Britney Spears’ “Born to Make You Happy” As The Ultimate 1950s Anthem for Women

Where ballads about romance are concerned, Britney Spears has never been in short supply. Her first album, …Baby One More Time, was an exemplar of her predilection for cheesy, uncomfortable ballads (see: “E-Mail My Heart”). However, “Born to Make You Happy,” the fifth track on the album and fourth single, served as a more anomalous offering in terms of content. Never before had obsequiousness been so on blast at the dawn of the millennium (a phrase that is decidedly pre-millennium). And Spears’ then “sweet nature” made it all the more a wet dream for most men (teenage boys have their mother to make them happy).

Single cover for "Born to Make You Happy"
Single cover for “Born to Make You Happy”
Opening the song non-submissively enough by talking about how she’s thinking about her ex while sitting in her room (it smacks of Brandy, I know), the chorus quickly delves into some Betty Draper type shit with,

“I don’t know how to live without your love, I was born to make you happy. ‘Cause you’re the only one within my heart, I was born to make you happy. Always and forever you and me. That’s the way our life should be. I don’t know how to live without your love. I was born to make you happy.”

As if this didn’t already lead you to want to shake Britney by the shoulders and scream, “Calm down, girl, it’s just a dick–there’s plenty more where that came from,” her tirade of subservience gets even more intense in the final verse.

Spears pleas, “I’d do anything, I’d give you my world. I’d wait forever, to be your girl. Just call out my name and I will be there, just to show you how much I care.” Maybe if you weren’t acting so interested, your ex would be more into it. While some (mostly Jewish) men relish this sort of desperation and self-imposed enslavement, most other men prefer a challenge. At least the twenty-first century ones, anyway. So unless you fall for a Michael J. Fox sort of fellow, who’s here from the past via a time machine, I would not use this song as inspiration for anything other than karaoke.

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