Regardless of music preferences, we can all agree that Britney Spears has left an indelible mark on pop culture that will be remembered for decades to come. Britney is one of the few pop stars who exists in a realm outside the rigid structures of genre. Everybody loves Britney, from classic rock dads to indie kids, hip hop heads, and even K-pop stans. As the author of Being Britney Jennifer Otter Bickerdike said, “There is no other artist who has had the same cultural impact as Britney, except maybe Elvis and The Beatles. Britney transcends presidents and she transcends the progression from brick and mortar music stores to the digital age.”
As a celebration of Britney’s freedom from her conservatorship and a tribute to her legacy, a collective of DIY artists from Boston and Canada have banned together to render a genre-bending collection of Spears covers in a compilation titled Now That’s What I Call Britney, Bitch.
This labor of love was organized by Andrea Neuenfeldt of Boston-based DIY bands Birdwatching, Fake Rays, and Pismo Beach Disaster. “As the Britney Spears conservatorship news and the grassroots rallying cry for her freedom became a front-page mainstream issue, I started rediscovering her as an artist, and as a formative part of my musical coming of age,” Neuenfeldt tells me. “Like so many fans, I saw a tiny bit of myself in her as someone who has struggled with mental health. I decided after watching a few docs on her and listening to her early albums on repeat that this could be a cool little project, and a way to honor a pop icon.”
The track list consists of nine reinterpretations of Britney hits, from Al Z’s lo-fi slowcore take on “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” to Phased Approach’s bubblegum glitch version of “Till the World Ends,” and a post-punk noir cover of “Toxic” by Daphne Blue Underworld with skittering drum patterns and zany guitar licks.
“It’s really impressive to see what people are capable of, especially given time and technology constraints,” Neuenfeldt continues. “Another aspect of covering an artist is the chance to try new instruments, and being adventurous with choices that we don’t always make when we’re writing our own music. I love being surprised with the end result. This has been such a gratifying project to organize, to see DIY musicians in a new light and to witness the depths of their abilities.”
A Grrrl’s Two Sound Cents is thrilled to premiere this eclectic tribute to the pop icon, which is available exclusively on Bandcamp. The proceeds will go to It Starts With Us, a community database documenting missing and murdered Indigenous Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and femme individuals in Canada.