Britney Spears Gets a Big Boost from Musicians’ Soul Healer Elton John
In the world of pop music, Elton John is Mother Teresa.
When young stars crash and burn during tough times, he appears as an appearance in glittery sunglasses, flashing his toothy smile and brandishing a fire extinguisher. From the late George Michael to Geri Halliwell, Robbie Williams to Sam Fender, Sir Elton is doing all he can to help other singers struggling with fame, scandal, addiction – or all of the above.
This selflessness comes from a place of self-reflection. John is aware of his own chicken game with sobriety many moons ago. He understands that his hard work, which brought him fame and wealth, has a dark side.
Young stars can be chewed and spit out without mercy. No other creative industry has a genre known as « one hit wonders ».
John’s latest recovery project is Britney Spears.
On Friday, the two released « Hold Me Closer, » a club remake that mixes the chorus and verses from his 1971 « Tiny Dancer » and 1992’s « The One. »
It didn’t take long for the track to reach number 1 in 35 countries.
Since music is subjective, you’ll have to listen and decide if it’s something you want to blast on your next night out, like John did inside a restaurant in Cannes this week. The song is certainly receiving rave reviews.
Personally, it’s not something I would add to a playlist. I’m old and I object to the reassignment of classics, as John did last year with « Cold Heart (Pnau remix) », a duet with Dua Lipa that messed up with key and time signatures , crushing his « Rocket Man », « Kiss the Bride », « Sacrifice », and « Where’s the Shoorah? » That one gave me « Stars over 45 » flashbacks.
« Tiny Dancer » has become a generational anthem, catalyzed by John’s piano arpeggios and Bernie Taupin’s evocative lyricism. The original was a sonic gossamer. When he plays in a bar, more than half a century after his release, he still has the power to trigger sloppy songs.
Friday’s reimagining is more like a rhino jumping on a double-decker trampoline above your bedroom. The good thing is ! Young people want their rhythm. Drake could rhyme on a jackhammer and it would napalm the charts.
« Hold Me Closer » is endearing and intriguing in a non-musical way:
It marks the possible return of Britney Spears.
Pop icons Elton John and Britney Spears collaborated for the first time, creating the dance single « Hold Me Closer. » (August 26 / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
This poor thing, once a bankable superstar, has been put to the test in ways few can comprehend. A 13-year conservatorship, which finally ended in November, robbed her of the last four years of her 20s and most of her 30s.
The #FreeBritney movement, arguably the most consequential fan protest in music history, helped unlock the shackles that had bound the singer, with lawyers and doctors checking her every waking move.
Then came documentaries such as « Framing Britney Spears », which brought home the realization of how she had become a prisoner of her own life. As John told the Guardian on Friday: « You forget she was the biggest star in the world at that time. And seeing what happened to her makes me so angry. What happened to her shouldn’t have happened to no one.
Now the question becomes, is « Hold Me Closer » a one-off or the start of a Britney revival? The first signals are mixed.
After promoting the track earlier in the week, Spears deleted her Instagram account. It’s not unusual. She deletes her Instagram more often than I change the oil in my Honda. It is his prerogative. But the moment was curious.
It got more curious after John told the Guardian he needed to convince her they should even release the track: « We had to get her to approve what she did… She’s been gone since. so long – there’s a lot of fear out there because she’s been betrayed so many times and she hasn’t really been in the public eye officially for so long We held her hand through the process , reassuring her that everything will be fine.
It’s like she’s terrified of starting a new chapter in a book he forced open.
John says Spears was « broken » and in a « terrible place », a place he understands from his own broken past. Her goal, then, was to impose a « big hit » on the culture, which could boost her confidence and help her realize that « people really love her, care for her, and want her to be happy. »
You won’t find many commercial songs inspired by such a lofty goal.
And if he’s successful, if ‘Hold Me Closer’ marks a comeback for Britney Spears, it will also represent Elton John’s greatest achievement as the Mother Teresa of music – although I personally wish he would stop. to bastardise its back catalogue. And after? A club remake of « Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters » feat. Megan Thee Stallion? A techno-trance version of “Your Song”?
My ears are not interested in such abominations. If it were up to me, I’d grab John by his fabulous backhands and force him into a studio with Taupin, demanding that they replicate the magic of « Madman Across the Water. »
But there’s no denying that he continues to use his power and influence to help others. He supports. He feeds. It provides GPS coordinates to lost souls. He gravitates toward the broken with a celebrity repair kit.
Britney Spears is understandably nervous about looking ahead.
Elton John has just put on his glitter sunglasses to reduce glare.
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