The audio: Since Britney Spears' public meltdown in early 2008, fans have been asking if the rehabbed star could record another album on par with career highs such as Oops! I Did It Again (2000) or In the Zone (2003). Critics are asking the same question as Spears drops "Hold It Against Me," the first single from a new album scheduled for a March release. (Listen to a clip, below.) Does the song "[reaffirm] Spears as a genuine pop star, and one of the artists who laid the foundations for the likes of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga" as one blogger suggests?
The reaction: While I'd love to say that Britney's new single is in the same league as classic hits like "Hit Me Baby" and "Oops," says Willa Paskin in New York, I can't. Its flaws include "a mess of a spoken-word bridge that sounds like dozens of effects, including Spears' voice, have been thrown into the Cuisinart." Producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin may be selling their "higher-quality stuff" to younger pop stars like Katy Perry, while throwing Britney their mediocre scraps. It starts well, says Michael Cragg in The Guardian, then "has a meltdown around the two-minute mark... " Say what you like, says Brad Wete in Entertainment Weekly , the song "is classic Britney — that is to say the vocal performance is far from stellar, but it serves as a nice accessory to the duo's thumping Euro techno groove." Listen for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
Subscribe to the Week