Britney Spears to cover London Calling in its entirety
Apocalypse scheduled for next Tuesday
April 1, 2002, Los Angeles — In a stunning announcement, pop sensation Britney Spears revealed today that her highly anticipated fourth album will find her covering the entirety of The Clash’s 1979 punk rock masterpiece, London Calling.
Widely considered one of the greatest albums of the rock era, London Calling captured The Clash at the peak of their fiery, heavily political form — a stunning double LP that mixed punk, reggae, ska, rockabilly, jazz, and more, and which featured such seminal tracks as “The Guns of Brixton,” “Spanish Bombs,” “Lost in the Supermarket,” and the timeless title track, as well as the band’s first US Top 40 hit, “Train In Vain.”
Spears has flirted with rock on previous releases — covering The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on her 2000 release, Oops!..I Did It Again and Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll” on 2001’s Britney — to what can charitably be called mixed results. London Calling will be her first attempt at a full “rock” album.
At a press conference announcing the release, Spears explained her motivations for making the album. “I’m doing this record because I love The Sex Pistols,” she explained, “I think they’re really amazing. Plus, my managers say it’s important for me to make a political statement at this time in my career, so people will know I’m grown up and stuff.”
Spears mother and manager, Lynne Spears, concurred. “We’ve been leading up to this for some time now, with the skimpy outfits, the budding breasts, and the ‘not that innocent’ lyrics,” she reveals. “Now with Britney making a political statement, we’re hoping that all those 40-year-old men won’t feel as guilty about masturbating over her cheesecake photos, and will be able to hold their heads high. We want them to buy this album in droves, and hope that this will keep them from feeling so much like pedophiles while doing so.”
“But not that much,” Britney quickly added. “I know what’s bringing the money in, and I’ll gladly trot out the tied-off schoolgirl outfit again — revenues will double.”
Producers originally hoped to get at least one original member of The Clash on board for the record, but they all had too much integrity. Desperate for punk rock street cred for the project, they turned to former Dead Kennedys members East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, and D.H. Peligro. “We approached every punk band in the business,” said producer Rodney Jerkins, “and they all gave us the middle finger — or worse. Even Sum41 turned us down. But those DKs guys, we just waved a few bucks under their noses, and they fell all over themselves to sign.”
Word has it that a hidden track on the release will find Spears covering the Dead Kennedys classic “Holiday In Cambodia” as a thank you to the trio. East Bay Ray has already announced that the new version of the classic song has been sold to Levi’s for use in a Dockers commercial.
News of the release hit the music world like an atom bomb. When asked to comment on the news, Clash founding member Joe Strummer was heard sobbing softly to himself, muttering “why, dear God, why” repeatedly. Self-proclaimed punk rock bible Maximumrockandroll has already announced that they will not review the record under any circumstances, nor will they accept advertising for it — though this is thought to have more to do with the album’s reported heavy use of keyboards and sampling than any distaste for Spears, about whom the magazine said, “she sure does have nice boobies.” And Dead Kennedys frontman and lyricist Jello Biafra was reportedly contemplating suicide over the issue, but has instead recorded a four-CD spoken word diatribe against the album, his former bandmates, and the “Cambodia” cover, entitled Helium Breasts, Helium Brains, which will be released on his Alternative Tentacles label later this year.
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner has spoken in praise of the album, and guaranteed it will receive a three-and-a-half star review “at minimum” in his publication. “Any opportunity for us to put a scantly-clad Britney and her breasts on our cover again is an opportunity we won’t pass up,” Wenner said. “Besides, I’m a fan of anyone who can sell as many albums as her, as Hootie & the Blowfish used to know.”
The first single from London Calling will be “Brand New Cadillac,” and the Hype Williams-directed video for the track (co-sponsored by Cadillac) is set to debut on MTV’s TRL next week, and go immediately into heavy rotation thereafter. Additionally, Spears’ corporate partners at PepsiCo are already planning her next ad campaign around “Supermarket,” and have already outfitted commercial co-star Bob Dole with a mohawk and safety-pinned leather jacket.