Buzzfeed posted a piece on Britney yesterday. Duana texted it to me. Many of you forwarded it to me. The article is about how this week, Britney’s been performing at a higher level than we’ve seen from her in a long time. We’ll get to that in a minute but I want to point out first the effect that Britney still has on so many of us. How much we still care about Britney. How rare that is in a celebrity. It’s been almost 20 years.


20 years. Baby One More time was recorded in 1998.

In 20 years, will they/we still care about Ariana Grande?

An artist like Britney doesn’t happen very often. And certainly not an artist as complicated as Britney – magnetic and vulnerable, irresistible but detached, SO appealing and SO uncomfortable, all at the same time. Also, increasingly, extremely protected. Britney lives in a fortress. If that reminded you of someone else, that was deliberate. And I’m sorry about that. I don’t mean to draw depressing comparisons. But they’ve always said that the gift can be a curse.

The gift of Britney is that rare “It”. And according to Buzzfeed, “It” is coming back. Click here to review the post, to see the short videos that suggest that Britney’s “It” appears to be, at last, recharging.

To me, it’s not the dance sequences that make the difference. I mean, for sure, she’s hitting her marks harder and sharper than she has in a while but it’s not top form. No, what I noticed most was the head whipping and the hair tossing. Britney was SO good at that before the dark times. And after the dark times, watching her try to swing her head back and forth was heartbreaking. So to see this again…

That’s the sign, for me, right there. Also, yes, as Buzzfeed notes, it’s the smile. These are the kinds of smiles we’ve been used to:

This is the smile we’ve been missing:

You remember it now…

When a Britney Spears smile could restore a power outage. We lived on that smile, we got high off that smile. We fed off that smile.

But that’s the hard part, isn’t it? Knowing what we know now, that those kinds of smiles, they cost her. It reminds me of one of my favourite kung fu legends. The kung fu master used to be a well-liked, benevolent king. He was, however, obsessed with learning one of the most difficult and rare kung fu moves of all time, the Laser Finger, which is exactly what it sounds like. The Laser Finger can destroy enemies but also heal friends.

In order to learn the Laser Finger, the king had to go into deep seclusion for several months to practise. During this time, he basically abandoned his wife. Who ended up having an affair with another dude and getting pregnant with his baby. One of the king’s enemies found out about the baby but thought it was the king’s and broke into the palace to assassinate the child. The king was in training though and wouldn’t come out to defend the infant. The baby died. The king’s wife, overcome with grief over the loss of her child, put a curse on him. So even though he’d successfully mastered the Laser Finger, every time he used it, he’d deplete a significant percentage of his natural energy that could never be restored.

I worry that Britney’s battery, and the batteries of superstar performers, who are truly, truly once in a lifetime, might be wired the same way now, especially after what she had to expend at the beginning. That every time she goes in there for the good stuff, there’s no way to fill it back up.