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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Jukebox: Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears

Although my one and only experience with higher learning ended up without a degree and with a fourteen thousand dollar debt, I will say that the experience of going to university wasn't all bad.

I mean, would I have liked to have gotten a piece of paper saying that I was a university graduate?  Yeah, I admit that it would have been nice.  At the same time though, I knew that my being at that particular school at that particular time would not have amounted to anything because I was in a program that I knew wasn't going to get me a job that I wanted.  I wish it could have been different, but alas, it just wasn't for me.

To tell you the truth, if I had to do it all over again, I probably would not have gone to an expensive university where classes were a thousand students and professors purposely graded on a curve to weed out the competition.  No, I would have probably gone to a community college or a technical school where I could learn something that I could actually use in life, and maybe make a decent living someday.

That's the good thing about entering my thirties.  I find that it isn't too late to go back to school, and I'm really looking into options where I can do exactly that.  My debt load isn't all that much now, and I am in the position where I can probably take a two or three year course in something relevant.  I'm really serious about doing this, especially when you live in a town where the average person is a senior citizen, and there isn't a lot out there for people my age.  I want to feel like I have a future out there in this world doing what I love.  Certainly while writing is something that I love doing, and would ideally like a career in, I realize that I need a back-up plan.  Something to fall back on should the writing dream not come true.

I may have had my 'Oops, I Did It Again' moment eleven years ago, but then again, don't we all have at least one during our lifetimes?

The subject of today's blog certainly has had her share of those kinds of moments.  Heck, her second album was called 'Oops, I Did It Again'.  And the title track just happened to be the first release from that album.  Not only that, but it happens to be the subject of today's blog!

ARTIST:  Britney Spears
SONG:  Oops, I Did It Again
ALBUM:  Oops, I Did It Again
DATE RELEASED:  March 27, 2000

Now you know that Britney Spears is one of those artists that has reached both highs and lows.  When she was riding high, she was very, very high, but when she was low, she crashed and burned.

At the beginning of 2000, Britney's star was shining brightly.  Following her successful 1998 debut album which spawned several hits and popular music videos which were requested on MTV and Muchmusic throughout 1999, Britney had to follow up with an album that was just as powerful as the first.

The song Oops, I Did It Again was a huge success, and many of Britney's fans consider it to be her signature song.  The song's message wasn't anything special.  The lyrics basically tell a story about a girl who treats love as if it is a game, and plays those mind games with her lover, claiming that her innocence is sorely lacking.  Not exactly the most positive message for a song, but I suppose if you believe that the guy is a duplicitous cheater who verbally abuses the girl, one could say he had it coming.

Nevertheless, the song, while only making it to number nine on the American charts, reached the top spot in no less than eleven different nations between April and June 2000.  It more or less solidified Britney's position on the music charts for the next five years.  Part of the reason for the success of Oops, I Did It Again was the accompanying music video, which showed Britney in outer space, getting in a relationship with an astronaut.  The video showed Britney in a skintight red outfit, which was quite provocative for the singer, who had turned eighteen three months prior to the song's release.

It was certainly a far cry from the days in which she starred in the Mickey Mouse club in the early 1990's.  Above is a cast photo of the group.  If you look really closely, you can see other famous faces in the mix.  There's Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and although she isn't in this picture, Keri Russell was a part of the group too.

For Britney (the girl in the lower right hand corner), the Mickey Mouse club was really her first foray into stardom.  A few years after that, she would record her first album, and ironically enough, she was the opening act for the boy band NSync, which had her former Mickey Mouse club co-worker Justin Timberlake as one of the members.

Britney's success began almost immediately upon the release of '...Baby One More Time.'  The song reached number one right off the bat, and the album was just as successful.  Oops, I Did It Again was another success, and by then, word had gotten out that Britney Spears was now dating Justin Timberlake.

Britney and Justin's relationship was one that both fans and tabloids seemed to be very much interested in, and it wasn't uncommon for the pair to be photographed together at awards shows and other gatherings.  Both their careers were well on the rise.  Justin Timberlake released his first solo album in 2002, whereas Britney had just released a third album and was eagerly working on her fourth.

Then towards the end of 2002, the union between Timberlake and Spears was over, and it seemed that the break-up was anything but amicable, especially given the release of Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River'. 

It's hard to say whether her break-up with Justin triggered Britney's string of Oops, I Did It Again moments, or whether it was something else that made Britney's star dim substantially, but upon retrospect, it very well could have been a part of it.

Beginning in 2004, and peaking around 2007, Britney's life was like a gigantic 'Oops I Did It Again' moment.  Some of the lowlights include marrying a childhood friend, only to get the marriage annulled less than three days later.  She had an accident on the set of the music video for 'Outrageous', where she underwent surgery and was sidelined for a while.  She got married again to Kevin Federline (which was controversial, considering that Federline had left his pregnant girlfriend for Spears), and they had two children together.  During this marriage, Spears was photographed in rather precarious situations, and one famous snapshot showed her driving around in a car holding her son in her lap instead of strapped in a car seat.  It was a rocky road for sure, but that was peanuts compared to what was to come next.

By the end of 2006, the marriage between Britney Spears and Kevin Federline had all but busted up, and in early 2007, Britney lost her beloved aunt to cancer.  It was a very stressful time for her in her life, and one day in February, the stress got to her and she lost control.

On February 16, 2007, Britney had checked herself into a rehabilitation center, but checked herself out the same day.  Later that night, she had her ultimate Oops, I Did It Again moment.

I'm sure that almost everyone in the world knows of the moment that Britney Spears shaved off all of the hair on her head that crisp February night.  Shortly after that, she attacked the paparazzi with a beach umbrella, and with those two incidents, it seemed as though any positive stock and credibility that she had was clipped away.

To top it all off, her appearance at the 2007 MTV Video Awards was a complete disaster.  She was slated to perform the first release from her 'Blackout' album entitled 'Gimme More', but the whole performance was to say the least a huge disappointment.  Her heart just wasn't into the performance, you could tell that she was lip synching the words, and the audience in the arena looked very uncomfortable being there.

Yet another Oops, I Did It Again moment for Britney.

But, in all seriousness, we all have had those moments in our lives.  The unfortunate part about Britney's moments were that they were all televised, or in print for everyone to see.  Thankfully, most of us haven't had our Oops, I Did It Again moments broadcast in nearly a public venue as she had.

Regardless, I haven't really been a fan of kicking someone when they were down unless they did something so reprehensible that forgiveness wasn't even an option.  And, even then, I'd feel more pity for them than anger.  And as far as Britney Spears goes, I do think that too many people kicked her at her lowest point, and it probably didn't help matters much at all.

As I said, we have all had moments in which we consider major Oops moments.  My decision to leave university without a degree but with a massive debt was one that I considered to be a huge Oops moment.  After leaving school, I really did hit a period of rock-bottomness.  2003 was a year that I considered my rock-bottom moment.  I was a university dropout, I was unemployed for almost a year and a half, and stuck in a town that seemingly had nothing to offer.  It wasn't the first time though.  1997 was another rough year for me.  The death of my grandmother in 1991 was another bitter pill to swallow.  And let's be honest, almost dying from an infected gall bladder made the first few months of 2011 a living nightmare.

But, that's what life is.  Life is all about experiencing the highs and lows of life.  1991, 1997, 2003, early 2011...they were all extremely low points in my life that I would have not lived at all.  But, the thing is, I did, and I'm a lot stronger because of it.

Besides, there were some great moments as well.  2000 was a good year for me, because I was finally leaving the school that had caused me a lot of drama in my life.  I enjoyed 2004 because it was the year that everything began to get better for me, including a couple of job and volunteer placements before landing my current job in December of that year.  And 2009 was actually one of my favourite years ever, for it was that year that I did a lot of soul-searching, and made a lot of healthier decisions that have benefitted me in the long run.  Even though 2011 started off horribly, it's shaping up to end a lot better than it began.

So, you see, I certainly have not let my Oops I Did It Again moments define who I was.  They're a part of who I am, but they no longer take over my whole life.  There are ways to work through those moments, and have a comeback whenever you want.

Britney Spears certainly had that comeback.  Though her 2007 appearance on the MTV Video Awards was a bust, her 2007 'Blackout' album was on fire.  In many ways, it was deemed her comeback album of sorts, and it brought her back into the mainstream.  Then came 2008's 'Circus', and 2011's 'Femme Fatale', which have resurrected her once floundering music career.  Britney's also made an effort to get back on her feet and try to be a great mother to her kids.  She still has a way to go yet, but she is definitely looking a lot better than she did a few years ago. 

Britney's gotten another chance to get it right.

And, you know...I think I could learn something from Ms. Spears.

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