Here’s the thing about Britney Spears: Regardless of what you think about her or what the headlines may say, when this pop star drops a single leaked or not everyone stops to listen.
That’s exactly what happened when Spears’ latest song, “Hold it Against Me,” arrived a day early on Monday, sparking loads of commentary - even though the demo had made rounds on the Web last week with Perez Hilton singing preliminary praises.
When Ryan Seacrest debuted it on his show Monday, he promised that the track is “hot...it’s gonna be sick in the club,” and the fans, of course, are feeling it.
"We're playing it at the top of every hour, and the reaction has been great," Tommy Chuck, the program director at Tampa, Florida’s 93.3 radio station told MTV. "Both on Facebook and Twitter, people are glad Britney's back; [they're] thanking us for playing the song, telling us how amazing she is, and all the air staff loved it. It's a solid single, and it'll be a big hit for her."
Lyrics reminiscent of cheesy pick-up lines aside, the song has already slid into the No. 1 spot on iTunes, even though it’s only been officially released for less than a day. And that's not just in the U.S., either - according to the New York Post, Ms. Spears is also No. 1 in 14 other countries.
The critics, for the most part, are just as happy to welcome Brit back with open arms. Most pointed out that while Britney stays in her lane with this one, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and this song should still get the red carpet ready for the release of her seventh studio album, expected to drop in March.
“'Against Me’ is classic Britney that is to say the vocal performance is far from stellar, but it serves as a nice accessory to the…thumping Euro techno groove,” writes an Entertainment Weekly critic. And yet, “[c]lub-goers will be less concerned about Britney’s artistic maturation and more about how this one encourages rump shaking. That, it will do.”
Over at Rolling Stone, they're ready to break out a drink or two in honor of the chart-topper. “She sounds stronger than several thousand yesterdays. ‘Hold It Against Me’ is prime Britney,” said Rolling Stone. “[I]t definitely promises great things for her album - aside from the overall jaw-drop factor that Britney has hung in there to make a seventh album at all. SlimJim-tinis all around!”
A Boston Herald critic, however, isn’t as convinced that this song can hold its own against some of the other pop princesses of the day. “'Hold It Against Me’ should crash the Top 10,” the critic said. “But it won’t give Brit the gas to mount (yet another) comeback against Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and today’s in crowd.”
The Washington Post concurs, noting that while it's "probably not..a Gaga slayer," it is "the first track from Spears's upcoming don't-call-it-a-comeback disc [that] mixes the best of Gaga, RiRi and mid-'00s electro-inspired Europop,” the paper said.
What do you think? Is Britney’s "Hold It Against Me" a sign that 2011 will be her year, or are listeners just happy to have her back?