In Praise Of Britney?

Sonic Youth’s “Malibu Gas Station,” a song from the band’s upcoming 16th album, may have a pretty unlikely inspiration – Britney Spears.

NPR’s Christian Hoard calls the track “almost certainly the greatest six-minute opus ever written about Britney Spears.”

That’s assuming, of course, that the song is about Spears, an idea supported by lines that seem to refer to her childhood performing career and recent erratic behavior.

There’s also the guffaw-worthy song title – a Malibu resident, Spears has been famously photographed walking barefoot from a gas-station bathroom – as well as Sonic Youth’s own description of the song as “an ode to the flash moment of the camera as you knowingly step from your SUV sans panties.”

First of all – ewww – and second, I think that pretty much settles the question.

Photo: John Davisson

And, as Hoard points out, it wouldn’t be the first time SY looked to a celebrity for material.

1990’s creepy “Tunic (Song for Karen)” was partly written from the perspective of anorexia casualty Karen Carpenter. Here, lyrics like “The breasts are bangin’ / Abdominal master” sounds Britney-esque, though in [Kim] Gordon’s wicked purr, they’re more eerie than funny.

Whether the song is about Britney or not, it sure is a lot of fun. Here’s an interesting thought: Maybe Britney should cover the song. Or ask Kim Gordon to make a guest appearance at one of her shows and sing it with her.

Hoard mentioning SY’s Karen Carpenter song got me pondering what other songs out there might be “secretly” about another musician or a celeb.

A couple songs by Pet Shop Boys, who have a knack for writing songs with satirical lyrics, come to mind: “Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend” (which Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have said was inspired by George Michael) and “The Night I Fell In Love” (which Tennant told MTV was a fantasy about a fan’s encounter with Eminem).

I’m sure there are tons of others. So how about it readers, what’s your favorite song that “might” be about a celebrity?

Sonic Youth’s new album, The Eternal, is due June 9. Read Christian Hoard’s review of “Malibu Gas Station” and listen to the song at