April 09, 2020
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Sound Advice: Britney Spears


BDN staffers write about new albums from across the musical spectrum

“Femme Fatale” (Jive)

For those of you who haven’t been following the evolution of Britney Spears, she doesn’t make bubble-gum pop anymore — nobody does, really. Instead, she creates music that DJ Pauly D would be able to fist pump to all night. For those of you who don’t know who DJ Pauly D is, I envy you.

The latest installment in the Britney catalog, “Femme Fatale,” borders on self-parody with its relentless electronic thumping and lyrics that come off as one massive, cheesy pickup line. The album is Spears’ answer to Ke$ha, without that chic Oscar the Grouch look.

Like everyone’s favorite trash goddess Ke$ha, Britney keeps “Femme Fatale” going strong for 16 tracks, never slowing it down. If you’re looking for ballads such as “Everytime” or “My Baby” (and why would you be?), you’re not going to find anything comparable here. And for that, we thank you, Britney. Instead, “Fatale,” is chock-full of potential club bangers.

What else would you expect from producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin, whose tracks — many of which I suspect are created in 10 minutes — dominate commercial radio at the moment? They skip the musical vegetables and go straight to dessert, and there’s a lot of sugar here. The album plays right into what people want, so why not give it to them?

More than anything, though, “Femme Fatale” shows that Britney is capable and willing to adapt, a hurdle that nearly all other pop stars from her generation couldn’t clear. There’s little doubt, even after the emotional breakdowns, an embarrassing Video Music Awards appearance a few years back and the disaster known as K-Fed, that Britney will somehow triumph.

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