Ten years in the making, the album “15 Minutes” was inspired by the rise of Britney Spears and examines the perils of fame.
“I was watching Britney Spears being driven crazy by the paparazzi,” Manilow told USA Today. “This young, beautiful, talented girl was just trying to live her life, but she was being followed around everywhere. I asked myself, is that the price of fame these days?”
Taking its title from Andy Warhol’s prediction that people of the future will be famous for just that length of time, “15 Minutes” traces the rise and fall of a fictitious male pop star that is definitely not Spears.
The New Yorker calls it an “ambitious concept album,” writing:
“If you think that ‘Barry Manilow’ and ‘concept album,’ when placed too close to one another, trigger an irreversible chemical reaction that produces excess camp value, you’d be correct, but Manilow’s album benefits from his indisputable pop talents and a focused if sometimes overdetermined narrative: the song titles, from ‘Work the Room’ to ‘He’s a Star’ to ‘Winner Goes Down,’ aren’t exactly oblique.”
As Manilow does the post-album release interview spiel, here are some of gems he’s said:
On kids these days: “I get worried for the kids who wind up in the spotlight without having paid their dues. You see it every week on ‘American Idol’ and ‘The X Factor.’”
On his health: “I never get fat, because I don't like eating. I don't need aerobics; I get enough of that when I'm on stage. And I've got my hair. I'm very lucky — 95 years old, and I've still got my hair.” Manilow is 68.
On writing his 1979 song “One Voice” in his sleep: “This one woke me up. It really woke me up — the whole song, the rhymes, everything.I ran to the cassette machine, and I whispered it into the cassette machine. All done.”
On identifying with his album’s fictitious pop star: “I found myself in every song. Around the eighth one, I realized that I was really writing about me. I never went down as far as the guy on the album does, but I did go down. I was a very unhappy guy.”
Listen to the title track below:
The album’s first single “Bring on Tomorrow” has become Manilow’s 47th Top 40 hit. Watch him perform it live: