Britney Spears was featured in a video clip during “Human Nature” in your Sticky & Sweet show. She’s stuck in an elevator and starts to go crazy. Is that how you analogize what’s happened in her career?
Yes. Didn’t that explain what I thought? “I’m not your bitch, don’t hang your shit on me.” I just think people should mind their own business and let her grow up. I think everyone goes off the deep end at one time or another, and she, like Michael Jackson, didn’t really have a childhood, so there are some inherent problems in that scenario. I have a lot of compassion for her, and I hope that she can find balance in her life. I don’t know how bad her meltdown was. One can’t believe everything one reads.
From a lyrical perspective, what are your favorite lines that you’ve written over the years?
I like the words to songs that aren’t very popular. “Miles Away” and “Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You.” They’re more personal and less accessible. I love the lyrics to “Like It or Not.” [Sings] “I’ll be the garden, you be the snake, all of my fruit is yours to take, better the devil that you know, your love will surely grow.” And I love “Paradise (Not For Me).” [Sings] “I can’t remember when I was young, I can’t explain if it was wrong.”
Does your oldest daughter, Lourdes, introduce you to new music?
She turned me on to the Ting Tings. There’s a band she loves called Disco Bitch. She’s into My Chemical Romance, and she’s outgrown the Jonas Brothers. She loves Lady Gaga, Ciara, Rihanna, T.I. and Justin. She lives with the iPod in her ears.
Is it a bittersweet feeling, parting with Warner Bros. after spending your entire career there?
I don’t know. The record business as we know it doesn’t exist anymore. The way people make, market and sell music is so different now. It’s just natural evolution. In many ways, it’s better, because kids have the chance now to get themselves out there without the middle man and all the bureaucracy and administrative bullshit that you have to endure. On the other hand, there isn’t somebody nurturing these kids along. I don’t know what the solution is. I’m sure it will all come around full circle again. It just feels like time to move on. I’m OK with it.
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