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Britney Spears – [Album]

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Monday, 28 March 2011

It's unlikely that anyone could possibly have known what to expect from Britney Spears after the world class calamity the singer embarked upon a couple of years ago. If you were in a coma or only recently emerged a self-imposed media blackout (those are pretty much the only ways you'd have missed it), Spears divorced, had a breakdown, released Circus (the closest to an anti-commercial album that a pop queen could release – as songs like “If You Seek Amy” attest) and very publicly tried to put it all back together again with poor (at worst) to comical (at best) results. We've laughed and cried as the tabloids have chronicled all the hijinx, but where has it left the singer herself? What has all of that mania done to Britney Spears psychologically? The answer should be that it's nobody's damned business, but no matter what Spears releases, it's going to be mercilessly dissected as both fans and critics look for the next big controversy they can build up to surround Britney Spears. Because of that, the only real question is how big the mess is going to be.

Or not. On Femme Fatale, Britney Spears has elected to not give anyone the satisfaction of another tabloid headline. Any dissection done to this album will reveal nothing. Rather than give the masses another Circus, the singer has stiffened up and given them an album which sticks to making good, sugary, non-topical (or at least not overtly topical), danceable songs; no more, no less.

That Femme Fatale simply plays and doesn't do any remarkable tricks is shocking at first, but gets pretty enjoyable pretty quickly. Fans will find themselves relieved to discover that there is no subtext to these songs, they're only as deep as they seem initially.

That blessed, shallow “poppy-ness” bleats forth from the instant “Till The World Ends” bumps but does not grind its' way out of the gate. While Spears has always dry-humped the eardrums of listeners in order to coerce her way into their hearts and minds previously (such has been the tradition since she asked them to hit her one more time and has endured through songs like “Crazy,” “Oops I Did It Again,” “I'm A Slave 4 U,” “Toxic” and “If U Seek Amy” to name only a few), this time the singer takes a different page from Madonna and drops a completely different set of confessions from the dance floor. Here, the vocals are more electronically syncopated than papery or simpering and the almost-completely-electronic instrumentation is more static and incidental to put more focus on the beats – which are a little slipperier and more geared to 'dance' than 'pop' in their own right. Some listeners will complain that Britney Spears has abandoned her pop cliches completely from the beginning of “Till The World Ends” and they're right – but it's not necessarily a bad thing. On Femme Fatale, Spears is able to pull off everything she needs to as an artist as well as everything she wants to all at once; she's able to have a bit of an artistic growth spurt and leave the simpering pre-teen pop tart that she's played the role of for so long behind, and she's able to stay clear of all the interpersonal nonsense that has dogged her for the last couple of years completely. While that might leave a couple of listeners grumbling, “Till The World Ends” is a refreshing turn, overall.

The game doesn't change too much from there for the rest of Femme Fatale's run-time. Songs including “Hold It Against Me” (which comes closest to the “pop tart” Spears of old), “Inside Out,” “How I Roll,” “Trouble For Me” and “Gasoline” all play hardest (and best) with the electro-clashing, computer-composed trappings supplied by producer Dr. Luke, who also takes care to always keep the energy up and upfront. Real-time instruments are largely ignored and, although a few do trickle into songs like “Big Fat Bass,” “Gasoline” and “Criminal,” they are by no stretch the norm or the focus on Femme Fatale; the beats – not the instruments or even the singer – are supposed to hold listeners' attention. The beats are strong enough to do it too; each song is solid and seems almost destined to get people moving on the dance floor. Because it is a dance record too, those critics who were waiting to sharpen a knife on Spears won't get the opportunity here because there is no autobiography in the lyric sheets, nor is there anything wildly incendiary or provocative about them; the accessibility that Spears always held for Top 40 Pop audiences just isn't here. This is a dance record – not a pop album.

That said, Femme Fatale isn't a bad release for Britney Spears, for a couple of reasons. First the album will finally let the singer break ties with the 'All Ages' set and get into clubs full-time; she gets to act her age in that regard. Second, Femme Fatale will allow Britney Spears a reprieve from the star machine; because the album is dominated by electronics, there is a bit of anonymity to it so, with this break in form, she'll be able to start fresh with whatever she does next.

Artist:

www.britneyspears.com/

www.myspace.com/britneyspears
www.facebook.com/britneyspears
www.twitter.com/BRITNEYSPEARS

Album:

Femme Fatale
comes out via Jive/Sony Music on March 29,2011. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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Britney Spears – [Album]

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Friday, 13 November 2009

Britney Spears needs no introduction. Since first appearing on Top 40 airwaves in 1999, she has captured a global audience and interest in every single movement she makes and every controversial event – be it the “is-she-isn't-she a virgin” debacle that raged virtually until she had a child of the “did she slip Madonna the tongue?” question spawned by the duo's performance on the VMAs years ago (don't forget – Cristina Aguilera was there too!), the nonsense with her mother or the train-wreck behavior she's exhibited over the last two years in particular – that she's endured has become an object of public domain. Privacy? Forget it – she's got none. Fans, journalists, yea-sayers, nay-sayers – everybody is aware of Britney Spears down to the most minute details of her life. In the last te years, no pop star outside of maybe Michael Jackson has held such enduring interest or ensured that the children of photographers don't go hungry. She's been marketed every which way too; since 1999, Spears has released just six albums but (now) two greatest hits compilations in the same period as well as an album of remixes, appeared in thirteen TV shows or motion pictures and appeared in fifteen international television advertising campaigns – to say nothing of the appearances her music has made in film and television.

Ten years on and with so much made of Britney Spears in that time, it becomes a chore to remember that her music is what got this mass media commodity noticed in the first place – a fact that The Singles Collection hopes to re-iterate.

Collecting all of the multi-platinum singles that Spears has released over the last decade (the liner notes even give the staggering number of copies sold and how many kudos were awarded), of course The Singles Collection is going to leave little to be desired. The real surprise comes when, as one listens, it becomes evident how well they all fit together; after the new single, “3,” each successive song fits together seamlessly and cleanly, like well-laid interlocking stone. It becomes obvious in this context that the beats, keys, riffs and motifs in “…Baby On More Time,” “Crazy” and “Oops! I Did It Again” are all functionally interchangeable (or flat-out identical) in some of the songs in the singer's repertoire and do even trail into some of the later work (like “Toxic”). For the older audience (those over ten years old) that may not have noticed when the songs were new, that's the greatest surprise of this compilation.

What those similarities and common threads also illustrate though is why Spears has remained on everyone's lips this long. With innuendo and glossy pop saturating every note, each song (but particularly “Me Against The Music,” “If You Seek Amy” and “I'm A Slave 4 U”) wriggles into the pleasure center of every listener's brain, every club girl's dance mix and every little boy's fantasy – it's the sort of multi-tiered popular power play and triple threat that every publicist dreams of and has made Britney Spears the household name she has been for so long.

Is it great music? Depending on circumstances (age, taste, how frustrated your imagination and libido are), the answer could go either way but there's no way to argue the effects that the songs and singer have had on the world's population. These are the songs that introduced Britney Spears to the world and have caused a decade-long (with no end in sight) love affair and feeding frenzy; they have made their mark and, for the sake of economy, The Singles Collection handily pulls them all together – ignoring all the filler.

Artist:

www.britneyspears.com/

twitter.com/britneyspears

Download:

Britney Spears – “If U Seek Amy” – The Singles Collection

Britney Spears – “Piece Of Me” – The Singles Collection


Album:

Britney Spears' The Singles Collection is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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