Monday, June 15, 2009

Gender Benders: Oops! ...I Did It Again

Richard Thompson: Oops! ...I Did It Again


Yes, this is the same song as the Britney Spears hit. If you know it, you know that the lyrics are not gender specific. But, what interested me is how the song completely changes meaning because of the gender of the singer, (and possibly, the age!). Spears sings this as a teasing flirtation, all part of the game. By the end of the song, it’s not clear who won, or if anyone did. But, Richard Thompson, playing a bit of a cad, makes it clear that this is a brush-off. No questions asked, it’s over.

Of course, Spears and Thompson each have well-established public personas, and these personas influence how we hear their performances. Nevertheless, I find the gender of the singer relevant to how we hear the song.

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