Listening to a new Britney Spears album in the post-Lady Gaga era is a lot like watching a ""Rocky"" movie.
Much how all the ""Rocky"" movies after ""Rocky II"" involve a brash young Turk challenging the Italian stallion's dominance as he grows lazy and fat off success, the lack of a new Lady Gaga album in a while has inspired a plethora of diva-queens to soak up the cash flow in the Gagabsence.
Enter Femme Fatale, Spears' seventh album and foray into redefining her sound to make lots and lots of money. The record is basically 45 minutes of club tracks (with a few mid-tempo ballads mixed in for ""good"" measure).
If you haven't heard a Britney Spears album in a while, consider yourself lucky and then consider breaking your Britney embargo. Femme Fatale sounds the least like her early stuff than any Britney Spears album I've ever heard so far, and that's a huge compliment.
Leading single ""Hold It Against Me"" is a good impression of the better parts of the album: simple, catchy hooks, open and shameless electro and dub step inspiration, and infectious, energetic beats. Likewise, the ""Whistle Song""-evoking hook from ""I Wanna Go"" is produced clean enough to eat off of.
The album is not without its faults. It's a Britney Spears album. The back half of the album is asinine and predictable, eventually regressing into a constant state of ""Oops, I Did It Again"" levels of unfortunate.
""Seal It With A Kiss"" features cringe-worthy lyrics making suggestions about Britney's ""forbidden fruit."" ""Gasoline"" reeks of white-trash-fabulous sleaze; ""Criminal"" sounds ripped out of a Britney B-side from 2004. There's a reason some of these songs are in the back of the album, but thankfully they are in the minority.
As far as disappointments go, however, the album's biggest letdown is actually from featured artist will.i.am. ""Big Fat Bass"" seemed like it had all the ingredients for success. However, will.i.am's phoned in vocals and uninspired lyrics don't do much to boost another boring Britney track.
Long story short: if you're looking for a grip of solid, high-tempo tracks, Femme Fatale is for you. Especially if you found yourself turned off by Gaga's latest super campy Madonna train wreck ""Born This Way,"" Britney Spears might be the answer to your new diva fix.