Britney Spears 'Femme Fatale' Wins Over Critics
Britney Spears is set to release her much-hyped seventh studio album Tuesday, and critics so far agree on one thing: Femme Fatale is a step in the right direction for the pop singer.
According to reviews, Femme Fatale -- a ballad-less collection of catchy dance beats -- takes Spears' recent interest in party pop to the extreme, and for the most part, it works out for her.
Entertainment Weekly's Adam Markovitz praised the "tireless dance beats" that dominate the album, but questioned the disparity between the bad girl, sexualized lyrics and Spears' overworked mother media image.
"Judging by these songs, she's a childless man-eater who could drink Ke$ha under the table," Markovitz wrote. "That disconnect, added to the fact that Spears doesn't claim so much as a co-writing credit on a single track, can make the album feel like an autopilot affair."
However, Eric R. Danton of the Hartford Courant gave the album five stars. He said the coherency of the songs is Femme Fatale's strong point, and disagreed about the sexual nature of the songs.
"These songs complement her ability instead of forcing her beyond it," he argued. "They don't seek to over-sexualize her, and they make no oblique reference to the more unhinged episodes in her past."
Thomas Conner of the Chicago Sun Times agreed that the album lives up to its seductive title "with a limited amount of sleaze," but added that it stifles Spears' personality and voice to the point where "Lady Gaga shouldn't sweat."
Still, he argued, "Femme Fatale should have a brief and deserved moment in the spring sun."
Rolling Stone's Judy Rosen threw another positive review into the mix, hailing Femme Fatale as Spears' best effort yet thanks to the contributions of respected pop producers Max Martin and Dr. Luke.
Rosen, however, agreed with other reviews of the subpar vocals, calling Spears' voice "twisted, shredded, processed, robotized" on every track.
The most notable example of this is "Big Fat Bass," will.i.am's lyrically sparse contribution that, according to Rosen, turns Spears into a "cyborg obsessed with low-end."
"Femme fatale? Not so much," she concludes. "But say this for Britney: She's an adventuress."