Release Date: Mar 29, 2011
Record label: Jive
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Club/Dance
Click to listen to Britney Spears' "Till the World Ends" Britney Spears is pop music's stealth avant-gardist. For years, critics have dismissed her as a cipher with a wisp of a voice. But from the minute she burst on the scene — heralded by the keyboard power chords of ". . . Baby One More Time ….
Britney Spears delivers 12 solid, single-worthy pop tunes on her seventh LP, an album so taut she should've called it Fat Free. Wannabe World Cup anthem Till The World Ends kicks things off with an aura of pounding, Euro dance euphoria. Spears dives into dubstep on the next two tracks, and then she's full of curveballs, from flutes and whistles to vocal effects that humorously play up her nasal inflections.
These days, we don’t ask a whole lot from Britney Spears as an entertainer. She can bungle her dancing, muss her weave, and sleepwalk through a video (like the flatline clip for first single ”Hold It Against Me”), and we’ll still send her straight up the charts simply because she’s Britney. Because we were there in 1998 when she first bare-midriffed her way into the zeitgeist, and we were there a decade later when she lost her way — and, for a brief time, custody of her two children.
Femme Fatale is the seventh studio album from Britney Spears. In a career spanning 13 years - a lifetime in pop terms - there have been hits, some misses and a very public meltdown from which she appears to have never fully recovered. 2007’s electro freak-out, Blackout, took her into dance territory, and it was a direction which suited her new, edgier public image surprisingly well.
With a not-exactly-rapturously received lead single that dipped its toe warily into dubstep (the cunningly titled [b]‘Hold It Against Me’[/b]), [b]Britney’s[/b] new album was always going to be a wild card. And luckily, it is, but in the good way. While keeping classic [b]Britney[/b] touches, [b]Ms Spears[/b] shows exactly how she’s stayed around for so long.
The aftermath of Britney Spears’ 2007 freak-out and Blackout wound up with her ceding control of her personal and professional life to her father and producers, respectively, leaving her as no more than a figurehead of an enterprise. Of course, Brit Brit had essentially been the face of a carefully calibrated pop machine for years, but every element of that contraption hinged on her persona, the songs and the sound fitting her evolution. Starting with Blackout, Britney started to slip into the background on her own records, a progression that continued unabated on Circus and finds some kind of culmination on 2011’s Femme Fatale.
Review Summary: Ms. Spears embraces the bleep bloop.Britney Spears occupies a weird, unique space in the pop spectrum. She’s been compared to past greats like Madonna and Kylie Minogue, but she lacks the latter’s self-aware creativity and mentioning her in the same breath as the former is, frankly, insulting. A common complaint with Spears is that she doesn’t write her own songs, which, the argument goes, somehow equates to a lack of talent, but the same can be said of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra… the list goes on.
You don't want to sound like you're wishing the woman ill, but there's no doubt Britney Spears made her best album when she was at her worst. It wasn't merely that the various producers of 2007's Blackout – its recording somehow slotted into a pressing schedule of visits to rehab, head-shaving and being carried out of her own home strapped to a gurney while the world's media circled overheard in helicopters – took her apparently imminent demise as an excuse to try anything they fancied (in Freakshow, it contained possibly the first mainstream pop track to show the influence of dubstep); it was that Spears finally appeared to reveal something of her personality. Admittedly, said personality seemed pretty odd – the snarling Piece of Me claimed her ongoing woes were the result of a global media conspiracy to besmirch working mothers – but, for the listener at least, Spears's problems offered their own reward.
More than a decade into her career, it's still unclear what Britney Spears brings to the table, and before delving into her latest album, Femme Fatale, it felt necessary to try to understand, once and for all, the pop singer's appeal. Britney seems to conjure the kind of blind allegiance typically reserved for superstars who have seemingly better-earned such fawning fanaticism—either with their unmistakable technical talent or their socio-political import (Mariah and Madonna come to mind, respectively). Comparisons to the latter have always been utterly absurd; Britney has never possessed the creative endowment or self-awareness to deserve that mantle.
Ah, yes…Ms. Spears. Welcome back! You’ve made quite the triumphant return as of late. Care to flaunt some post-Circus life in our humble blogosphere? Excellent. It appears the everlasting showstopper/glorified dancing girl is bouncing two steps forward, a half step back, and remaining unscathed ….
Apparently, Britney Spears has great timing (that is, of course, when you’re not thinking about this). When Miss Spears was going through the public breakdown to end all public breakdowns in 2007, she (and her many handlers) still managed to put together a remarkably solid club record in the form of Blackout, a high-energy, ballad-free disc that was focused on nothing but dance tracks, the hooks still accessible to all even as her lyrics got increasingly sexual in nature. What made the album a bit more interesting than her previous discs, however, was the fact that since her tabloid follies were now completely unavoidable, people couldn’t help but read into the lyrics a little bit, especially on the paparazzi-mocking single “Piece of Me”, which was, of course, penned by people other than Spears.
An inconsistent seventh set, but home to at least five bona-fide Britney classics. Natalie Shaw 2011 Britney Spears’ career has followed a curious trajectory. Until the turbulent extremes of the Blackout period, it was her image rather than her carefully manipulated persona that fans fell for. And now it’s make-or-break for the singer, Femme Fatale offering the chance to replace 2008’s relative flop Circus with fun-time Britney, a recording artist on top of her musical game.
BRITNEY SPEARS “Femme Fatale” (Jive). There’s something irretrievably last-decade about Britney Spears, once the bionic princess of the pure pop revival and now a relic of quainter times. For today’s female stars, pop is the medium, but the modes of delivery are convoluted, even ….