Well guys I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is, Britney Spears‘ newest album Britney Jean has just become the lowest-charting of her career. But the good news is, with her eighth album underselling even her first one, Britney’s team might finally be convinced that what their star really needs is a hug and a nap.
I’m not saying that Britney isn’t (or wasn’t) an excellent performer, or that my music collection isn’t secretly full of some of her cheesiest hits, but this is proof that you can’t push someone forever without running into some consequences. Britney will sing whatever songs you write for her, and mark her way listlessly through any choreography you come up with for her videos, but only to a point, and I’m thinking maybe that point is now. She’s been nothing but crystal clear in her interviews that she feels burned out and isolated, even saying that she wanted a baby girl so she didn’t feel so alone in the world anymore, so let’s give the girl a break.
Just to give you some context for how badly this album is doing, it debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200. That may sound high to someone like me who’s never had music anywhere near that chart, but a Britney studio album has never failed to debut in the Top Three. (She did have her compilation album Greatest Hits: My Perogative debut in 2004 at #4, however.) And not only is Britney Jean her lowest-charting album, but it’s also her lowest-selling. That dubious honor was previously held by …Baby One More Time which debuted in 1999 before Britney was famous and was still able to move 121,000 copies in its first week, compared with Britney Jean‘s 107,000.
Bottom line, with this album underselling her last by more than half (Femme Fatale sold 279,000 copies in its first week after its 2011 release), I don’t think anyone can deny that Britney is losing steam. Can’t we just send her off to live out her two-year Vegas residency in peace and then let her go live on a beach somewhere with her kids and a Frappuccino and whatever guy she ends up with? I think we can agree that she’s earned it.