Britney Spears Gets "Dolled" Up

Hiatus already over as pop star readies new album

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Despite her recent announcement that she would be "taking some time off," Britney Spears is in the early stages of work on a new album, tentatively titled The Original Doll.

During a surprise appearance at Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM last Thursday, the singer previewed a rough mix of a new track, "Mona Lisa," recorded while Spears was on her Onyx Hotel tour. The song begins with the lyrics, "Ladies and gentlemen, I've got a story to tell/About Mona Lisa, and how she suddenly fell/ See, everyone knew her, they knew her so well/Now I am taking over to release her from her spell."

A cautionary tale, "Mona Lisa" goes on to warn against having a "breakdown": "You will hit the freakin' wall." Spears announced her need for a break from the business last October in a letter on her Web site. "I understand now what they mean when they talk about child stars," she wrote. "Going and going and going is all I've ever known since I was fifteen years old."

Yesterday, the pop star posted a New Year's letter to her fans on the site explaining her reversal: "What I meant was I am taking a break from being told what to do . . . I've been even more 'hands on' in my management and the business side of things, and I feel more in control than ever."

Spears announced that The Original Doll will hit stores "probably before summertime."