Britney Spears graces the cover of this week's Billboard, telling the magazine that she's "slowly but surely" working on a new album. Her manager, Larry Rudolph, says they're more interested in recording singles for the time being: "Britney will get to [an album] eventually, but not right now."
It's been two years since her eighth and most recent studio album, 2013's Britney Jean, so you could certainly call this a comeback. But here's the beauty of this: she's not really in need of a comeback, at least not in the way she once was.
Actually, Britney's doing great.
Forbes crowned her the highest-earning woman in music in 2012, the same year she became the best-paid TV singing competition judge in history on the second season of The X Factor. She's spent the last two years in residence at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, performing her show Piece of Me nearly 100 times and raking in a staggering $42 million for the venue. Spears — who says she has her hands full taking care of her sons, aged 8 and 9 — is in talks to extend her contract through 2017.
I think this sums up the state of Brit's career perfectly: this week, a conveniently anonymous source suggested that the pop icon is in line to headline the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show (she shared the on-field stage with Aerosmith and other artists in 2001). The rumor is just about as flimsy as a rumor can get — it's coming to you via the Daily Mail, via the National Enquirer, which is the journalistic integrity equivalent of garnishing a bullshit sandwich with poop flakes — but the fact that it exists, and is plausible, is nevertheless deeply telling.
In a quiet, grown-up way, Britney has become more powerful than ever.
Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.