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Confetti falls on Britney Spears supporters outside a hearing concerning the pop singer's conservatorship at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, on Nov. 12, 2021, in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles judge ended the conservatorship that has controlled Spears' life and money for nearly 14 years.Chris Pizzello/The Associated Press

Speaking in the Los Angeles Superior Court this summer, Britney Spears delivered an impassioned speech in a bid to end a legal conservatorship that had ruled her life, cash and career for more than 13 years. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” the 39-year-old pop star told Justice Brenda Penny. “I want my life back.”

Last week, her plea was granted. “As of today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated,” Justice Penny said.

In an internet minute, a hashtag flipped from #FreeBritney to #FreedBritney. Not present for the declaration, Spears ecstatically tweeted “best day ever.” A mob of fans outside the court building celebrated by hollering along to the lyrics of the Spears’s defiant Stronger: “I’ve had enough, I’m not your property as from today, baby.”

These are redemptive days for female artists. In addition to Spears’s freedom, November has seen a flurry of breakup music that includes Adele’s first album in six years (30, released Nov. 19) and Taylor Swift’s emancipative rerecording of her 2012 album Red, this time possessively marked like an office refrigerator’s yogurt container: Red (Taylor’s Version).

The actions of Swift, Spears and Adele have excited fans, media and the music industry. These are events of empowerment by female artists – You Oughta Know 2.0. – that are cheered on by an empathetic public.

Estranged from her former label Big Machine Records, Swift is in the process of rerecording her first six albums to gain some control over the songs. Big Machine owns the masters to the confessional singer-songwriter’s pre-2018 catalog. Now signed to Republic Records, Swift owns the masters to Red (Taylor’s Version), the previously released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and anything else she records or rerecords for her new label, including 2020 bestsellers Folklore and Evermore.

“It’s about power,” says Canadian singer-songwriter Emm Gryner, who recently released her book The Healing Power Of Singing: Raise Your Voice, Change Your Life.If you make a choice to listen to Taylor’s new version of Red instead of the record label’s original, you’re championing a woman’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

Singer Adele and Rich Paul attend a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on Oct. 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Last Sunday, CBS aired Adele One Night Only, a pretaped primetime concert and interview that promoted 30, her first LP since 2015′s 25. Described by the singer and single parent as a “divorce album,” the record marks a new decade in her life after her amicable split with Simon Konecki. They had been together since 2011.

High on Mount Hollywood at the Griffith Observatory, a begowned Adele, accompanied by a band and singers all in white, performed old songs and new to a champagne-buzzed crowd of celebrities and James Corden. At the show’s outset, royalty-whisperer Oprah Winfrey assured viewers that the glam British superstar was “as real and down to earth as we all believe she is,” even though the interview segments were conducted from a lavish garden near the media mogul’s tea house.

But if the 15-time Grammy winner was worried the display of privilege and extravagance would undercut her everywoman identity, she didn’t show it. Talking about her significant weight loss, for example, Adele downplayed any responsibility as a role model.

“I was body positive then and I’m body positive now,” she told Winfrey, with a touch of cockney. “It’s not my job to validate how people feel about their bodies. I’m trying to sort me own life out.”

Adele’s 30 is an introspective ballad festival that includes the hit single Easy on Me and other expressions of vulnerability. Hold On finds a self-doubting Adele channelling Aretha Franklin and rhyming “mess” with “I regress.” Love is a Game is all torch, fluttering strings and idiosyncratic pronunciations of the words impossible and incapable.

Cry Your Heart Out describes Adele’s preferred musical setting. I Drink Wine pleases Big Merlot with its title, while asking, “How can one become so bounded by choices that somebody else makes?”

When Winfrey mentioned “pain as a muse,” Adele acknowledged the cathartic capabilities of voice and music. “I don’t think as a person I have what my singing has.”

The new book by musician-author Gryner is a self-help memoir about, among other things, single parenting and quitting the music business. As a divorced mother who has written her share of breakup songs, Gryner relates to Adele’s ideas on the healing properties of singing.You’re using your whole body and all of your air to push out this pain,” Gryner says. “It’s the musical equivalent of screaming in your bedroom.”

Singer Taylor Swift speaks with the media during the All Too Well New York Premiere in New York City, New York, U.S., Nov. 12.JEENAH MOON/Reuters

On last week’s Saturday Night Live, Swift, the Queen Kong of breakup songs, performed the new 10-minute version of her 2012 hit single All Too Well, now with matured vocals and bonus bloodletting. “They say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new hell every time you double-cross my mind,” Swift sings on a new third verse.

Originally written some 10 years ago, the song’s unnamed antagonist is supposedly actor Jake Gyllenhaal, briefly a paramour of the We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together singer back in the day. The updated version comes with a short film starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. Likewise, a new video directed by Swift’s actress friend Blake Lively and featuring actor Miles Teller accompanies a song written during the Red era but not recorded until recently.

Rumour has it that the song from the vault is also about Gyllenhaal. It’s called I Bet You Think About Me, and if the Guilty actor didn’t before, he probably is now.

The year of the breakup song

“It was the same old song, with a melancholy sound,” the Greg Kihn Band sang on 1981′s The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em). But Kihn was wrong: Not all splitsville songs are the same, nor are they all sad. A survey of singles in 2021 shows a variety of breakup vibes.

The ugly-cry ballad

Adele is the Dame of Downbeat, as shown on Easy on Me. In the it’s-not-you-it’s-me spirit, she asks for gentle understanding: “Go easy on me, baby.”

The kiss-off

With her pop-punk ditty Bite Me, Avril Lavigne is back to her Queen of Mean self.

The revenge track

Taylor’s Swift’s I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) is a waltzing country killer with Chris Stapleton. It’s probably directed at ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal, but, really, anyone who has ever said as much as “gesundheit” to Swift is a possible target.

It’s for the best

Think Cuts Like a Knife by Bryan Adams, where the breakup “feels so right.” Heartbreak Anthem, by Galantis, David Guetta and Little Mix, is all of that, with the shrugging sentiment of, “This ain’t a heartbreak anthem, I don’t care what happened.”

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