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Britney Spears “Femme Fatale” Worth the Download

It’s nothing short of impressive that Britney Spears released “…Baby One More Time” in October of 1998 when she was only 16 years old, and with the release of her seventh studio album Femme Fatale she will be turning 30 at the end of this year.

Many have argued that one of the reasons why Britney Spears has managed to be so successful over and over (and, importantly, despite a very public meltdown) is because she can gracefully transition into different sounds and styles of music while keeping up with the current trends. For example, someone who did not pull something like that off gracefully was Christina Aguilera with this year’s Bionic. It was a complete flop that attempted to combine Lady Gaga’s avant-garde style with Rihanna’s S&M antics, and this was even after she put an X in her name and wore assless chaps and rolled around in a boxing ring covered in mud. Ironically, everyone has always argued that Xtina’s vocal talent far surpasses Britney’s un-special and immature voice, but for some reason Britney has been infinitely more successful.

And most think they have nailed down what that reason is: almost every single one of the reviews for Femme Fatale have sent a blatant nod over to her producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin, and note that Britney has lost creative control over her music and is now a puppet for these music moguls to showcase their best work.

But many are forgetting that even when Britney did have creative control over her music she developed tracks that were innovative and even molded the music industry – she was a trendsetter rather than a trend follower. Rolling Stone Magazine described Blackout, one of Britney’s best albums but sadly overshadowed by her head shaving and rehab,  as “the most influential pop album in the past five years”. Britney co-wrote many of the songs on that album, including “Freakshow” which exhibited dubstep influences way before dubstep became part of the mainstream music scene (also found in the “Hold It Against Me” single off Femme Fatale).

Whoever you want to credit for Britney’s success, Femme Fatale is the epitome of a great dance album with pump-up electro beats and a “big fat bass” with just enough dubstep and unexpected sounds to make it unique. I’m tempted to admit that the two released singles “Hold It Against Me” and “Till the World Ends” are the best songs off the album, but with no ballads or forgettable filler tracks its clear that Britney (and her producers) spent time trying to make this album a complete package.

Tracks to definitely check out include “Trouble For Me,” “Inside Out,” “Big Fat Bass (Featuring Will.I.Am),” and “I Wanna Go.”

Joanna Buffum is a senior English major and Anthropology minor at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  She is from Morristown, NJ and in the summer of 2009 she was an advertising intern for OK! Magazine and the editorial blog intern for Zagat Survey in New York City. This past summer she was an editorial intern for MTV World's music website called MTV Iggy, writing fun things like album and concert reviews for bands you have never heard of before. Her favorite books are basically anything involving fantasy fiction, especially the Harry Potter series and “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke. In her free time she enjoys snowboarding, playing intramural field hockey, watching House MD, and making paninis. In the spring of 2010 she studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, and she misses the friendly, tall, and unusually attractive Danish people more than she can say. After college, she plans on pursuing a career in writing, but it can be anywhere from television script writing, to magazine journalism, to book publishing. 
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