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Music Review

Britney Spears: 'Femme Fatale'

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Released on Monday, Mar 28 2011

Britney Spears - 'Femme Fatale'
Let's be honest, Britney's last album Circus wasn't bad by your average artist's standards - 'Womanizer', 'Shattered Glass' and 'Unusual You' anyone? - but as a follow-up to the near-perfect Blackout, we don't mind telling you that we were left somewhat underwhelmed. Given that she's spent two-and-a-bit years working on a follow-up - one that she claims is built "for the clubs" and is her "edgiest and most mature sound yet" - we have a sneaking suspicion that the feeling was mutual. Question is, does Femme Fatale hit the mark?

  • The LP's two trailer singles have already raised the bar from what Circus offered us, having served up a pair of club-thumping stompers in the form of saucy 'n' seductive 'Hold It Against Me' and hi-NRG 'Till The World Ends'. Both helmed by producer-du-jour Dr Luke and longtime mixing buddy Max Martin, their dub-pop hybrid is both fresh yet undeniably 'Britney'.

  • Fortunately the LP's ten remaining tracks continue the trend, with the anthemic 'I Wanna Go', self-assured '(Drop Dead) Beautiful' and ballsy 'Gasoline' all tailor-made dancefloor choons; while the lyrics range from 'Inside Out's' blatantly slutty: "Baby shut your mouth and turn me inside out," to the supremely self-assured: "I wanna go down town where my posse's at/ Because I got nine lives like a kitty-cat" on 'How I Roll'.

  • Despite the album's well-worn producers and slightly obvious theme, the production is polished, intriguing and - best of all - fun. The dub-steppy 'Inside Out', the much-welcomed piano breakdown on the will.i.am-assisted 'Big Fat Bass' and the pagan-like flutes in closing track 'Criminal' all keep us guessing - albeit while feeling suitably pumped - for the full 65 minutes.

  • Future singles? She's spoilt for choice here, but if 'I Wanna Go', 'How I Roll' and 'Criminal' don't at least get a look-in, well, we'll be having strong words.

  • It may have taken four years to arrive, but Femme Fatale ultimately feels like the post-Blackout comeback we were waiting for, albeit with one important distinction: rather than feeling like we'd caught a worse-for-wear Britters at an underground, Red Stripe-soaked "party", this time we're joining her at an altogether classier venue, locking arms and ushering the barman for a round of raspberry Mojito's before throwing some serious shapes. Yes, she's teamed up with producers that her contemporaries are well-aquainted with, and the subject matter rarely shifts from the superficial, but what ultimately sets it apart is Spears's unrivaled ability to seduce us, which, given the album's title, is something she clearly knows all too well.



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