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SCRIBBLES VOL 1 ISSUE 1

DECEMBER 2013

Britney Spears

MISS MOVING ON How to get over heartbreaks S R I F

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s g n i t i l l r a w w

CONTRIBUTORS Bradley Stern Teresa Maluni

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HOW TO GET OVER HEARTBREAKS

MAIN MARKINGS THE FULL ALBUM REVIEW


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hat’s up By Bradley Stern Britney Jean is Britney’s “Most Personal Album Ever,” so this review is about to get a little more personal (raw) — it’s not just blind standom. People can take everything away from you, but they can never take away your truth. But the question is…can you handle mine?


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rom …Baby One More Time (call me when you hear a better pop song in 2013 than “Born To Make You Happy”) to Femme Fatale — even through her darkest hours of her personal life (Blackout) — Britney has supplied reliably forward-thinking, cutting-edge pop music that leads the pack and keeps her reigning as the greatest pop star of our generation. As the years went by — even when live vocals became a thing of the past, even when the choreography slowed down to hair flips and armography, and even when she became visibly bored and resentful in interviews and fan meet-and-greets, it didn’t matter. We always had the music. For the first time in her career, Britney has released an album that is just okay — by her standard, anyway. The hype for Album 8 started well over a year ago, right about when Britney took notice of a trending topic on Twitter last Halloween. “Blackout 2.0?” she teased. By now, her team’s heard it loud and clear: Britney’s cold, urban 2007 masterpiece Blackout is a fan favorite. The process started off promising as ever: Britney was seen sitting in a recording studio with Darkchild while shooting X Factor. Danja, the Blackout producer himself told me “I think there’s going to be another one.” All systems go, right? There was just one nagging new addition to the team: Will.I.Am will.i.am’s reign of terror with Britney began in 2011, with his lame feature on Femme Fatale‘s “Big Fat Bass.” Her voice on that song — stretched into unfamiliar robo-territory — barely resembled the warm, warbly thing that characterizes all of her giant hits. He struck again with “Scream & Shout,” last year’s drunk-pop anthem (a worldwide smash, duh, lest

we forget why he got this gig) that allowed the public to get a piece of speak-singing Britishney. Sure, we thought. A feature on will.i.am’s album — that’s fine, we thought. But then, #ItGotWorse. Way worse. He was named Executive Producer of Album 8 in May. “Relax!” I said. “He helped Kelis make Flesh Tone!” I said. Almost as quickly, the strategy for the album changed: Blackout 2.0 was dropped from the conversation, and Personalney quickly became the focus. will.i.am began telling interviewers


was happening. Producers soon began confirming one-by-one that they failed to make the cut. Dev Hynes? Nope. Charli? Nah. Darkchild? Nuh uh. Danja? Nope. Max Martin? Not this time. Bloodshy & Avant? No. Um. So who was on the album, anyway? Yes, that’s right…will.i.cant. Still, there was plenty of help from outside the will.i.am world, too: Sia co-wrote three of the tracks (all standouts from the album), club-pop titans David Guetta, Diplo, Nicky Romero and Richard Vission have their brief moments in the sun, The Fr3shmen and Zach “Reazon” Heiligman (who also worked with Foster The People) are in the mix — but in the end, will.i.am overwhelmingly called the shots.

that he was having “a lot of lunches” with Britney before recording to get a better understanding of what she’d like to write about. So, so many lunches. “Britney and me need to have lunch Four times a month for three months,” he told Rolling Stone. (I’m not sure what kind of unholy feast could lead to “It Should Be Easy” — but well, they ate.) Promising writers and producers began flooding in as the project opened for submissions: Dev Hynes! Charli XCX! Elijah Blake! Anticipation grew, as it does for any other Britney album. But as the release date drew closer, no one was talking. Nothing

Hearing the album in full for the first time, I initially felt deflated. Forget the fact that “Work Bitch,” “Tik Tik Boom” and “Body Ache” are as personal as a lampshade, that’s not the issue: The issue is that Britney’s actual presence on the album is, at times, questionable. For one thing, “Alien” exists. And it’s incredible. The William Orbit-produced opening track is the perfect way to launch Britney Jean (into outer space, as it were), and remains one of the album’s most introspective productions. Building across sparse, spacey electronica and a stomp similar to Femme Fatale‘s “He About To Lose Me,” “Alien” of the album’s most “vibe”-y moments. It’s the vibe, I think, that most fans were anticipating (REFERENCE). “There was a time I was one of a kind / Lost in a world out of me, myself and I,” she declares. It’s not the first time she’s hinted at feeling lonely (“my loneliness is killing me,” anyone?) Editing glitches aside, the track allows Britney’s


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sweetly urgent vocals to shine, as she recounts a darker time in life and — it seems — a light at the end of the tunnel. Faith? A special someone? Her fans? It’s you, whoever you are out there. The song sounds like something that could be found on Madonna‘s American Life, blending self-reflection and vague Spearituality with minimal electronica.

the most interesting songs that Britney’s recorded in a long time — it’s a shame that there isn’t more like this to be found on the album. (“So fire hot, a 20 out of 10,” for the native Godney speakers out there.) “Work Bitch” comes blaring into the speakers next, and the contrast is jarring: Make no mistake, the song’s still superb. Ignore the fact that she’s sort of afraid The only setback? Orbit (or whichever to say the word “bitch” in interviews, engineer was in charge of doing the final or that the talking point for this song mastering) warped Britney’s vocals in the was that it’s “for the gays” or that she chorus of “Alien” (an early version leaked felt uncomfortable shooting the video. weeks prior, and it’s superior), and in doing so, (Basically, let’s forget that Britney does not accidentally sliced her voice at one point. At seem to like this song.) It’s still a standout. the 2:14 mark. It actually skips. This is a major There are too many juicy Spearitual mainstream pop release. Mistakes happen, I moments — the pronunciation of “Booknow. But c’mon — it’s Britney, bitch. gatti” and “hot bodeh,” the transcendent “Hold your head high!” bridge, the sharkDespite the engineering flop, “Alien” is one of filled video in the desert — that make


it too good to be denied. It’s now a certified Britney classic. “Perfume” then spritzes into the speakers — another one of the surprises from the Britney Jean era. Hearing Britney sound vulnerable — and even jealous! — is a rare and wondrous thing, which is why “Perfume” is also a highlight. It sounds better as the “Dreaming Mix” on the deluxe edition of Britney Jean, as originally produced by songwriter Chris Braide. (But, you know, since will.i.am couldn’t help himself, he went ahead and slapped on some loud noises of his own for the single version.) Thematically, this is Brit’s most mature ballad in years, and it’s really incredible to hear her lower register being utilized. Not since those Oops! days have we gotten these kinds of vocals!

gym while the album’s still fresh, but there’s not even a little bit of Britney’s DNA in this production.

The closest the album comes to bringing Blackout 2.0 to life comes in the form of “Tik Tik Boom” with T.I., which was originally recorded by Robin Antin‘s latest attempt to recreate the magic of the Pussycat Dolls, GRL. The slick #SomethingMoreUrban stomper squeezes Britney back into her “Gimme More” stripper heels and gets her twirling back on the pole: “Talk dirty to me babe, every time I want it,” she urges. T.I. comes in later for a sex-drenched verse of his own (which plays too low in the speakers — engineers, why?) before Britney comes in for one more round. The chorus, in all of its seductive monotone glory (“Tik tik tik tik tik tik tik boom”), provides plenty of room for But the vocal showcase suddenly stops short in Twerkney to drop it low — not that she really the middle: As opposed to Swedish electronica even wants to be sexy anymore. Still, those or dub-infused electro-pop, Britney Jean final Spearitual runs at the end of the song are is largely rooted in full-on club sound, a la like hearing Strongerney come to life all over “Scream & Shout.” There is no boundaryagain: “Ooh, ya-a-a-ah!” breaking electronica, nor any structural experimentation. It’s just your standard “sick The David Guetta and will.i.am-produced beat drop, bro” EDM affair. “Body Ache” is okay, assuming that you can get past the fact that it sounds like a mashOf all the uptempos, “It Should Be Easy,” up between LMFAO and “Scream & Shout.” the one that features will.i.am, is an utter (Seriously, that springy dance beat is so abomination to Britney’s musical legacy. cheap.) “Body Ache” is pretty devoid of any signature Britney-isms — any dance diva It’s not so much that she’s been Auto-Tuned could be crooning this one, including the within an inch of her life — that’s worked song’s co-writers Luciana and Myah Marie. before as an effect on glitchy cuts like (Speaking of, is that you Myah?) Britney is Blackout‘s “Piece Of Me” and In The Zone‘s a pop pioneer, not a trend follower. (A nice “Brave New Girl” — but it’s just so undeniably shout out to Jordan at BreatheHeavy in the basic; a vapid #willpower serving of Robotney: second verse, though!) “You bring me zen / You make me feel like a “Til It’s Gone” is one of the few times, or million, billion,” she flatly declares through maybe the only time, when Britney Jean the vocoders, with all the enthusiasm of a manages to combine every campaign death row inmate. The song almost borders on promise into one song: It’s both meaningful parody at one point. “La-da-dee, la-di-da,” she (Personalney) and dance floor-ready sing-songs through the electronic prison bars. (Blackout 2.0), resulting in something that Sure, “Easy” might be mindless fun for the sounds almost as good as Kelis’ Flesh Tone.


The vocals are really, really phenomenal — it’s almost like hearing Britney-era Britney peeking through the curtains in 2013, like a continuation of “Before The Goodbye.” But this is an even darker sequel: Sure, it’s about letting go of someone on paper. Or does it actually mean something bigger…like her own freedom? Considering Britney doesn’t even have full legal control of her life (let’s not get into it), the message of the song hits home. Hard.

(PERSONAL!), by enlisting Spearitual sister and Country Queen Jamie Lynn for a twangy, #SomethingMoreUrban duet called “Chillin’ With You” that could have easily been a Bangerz reject — and with Larry Rudolph at the helm of Miley’s career, it likely is. “When I’m witchu, I’m chillin’, I’m chillin’,” the two trade off across a bubbly beat. Jamie Lynn sounds incredible on her verse (and is, I think, featured on this song even longer than Britney?) “Chillin’ With You” is no more revealing than “Follow Me,” the theme “I’m blind from the tears that fall like rain, so song Britney herself wrote for Jamie Lynn’s lost ever since you went away,” she coos off Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, and it’s certainly the top of the track. The bridge is especially not any better. Also, the lyrics don’t even really incredible, even providing a few classic Britney make sense in the context of Britney’s life: “I warbles (“Ah-owww!“) at the very beginning drank some red wine, and now I’m walking that briefly transports us back to the glory on the sky.” Um, except Britney is sober now. days. What? “Passenger,” the Sia-Katy offering, is one of the album’s true standouts from the very first second: That skittering, Diplo-produced electronic intro is just the kind of mystical, next-level vibe I was hoping would permeate throughout Britney Jean. And then, it breaks: “It’s hard to jump with no net / But I’ve jumped and got no regret!” Britney cries out above the crunchy guitar-led midtempo — an ode to willingly letting go of the reigns — err, the wheel. There’s a subtle religious touch (hey, Katy Perry did co-write it, after all!), which makes this sound like Britney’s own “Jesus Take The Wheel,” as she forks over the keys to her Louis Vuitton Hummer from the “Do Somethin’” set and allows faith to lead the way. “We’ll see more without a map,” Britney happily coos. It’s not only a beautiful song, but a beautiful message too: In an age of Smartphones and Siri — Britney Jean wants you to throw it all away and get lost in the world together. (I call shotgun!) But that bliss is short-lived once “Chillin’ With You” arrives, an embarrassing backfire. They’ve kept it in the family

By the half hour mark, the album is already over. “Don’t Cry,” the album’s depressing final track, is to “Perfume” as In The Zone‘s “Shadow” is to “Everytime,” providing a darker kick of angst at the end: Riding in on a lone whistle straight out of an old Western movie, Britney warbles her uncomfortable last goodbye. Lana Del Spears? Well, kinda. The vocals are purely Britney-era, sounding crisp and strong in the verses. “This is gonna be our last goodbye / Our love is gone, but I’ll survive,” B-Girl trembles. “Don’t cry, don’t cry.” It’s hard to believe that she’s trying to convince anyone but herself. Or maybe even her fans: “Pack my bags, can’t take no more / Adios, I’m out the door.” Sorry, but Cinderella’s got to go. The one true triumph of Britney Jean is the vocals — that is, when we’re fairly sure that it’s her singing. That’s clearly her belting on “Perfume” and “Brightest Morning Star,” and that’s her warbling and cooing on “Alien,” “Don’t Cry” and “Til It’s Gone” — it’s a pleasant reminder of that classic Britney sound.


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As a result, there’s a lingering sense of resignation within Britney Jean: “Don’t Cry” might be a break-up song dedicated to an ex-flame hitting the road, but it plays more like a tear-stained note to self in her Dear Diary. And as for “Til It’s Gone”? “You never know what you got til it’s gone,” Britney warns, seconds before getting swept away in a tidal wave of frantic will.i.am beats. It’s a sentiment that rings morbidly true. Perhaps Britney took the message of “Passenger” too literally with Britney Jean. Can she have those keys back now? • For the full review of Britney Jean by Brandon Stern, visit www.muumuse.com


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how to get over

heartbreaks

Heartbreak hurts, and there's no denying it. Everyone will find a different way to get over it, but we all find being dumped or losing a loved one very hard. Easier for some people, but harder for others.

1.

Don't be embarrassed to cry. You've been hurt - expect the tears to keep coming. There are few people who can get over heartbreak without shedding tears, so let them flow. If you bottle up your feelings, you'll only end up making yourself feel worse later. Let everything loose and don't hold anything back.


2

Find something to help take your mind off your heartbreak for a while, the feeling will pass with time. Activities you enjoy will help you relax.

Talk to your friends and family. That’s what they’re there for! A good friend you trust will be a good person to talk to. A parent or sibling may also be a good choice

3

4

Focus on moving on. Focus for a while on your career and family. If you help someone else out, you’ll feel good, and have a chance to take your mind off the pain. Good times are a great way to help you get over heartbreak. Keep on going with your day and focus on your work.

Keep it in perspective! Think about the positive things in your life, and what you have left. Think about what you can do with your future, and don’t let your loss destroy the rest of your life too. Letting the feeling overcome you will lead you down a road that isn’t too pleasant.

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6

Rebuild your life. Get engrossed in new things, and try not to look back on the past. The more you move forward, the less it will hurt. Keep yourself occupied, so you don’t have time to be upset. Keep moving forward.

7

Talk to a professional. You may need to see a psychologist or other such professional person if your grief is really destroying your life. A professional will care and will know how to help you. They can almost certainly offer further and better advice.

8

Accept it. You might never quite be happy about the event that caused your heartbreak, and you might always shed a tear thinking about it, but eventually you will find that you can live without it getting in the way. Just remember that every relationship is a learning experience, and every learning experience will positively effect your future. Time heals all wounds, especially in the case of heartbreak.

9

Cut all ties. So yeah, you’re about to move on, but you still keep on getting group messages or see his posts on your Facebook news feed, or reading his tweets on your Twitter timeline. Keeping him in your social media would still get you holding on. Tendencies are, you will continue to stalk his Facebook page and check if he’s going out with another, or you’re reading his latest tweets, or worst, reminisce your good old memories if you get to have one of his texts. You have to let it all go, and stay focused on your plan.

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If your heartbreak is because of breaking up, don't start looking again for romance straight away. You need time to heal emotionally, and you will only be left feeling even worse if you end up rejected again. Find ways to keep yourself occupied. Get a new hobby or activity to keep your mind from dwelling on your loss. Plan an activity with a friend or just plan a hang out to talk to him or her about it. :). It cannot be stressed enough that sharing the burden makes getting over heartbreak a lot easier. A friend or relative can really be what you need to cheer up. If you've been dumped, it's not the end of the world. Remind yourself that no relationship is entirely perfect. It can be hard to remember that when you're in the middle of heartbreak. If you find getting to sleep difficult, try listening to some music, or a radio play while you rest. Turn the volume down a little, but make sure you listen to the music or the story, and not to yourself. Try writing it down in a diary. Sometimes writing down what happened can help to put things into perspective.


If you're mourning, you're not going to be the only one feeling the pain. Talk with other mourners, and you can help each other out. The burden is a lot easier when you share it. BUT BE FOREWARNED Don't be driven into drinking or taking illegal substances by your heartbreak. That way, you'll just end up destroying your own life because of one tragedy, and that's a waste. Don't push yourself onto people, as they may be forced to listen to you and they may feel that they can't really help. On the other side, don’t push people away as well. There are others who are willing to listen to every sobs you make. Grab that chance, and let it all out through them. You're not to blame! It's very easy to get the idea in your head that either you're entirely to blame or that you had no part in it. Don't kill yourself with guilt and don't entirely detach yourself from the situation. It's unlikely that anyone is really a monster. Don't let heartbreak drive you into doing anything dangerous. Life will go on. •

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HER MOST PERSONAL ALBUM YET

IN STORES DECEMBER 3



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