Justin Tranter: Britney Spears Has ‘Really Cool, F–ked Up’ Ideas for Songs
Justin Tranter, formerly of Semi-Precious Weapons and currently one of the most sought-after songwriters in the industry, is responsible for co-penning everything from Justin Bieber's "Sorry" to Selena Gomez's "Hands to Myself," among myriad other smashes.
He, along with his constant songwriting companion Julia Michaels — who is blossoming quite nicely as a singer-songwriter in her own right lately — also helmed a bulk of Britney Spears' 2016 studio album, Glory, including "Slumber Party" and unapologetic NSA hook-up anthem, "Do You Wanna Come Over?" (Uh huh...)
In an interview with the legendary Courtney Love (!) for OUT, the prolific penner talks about operating as an openly queer artist in pop, as the two swap fascinating (and horrifying!) insights about the conservative confines of the industry and, as Justin puts it, "a hatred of the feminine having power." The whole thing is absolutely worth a read.
In one of the interview's less serious moments, Courtney inquires about the biggest studio surprise artists. And, guess who he highlighted? It's Britney, bitch.
Specifically, Tranter referenced Glory album track "Just Like Me," a swaggering tale of a tangled love triangle involving Brit Brit walking in on her man cheating on her with a lookalike. And now, we know that song is a "f--ked up" concept she herself dreamt up.
CL: It is crazy. [Laughs] Of all the pop stars you’ve written with, who has surprised you the most?
JT: There are my idols that I’ve gotten to work with, like you and Gwen Stefani and Glen Ballard. Those moments were like, everything you hoped would happen actually happened. You were in my house chain-smoking on my busted couch, writing the coolest lyrics I’d ever heard in 10 seconds. That lives up. Or the second Gwen steps up to the microphone, it’s that iconic voice only she has. But Britney [Spears] really surprised me. Britney had some really cool f--ked-up ideas for songs. For one of the songs that ended up on [Glory], “Just Like Me,” she was like, “What if we write a song where I’m so excited to go and meet with my man and I walk in and he’s hooking up with a girl who looks just like me?” I was like, “OK, Britney Spears. I’ll write that song with you. Let’s f--king do this.”
CL: [Laughs] That’s so cool.
JT: Her voice is so iconic, I already knew that was going to happen, but no one ever talks about Britney coming in with crazy lyrical concepts for a song.
To be fair, this probably isn't a massive revelation for diehard Britney fans: the pop icon, who recently stood up for herself as a live singer (and then proceeded to sing live, if only for a moment), has been praised for years by producers and songwriters for her instantly recognizable voice and underrated contributions in songwriting sessions.
Still, it's nice to know that in her spare time, between Instagramming Bible quotes, playing to one of the biggest audiences of her career and getting scared to death by her boys on a daily basis, she's probably somewhere daydreaming about catching a homewrecker in the act.
Who knows what "crazy lyrical concepts" didn't make the album? Maybe Ryan Murphy could use her in the writing room for American Horror Story next season.
Britney Spears Through the Years: