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Image for CD: Britney - Femme Fatale

CD: Britney - Femme Fatale

If we told you that one spin of Britney’s Femme Fatale would make you forget the complete creative misstep that was Circus (we’re still having nightmares about ‘Mmm Papi’), would you hold it against us?

Now that I have that woeful pun out of my system, I can, with great gusto, declare that Britney has delivered a dance tour de force with Femme Fatale. It must be said, ‘Hold It Against Me’ had me wary about the album project. I didn’t like it when it was first released, and I still don’t love it now. From the demo to the final released version, the only real difference was the dubstep breakdown, which made me think that the inclusion was just another ingredient in the Britney machine’s recipe to create a perfect pop song. This lead me to worry that the heavy dubstep, trance and electro influences could just be tacked onto the tracks through the album, but thankfully these influences are stitched through the entire work conceptually.

‘Till the World Ends’ opens the album well and is a great lead-in to the hard hitting ‘Hold It Against Me’ but the Ke$ha co-penned track feels just like a B-side from her most recent EP, Cannibal. Good song, but a completely wrong choice for second single, and kind of blends into the background of the rest of the work. ‘Hold It Against Me’ makes more sense placed in the context of the album, but once again, not the strongest of single choices.

‘Inside Out’, the album’s only slow jam, give’s ‘Breathe On Me’ a run for its money as the sexiest song Britney has ever recorded. The song, a clear sonic evolution from Circus’ ‘Blur’, while taking influence from some of William Orbit’s work on Madonna’s Ray of Light and Music, is the only narrative driven track on the album as Britney begs her boyfriend for one last amazing [rhymes with truck] before they break up. And with a chorus that opens with ‘So come on!/Won’t you give me something to remember/Baby shut your mouth and turn me inside out’, what straight (or gay) man would deny her?

‘I Wanna Go’ is easily Britney’s best song since ‘Toxic’, and I’d go so far as to say that it is probably the best song that she has ever recorded. Britney playfully apologises for her need for uncontrollable sexual release over a club ready track and obscenely infectious whistle. How the decision was made that ‘Hold It Against Me’ would be a better first single over this is baffling.

The first ubiquitous Bloodshy & Avant track on the album ‘How I Roll’ (sorry guys, no ‘Radar’ this time) is more in the vein of the work that the duo have done for Kylie and Madonna rather than their previous work with Britney. The most processed and affected track on the album will polarise many. ‘(Drop Dead) Beautiful’ borrows the backing track of Ke$ha’s ‘Blow’, with guest rapper Sabi wishing she was Nicki Minaj. Good baseline, but feels like filler, as does ‘Seal It With A Kiss’.

I won’t lie, once I heard will.i.am was set to produce a track for Femme Fatale, I was ready to declare ‘Big Fat Bass’ the worst track of the album. will.i.am’s narcissistic tendency to make every production about him had me mentally renaming the track ‘Big Fat Piece of Shit’, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the track is actually pretty awesome. will.i.am has managed to process Britney’s vocals fantastically (by Britney standards), and the robotic repetition of ‘I can be your treble baby, you can be my bass’ is oddly sexual. Definite single contender.

‘Trouble For Me’ sees Britney bringing Frasier T. Smith into the production fold as he manages to meld a heavy electro bridge with an unashamed pop chorus. ‘Trip To Your Heart’ is the song Kylie’s ‘Looking for an Angel’ wishes it was, with a production that is so sugary sweet; Britney’s light vocal delivery feels right at home, but unfortunately, ‘Gasoline’ completely misses the mark. Everything about the song just feels so dated compared to the freshness of the rest of the tracks.

After eleven tracks of bleeps, production tricks and absolutely nothing organic, it’s nice to see the album closes with a nice guitar driven mid tempo track, ‘Criminal’ with the entire song screaming American Life-era Madonna. Think a mix of ‘Love Profusion’ and ‘Intervention’ with better production and not half as preachy.

Femme Fatale comes ever close to reaching the highs of Blackout, but falls just short, but it is hard to compete with an album that was steeped in so much context. A highly recommended album, even if you aren’t a Britney fan.

Below: Britney’s epic video for Hold It Against Me.

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daverh

daverh said on the 14th Mar, 2011

Can't believe you already bashed this out!

Anthony Mahera

Anthony Mahera said on the 14th Mar, 2011

Film clip is very queer. I luv it :)

son of vader

son of vader said on the 14th Mar, 2011

I'm going to rebut this whole idea that this trumps CIRCUS. No freaking way. The producers have killed any fragments of what we remember to be miss Britney Spears and now all we have left are bits of Vocoder & layered backing singers to transform her into a robot. At least in Circus you could hear her unprocessed voice. Im sure there are others at there that feel the same way about this album and that you have clouded judgment. Femme Fatale falls too short of ever being as great as Circus.

Phazz

Phazz said on the 14th Mar, 2011

Circus was actually half decent. Hold It Against Me is lame and what is worse is the song written by Ke$ha.

joejoe84

joejoe84 said on the 14th Mar, 2011

I don't understand the fascination with this girl.

Recreated355

Recreated355 said on the 14th Mar, 2011



oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

jiiinx

jiiinx said on the 14th Mar, 2011

Just downloaded the album. I wasted 30mins of my life. That's how I feel. Except for "Trip to your heart". I agree with your comment on that. I did enjoy that. It felt sensual :)

ammonite

ammonite said on the 14th Mar, 2011

britney spears is in no possible stretch of the imagination a 'femme fatale'

disco3000

disco3000 said on the 14th Mar, 2011

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! At last, something that we bears can dance AND sing along to at circuit parties!

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 14th Mar, 2011

omg does SS have any taste at all.

what about some news on real artists with talent.

ammonite

ammonite said on the 14th Mar, 2011

wasn't the Circus album and the tour she did basically just everyone's attempt to get her out of the psych ward and working so she'd get better?

Phazz

Phazz said on the 14th Mar, 2011

^^ Yes and judging by the first two releases of this album, it seems that she is a lost cause. She and Christina Aguilera are at an age where their fan base has grown up (somewhat) competing against a bunch of newer artists like Ke$ha, GaGa, Rihanna and Katy Perry. Pop music is shallow and unforgiving. Christina's last album bombed and I suspect this one will bomb for Britney. If you can't reinvent yourself ala Madonna and Kylie, then you will fade into the background.

Travis de Jonk

Travis de Jonk said on the 15th Mar, 2011

I look forward to watching her mime all these 'hits' at her next concert too.

devrdamp

devrdamp said on the 23rd Mar, 2011

A very close second to Blackout... and that's a GOOD thing.

This review does look a little familiar though... Popjustice anyone?

local_warming

local_warming said on the 24th Mar, 2011



what about some news on real artists with talent.

noni hazelhurst??