She's back! Today, Britney Spears released "Womanizer," the first single from her sixth CD, Circus (due Dec. 2, her 27th birthday), to radio. Britney has described the set as "her best work ever" and as being "more urban"--than what, she hasn't specified. In my humble opinion, 2007's Blackout was not only her first solid CD but as "urban" as contemporary pop gets without being straight-up R&B. It's a shame she was in no frame of mind to properly promote it, but at least having too much time on her hands got her into the studio quickly to record a follow-up.
Unfortunately, she seems to have left a bit too soon. Maybe she's just at her musical best when she's under emotional duress. Or perhaps her having too much creative input (one suspects she emailed her Blackout vocals to the producers and let them do the rest) disturbs the groove. "Womanizer" is a step in the wrong direction--sideways instead of forward. It sounds like a Blackout outtake that was deemed unfit for that album. The repetition of the titular phrase "Gimme More" may have worked wonders on the chorus of the last album's first single, but on "Womanizer," it makes Britney sound like she doesn't have anything to say, which is alarming, considering all that she has been through the last couple of years.
In the end, it's an interesting title in search of an interesting song. If it had been released a year or two after In The Zone, it wouldn't be so disappointing. But with Blackout, Britney--or rather, her producers--raised the bar. Let's hope the rest of Circus crosses it.
LISTEN Britney Spears: "Womanizer"