.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/a97065255ee675dd54a643edb37a9ec4b63bfe81.jpg Femme Fatale

Britney Spears

Femme Fatale

Jive
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
235
March 14, 2011

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" — her music has steered bubblegum into weirder, woollier territory. "Toxic" was a mélange of Bollywood and spy-movie guitar; "Piece of Me" was an essay on 21st-century tabloid infamy crooned over 22nd-century club rhythms. Then there's this year's "Hold It Against Me," which dissolves into a furious dubstep breakdown — easily the most assaultive beat on the Hot 100 right now.

Click to listen to Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me"

Femme Fatale may be Britney's best album; certainly it's her strangest. Conceptually it's straightforward: a party record packed with sex and sadness. Max Martin and Dr. Luke, the world's two biggest hitmakers, are responsible for seven of 12 songs: big melodies and bigger Eurodisco thumps. But other producers go nuts, tossing the kitchen sink at Britney. The Bloodshy-helmed "How I Roll" is sputtering, oddly beautiful techno. In "Big Fat Bass," Will.i.am turns Britney into a cyborg obsessed with low-end. ("The bass is getting bigger!" she exults.) On nearly every track, Britney's voice is twisted, shredded, processed, roboticized. Maybe this is because she doesn't have much of a voice; it's certainly because she, more than almost any other pop diva, is simply game. Femme fatale? Not so much. But say this for Britney: She's an adventuress.

Britney Spears: A Life in Photos

235
prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com