It’s hard to believe that Beyoncé and Britney Spears are the same age. 34 years, however, have treated the two mega-divas quite differently: while Yoncé continues to sell out massive venues on the success of her latest album, Lemonade, Brit-Brit has spent the past three years peddling lackluster singles. After the disappointing Iggy Azalea collab, “Pretty Girls,” fizzled out, it seemed plans for another Spears album were once again shelved.
One year later, Spears fans worldwide reveled in the promise of “Make Me,” the lead single off of Spears’s ninth studio release, Glory. True to form, the track includes the three hallmarks of every Britney single: 1.) whiny, feeble vocals, 2.) excessive Auto-tune to fluff up the former (second only to Ke$ha), and 3.) mid-riff baring artwork to highlight her best asset, her body.With an appearance by G-Eazy, we also find Spears’s recent habit of outsourcing for more relevant, fresh-faced talent (see “Pretty Girls,” which rode on the coattails of the brief Iggy Azalea craze) in full force.
That being said, the vocals don’t fall into the realm of robotic, as on the throwaway recording, “Ooh La La” or the Ke$ha-penned, “Til The World Ends.”Smooth choral runs and subtle verses prove a working formula for Spears’s limited range, even adding a flair of, dare we say, artistry to the mix?
Not so fast. “Private Show,” which shares the name of Spears’s newest fragrance, abandons such subtleties for a bold release that’s heavy on sex appeal and auto-tune. In short, the effect is that of a robot crooning about stripteases and twerking—bizarre and repulsive. Britney chokes on the chorus and invokes a laughable Rihanna impression with her clipped “work it’s.”The entire track revolves around an awkward arrangement that tries to balance the instrumental’s light-hearted mood with Spear’s obvious struggle in singing the song.
When, at the three and a half minute mark, Spears confidently asks to take on the song again, one has to wonder at how deeply Spears’s denial runs; after a 24-year long career of cashing in on lip-synced global tours and Las Vegas residencies, Britney Spears once again proves how her career relies on her fan base’s sense of nostalgia for her reign as the Queen of Y2k pop. Let’s leave 2016 and the actual singing to Beyoncé.