Earlier today on her Twitter account, Rihanna promised a “#SEXY collabo comin your way supa dupa soon!!!! OH YEAH!!! By popular demand …. “ She followed that up with, “Its BRITNEY BITCH!!!!” and “@britneyspears one of the biggest worldwide popstars! U gangsta #EPIC.” All that hubbub is for a newly released remix of Rihanna’s “S&M,” indeed featuring the vocals of Ms. Spears, her sister in pantslessness. But after listening to the track, it’s tough to muster up the excitement level of Rihanna’s Twitter valet.
Partially that’s because “S&M,” and its corresponding sexed-up video, felt contrived to begin with, and Spears’s presence here — she shows up to knock out the second verse and a chorus, meaning there is now a place where you can hear Britney saying the words, “if I don’t scream mercy / it’s your time to hurt me” — doesn’t change that. But mostly it’s because we can’t help assuming that the vocals here were recorded by Britney as a demo track, before the song was ultimately rejected and trickled down to Rihanna. (As you may recall, Britney had “Umbrella” first.) We have no actual evidence to support the claim other than it sounding plausible in our heads. And the fact that these are new lyrics doesn’t help the dastardly conspiracy theory, but doesn’t quite refute it either. The point is: This feels mailed-in, which is too bad because a Britney-Rihanna collaboration is a legitimately promising thing, and if the two had actually gotten in a room together and banged something out, that would have been interesting. Of course, everyone involved is way too famous for that right now.