Picks and Pans Review: Britney
Hearing Britney Spears purr "Get it, get it" over the slinky groove of "I'm a Slave 4 U"—a song that would have been perfect for the soundtrack to an erotic film—must make Mickey Mouse cover his ears in horror. But having graduated from The Mickey Mouse Club in 1994, Spears has been steadily shedding that goody-goody image since making her debut with 1999's multiplatinum...Baby One More Time.
On her new self-titled album, the singer, who turns 20 on Dec. 2, throws a few curves at those expecting nothing but the bubblegum teen pop that has since invaded radio. Be sides "Slave," edgier cuts include "Lonely," which juxtaposes metal guitar and a percolating hip-hop beat, and the bass-heavy dance jam "Boys," on which Spears raps breathlessly with her still-girlish voice. And her collaboration with boyfriend Justin Timberlake (of 'N Sync fame)—who co-wrote and coproduced "What It's Like to Be Me," in addition to providing background vocals—is a soulful surprise. Elsewhere she returns to more familiar TRL territory on such up-tempo confections as "Anticipating" and "Bombastic Love" and the disc's only ballad, "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman." Spears definitely still has a ways to grow: Her feeble cover of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' 1982 hit "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is more of a head-scratcher than a head-banger.
Bottom Line: Britney at her most brazen