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Britney’s Back: Will You ‘Hold It Against’ Her?

In the pursuit of some higher objectivity, let's declare a bias: This particular blogger wishes nothing for Britney Spears so much as a truly excellent single, if not one quite on the majestic order of "Toxic" — because, real talk, what's on the order of "Toxic"? It's too high a bar — at least a song that throws some elbows at "Hit Me Baby," "Oops," and "Stronger" in an attempt to make room for itself in the Spears canon. Alas, Spears's new single "Hold It Against Me" does not belong in such vaunted company. This despite the fact that it has been produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin, has an undercover killer of a chorus that plays like the sweetie pie "Sometimes" got remixed as a dance track, and also contains a doozy of a double entendre. (Chorus: “If I said my heart was beating loud / If we could escape the crowd somehow / If I said I want your body now / Would you hold it against me?" Um, excuse me, hold what against you exactly?) What's bringing this song down — and, fair warning, it's not bringing it down far enough to keep it from getting stuck in your head — is a mess of a spoken-word bridge that sounds like dozens of effects, including Spears's voice, have been thrown into the Cuisinart, and similarly overstuffed verses that don't play nearly as power-pop clean as the far superior chorus. While this song is fun enough to dance to at a club and rock out to in a car, Spears isn't really going to be in top form until she can prevail on Dr. Luke and Max Martin to sell her the higher-quality stuff they're currently dealing to Katy and Avril.

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images