Britney Spears "Hold It Against Me"

So it’s out there, and YouTube is full with “0 Views” hastily copied videos of it, Twitter is awashed with RT’d links to naughty download sites, and Facebook seems to have become a de facto fan site….

Yes, Britney Spears – the schoolgirl gone RnB princess via media meltdown – has a new single out (as though any of the contrived publicity has passed out by). Is it any good? Erm…Well….

It’s a muddle of a song, to be fair. The title – “Hold It Against Me” – is the tag-line for the world’s worst chat-up line (and, it seems, written in more seriousness than The Bellamy Brothers ever did).

There’s just the hint of the GaGa about it (the ‘in the club playing my favourite tune’ vibe of the first verse is clearly hoyked from “Telephone”), with the dubstep beats and multi-layered vocals all combining together with an over familiarity. Remember when Kylie over-used the vocal-effect of ‘coming up to air from underwater’ ? It’s here, right before the Eurovision-style key change for the end. There’s even a sudden stop ending, an old throwback if ever I heard one…

All that said….however….it’s a comeback single alright, one which shows intent and direction. Faced with Rhianna and Lady Gaga, and witnessing the hapless reinventions of one time rival Christina Aguilera, le Spears has not embarrassed herself much at all. Tap your foot, nod your head, murmur along to the words whilst in the shower; it’s at the upper end of ‘decent’.

Whole new image? Entirely new direction? Revolutionary reinvention? Not a chance. It’s still very identifiable as Britney Spears, unusual mouth-full-of-boiled-vegetables voice an’ all; it sure as Heck ain’t “Toxic”.