Critics have been hacking at Britney Spears’ bubble-gum throat since day one.
In previous albums she tried to prove she could sing by doing slow ballads. Or she tried to prove she was involved in the creative process by co-writing a track. But on “Femme Fatale” she is unapologetically overproduced.
At times, her babyish, breathy vocals are completely unrecognizable beneath layers of others’ technical prowess.
But “Fatale” is a hit record. Critics are right to say Spears phoned in her performance on an album that is basically a copy cat of Lady Gaga’s European techno-infused music.
But in the right environment – a night club – “Femme Fatale’s” catchy tracks and blaring bass would own the night.
Britney Spears’ music can’t be rated in the same way as other artists. She has always been both a controversial and fascinating character, as people argue over her talent – or lack thereof.
To accurately portray the feelings this album produced, it is only appropriate to take opinions from various members of The Knight editorial board.
“Till the World Ends”
Brenna Peters: It’s important to note that she’s gone back to producer Max Martin, who she started with in “Baby One More Time.” This song is a perfect album opener because it has a big sound to it.
Tessy Pawlowski: I like the faster, repetitive lines that go: “I notice that you got it. You notice that I want it. You know that I can take it, to the next level baby.” They’re kind of stupid, but catchy.
“I Wanna Go”
BP: I judge Britney music by, if I can see a Britney drag queen dancing to the song, it works. This one does.
Janae Butler: Every time I hear “I Wanna Go,” I legitimately can picture myself dancing. I like how it explodes.
“Big Fat Bass”
TP: Will.i.am says “big fat bass” 14 times at the beginning of this song. So, at least the title is clear.
JB: I would rather not hear Britney keep repeating the awful line “I can be the treble, baby you can be the bass.” But she does, over and over again.
“How I Roll”
TP: It reminds me of those rhymes that kids say when they jump rope on the playground. But the lyrics aren’t appropriate for that.
BP: Why does she want a thug? Look how well Kevin Federline turned out?
“Trouble For Me”
BP: It’s got an interesting bass at the beginning I can’t describe.
Alex Bieler: It’s like a synth machine revving up.
BP: I like how it references “Baby one more time” in the line “Hit me one more time, it’s so amazing.”
“Trip to Your Heart”
BP: This is my favorite. I like airy Britney.
AB: It sounds human. This is the best song so far.
“Hold it Against Me”
AB: Whoever wrote the line “Would you hold it against me” was pretty clever. I would use it.
BP: The classic use of double entendre for Britney caught my ear.
“(Drop Dead) Beautiful”
BP: I like the pop culture reference to Biggie Smalls’ “Hypnotized.”
JB: I like that she refers to a guy as drop dead beautiful instead of girl. It’s different.
JB: Five thumbs down.
BP: It ends the album, but doesn’t fit with the rest of it.
It’s a wonder where Britney will take it from here. “Femme Fatale” arguably uses every last ounce of technical juice that can be wrung from her brilliant producers.
She doesn’t possess the quirk of current leading pop ladies like Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
Her attempt to be strange in the video for “Hold It Against Me” by beating a copy of herself and then spewing paint out of her fingers, felt more tired and forced than interesting.
However, “Femme Fatale” will be a hit in the way fellow pop-diva Christina Aguilera’s techno-infused “Bionic”
wasn’t. Spears’ star has yet to burn out, and she probably has several more hit albums in her future. If Madonna can stay on the music scene long after her relevant days are over, then Spears should be allowed to milk her star power for as long as possible, too. And her famously rabid fans probably won’t hold it against her.
Features Editor Janae Butler, Assistant Sports Editor Alex Bieler and News Editor Brenna Peters contributed to this story.