What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us About Writing

I’ve been a casual fan of Taylor Swift’s for a while now — first thinking she was a good role model for girls even if I didn’t care to listen to her music, then sort-of liking that one song about how “she’s cheer captain and I’m in...

Britney Spears’ Voice

When I teach my students about developing their own writing voice, I often refer to Britney Spears. I’m struck by how similar finding a singing voice and finding a writing voice are, and she’s the perfect example of someone with such a distinctive voice—we...

Pop Stars as Our Modern-Day Poets

Poetry isn’t much of a career choice anymore. I had the pleasure of getting a preview of IFC’s upcoming film Adult World, in which Emma Roberts plays a smart-but-clueless aspiring poet struggling with her early 20s, and one of its biggest jokes is the...

Where Were Bloodshy & Avant When Britney Made ‘Britney Jean’?

I enjoy the Britney Spears in general, for many reasons I’ve enumerated here in the past. And as a self-proclaimed Britneyologist, I have to say that I enjoy her latest, Britney Jean, in parts — but overall, it’s not in the same league as her previous...
A Brief History of Pop Stars as Train Wrecks

A Brief History of Pop Stars as Train Wrecks

Does something about pop stardom cause folks to lose their minds? Most likely, yes — the pressures of continuing to produce hits, the recognition as an international sex symbol, the constant scrutiny. Is there something inherent in people who become pop stars that...