Mystery Music March in April

Answer Machine Message (Baby Call Me Back) -- Britney Spears

Despite every attempt to contrary I seem to know an awful lot about Britney Spears, largely because whenever anything happens to the sometime Disney Club singer (see what I mean) it’s splattered all over the rolling news, sometimes to the embarrassment even of our British presenters. Last month footage of the singer’s emergence from hospital was greeted by a warning from BBC News presenter Simon McCoy who suggested that if we really didn’t care we should "look away now" (then).

It's good to see that lately she's slowly begun to get her life sorted out if only so that her every move isn't turned into breaking news and we have to endure it. How interesting that it seems to be happening now that the cameras and everyone else are generally pointing in a different direction (unless you Heat readers know differently), largely blocked by a beehive hairstyle.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the cause of Spears’s problems, ill informed pet theories which don’t really match reality. So here’s mine. I’ve absolutely no idea how I came by this but listening on random one night Baby Call Me Back passed through my ears and although it’s clearly not the actual reason for Britney’s troubles it’s exactly the kind of thing that could at least have contributed. It begins which the familiar piano bass from Baby One More Time and then ‘Oh baby, baby’ and then the creepiness begins as the singer talks directly to us …

“Hi, this is Britney Spears and sometimes my friend can’t come to the phone and this is one of those times so leave a message after the beep and baby they’ll call you back one more time and thanks for calling!”

… or in fact the person who’s calling you up assuming you’re the kind of person who’d want this instead of your own regional tones on your answering machine service.

I’ve only ever heard the pop songtress (description © Smash Hits some time in the last century) actually speak three times before. The first was during an infamous interview in the final week of The Big Breakfast in which the infamous presenter Richard Bacon proposed to her and during this video outtake from her reality television programme being commented on here (was she saying Spawn, Spun or spam?). On each occasion her voice has been completely different and this soliloquy is no exception, young sounding and professional and actually like the opening introduction to Lucky (which would be the third).

It’s not a bad idea I suppose and certainly preferable to the soundalikes which litter this ‘market’, trainee John Culshaws giving us their Simon Callow (‘My God, you’re rubbish, you’re the worst singer I ever heard, leave a message…’) In another universe, this twenty-two seconds could be seen as a blueprint for saving the pop industry. Whoever mixed it, has somehow managed to include both of the major hooks from the song and in the middle what might as well be an advert for the singer’s personality. Throw in the chorus and it’s a quick hit of pop whose only negative point is that its too short to get to the dancefloor.

It’s also the kind of thing a singer might only do early in their career when she’s drumming up support for their first single (is it worth citing here the video for Billie Piper’s single Because I Want To With which features an alien invasion? Thought not.) Do these artistes later on, when they discover that their new album is already half price at Woolworths, long for those days when everything was fresh and new and their career was ahead of them and they were being called upon to record proxy answer machine messages? Is that what led to Britney’s more recent troubles, the remembrances of these times past?

Yes, ok. I know. Three days to go...

No comments: