Britney Spears - Guilty (Quentin Harris mix)
(Warning: massive geeking out about pop in this post, mainly just to unclog my brain. I suggest listening to the track first.)
I’m not really a writer in name only. (The acronym would be troubling, for starters.) I write plenty; there’s documented proof. But I spend too much time pretending to write: jotting down Evernote snippets of things I overhear or glosses on social dynamics, imagining people’s monologues about them, not actually producing words. Sometimes it goes a remove further. Sometimes I pretend I’m getting there by YouTubing unreleased Britney Spears songs.
1. There is a shocking amount of metadata on Britney’s unreleased material. Some of it is from registration databases, which is a fun way to waste time and be horrified at how many people worked with Ryan Tedder at some point. Much of it is bullshit. (For instance, Britney Spears probably did not write “All That She Wants.”) (Yes, that happened. The recording is important. Ask me about my theory in which “All That She Wants” is the closest thing to the female “Novacane” other than, I dunno, Bat for Lashes’ “Sleep Alone.” Yes, that includes Dawn Richard. Can you tell I’ve put thought into it?) Anyway, the track’s evidently by The Clutch and Cutfather with a Spears credit of some sort. The version here is the club mix, because the original hasn’t leaked. When it might have been released was sometime before Blackout and after Spears started getting co-writing credits, but more pertinently…
2. …after ”Cry Me a River.” Nobody can quite agree who this song was “written about,” and analyzing celebrity biography too much is like going down a foxhole in a field dug up with dozens of foxholes. (Kind of like that one chapter in How I Survived Being a Girl, which will ring a bell for none of you. I should stop thinking of metaphors based on young-adult books nobody has read. This is why this is on Tumblr.)
But the only way this song makes any sense is as an answer song to “Cry Me a River.” I listen to it as such.
3. What it consists of: “Ghostbusters” strings, angry laughter, foghorns and a beat somewhere. Britney’s vocals are sped up to the point where she’s spitting everything out; if you were to sing this, the only way you can get close is to tense up, let your face quiver, shake a bit. As justifications for cheating go, it’s flimsy and not apologetic in the slightest and possibly self-destructive. It would have fit perfectly on Blackout. It might have fit better.