Sound Off: Britney’s ‘Hold It Against Me’ run-of-the-mill

Jennifer Suh

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I’m not gonna lie about it. I’m a huge Britney Spears fan.

In 1999, the above statement drew responses like, “Me too! I love Britney!” Just a few years later, though, when I unintentionally insinuated that I own all of Spears’ albums, it was greeted with “Oh…”s or “You do?”s, and squinted eyes reflecting disbelief.

While I’ve moved past my phase as Britney’s No. 1 fan, I was excited to hear her newest single. But it wasn’t long before my hopes for a comeback were once again put on hold.

“Hold It Against Me” is the latest offering from star producers Dr. Luke and Swedish pop wunderkind Max Martin, a verifiable production dream-team who can all but guarantee a spot in the Top 10. The masterminds behind this summer’s ubiquitous “Teenage Dream” and “Dynamite,” the two have collaborated with artists like Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, Ke$ha and T.I.

In signature “It’s Britney, bitch” fashion, Spears opens her dubstep-sampling single with an attention-grabber: “Hey over there/Please forgive me/If I’m coming on too strong.” It continues into a bizarre bridge consisting of about 40 seconds of slow, barely audible beats likely intended for her solo breakdown during concerts – probably a smart strategy for a pop princess with hundreds of sold-out shows.

Spears’ single follows the biggest trend in mainstream pop: repetition. Two minutes of the 3:47 track consist of the chorus repeated over and over again. She sings, “If I said I want your body now/Would you hold it against me?” Sound familiar? It’s a rip-off of the Bellamy Brothers’ 1979 hit, “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me.”

Predictably, “Hold It Against Me” immediately topped the iTunes Top 10 this week in more than 15 countries. However, it’s tough to pick out anything particularly memorable about this run-of-the-mill offering. It’s perfect background music on a drowsy weekend morning, but it doesn’t stand out from the other pop songs of the moment – Spears’ loyal fan base is likely what’s keeping this uninspired song atop the charts. It’s definitely not her best work, but what can I say? It’s Britney, and we’re not going to hold it against her.

jennifersuh2014@u.northwestern.edu

This was originally published in The Current, a weekly supplement to The Daily Northwestern.

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