As we get closer and closer to what will hopefully be the return of Britney Spears to pop royalty. I thought I would put together a look at the bits and pieces, along with cultural references, that seem to be influencing and working with Britney on this new era.
Max Martin & Dr Luke
Let’s start with the obvious, the producers of “Hold It Against Me” along with Billboard. These 2 are executive producers on the album and have an impressive production background, especially Martin. Max Martin has produced anything popular on the radio for over a decade. To name a few: He became huge with the Backstreet Boys back in 1996, produced Robyn’s “Show Me Love”, and Britney’s debut “…Baby One More Time”. A slew of teen pop from Britney, N*Sync, and Backstreet Boys was created by the man. Then brought about the “edgier” radio pop of “Since U Been Gone” and Pink’s Funhouse. From there he has worked with Kesha and Katy Perry, along with Dr. Luke, and Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin In Love” among other recent work. Dr Luke has a briefer production career, but just as impressive with Katy Perry, Kesha, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Adam Lambert, and Miley Cyrus. Both have worked with Britney and now are taking on the roles of executive producers.
The third producer on “Hold It Against Me” is from Montreal (awesome) and is rather new, with credits to Robyn and Kesha. Now he is the one I suspect has brought more dubstep then Martin or Luke, who haven’t used much of this style in the past. He worked on “Call Your Girlfriend” “Get Myself Together” and “Star 4-Ever” by Robyn, anytime Robyn and Britney can get closer musically, the better.
Along with the use of Billboard and Max Martin on the new album (who both worked on the third instalment of Robyn’s Body Talk series. She has been related to Britney before, both having teen pop backgrounds with Martin, and she even has background vocals on the song “Piece of Me” from Blackout. There is also a video out of dancers rehearsing for the “Hold It Against Me” video to Robyn’s “Criminal Intent” ( a fav song of mine).
Rumored to have worked on Britney’s seventh studio album and popular in dubstep circles. I saw him live twice this year and he is excellent to go see. Rusko is a dj and producer who has worked with M.I.A. on her last album MAYA and had many popular dubstep remixes. IF his contributions make it on to the album the idea of dubstep will clearly be a huge theme of this Britney era.
In The Zone
Britney’s fourth studio album was one of her most interesting and contains the most material that Britney wrote along with a mix of producers from R.Kelly to Moby. It is an eclectic album that discusses sex and masturbation along with monster hit “Toxic”. This is the last album before her marriage to Kevin Federline and breakdown after. She was on top of her game with increible dancing and on point for what was current with hip hop influences, even using “Light Your Ass on Fire” by Busta Rhymes in the video below.
Comparisons are being drawn between Blackout, Britney’s fifth studio album and her new release. The album is Britney’s most critically acclaimed with dance production by various favorite producers of the time. Dubstop influences can be heard here as well, consider the base line in “Freakshow”. It is Britney’s best album, but with the least Britney personality. Hopefully we’ll get the solid production and quality of Blackout with her personality showing through more on this new album.
Ray Of Light
Madonna’s 1998 album (released in March, same as Britney’s new one), is considered one of her best. William Orbit created a sonically lush and simplistic environment that captures Madonna’s voice like no other. It is a beautiful album discussing her personal life, philosophical ideas, and even a yoga chant. The electronic influences were at the perfect time in pop culture and made the genre even more mainstream. Britney could be doing this with the electronic dubstep genre instead of the more simplistic electro of Ray of Light. William Orbit also is a rumored producer on the forthcoming Spears release. Other similarities between the 2 albums include the use of photographer Mario Testino. I don’t even know how I will react to seeing Britney do something at all comparable to this brilliant album. Can you see Britney in something as beautiful and mindblowing as “Nothing Really Matters”?