Since almost all music coming out at the moment is basic, and in the grand tradition of #TBT, there’s never been a more urgent need to appreciate one of the most underrated moments in Spearitual balladry.
When one considers Britney‘s many forays into balladry, the first song that comes to mind, most commonly, is her iconic and heartbreaking In The Zone triumph, “Everytime.” There are other popular candidates too, of course: Crossroads anthem “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman,” “Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know,” the Sia-penned “Perfume” and of course, everyone’s favorite and most personal ode to tiny hands off of Circus, “My Baby.”
But there’s another song that deserves far more recognition than what it currently gets, and that’s “Where Are You Now,” a criminally (REFERENCE) overlooked power ballad off of 2000’s Oops!…I Did It Again.
Co-produced by the unstoppable Cheiron Studios duo Max Martin and Rami and co-penned with Andreas Carlsson (of “Born To Make You Happy” fame, among many others), the epic torch song comes drifting into the speakers towards the end of Brit Brit’s second record-breaking album.
Although B was still very much at the height of her cool ‘n funky bubblegum pop beginnings, the song offered more of a suggestion that there was a more vulnerable girl behind that squeaky-clean pop persona than, say, “Soda Pop.”
“Calling out your name, your face is everywhere/I’m reaching out to you to find that you’re not there,” baby B-Girl tenderly laments of her lost love above romantic guitars, snaps and a dramatic, slow-marching beat. In a lot of ways, “Where Are You Now” is the predecessor to “Everytime” — and clearly the inspiration behind much of Lana Del Rey‘s discography. (Fine, purely speculation, but surely at least “Dark Paradise” was inspired by this song.)
Beyond being a classically catchy Swede-pop power ballad from start to finish, the track is also one of the very best examples of those dulcet Vocalney skills at their finest and fullest. (It’s an appropriate time to spotlight the song today too, considering the shade she’s gotten for her voice ever since she stepped on the scene.)
You see, “Where Are You Now” contains the note. THE note. THE NOTE.
At the 3:13 mark, Britney builds it up and lets it all hang out (well, not everything) in what is perhaps her best belting moment on record: “NNAAAAAAAHHHHHHHOOWWWWWWWWWEEHYEAUUUHHHH!” You better go to the light and see Jesus, because a then 19-year-old Godney just took us all to church.
Let us light a vanilla candle, sway and sing along to “Where Are You Now,” one of Britney’s (many) crucial offerings.