My how time flies when we're watching the Britney Spears Express careen down the pop culture rails.
It was a lightning-quick 12 years ago that we marveled at a fresh-faced Britney who at age 17, captivated the international pop landscape with her debut album, ... Baby One More Time. Those early bubble gum hits included "Sometimes,"(You Drive Me) Crazy" and the chart-topping title track and propelled her into the pop stratosphere when the album sold over 26 million copies around the globe.
Not bad for a teenager from small town Kentwood, La. It should have been all wine and roses (or at least milk and magnolias) for Britney after that, right?
Fast forward to 2007 and, in less than a decade, Britney had gone from the Mickey Mouse Club to a twice-divorced (the first marriage lasting a whopping 55 hours before irreconcilable differences set in) mother-of-two who lost custody of her children for reasons the court wouldn't officially divulge. One suspects, however, that it might have something to do with a rampant streak of partying followed by several trips to rehab and — in a moment that will always have a special place in the Freaky Celebrity Behavior Museum — spontaneously shaving her own head at a Los Angeles area hair salon.
For a time Spears was making past quirky star behavior by everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Mel Gibson look tame by comparison.
Professionally, Britney's music had been totally lost to what seemed like a daily frenzy for the latest update on her mental state. Her appropriately named 2007 techno-leaning dance album Blackout still feels like a blur compared to her tabloid output at that time and sold a pittance compared to her previous albums (thought that pittance was still more than three million copies which is further proof that being temporarily loopy doesn't prohibit one from being successful).
Those looking for Britney to be nostalgic for that teenage ...Baby One More Time heyday might be surprised with just how little there is to find in this highly-stylized show.
It wasn't until 2008's Circus (also succinctly titled) that Britney appeared to really be stepping away from lunacy that was her life and getting back to what she does best. Following recognition for being the youngest female artist to have five albums debut at No. 1, as well as a return to the top of the singles charts with "Womanizer," Britney was officially back in entertainment business and out of the crazy business.
Her latest album, Femme Fatale, makes it an even six albums to rise to No. 1 and raves for new singles like "Hold It Against Me" and "Till The World Ends" are eclipsed only by the positive reviews for the latest tour which plays the Toyota Center on Wednesday night. Those looking for Britney to be nostalgic for that teenage ...Baby One More Time heyday might be surprised with just how little there is to find in this highly-stylized show.
You won't find "Oops... I Did It Again" in this set list. The oldest song she will sing isn't even her own (Hint: It's a cover of a song by a fellow diva she swapped spit with at the 2003 MTV Music Awards). It appears that, warts and all, Spears is far more interested in embracing and performing the music that made her the femme fatale she's become.
Britney Spears with Nicki Minaj,
7 p.m. Wednesday at Toyota Center