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Creative control in Britney Jean vs Glory


Goten21

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Britney has been struggling with creative control ever since Britney (the album). I think the big game changer was her contract renewal though

Britney Jean was the last album she had for her contract. There are articles around its release that show that Britney was being looked at by labels for her new contract.

But then she had her contract at RCA renewed, and I'm guessing she got a lot more creative control with the new contract (yes, this is a thing. Look up articles of other artists renewing their contracts; creative control is something they negotiate), because with Glory, it finally felt like her vision had come forward. And I'm happy it did.

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As for Britney wanting creative control since Britney (the album) but not getting it:

Jive financed Crossroads for half the costs and thus wanted the album Britney to contain some of its tracklisting. Britney wanted to mature her sound but didn't get to do this properly due to this.

In In The Zone she had to push for her own vision yet again (Breathe On Me, Touch Of My Hand, Toxic, Me Against the Music and Everytime are all songs or singles Britney had to fight hard for)

She straight up didn't get to release Original Doll

 

The only time she got do to what she wanted was when she fired everyone and when she was so notorious that Jive didn't want to touch her with a 10 foot pole. They didn't agree with what she was doing and thus Britney had to go out of the way to get all the producers she wanted. She was a solo team at that point in time

 

For Circus, it was a rushed attempt (and honestly a success) at showing the world she could still do it. A lot of the songs are just demos she wrote actually.

For Femme Fatale, I'm guessing she wanted something more underground and urban, but her label and team wanted her to do something a bit more in the sense of "3"? It was quite a radio hit. It clearly payed off as Britney enjoyed the most chart success in the US with Femme Fatale. But it came at the cost of Britney looking defeated, uninterested, demotivated and losing a lot of fans.

Then for Britney Jean, the same happened. She wanted something, but her label and team last minute wanted to replicate Scream and Shout's success. Except this time Britney didn't comply, and we got what we got.

 

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Well, those are a lot of assumptions and interpretations. Fans have the tendency to take things, facts or rumors to fit a narrative, which is also reflected in how they arbitrary select what to believe and what not from official statements or interviews we get, either from Britney or the people she collaborates with.

We don't know why Original Doll was scrapped, the demos we've gotten sound very unfinished and really most of them aren't that good. She could've perfectly rescued that project and release it instead of Blackout, but a lot of time had passed in between, so it didn't make sense. And before that, she had her two babies, so if she released it in 2005 or 2006, it would've been paid dust and hated by the fans for being the least successful album.

Fans tend to overrate her involvement in Blackout too, as if she was the mastermind behind the style or lyrical content, when the very same people that have worked on it, like Danja etc have already said she just came to the studio and recorded whatever they had already worked on beforehand, and leave, which is basically what she's done in every subsequent album. The only sort of direction she had was according to Danja, you would know when she liked or didn't like a particular song, which again, coincides with what she's stated for other albums too, that she only records the songs she likes (despite fans having this misconception of Britney being forced by her team or label to record stuff she hates with her heart).

About Circus being demos that Britney did, or that were supposed to be from previous albums, I don't know where that info came from, I've only read it here on Exhale since last year, before that I had never come across it, so I can't tell whether it's true or not, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It's clear though, that this was her father and Larry's, and Britney's attempt to prove the public that she wasn't a mess anymore, that she could be the pop girl we all loved again, and that's why they brought Max Martin, Danja, Guy Sigsworth, Bloodshy & Avant, etc to make the ultimate Britney album, and worked with people like Francis Lawrence and Joseph Kahn.

With Femme Fatale is when the rumors about the album changing direction start. I think it's really tricky because we don't have lots of interviews or like a documentary that details the early process of all these albums. Again, people always jump to the worst conclusion: her team forcing her to do stuff she hates, because they love see her suffer. But how do we know that maybe Britney really liked the later stuff more than the things she records in the beginning stages? She always says she wants something more urban, how do any of us know what her concept of urban is to begin with? She herself has described her songs in weird ways, like when she said Pretty Girls was a song for the clubs, or when she choreographed a song like Make Me... but Alien which was way more danceable was performed sitting on a chair.

I digress, what I wanted to say is her latest albums have taken a while to make, unlike Oops which was made in just a few weeks. So in all that time, she can change her mind multiple times. Maybe she did like all the material, but they can only pick a certain amount of songs for the album (they could actually pick as many songs as they wanted to, but whatevs). Britney herself has said she's the one who decides which songs make the album, but again, here's where fans would arbitrarily choose to believe her or not to fit a narrative. She specifically expressed very well about working with Dr. Luke and Max Martin for Femme Fatale, and what she said is she wanted something different from her previous record, and it IS different.

For Britney Jean it was different, again, in the very beginning she said it would be more urban, but this was even before will.i.am was named the producer. She may be recording stuff all the time, but that doesn't mean that she's always intending for all the material to make it to an album. The declarations we did get from will.i.am and Larry, which again, probably most fans won't believe or will ignore, is that Britney didn't want to deal with picking the songs submitted from the various songwriters and instead will worked as this sort of filter. will himself spoke about club bangers or super heavy beats that came to him, without naming anyone in particular, but Danja comes to mind, and saying HE didn't think they fit the vibe from the months of conversations he had with Britney prior to the recording process. Yet songs like Tik Tik Boom or Body Ache made the record, but maybe Britney did like those, so who knows.

With Glory is the only one where we have a "clearer" timeline or indication that the album did change direction and that's when Karen came in, yet we still have songs from 2014 in the record. Also, Britney didn't mention a change in her record deal, but she spoke about the conservatorship instead at Jonathan's show. Which in itself was a weird statement, not only because she allegedly mentioned the conservatorship having existed for only 3 years (which could've been a brain fart due to nervousness) but because she mentioned like in the past not having a lot of control due to it, but now being able to do more, as if the conservatorship didn't exist anymore or an important shift happened with it, when we all know nothing has changed (at least back in 2016). What I mean is, it doesn't really make a lot of sense why she was allowed to do more, allegedly, for Glory than the previous records, when the conservatorship was still the same.

 

 

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So about her control (only discussing albums and a little bit about singles, not music videos, performances, etc.):

She didn't really have control over her debut album. Though I don't think she really cared because she was still in the "I want it all" phase that all popstars go through early on.

On Oops she had control over the concept, and she also wrote the song "Dear Diary", so her control did expand a bit, though barely.

Britney is really where she started to take more control. She was able to achieve a bit of a more mature sound on this album compared to others. I personally cannot speak on how much Crossroads affected the album.

In The Zone involved a high degree of creative control from Britney Spears, though she had to push hard for it. All of the singles (except for "Outrageous") were her choice.

Original Doll is tricky because we may never know the truth about why nothing happened with it. Her label could have been mad because she got rid of her manager and debuted Mona Lisa on her own like most people say, but who really knows in the end. If some of the more provocative songs (like "Ouch!") were really intended for the album at some point, then them being released as singles could garner a lot of attention to the album, making it very successful. She may have had pregnancies, but I don't think that would have effected the success of the album that much. Madonna gave birth to her second child literally ten days before one of her biggest hits, "Music", was released.

Britney Spears did not have as much involvement in Blackout as most people think. Some people say that she had control over the concept, though I am not sure as of right now what they mean by that.

With Circus we enter the "post breakdown" albums, which is where things start to get tricky and rumors start to fly. I have heard people say that there was something different in Britney's mind, but I am not really sure about that. I am sure though that the album was engineered to be strong for Britney's comeback.

With Femme Fatale, Britney Spears did not get what she wanted. I know about the whole "but we got Criminal and He About to Lose Me" arguments, but those songs have a notable layer of heavy synths on them to help them blend in with the rest of the album. Even when Kesha had the original concept for her album Warrior changed against her will, she still had some songs from the original rock concept on the album, but she even managed to be vocal about it on Twitter by saying that she didn't want to sing "Die Young". If you are wondering why Britney Spears didn't so the same for Femme Fatale, and only said positive things about the album, is because Kesha was (more likely than not) forced to take down her tweet. Considering that Britney Spears also had a conservatorship hanging over her, I believe that she would not want to step out and say anything at all.

I would highly suggest looking at this link regarding Femme Fatale (Everything is cited with a source):

https://web.archive.org/web/20140101223938/https://unreleasedbritney.4mg.com/albums.html

(When looking at each source, please be sure to remove the "https://web.archive.org/web/(insert random numbers here)/" from the link in the search bar, and then hit enter again.)

Britney Jean is pretty controversial. Now I admit, even as a question I should not have postulated the most likely false rumor that she angrily left recording studios, that's on me. Regardless, something about the album not completely have Britney's vocals (besides backup vocals which is fine) is fishy to me. I don't think that it has to do with the residency keeping her busy. There are multiple examples (one really good one in particular) where celebrities have recorded albums in the middle of other projects, and they have been completed with their own vocals. On the sound, the "Blackout 2.0" tweet is definitely blown out of proportion by many. I do think that she was more interested in hip hop in some way though, especially considering the Femme Fatale situation. That being said, I personally do believe that regardless of what direction the album went, she genuinely liked "Alien" and all of the Sia collabs.

Glory is a bit weird, because once again their are songs from before and after the concept change happened. She was most definitely allowed creative control because Circus, Femme Fatale, and Britney Jean conveniently had serious changes happening around their releases. Circus was Britney's comeback, Femme Fatale was when Jive was absorbed by RCA, and Britney Jean was around the time of Piece of Me starting. I think that her label wanted to play things safe to maximize profits/protect her image during big changes. Glory didn't have anything major happening around it, so there wasn't a worry there.

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