Some not so fast to bid Britney adieu

— Say goodbye to Britney Spears. Just four years into her superstar career, the blond pop singer is dropping out of public favor faster than you can say "Debbie Gibson." Or at least that's the buzz from the likes of the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly � who claim the public is now seeking a harder and less-prefabricated edge.

But wait, not so fast. Even if her latest CD, "Britney," has yet to produce a Top 20 hit, the album did come in at No. 1 on the Billboard chart upon its release last November.

In July, Forbes magazine placed the singer at the top of its 100 most powerful celebrities list. This month, Spears is featured on the covers of Rolling Stone, US Weekly and People. There's talk of a new movie, reportedly set to start production this month. And a new coffee-table book and DVD package featuring photos and tour footage is due out this month.

And if Madonna � Spears' self-professed idol � was able to bridge the teenybopper divide, surely Spears can at least eke out a few more years?

Entertainment Weekly music writer David Browne is not so sure.

"Now that the teen-pop boom has peaked, Britney has peaked along with it," he says. "The kind of music that her fans are listening to now is different."

Although it isn't inconceivable for Spears to transform into something new, Browne says, it's doubtful she can recharge her career for the long term.

But says Patty Adams, senior entertainment editor at YM magazine, "You can never count Britney Spears out � she's sold millions of albums, and she's already (started) to reinvent herself."

But she shouldn't change too much � or, at least, not too quickly or too drastically from the sweet, nice girl who initially charmed her fans, Adams warns.

"She does have a sexy side, but she is also just this sweet girl from Louisiana."


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