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The Overlooked Undertones Of Britney Spears' Hit Single: "Lucky"

I did this so you don't have to.

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Circa the year 2000 A.D., a young starlet called Britney Spears released a little song that goes by the name of "Lucky." We all knew it. We all loved it. We all sang the words in unison with Britney as though we were her gospel choir. But did we really understand the implications? The underlying message in Britney Spears song, which she was desperately trying to communicate to ALL of us, fell on deaf ears. OUR deaf ears. "Lucky" wasn't just an upbeat pop song about a "made up" girl who won a lot of game shows and became very famous for it. WAKE UP PEOPLE: it was about Britney herself.

Her blatant cry for help went straight past our blind eyes, directly through our ignorant bodies and right over our naive heads. She beckoned us to come to her aid, but instead we took her profound prose and incorporated it into our 7th grade talent show acts, and our awkwardly sincere karaoke performances in our parents' basements - like the selfish scum we are.

Thankfully, Britney Spears made it through her difficult time without making a spectacle of herself at any point. Clearly there were no public moments of humiliation, no mental breakdowns of any kind. But if we had just analyzed and interpreted the lyrics right from the start, perhaps her private and intimate moments of weakness could have been sidestepped. For the sake of humanity, I have decided to interpret the lyrics myself, so you do not have to.

"Lucky" by Britney Spears:

This is a story about a girl named Lucky…

Right off the bat, Britney disorients us. Who is Lucky? Statistically, about 90% of the population does not know someone named Lucky.

Britney decided to mask her own name so as not to bring too much attention to herself. This is a complete mastery of subtlety that the public was obviously not privy to.

Early morning, she wakes up
Knock, knock, knock on the door

The morning is a time for the quiet contemplation that is necessary for human productivity throughout the day.

The "knock knock knocking" on the door represents a disturbance of some kind. Perhaps her "agents" & "managers" did not understand her need for privacy. Or perhaps Britney was enjoying the luxury and human right of room service breakfast and the hotel staff had just arrived with her order.

It's time for makeup, perfect smile
It's you they're all waiting for

This is where Britney reveals that the knock at her door was her makeup crew. All of our lingering questions we had from earlier in the song are answered here.

A common misconception is that the "you" Britney is referring to is us - the audience. HOWEVER, this is just a classic technique used in song and prose. Although Britney is the one saying this line, simply put - she's impersonating someone saying this phrase to HER. If you need to re-read the line to more fully understand what I'm revealing to you, feel free. It is a complicated tactic.

They go…
"Isn't she lovely, this Hollywood girl?"

The "they" she is referring to here is the general population. Her fans, strangers, Greg, children on the street, veterinarians, and government workers.

The quotation marks here insinuate that a group of people are shouting this at "Lucky" (which, as I revealed, is a pseudonym for Britney Spears). Hollywood is a place where many actors, singers, and dancers live. This is also Britney's home. Unfortunately for Britney, people see her only as the place she comes from, not for who she is inside.

She's so lucky, she's a star
But she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart, thinkin'…

Britney uses a double entendre here with the word "lucky." Not only is it the name of the multi-dimensional character she's developed, but she also uses it as an adjective. Lucky means "to have luck."

A "star" isn't just a beam of light in space. It is commonly used to refer to celebrities. Britney is again, impersonating the group of people who view her as a "lucky" girl for being a famous singer. But as you will find out later in the song, not all that glitters is gold. (wise words composed by Steve Harwell - lead singer of Smash Mouth)

I know what many are thinking: why would someone so rich and famous feel the need to "cry, cry, cry?" Well, thats exactly the dilemma Britney is finally acknowledging in this song. Before this came out in 2000, the personal lives of celebrities was considered unexplored territory. It was highly controversial for Britney to address this.

Hearts can't physically cry, but Britney is using a metaphor. She is personifying the human heart to make her point that she is feeling emotional. About what? We are unsure at this stage.

If there's nothing missing in my life
Then why do these tears come at night?

Britney is now posing a question to her audience. She is asking for help, and unfortunately, we didn't come to her aid. She is wondering why her eyes become engorged with water at night. She realizes that it is just human emotion, but she's not entirely sure the reason, because as she said - there is "nothing missing in her life." Perhaps a tissue might be missing! Ha ha. I apologize - this isn't something to laugh about.


Lost in an image, in a dream
But there's no one there to wake her up

"Lucky" is so enraptured by her dream that her old-fashioned alarm clock was not powerful enough to wake her. She places the blame externally - projecting her innate flaw of tardiness upon those whom she's closest with.

And the world is spinning, and she keeps on winning

"Lucky's" world is so fast-paced that sometimes it's hard for her to keep up. She's "winning" affection and riches on the outside, but it seems that on the inside, she might be losing…hope, that is.

But tell me what happens when it stops?

Britney poses yet another question to her audience. Again, we missed it. She wants to learn what will be her fate. What will happen when the "winning" and the "luck" ceases to exist? Will she vaporize into thin air? Will she crumble before our very eyes? Will she ever be able to afford room service again?

Hold on to your hats, folks. She isn't done here.

*Chorus*

Britney repeats the chorus here - which is a common technique in song writing. Webster's Dictionary defines chorus as "a large organized group of singers, especially one that performs together with an orchestra or opera company." However, this is incorrect. A chorus is the part of a song that is sung several times because it is the most "catchy" section that people like to sing along with.

Best actress, and the winner is…Lucky!"
"I'm Roger Johnson for Pop News standing outside the arena waiting for Lucky"
"Oh my god…here she comes!"

This is the "bridge" of the song. We hear a man's voice, and it sounds as though it is a real recording from the red carpet. The man states his name is "Roger Johnson," but we do not know who he is. All that is important is that he is a news journalist who is reporting about "Lucky's" appearance at an "arena." Perhaps it is a concert venue, seeing as "Lucky" (Britney Spears), is probably a singer.

This next line, "here she comes," is fraught with innuendo. Britney and Roger Johnson are using "double meaning" to imply the over-sexualization and downright sensationalized manner in which celebrities are depicted by the rightwing leftist media. If we had noted this intelligent nuance Britney used to address a serious issue, perhaps the recent "nude photo leakage" from the Cloud could have been completely avoided.

Isn't she lucky, this Hollywood girl?

Britney almost whispers this line, as though it's a secret she's only telling to us. There is a "beat," or pause, after she repeats this line. She uses this beat to let the words reverberate in our minds before she shocks us all with what comes next.

As we wait with baited breath, Britney slams us with a key change. She changes the pitch of her voice and brings it up an octave or two. The key change in any song is a time of deep reflection, especially in a song with lyrics as meaningful as this…

She is so lucky, but why does she cry?
If there's nothing missing in her life
Why do tears come at night?

Britney rewords some of the earlier questions she posed. I interpret this as she is attempting to reach us in another way, seeing as we completely dropped the ball in the first part of the song. She hopes that by asking us these questions in a more commonplace manner, we will understand her cry for help. Unfortunately, we did not.

Britney repeats her chorus thrice more as the song fades away. The fade away technique she uses insinuates that there is unfinished business. The unfinished business here is that she still does not comprehend why "Lucky" (Britney Spears), is crying at night. She honestly may never know. But we, the people, have an idea.

*End*

Although this is all just my opinion based on my own interpretations, I believe it is correct. I often keep myself up at night wondering the same questions Britney once did. I feel a personal responsibility to reveal the secret, profound content hidden within the catchy synthesizer and upbeat baseline of "Lucky." I hope this sheds some much needed light on a topic that has been mostly untouched territory for the past 14 years.

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