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In fact, Spears' latest album, 'Femme Fatale,' debuted atop the charts and is her very first to produce three Top 10 hits. She just sold-out two nights in Toronto, filmed for an upcoming TV special and DVD, with another week of sold-out U.S. dates before spending two months touring across Europe and South America this fall.
Oh, and MTV just announced they'll be paying tribute to Spears at this year's Video Music Awards on Aug. 28, ironic considering it was the former music network's decision to go through with her disturbingly dazed rendition of 'Gimme More' at the 2007 VMAs that seemed at the time to put a final nail in her career coffin.
"Britney Spears, everyone," coldly cracked host Sarah Silverman after the former Mouseketeer crawled offstage. "She is amazing. She is 25 years old and she's already accomplished everything she's going to accomplish in her life."
It was the midpoint of an epic meltdown that began with a divorce, panty-less partying, rehab stints and lost custody of her children; reached bizarre new heights with a paparazzi-recorded head shave and umbrella attack and then climaxed, ever so sadly, with the pop star forcibly committed to the psychiatric ward.
To put into perspective the craziness of that moment in her life, Spears was involuntarily escorted to the hospital by a dozen motorcycle cops, a pair of police cruisers and two police helicopters, as well as the hundreds of paparazzi who had hounded her in such unprecedented numbers and with such unprecedented ferocity that she nearly inspired an anti-pap "Britney Law" to protect celebs.
This was the turning point for everything that has happened since. The unspoken subtext of Spears' long public breakdown was a countdown to her death. That is how those games play out, be it Jim Morrison or Kurt Cobain or Amy Winehouse, and the public becomes not just witness but accomplice. But Spears is now 29. She escaped the 27 Club curse and that has made her unique amongst her pop peers because people have become invested in her as a person, as a survivor, not simply a purveyor of sonic pleasures.
Yes, it helps that her music has become vastly better as progressive producers use her blinding stardom as a Trojan Horse to invade the mainstream. Her mid-meltdown album, 'Blackout,' was the best of her career, a shockingly experimental and hard-hitting electro record that presaged the genre's Top 40 takeover. It was followed by 2008's 'Circus,' and its Grammy-nominated single 'Womanizer,' her first No. 1 since '...Baby.' Her next song, '3' debuted at the top of the charts and, as noted, 'Femme Fatale' has knocked out three hits, including the dubstep-infused 'Hold It against Me' and apocalyptic club banger 'Till the World Ends,' one of her strongest songs yet.
Collecting all these hits, along with early classics like 'Toxic' and 'Slave 4 U,' into a live show set-list reinforces her pop-cultural impact beyond TMZ. But a Britney Spears concert also transcends a Katy Perry show because while fans may like Perry's songs, they don't actually care about her, not really. She is but a pretty soap bubble.
The crowd at Spears' shows in Toronto boasted an astounding age range -- if not much gender parity, with the few men almost all gay -- and many were proudly adorned in homemade t-shirts, proclaiming their status as "Britney's Bitches" and plastering themselves with her musical catchphrases (particularly the half-plaintive, half-threatening "You want a piece of me?") as they shared a palpable excitement about having this communal moment with her.
Spears herself was far less enthused than her followers, literally going through the motions onstage as she halfheartedly followed her choreography, changed into her lackluster outfits, maneuvered around her curio sets and (softly) sang atop her prerecorded vocals.
Her fans, however, sang loud enough that it hardly mattered, danced wildly as the tech beats filled the hockey arena and erupted at every iconic image from the past 13 years that flashed up on the big screens. Spears did smile, though, and if she no longer seemed to care about performing -- letting the songs themselves do all the heavy lifting, just as she does in the studio -- she did seem to care about the people she was performing for.
Unlike Madonna, Spears never reshaped pop in her own image -- rather it reshaped her and we as a public have now accepted unprecedented responsibility for that. Usually this only happens after an untimely demise, as with our posthumous reclamation of Michael Jackson, but Britney Spears is the girl who lived and now her fans can support her 'til, well, the world ends.