I have to imagine while sitting around in a studio with a handful of writers, Spears and her associates were trying to think of what is relevant today. “That one fellow that wears a mouse mask and makes house music is hot right now. He did the VMAs. Yeah, Deadmau5 is his name. Let’s throw on heavy Deadmau5 sounding beats. But we also need to make sure the song has some artistic credibility. Dubstep is a growing genre right? Let’s have a 30 second Dubstep break down in the middle of the song.” This is Britney Spears trying to be serious and relevant.
The ironically titled single “Hold It Against Me” tries for a club banger, but with mixed results. The best that can be said for this single is that it’s not terrible. It could have been worse. But it’s also very generic and middle of the road, with a lack of a catchy hook. Of course, Spears appeals mainly to a mainstream audience, who probably don’t really know or care about what good House music is anyway. Forget about them understanding Dubstep. Spears is smart in not trying to go after the exact same thread of pop music that Gaga has been dominating for the past three years, instead going for a more serious/dark sound. No doubt this will sell like crazy, and Spears fans will proclaim her as a genius for trying something deep. And I’m sure this will even be a club banger. It’s an interesting direction for Spears, in all truth. But at the same time, it’s an uninspired imitation of a genre that is been thriving for a long time.
At the end of the day, formulaic pop music can be enjoyable if done right. The problem here is that Spears sort of just went to the middle. It doesn’t go far enough artistically in the House and Dubstep genre to be considered revolutionary for her and it’s not catchy enough to just be an enjoyable pop hit. When all else fails, a pop song can be saved if at the very least it’s catchy. I have to applaud Spears for at least trying something new, but ultimately this really just comes across as a cheap imitation of what someone thinks a genre should sound like.