If Britney Spears' first single, "Baby One More Time," released in the fall of 1998, was a perfect piece of pink bubble gum, then the arrival of her debut album of the same name a few months later was a complete package of things, promising more of where that came from: 10 extra sugar strokes for workout addicts. The album came out almost exactly 20 years ago, on January 12, 1999, and in the course of these things, it contained a fairly typical mix of hits and stuffing: for every "Sometimes," Spears' second single, listeners also They received an "I Will Be There," the kind of song you could not choose from an audio lineup.
But one clue was kept apart from the rest, even at that moment. "E-Mail My Heart" was a love ballad with a digital touch: "Send me an email and say that our love will still be alive", sang Spears in the chorus of the song. In 2016, NME called it "the weirdest song". [Spears] never recorded, "elaborating," The strange thing is that e-mail and online culture were not so nascent in 1999. "If the song already felt like a relic when it came out, the intervening decades have transformed it from a somewhat clumsy cut in a web 1.0: the curiosity of the era and shibboleth, the musical equivalent of that 1994 Today show the clip where Bryant Gumbel seriously asks: "What is internet?" Live in a famous GIF that shows Spears with open eyes explaining the genesis of the song ("Everyone has been doing emails") and on internet lists like "Rejected Tech Pop Lyrics Museum". But the strangest thing about this is that, even after all these years, no one can decide if it is good or not. When the issue arose in an episode of Rolling Stone Music now Podcast on "… Baby One More Time", the writer Rob Sheffield declared: "I love that song". do not love that song, "replied host Brian Hiatt.
Is "E-Mail My Heart" an underestimated jam, a loss of megabytes or something in between? And who decided that a teenage Britney Spears should sing a song about email, anyway? For the answers to these questions, I decided to speak with the songwriter "E-Mail My Heart", Eric Foster White. Actually, I sent him an email. White also has credits with Whitney Houston and the Backstreet Boys, and then founded a mobile entertainment application called ShowMobile; Suffice it to say that "E-Mail My Heart" is not your greatest achievement, but it pleased me. Our exchange, which has been condensed and edited, is below.
Slate: How did you end up writing songs?
Eric Foster White: No pure composer remembers the answer to that question;) All those who did it for the $ do.
What was the original idea behind "E-Mail My Heart"?
As a concept, the song was intended to be an update of a succession of songs ("Please Mr. Postman", "Dial My Heart") that linked popular forms of communication with a love interest. Anything that has "not been done before" is almost automatically a successful candidate. Of course, most of them are not hits. And now we are drowning in hundreds of songs about text messages and social networks.
Do you remember how long it took you to write?
About an hour on the piano, once the concept was there. Lyric outline on a bike ride.
"There probably will not be another Britney. "
– Eric Foster White
How did the song end on the Britney Spears album?
I was the "anchor producer" on his debut album. I developed his vocal sound signature. I wrote and produced what became the middle of the album while she was still signing a development contract on Jive.
Did anyone have an idea of what Britney would become a success?
Yes. She had a very strong drive and a lot of charisma. She worked harder in the studio than any other artist she had worked with before.
What was your opinion of Britney and the chic pop era at that time? What do you think now?
Pop music for the young audience always comes back. Always, no matter what. Britney / Backstreet was between five and six years after the total dominance of grunge. The dominant music of today is rap and a large part of it is amazing. It will look different in the next cycle, but the pop will rotate again. There will always be another teenage idol, but Britney was very special. Probably there will not be another Britney.
Do you remember anything else about "E-Mail My Heart" of the time?
We made a comic parody of it, in private, despite one of its handlers. He never saw the light of day, he never will;) I'm not sure I can find her.
How was the reaction to the song when it first came out?
As an album track and not a single one, it did not really "come out". I was hoping no one would notice, haha.
He mentioned that this is not one of the songs of which he is particularly proud:
It had a number 1 single in sales in the album, "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart", that also was a ballad but a song and a much better production.
If you could change something about "E-Mail My Heart", what would it be?
Do not you write it?
Have you ever heard it performed live or did you find it on the radio?
Do you still earn any royalty from the song?
The gift that keeps giving.
If you were writing a song about technology today, what would you focus on?
Everyone else has beaten me.
What are your favorites of the songs you have written?
Best question All composers have a file of songs that never reached the public. Sometimes your personal favorite is there. My favorite is somewhere in that file.