girl Talk by Kate Nash
Brash, irreverent and screechy, Girl Talk is Kate Nash’s roughest album by far. But, the new riot grrrl theme, glorious pop hooks and homemade noise-punk aesthetic fits her personality so well, that it’s hard to not be absorbed into her latest work.
Listen to: “Fri-End?”, “Death Proof”, “All Talk”, “3 AM”, “Lullaby for an Insomniatic”
54. RockaByeBaby by Cassie
Cassie’s crisp, glacial tone will certainly divide critics, but RockaByeBaby puts Cassie right into the newfound R&B elite. Though a bit derivative, the voracious hip-hoptronica rhythms are a breath of fresh air and combined with Cassie’s newfound persona, it’s quite an exciting listen.
Listen to: “Paradise”, “Take Care of Me”, “Bad Bitches”
53. Secondhand Rapture by MS MR
Secondhand Rapture may be a bit weak lyrically, but MS MR’s debut is far more of a hit than a miss. A unique blend of alternative, pop, doo-wop and electronica frame the haunting scape of their musical work.
Listen to: “Bones”, “Dark Fantasy”, “Twenty Seven”
52. Talk a Good Game by Kelly Rowland
A nice step-up from her previous album, Here I Am, Talk a Good Game is a grab-bag of musical elements (for better or worse). Tackling the topics of sex (“Kisses Down Low” & “Freak”), personal struggles (“Dirty Laundry”), and even socio-political strife (“Street Life”), Rowland’s album is surprisingly sharper than expected.
Listen to: “Freak”, “Kisses Down Low”, “Dirty Laundry”
51. The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles has always floundered a bit on the edge between more indie-inspired works and more pop chart-friendly songs. The Blessed Unrest finds her making even less commitment to either sound, but the (mostly) broody piano pop of her latest album is, nonetheless, a great direction for her to take.
Listen to: “Manhattan”, “Little Black Dress”
"Underneath the Tree" - Kelly Clarkson
The Britney Spears Videography Rate
#2 - “Everytime”
Album: In the Zone
The Britney Spears Videography Rate
#3 - “Oops!…I Did It Again”
Album: Oops!…I Did It Again
Asdrubal: “This was the song that got me to fall in love with Britney. I was absolutely obsessed with this video. The song, firstly, is so delightfully 90’s teen pop-esque. The cute flirty jabs in which Britney basically admits to straight up leading on a guy. But, the video takes it to the next level. Set in some sort of futuristic space colony, it was oddly cinematic, albeit goofy. Filled with cheesy choreography, my absolute favorite moment has to be the when her astronaut boyfriend presents her the ring and they drop the Titanic reference. Brilliant aha.”
Philip: “’ ”
Here you go! And forgive the title, it’s just that so many journalists used that weak pun and I couldn’t resist using it. It’s also a read more because it’s fairly lengthy.
Also! It mind sound weird because it’s in past tense, but the assignment was for my Modern Pop Music class and we had to look back on pop history between 1997 and 2013 as though it were the year 2035 and writing an article for Rolling Stone. We had to look back on an album that had some sort of impact on pop history. So there.
ARTPOP or ARTFLOP?
Lady Gaga and The Intersection of High Art and Pop Culture
Did Lady Gaga shoot herself in the foot when she said, “she was putting art back into pop music” with ARTPOP? Any discussion about ARTPOP has to start with this question because between the Miley Cyrus and twerking appropriation accusations and the supposed rape-innuendos of “Blurred Lines”, Lady Gaga’s supposed fall from grace became, single-handedly, one of the most important pop music discussions in the blogosphere during 2013. Questions of her artistic integrity and utter arrogance were the result of this one singular question: did Lady Gaga shoot herself in the foot when she said, “she was putting art back into pop music?” The truth is that she did, but only because journalists completely missed the entire message of the ARTPOP era. Before even attempting to deconstruct it, ARTPOP had already become the victim of pop critique vitriol. So, before discussing ARTPOP’s impact on modern pop, let’s discuss how it quickly became a pop fiasco and who’s fault it was.
Lady Gaga’s career has always been a bit tough to predict. While she may have started as a disco-glam, retro-futuristic diva with The Fame, once she hung herself onstage during the MTV Video Music Awards performance of “Paparazzi”, Gaga revealed her true colors. While one of the main criticisms of her later career concerned how “strange” she had become, the fact of the matter was that Lady Gaga has always been unorthodox. Unfortunately for her, her next album Born This Way would manage to alienate the public even further. Charts-wise, the album was a complete success. According to Pitchfork, she “famously sold 1.1 million copies of her 2011 album Born This Way” and the “title track debuted at No. 1” (Molanphy). But, according to Pitchfork, the problem with the subsequent album, ARTPOP,wasn’t the album itself, but what Molanphy dubbed the AC/DC rule. According to Molanphy this rule basically stated, “initial sales of an album are a referendum on the public’s feelings about the acts prior album, not the current one.” Essentially, Molanphy blamed the album’s backlash on the alienation created by Born This Way. A synthesis of 80’s glam rock, disco, techno, rock ‘n’ roll and even heavy metal and opera, Born This Way saw Gaga playing up her anthemic songs by theatricalizing her image and fusing it with inspiration from avant-garde fashion and 80’s aesthetic style. While Gaga’s intent for Born This Way was upheld rigorously, it managed to alienate her from the pop world and subsequent singles failed to perform to expectations and backlash started to build.
In his article for Gawker, “Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP Could Never Live Up to Its Name”, Rich Juzwiak stated ARTPOP’s place in pop history. “Pop music is increasingly fascinated by the contemporary art world, and with being included in it” (Juzwiak). He went on to state modern examples of this fascination with high art referencing Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail and Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. But, he made a distinction between the two stating that the former lived up to the promise of fusing high art with pop music through its use of performance art and art references. With Teenage Dream, he went on to say that “said entitlement reads as self-deluded bullshit” (Juzwiak). Juzwiak argued that ARTPOP stood in the middle of the spectrum, presenting a genuine interest in mixing high art with pop music while also being extremely presumptuous in its importance. While Gaga was praised for most of her experiments in visual art such as “getting superstar artist Jeff Koons to make the album cover, getting naked in a video for the Marina Abramović Institute [and] creating an app to accompany the album…” (Molanphy), Gaga’s musical content was not as heavily appreciated. Juzwiak criticized lead single “Applause”; “Applause is just dumb – a superstar informing us, ‘I live for the applause’ is slightly less obvious than a singer singing, ‘I sing’, or an artist describing her art as ‘art.’” In that quote, Juzwiak managed to get to the heart of the critics main problem with ARTPOP. By stating that ARTPOP would bring art back into pop, she held herself up to a higher standard as though disregarding all other pop music as “artless” though music, in it of itself, is an artistic expression.
The idea that Lady Gaga was pretentious for declaring that her music was art was the prevailing train of thought amongst most pop journalists. But, I think that when journalists said calling her album as such was a misstep (“when it doesn’t even ‘contain art’”) means they missed the entire point of her message. ARTPOP is a pop album influenced by EDM, house, trap, rock ‘n’ roll and R&B. The most important aspect to keep in mind is stated in the title track itself when Gaga sings “my ARTPOP could mean anything.” Though simple in its declaration, I think this phrase fully embodies how ARTPOP was supposed to function: by declaring any form of musical expression is artistic. This idea was a response to the criticism faced by Gaga during the Born This Way era. Other ideas present in the album are the intersection of pop and art culture, the dissection of pop stardom, an introspective peek at Gaga herself and the general idea of senselessness pervasive in pop music.
The album starts with the intro “Aura”, in which Lady Gaga describes her pop persona in the verses chanting “enigma pop star is fun / she wear burqa for fashion”. She contrasts this with the chorus, belting “do you wanna see me naked lover? / do you want a peek underneath the cover?” as though to imply her pop persona doesn’t properly depict her true personality. The song is influenced by both EDM and techno. The following song, “Venus” finds Gaga making vague references to Roman mythology as the main thematic motif for the song. It samples the song “Rocket Number Nine” by Sun-Ra and the cover by Zombie Zombie. It is influenced by disco and house, and is a guilty pop pleasure exercise in over-the-top lyric theatricality featuring four hooks. “G.U.Y.” features similar Greco-Roman references (“Greetings Himeros, god of sexual desire”) and astrology and finds Gaga bending the lines of sexuality and gender as she sings, “I wanna be the G.U.Y, girl under you.” It’s deliriously simple and silly, but the driving EDM beat (produced by Zedd) along with Gaga’s ability to weave a great hook makes the song a highlight. The next song “Sexxx Dreams” follows up on the prominent sexual overload of the past tracks with Gaga moaning “damn, you were in my sex dreams.” It weaves in EDM and disco into an entirely pleasurable dance track that absolutely makes the best of the pop in ARTPOP.
“Jewels & Drugs” is the most divisive track on the album. Sampling trap and dubstep, the track features rappers Twista, Too $hort and T.I. What makes the track so problematic is the fact that it attempts to embody stereotypical traits of hip-hop music. While it could be viewed as a lampoon of traditional hip-hop, it’s a bit offensive and off-putting. “MANiCURE” features heavy glam-rock and trap inspiration and finds Gaga furiously screaming out a feminist anthem, yelling “I’m gon’ be manicured!” while also critiquing passive femininity by stating “salon’s enough for her / not to feel so insecure.” “Do What U Want” is the most pop-leaning track, sampling disco and R&B as she calls out her detractors for their harsh criticisms. The song manages to not only give insight on how Gaga views the criticisms personally, but it also examines the voyeurist aspect of pop stardom. In a mode of seeming performance art, Gaga even promoted the song by tweeting out verbal attacks she’s faced during Born This Way (“she’s fat!”; “she’s pretentious!”) and attacking the journalists right back. “ARTPOP”, the title track, samples house music and, as stated earlier, she contemplates the intersection of pop culture and art. “Swine” continues this theme by comparing fame to pig-farming, calling someone a “swine” for the questionable things they do to be famous. It is inspired by EDM, dubstep, glam rock and disco.
The last segment is a bit more of a free-for-all compared to the front half of the album. “Donatella” and “Fashion!” both take cues from high-octane disco. “Donatella” satirizes the vapidity of pop culture and fashion, while “Fashion!” discusses the positivity of the fashion world. These two songs seem contradictory, but they just depict two different modes of thinking. “Mary Jane Holland” is an exercise in EDM excess and heavy metal where Gaga praises marijuana. “Dope”, one of the more interesting tracks on the album, is a piano rock ballad in which Gaga uses drug dependency as a metaphor for adoration. But, the metaphor also functions literally as she languishes in her struggles with drugs. The penultimate song, “Gypsy”, was produced by her frequent collaborator RedOne and borrows from house and pop music elements. In it, Gaga discusses her love for music making and how it crosses over into personal life by keeping her from falling in love. It’s a bit more emotionally complex, but the chorus is completely euphoric. The last song, “Applause”, functions perfectly as the closer to the album because it returns to the juxtaposition of her pop persona against her actual person presented in the opening track. With the final track, Gaga admits outright that her personal life revolves around performing. It functions as an extension of her examination of the pop idol’s relation with their audience.
I think ARTPOP’s cultural impact could be found in the fusion of the multiple elements present in the work. A post-modern pastiche of different art and pop cultures, ARTPOP’s “art” and cultural impact could be find in one of its several modes of function. Firstly, it functioned as a marriage between the visual art world and pop culture. This was shown through the use of her music with the various art projects she’s taken on, including her collaborations with Jeff Koons and Marina Abramović, the app and the creation of installations, statues and galleries that acted as promo for ARTPOP. Secondly, its critique of pop culture through the examination of fandom and pop idolism also embodied her goal to bring “art” into “pop” because it elevated the music past its seemingly vapid lyricism. Lastly, it could function how she stated in the title track, that music in it of itself is artistic, so regardless of what “art” may be missing, just the simple fact that it is music means that the album embodied art.
ARTPOP was completely derided at its release for its seeming lack of meaning yet overwhelming pretension. But, in bandwagoning on the harsh criticisms all the publications started to spew, the very same music journalists completely missed the point of the album. Not taking the time to truly deconstruct the album in their reviews, the journalists found good questions to raise about the album, but no answers. Post-modernist work always had a multiplicity of meaning and reflects the meaning of pop culture at the time and ARTPOP truly manifests that. I’m not criticizing music journalists for recording their thoughts because I truly respect reviewers for the job they take on. But, I think in calling ARTPOP a complete flop, we missed the culture impact the album inevitably had.
Just wrote an 8 page paper on ARTPOP and its cultural implications. Get at me.
The Britney Spears Videography Rate
#4 - “I’m a Slave 4 U”
"Fashion!" - Lady Gaga and RuPaul
The Britney Spears Videography Rate
#5 - “…Baby One More Time”
Album: …Baby One More Time
Asdrubal: “We actually JUST talked about this song in Modern Pop Music and how it actually had some interesting ramifications for pop music history because Britney sexualized pop music at such a young age. Whether that was for better or worse is another debate for another time. What can be agreed upon is that this video is the definition of iconic. Simplistic in its depiction of the catholic school girl trope, it has nonetheless become the defining point for the beginning of true pop stardom and the true pop starlet.”
The Britney Spears Videography Rate
#6 - “Womanizer”
Philip: “Perhaps the best aspect of the ‘Womanizer’ video is that it feels like a followup to ‘Toxic’. The song itself is so infectious you can’t help but sing along but the video is flirtatious, sexy, and fun as Britney takes on different personas to conquer this so-called “womanizer.” The song was her first #1 in the US since ‘…Baby One More Time’ and although there should’ve been more number one singles in between, I understand why this one did so well. And the video perfectly matches it.”
Asdrubal: “I think the best thing about Britney Spears is that it doesn’t matter what era she’s in or how much we underestimate her, she’ll always be back on top when it comes to performing in videos. “Womanizer” is no exception. A sleazy, contemporary take on the 50’s office-archetype, she plays it up hardcore as she takes her co-star on a wild thrill of danger and sex.”
The Britney Spears Videography Rate
#7 - “Work Bitch”
Album: Britney Jean
Asdrubal: “The great thing about “Work Bitch” was how phenomenal a comeback it was for Britney. Yeah, okay, maybe it didn’t blow up on the charts, but Britney didn’t have to prove her chart success (that was what Femme Fatale was for). But, she did have to prove if she still had it in her to perform up to standards and boy, did she live up to it. “Work Bitch” is a killer vid that harkens back to basics filled with glam scenery and fierce dance sequences in the middle of the desert. She got to work, bitch.”
Philip: “After the somewhat questionable Femme Fatale era, “Work Bitch” was a great way to ring in a new album. The song is co-written by Britney and the video feels the same way. The best thing about the “Work Bitch” video is not that it’s sexy and visually stunning, but that it is both of those thing and it feels like old Britney again. You can feel her involvement, you can see her dancing, and you can jam to yet another fierce dance track in the Spears canon.”