There’s always time for a #TBTney, and what better way to celebrate the current season than a fall-themed flashback?
Britney‘s debut album is, of course, most synonymous with pop maestro Max Martin, who would produce the album’s most iconic offerings — including “…Baby One More Time” and “(You Drive Me) Crazy” — at Cheiron Studios in Stockholm, alongside fellow talented Swede-pop penners like Rami Yacoub, Per Magnusson and Kristian Lundin.
But before all of that even happened, Britney was first sent into the studio (in New Jersey!) with Eric Foster White in 1997, the producer whose previous work included iconic jams like Dannii Minogue‘s “Wish You’d Stop Wishing” and Whitney Houston‘s “My Name Is Not Susan.” And, according to Mark Hughes’ Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff, it was White who was responsible for shifting Brit Brit’s voice from her natural lower register to that iconic baby (bay-beh) sound:
When she first entered the recording studio for the Jive Records recording sessions, Britney Spears’s voice was much deeper than her highly recognizable trademark voice of today. her delivery sounded much like something from her earlier performances on Ed McMahon’s Star Search — lower, and less poppy. Eric Foster White changed all that. With Britney’s flexible voice, he shaped her voice over the course of a month to where it is today — distinctively, unmistakably Britney.
With White, she recorded some of the record’s most under-appreciated and thoroughly Gooberney gems, from the prophetic, Pepsi sponsorship-predicting “Soda Pop” to the really cool, funky and different “E-Mail My Heart.” (Everyone’s still doing the emails, y’all!)
But beyond some of the sillier moments on the record, B-Girl also recorded a track with White called “Autumn Goodbye. The song was selected as the B-side to “…Baby One More Time” and, as a result of the A-side’s earth-shattering success, sat directly in the the shadow (REFERENCE) of “Baby.”
Immediately, “Autumn Goodbye” kicks off with a most urgent declaration: “I never promised you a happy ending!/You never said you wouldn’t make me cry!/But summer love will keep us warm long after our autumn goodbye, autumn goodbye…”
From there, Brit bops along on top of a very ’90’s dance-pop pulse (you can almost hear the AOL trial CDs coming through the speakers), kissing her summertime sweetie goodbye just in time to watch the leaves change. A prophetic move, considering some of today’s pop stars are still finding themselves journeying into the woods. Nostradamusney strikes again!
This one’s also a win for lovers of Vocalney, as she starts belting and riffing (“Don’t forget, I remember, bay-bee…bay-eee!”) her way through. Let’s just hope we get a return to these kind of flawless vocals on B’s upcoming artsy-fartsy left lane opus!
“Autumn Goodbye” might not have been the strongest offering from B’s debut (“I Will Be There” remains perhaps her greatest unreleased single to date), but it’s still an essential and majorly nostalgic cut, especially on a fall day such as this.
Red leaves and blue tomorrows forever.