Guardian's Femmy Fatally Review

On Femme Fatale, her voice is as anonymous as ever, a state of affairs amplified by the lavishing of Auto-Tune. She does what pop stars invariably do in lieu of having a detectable character of their own: goes on and on about sex, a topic that becomes a bit tiresome if you're stuck with a vocalist who sings the line "you can be my fuck tonight" with all the erotic charge of someone suggesting you put the recycling bin out. After a while, you get the feeling the lyricists just gave up trying in the face of her indifference: "You got me kind of hot … Steaming like a pot full of vegetables," she sings, which somehow makes you think not of thrillingly sweaty congress but the smell of boiled cabbage. You listen to Spears flatly intone the flatly hopeless simile "Like telepathy, I know what you're thinking," and conclude this might be why people go so nuts about Lady Gaga: she's clearly making an effort in an area where most of her competitors don't appear to be making an effort at all.(GURLLLLLLL)

That's not to say that Femme Fatale is a failure. At its best, the producers come to the rescue, something they noticeably failed to do on Circus, an album that reiterated its everything's-normal-there's-nothing-to-see-here message by sticking with default pop settings rather than taking risks. While there's certainly some unremarkable stuff on offer, notably Seal It With a Kiss and I Wanna Go, it's outnumbered by tracks on which the music is genuinely exciting. The dubstep influence returns on both Hold It Against Me – featuring a thrilling, grinding breakdown amid the distorted beats and rave synths – and Inside Out, which lurches along on the genre's patent half-speed rhythm. The backing against which Trip to Your Heart's sugary melody is set is fantastic, a weirdly scattered burst of electronic buzzes and clicks. Likewise How I Roll, a nursery-rhyme tune given a sheen of weirdness by a sparse arrangement of gasps and ping-ponging effects.

Even in a changed pop climate that shows up its shortcomings more clearly than ever, you'd be hard-pushed to call Femme Fatale anything other than a success, albeit a rather old-fashioned one: despite rather than because of the woman whose name is on its cover. At its best, it sounds like a party, with a cutting-edge pop soundtrack. The question of precisely what Britney Spears brings to said party remains as imponderable as ever.

what a rude review tbqh....