Tag Archives: John Cale

A New Direction for Noise Narcs: Comparing and Contrasting John Cale and Britney Spears

Hey all,

Compare and merge: Britney Spears and John Cale, together at last

After 15 grueling months of posting on Noise Narcs, things have gotten pretty staid. We post about music, frequently new, occasionally Philadelphian, occasionally on the varying covers of classic songs. Wash, rinse, repeat.

So, as of today, we’re taking a bit of a gamble. Those of you who know me, know that I’m a big fan of Britney Spears. Sure, as Jody Rosen points out, she’s kind of an empty vessel for her producers, but I’m not falling for the authorial pop fallacy (see: Lady Gaga, whom we should all congratulate for writing her boring pop songs all by herself just like a big girl!). “Toxic,” I totally ♥ you.

What you may not know is that I’ve been burning through John Cale’s catalog in between spinning Britney’s new four on the floor masterpiece, Femme Fatale. Cale is different than Britney, but he’s still pretty great. He also had a part in a song called, “Femme Fatale,” although it does not keep all four on the floor, which Britney is really great at.

So for the next two months, we’ll be posting exclusively on Cale and Spears, using the compare and contrast essay system I was taught in middle school. And to start it out, we have Britney’s new song “How I Roll” and John Cale’s old song “Helen of Troy.”

Britney Spears, “How I Roll” [Buy]
John Cale, “Helen of Troy” [Buy]

Britney Spears, “How I Roll”

Bloop-bloopy-bloop. What a way to start a song! H-o-t! But then this song makes me angry. I can’t believe that Robyn has been stealing from Britney all these years. Copy-cat! Speaking about cats, how great is this lyric, “back downtown where my posse’s at / because I got nine lives like a kitty kat”? She can hang downtown with her posse because even after they stab her and watch her bleed to death, she’s still got eight more lives!

Britney’s songs have multiple meanings. The first three times I was really excited about this song because I thought it was “Philly earthquake,” which scared me because I live in Philadelphia. But turns out that the lyric is “feel the earthquake.” I couldn’t feel it, could you?

John Cale, “Helen of Troy”

Eww! Stop talking about big thighs, John Cale. And those horns are weird. Doo-to-de-doooh! Someone should tell Mr. Cale that we’re not in medieval England with Charles Dickens and whatever, riding horses with armor and being colonialists.

But I do like the part where the man with the lisp talks, totally make think of Sex and the City!!! I also like the part where John Cale talks about Britney: “She’s got fat men, vermin in disguise / In the cold rooms of her eyes.”


Although both John Cale’s “Helen of Troy” and Britney Spears’ “How I Roll” are really neat songs about Britney Spears, I like Britney Spears autobiographical version better because: 1) it’s not set to 19th century England knight horns 2) bloopy-bloop-bloop 3) it does a better job describing how Britney Spears rolls, 4) “Helen of Troy” doesn’t talk about cute kitty cats once and 5) “Helen of Troy” does not once ask “can we get blind, like a captain in the sky?” which is a really important question to ask in today’s modern society.

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