Blackout – a Pop Masterpiece Essay Sample

Blackout – a Pop Masterpiece Pages
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Pop music is supposed to inspire and create an experience that no other type of music can accomplish; something Blackout not only did for pop music fans, but it inspired a whole generation of new artists. Obviously the electronic, synth, urban and dance genres have been around for quite some time now, but has any of it been fused together so perfectly for a mainstream audience? The answer is no. So much of the pop music today is urban, synth, and experimental with the mainstream club beats to accompany it, and you can’t look past Blackout and find that.

It’s too bad the music contained in this album isn’t taken seriously, due to the misconceptions about the artist. In fact, some people hear that name and eyes tend to roll. She’s been taken for a joke, stereotyped and unrecognized for her artistry but it’s good to note that she herself was an Executive-Producer for the album. I’m not going to make this about her or her personal life, all though it’s hard not to, but this album didn’t get half as much praise as it should have and it was probably due to fiasco that was going on in her personal life. With that said, the album was still able to hold it’s own with no promotion. This all completes how I value the record.

Take a look at artists such as Ke$ha and Lady Gaga. Before Blackout (2007), did you ever hear that type of music on mainstream radio? It was out there, yes, but it was all too unique for commercial success. Keep in mind neither of those artists even had developing record deals at that time. If you do your research, you’ll find that Ke$ha comes from a country/classic rock music background and Lady Gaga came from a singer-songwriter/rock background. She’d been writing music and performing at clubs for years before Music Industry Execs got a hold of her and developed this Dance-Pop Vixen known as “Lady Gaga.” I think Blackout itself didn’t directly inspire their music, but they took what inspired Blackout and ran with it. This is why the album is so popular and significant in pop culture.

The material itself is surprisingly mature and well thought out. I mean there are the fun dance songs that aren’t meant to be cried to (see “Gimme More”, “Get Naked”, “Freakshow”.) But even with them, the production is flawless and the vocals are so eccentric. You can’t beat the sass and attitude “Piece Of Me” delivers or even the sorrow on “Why Should I Be Sad?” that make you feel her pain. The bottom line is, though effects were imminently present, the vocals on this album are intriguingly intense and you don’t get that all the time with Pop Music. I would say the production and the vocals are most noticeably the strengths of this album. The only weakness, a slim weakness, is the materials’ lyrics. I only say this because I think some of the songs could have been written better.

The album was targeted towards inner city, urban kids and adults in their late teens and mid to late twenties. That however was probably Spears’ target for a growing fan base and audience. But anytime Spears works out a new album, she, the writers, the producers have to, with no question, please the hardcore Britney fans. To be honest, I think Blackout was only produced with the mainstream-pop flair so that her core fan base would enjoy the record as well. But I think she really wanted something even edgier than it already was.

An album is supposed to compile a group of songs that the artist and/or collaborators have worked on into a platform of music that flows with a theme. Blackout, Britney Spears’ fifth studio album, accomplishes this by providing music she executively produced that summed up her life into a theme. Playing the “Nobody’s Perfect” card and really what her life had become in general were the themes of the album. More specifically, a Pop album is supposed to inspire and create an experience that no other type of music can accomplish; something Blackout not only did for pop music fans, but it inspired a whole generation of new Pop artists. Obviously the electronic, synth, urban and dance genres have been around for quite some time now, but has any of it been fused together so perfectly for a mainstream audience?

The answer is no. So much of the pop music today is urban, synth, and experimental with the mainstream club beats to accompany it, and you can’t look past Blackout and find that. It’s too bad the music contained in this album isn’t taken seriously, due to the misconceptions about the artist. In fact, some people hear that name and eyes tend to roll. She’s been taken for a joke, stereotyped and unrecognized for her artistry. I’m not going to make this about her or her personal life, all though it’s hard not to, but this album didn’t get half as much praise as it should have and it was probably due to fiasco that was going on in her personal life. With that said, the album was still able to hold it’s own with no promotion. This is the true value the record.

Take a look at artists such as Ke$ha and Lady Gaga. Before Blackout (2007), did you ever hear that type of music on mainstream radio? It was out there, yes, but it was all too unique for commercial success. Keep in mind neither of those artists even had developing record deals at that time. If you do your research, you’ll find that Ke$ha comes from a country/classic rock music background and Lady Gaga came from a singer-songwriter/rock background. She’d been writing music and performing at clubs for years before Music Industry Execs got a hold of her and developed this Dance-Pop Vixen known as “Lady Gaga.” I don’t think Blackout directly inspired their music, but they took what inspired Blackout and ran with it. This is why the album is so popular and significant in pop culture.

The material itself is surprisingly mature and well thought out. A first listen of “Piece Of Me” may suggest shallow lyrics, but there is much more complexity to it. Kelefa Sanneh sums up the production aspect of the deep meaning by stating, “…producers set upon her like ravenous fans, building her up (by dropping out the bass line) and then knocking her around (by shifting her pitch). Together they evoke the horror, the exhilaration and (finally) the boredom of the over examined life. It’s brilliant” (“‘Miss Bad Media Karma’ Sings, Too,” 2007, para. 7). There are of course fun dance songs that aren’t supposed to be cried to (see “Gimme More”, “Get Naked”, “Freakshow”.) But even with them, the production is flawless and the vocals are so eccentric.

You can’t beat the sass and attitude “Piece Of Me” delivers or even the sorrow on “Why Should I Be Sad?” that make you feel her pain. The bottom line is, though effects were imminently present, the vocals on this album are intriguingly intense and you don’t get that all the time with Pop Music. Sanneh, with perfect words, explains the effect Spears’ vocals on “Gimme More” has on the listener, “As if to taunt all the voyeurs crying crocodile tears for her children, she delivers almost nothing but slithery come-ons and defiant invitations to nightclub decadence” (“‘Miss Bad Media Karma’ Sings, Too,” 2007, para. 5). I would say the production and the vocals are most noticeably the strengths of this album. The only weakness, a slim weakness, is the materials’ lyrics. I only say this because I think some of the songs could have been written better.

The album was targeted towards inner city, urban kids and adults in their late teens and mid to late twenties. That however was probably Spears’ target for a growing fan base and audience. But anytime Spears works out a new album, she, the writers, the producers have to, with no question, please the hardcore Britney fans. To be honest, I think Blackout was only produced with the mainstream-pop flair so that her core fan base would enjoy the record as well. But I think she really wanted something even edgier than it already was.

References
Sanneh, K. (2007, October 29). ‘Miss Bad Media Karma’ Sings, Too Nytimes.com. Retrieved January 28, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/29/arts/music/29spea.html?_r=1&ref=britneyspears

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