Why I Still Love Britney Spears

11.21.2004

By Jeffrey Epstein

It may not be cool to say it, but it's true: I still love Britney. Granted, every syllable out of her mouth is grist for the gossip mill. Yes, every move she makes becomes cover fodder for Star or Us Weekly. Sure, a demonic doll runs her car off the road in Seed of Chucky. And, OK, her taste in men is questionable at best. She even won a recent Out.com poll asking, 'Who Are You Most Sick of Hearing About?' But say what you will, Britney is a Madonna for the '00s.

Now before all you pop purists freak out and call me a traitor, pointing out how Madonna is unquestionably more talented, smarter, and all in all a better human being, hear me out. When the former Mouseketeer released her debut album, 'Baby One More Time, back in 1999, people scoffed that it would be the last we'd hear of the pop tart, that she wasn't legitimately talented, that she was pushing people's buttons with her scanty wardrobe. Wow. It all sounds mighty familiar. A gazillion sales later, Britney is still with us, making covers of magazines just for being Britney'and for making a few interesting life choices.

Four albums into her career, Brit released a Greatest Hits CD in November. People crack, 'She's 22! How can she have a greatest hits CD?' Laugh it up, but Madonna had released only four complete albums (not counting soundtracks to which she contributed) when she released her first greatest hits disc, The Immaculate Collection.

And the girl makes great music. Out of the box with ''Baby One More Time,' she captured the imagination of young girls (and gay boys) everywhere. She even inspired an indie film, Britney, Baby, One More Time, about a drag queen who longs to meet the demi-diva. This year, Spears had her 'Vogue' (easily Madonna's most innovative single) with 'Toxic,' which Out and Village Voice columnist Michael Musto called 'the best song of the last 140 years.'

She may have pissed some people off, vaguely supporting George W. Bush in Fahrenheit 9/11 ('Honestly, I think that we should just trust our president and every decision he makes'), but Madonna has always been outspoken about her political beliefs too (remember when she wrapped herself in that American flag and told people to vote?). OK, so Britney was praising a jerk. But it's Britney, for Pete's sake. You just can't stay mad at her for long.

It's easy to talk about how much Madonna embraced her gay fans because, well, she did. But Madonna grew up around gay men (including her brother Christopher) and was a sassy single girl living in New York City, going to dance school, and partying at clubs in the '80s. Britney (who has performed at some gay clubs) was raised in the conservative South. You can hardly blame her for being a little late to the gay-is-good bandwagon.

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