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Britney Spears’s New Album Cover Has Us Concerned

Britney Spears's seventh album, Femme Fatale, will be out on March 15. In the months leading up to this release date, there's going to be lots of time to ponder Spears, her meanings, her sanity, her legacy, and her current place in the pop-music hierarchy. Also, as the cover for the new record reveals, there's going to be lots of time to mull over the most perplexing Spears-related question of all: What has to happen — what higher power has to intervene, what rip in the universe has to occur, what hairstylist needs to have a "Road to Damascus"–style epiphany about his or her life's mission — for Britney Spears to get her weave right?

Take a look at the Femme Fatale cover, from the same photo set as the art work for the record's lead single, "Hold It Against Me." Notice that her hair is, if not as janked as it has occasionally been, not as professionally done as one might expect. Why does this matter? Because it's indicative. Spears's "Hold It Against Me" may have been written by Dr. Luke and Max Martin, but it's not their best work. Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, and Ke$ha all regularly get better songs from these guys, and, not coincidentally, have all appeared on their recent record covers with their hair in better order than Spears's. (Or, at least their dos have been intentionally disheveled and root-y, not unintentionally off.) Being a pop star is so nominally about the music (they basically all trade off fronting for the same band), that getting your look exactly right matters. Britney Spears and her team's lack of commitment to superior grooming portends a lack of commitment to the entire Britney Spears comeback endeavor. As has actually been proven in the past (head shaving, etc.), as goes Britney's hair, so goes Britney. It's her tell. Needless to say, we will continue to monitor this situation very closely.