Oops!... I Did It Again
Jive / Arista Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2000
Sophomore jinx. The very words send chills up and down the spines of music executives. Many are the artists that burst big unto the music scene only to dissapear when their next release shows up. In the age when success is demanded daily, a slip or two will mean that many an article will shout the end of an artist or band. Remember Hootie & the Blowfish? Gin Blossoms? Dishwalla? Belly?
It is often the case that, to prevent from such a case, artists, producers and executives will redouble their efforts and overpush an album. This tends to eventually create some sort of backlash against the artist and his or her work. But now I am getting ahead of myself.
While Britney Spears's first release, ...Baby One More Time, saw the light of day to little fanfare and had a slow climb to the top of the charts, there was never any doubt as to how her second album would be greeted. Fans mobbed the stores, MTV's studios, the Internet, anywhere to get first listen to the teen diva's new music. In an age where there's never a sure thing in music, this was sure: Spears's new release, Oops!...I Did It Again, was destined to start at the top.
So is this the second coming of...Britney? Yes. Is it the next great album? Hmmm, nope. But let's look at the album itself.
The first thing that struck me is that this sounds very
well-crafted and composed. In fact, it reminded me of the work a
certain Swedish group released close to 20 years ago. This moves
and feels a lot like the work from ABBA, believe it or not. What do
I mean? It is smartly arranged, composed, organized and performed.
The work of the myriad of writers, producers and musicians is all
well-polished and has a gleam and a sheen that most other albums
Among the stronger tracks are the danceable title track, "Stronger," and "Can't Make You Love Me." Each one is mixed and remixed and almost seem cut and spliced. In this day and age, there's nothing wrong with that. The tracks are enjoyable and should find their place in the hearts and minds of the young and the not-so-young sets. Eventually, I'm guessing that the title track will be forever attached to compilations.
There are a few signs of maturity in here, amazingly enough. "Lucky" deals with some young, popular star that feel alone. Also, "Dear Diary" - penned by Spears herself - sweetly deals with some of her own daydreams. Spears may have found some familiarity with these topics. After all her life is often plastered in magazines, radio, TV, Internet and her own fanzines. Meanwhile, "Don't Let Me Be the Last To Know" and "One Kiss From You" are tender ballads that will definitely be in the dances throughout next year.
Still, the album can't escape its own pop trappings and expectations. "Don't Go Knockin' On My Door" suffers from one remix too many - a shame because the song has some good. "What U See (Is What U Get)," "Where Are You Now" and "When Your Eyes Say It" are all standard pop fare - not great, not bad, just average. The producers' sheen and added cutesiness - through the spoken skits - cannot mask the forgetfulness and shallowness of much of the album.
Then there's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." One question: Why? Why? Why? WHY? I think we should start a cover moratorium - only certain songs get to be covered by certain artists. If she had covered "Dancing Queen" or "I Feel Love" or even "Like A Virgin," I would have had no problem whatsoever. But she goes and picks an internationally-known song and completely reshuffles and recreates the song. I hate to say this to my brother - and the rest of his generation - but Spears's cover of that old group's song S-U-C-K-E-D!!!
(Calming down, calming down. Breathe in, breathe out).
So, how to judge this album? In today's age, this album will be a success and a massive one at that. No one will be amazed when this CD hits 10 million sales. As to how it shall be seen in the future, I doubt that it will be held in high regards. As such it succeeds in its charge as a pop album. It is music of the moment, for the moment - future be damned. Therefore, if you're one of the many teenagers who likes this, I say go ahead. But don't be shocked if its cuteness and sweetness dissipates with the years. You're just recognizing the lack of meat in that dish.
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