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Britney Spears is a true 'Femme Fatale'
on March 29, 2011
The short version of this review? Femme Fatale (especially the Deluxe Edition) is simply Britney Spears' best album to date. It's everything a Britney fan could ask for. And for those who aren't fans, they will most likely become fans if they like catchy electro dance music.
Now for the (very) long version. Femme Fatale is an electro-pop masterpiece that melds pop, techno, and even dubstep together. Every song has fantastic production, creative lyrics, and a star quality that only Britney can pull off. This album is one you will want to listen to whenever and wherever, in the car, at the club, at home, at parties. Britney really put her heart and soul into this album, and it shows through her vocal performance throughout the album as well. Yes, there is a fair amount of production and editing that goes on, but as far as the energy in her vocals (which is something autotune cannot induce),she really has put her best foot forward to make tantalizing dance music.
Is Femme Fatale better than Blackout? That is up for you to judge. Femme Fatale is definitely sex-driven, just like Blackout. Every song on this album is different and unique sounding, but there are definitely a lot of similarities to Blackout. Femme Fatale is more like the Blackout 2.0, it's definitely far from the sound of Circus.
"Till The World Ends" and "Hold It Against Me" are the singles so far for this album. "Hold It Against Me" is a fantastic song that has a thrusting beat, and the double-entendre is very clever. The album begins with the high-energy "Till The World Ends", written by Ke$ha. It's an amazing dance anthem complete with chants of "woah oh oh oh ohhh" and the vocals are fierce and catchy. These two songs are already an amazing start to the album.
The next song is a mid-tempo breakup sex jam called "Inside Out". This is probably one of Britney's best mid-tempos and the lyrics are instantly catchy. We heard dubstep influences in "Hold It Against Me", and "Inside Out" is no exception, it takes the influence to the next level. Next "I Wanna Go" kicks in, and this song is pure fire. The song features some clever whistling, and classic Britney stuttering "I I wanna go go all the way way". This is definitely a highlight of the album, and you won't be able to get it out of your head.
The album stays uptempo with the bubbly "How I Roll", which is one of the album's most unique songs. Produced by Bloodshy & Avant, Britney sings some jazzy vocals over electronic bubble pops and a beat made out of her own panting. It's a weird description, but the R&B/Techno-vibe song is very fun and Britney owns it. My favorite lyrics are "I wanna go downtown where my posse's at, because I got nine lives like a kitty cat". Also, she pulls an "If U Seek Amy" with the lyrics of "You can be my thug tonight", but it really sounds like "You can be my f**k tonight" (which after many listens, I am convinced it's the real lyric).
"(Drop Dead) Beautiful [Featuring Sabi]" has an infectious beat and chorus, featuring a new female rapper named Sabi. The beat is so sick, and Britney delivers some sassy lines. The song is definitely great with some lyrics that make me chuckle, but Sabi's part is just kind of generic and overly auto-tuned. Next is "Seal It With A Kiss", probably the most hardcore dubstep song on the album, with a hard breakdown in the middle of the song. This song is another one of my favorites as Britney declares her secret love for someone at a party. It also has an identifiable "Oooo Oooo Ooo" throughout that makes it fun.
Will.I.Am features in "Big Fat Bass" (pronounced base, mind you) which is one of those tracks that has to grow on you, some will like it, others won't. It's basically a Black Eyed Peas song made just for Britney, as the lyrics are pretty straightforward. She coos in her lower register "I can be your treble baby, you can be my bass" and she says this over and over until the point where "treble" sounds more like "trouble". The beat on this song is very good, it swells and includes some flourishing piano in it. Will.I.Am's rap is nothing special either, but I have to give him credit for the practically flawless production. This "Womanizer" like song is also the longest on the album, clocking in at 4:45.
At this point, you are halfway through the album (or more than halfway if you just have the standard edition) and you would expect things to get boring right? Well that's where you're wrong; the last half of the album is just as exciting as the first. The track "Trouble For Me" is a R&B influenced track with a dirty electro beat molded into it. It's here where Britney's vocals sound the most confident and fierce. She sings about a lover who is trouble for her, but a party must-have for everyone else. This song has a great bridge too, and keeps bumpin' till the inevitable end of the song.
"Trip To Your Heart" is an effervescent, gorgeous, ballad style electro song. It reminds me of "Heaven On Earth" from Blackout, and a little bit of "Breathe On Me" from In The Zone. Britney's vocals sound soft and pretty here almost like "Everytime" from In The Zone. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful "Spread my wings out into the dark, I'll fly away on a trip to your heart / Break these chains that keep us apart, I'll fly away on a trip to your heart".
"Gasoline" picks the pace back up with addicting and clever lyrics like "Spark and it's like gasoline / I start pumping like a machine / My heart only runs on supreme / So hot / Give me your gasoline". The standard length album comes to an end with the incredible "Criminal" which is another ballad like electro song. The song features a cool flute, and Britney sings about loving a bad boy. The song's lyrics make you to wonder if she is talking about her ex: Kevin Federline. Either way, this is a pretty and entertaining song that ends the standard album on a good note.
The bonus tracks bring the deluxe album back to party mode with the electric, addictive "Up `N Down". This song is so good and dirty with an amazing bridge, and this song definitely should have been included on the standard edition track listing. "Selfish" is equally amazing, with classic Britney pronunciation of the word "selfish", which sounds more like "seyylfesh".
My favorite lyrics from the chorus are "Boom boom baby, pick you up in my Mercedes".
"He About To Lose Me" has guitars that remind me of P!nk song, and features Britney's most raw vocals. That is until you get to the chorus, which doesn't sound anything like her. Still, this song is catchy and emotional, probably the only other song not talking about sex. Then the last song is a complete oddball (but really a hidden gem) song, it's a rock/pop song called "Don't Keep Me Waiting" which doesn't fit the electro sound of the rest of the album. What's great about this song is how unique it is, I don't think I can remember the last time Britney sang a rock song. The vocals are very confident and I can totally imagine her rocking out while recording it.
As far as the title, her involvement, and concept goes, I would say all these songs fit the concept in a sort of effortless way. Britney doesn't need to try hard to be seductive with her music, she just is seductive with her music. Would it be safe to say she is a femme fatale? Definitely. Seven albums in to her career and she can still captivate us with her image, style and vocal presence. The very fact that Britney didn't write even one song on this album just proves how she easily makes ANY song that she is willing to record her own, and she does it with her undeniable spirit and a voice more unique than any other pop artist on the scene. She doesn't need to be a fantastic songwriter to make amazing music that is exclusively all her own, and neither did some of the greats like Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley. Even the contemporaries of today don't write much of their own music, take Rihanna's Loud for example. Britney has a had a lot of creative involvement throughout the years, whether it be coming up with a music video idea, choosing album pictures, or co-writing some of her biggest hits ("Me Against The Music" and "Everytime"). I would hope that seven albums into her career that we would stop questioning her talent, voice, creative drive, and rather be accepting of it. The best thing Britney has done for a decade now is sing, dance, and deliver fantastic pop music. If anything, Britney has earned her Ph.D in the art of seduction via music.
Overall Femme Fatale is an amazing record, Britney's best if I dare say so. Or at the very least a flawless equal match to the magnificent Blackout. It has all types of songs, and really nothing on it disappoints me. The vocals are amazing (she experiments every part of her range, from the high notes in "Trip To Your Heart" to the lows of "Big Fat Bass"), the production is consistently flawless, the beats and lyrics are top-notch, and the album stands alone as a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, dance record. This album is where Britney is completely in her zone; giving her fans the best music she's ever made. This album is far better than anything the other Pop divas of today (Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Beyonce, Rihanna) have put out in the past year or so. Only Britney can pull an album like this off anyways. I would very highly recommend this album to any and all Britney fans, but also to anyone who is looking for amazing, feel-good, dance, avant-garde, pop music. I am so proud of and thankful to Britney and her producers for making this album; it really is a pop masterpiece for 2011.
Rating: 5/5 Stars or an A+