Thursday, February 02, 2006

Toxic (2003) – Britney Spears

Let’s forget how nutty Britney Spears has become and focus on the music. It’s all about the music here. Her voice doesn’t have the soulful tone of Christina Aguilera’s, the smoothness of Mandy Moore’s, or even the uncontrolled (over)power of Jessica “Daisy Duke” Simpson. Basically, Britney sounds as if she’s singing from the roof of her mouth. In spite of all this, 2000’s “Lucky” had its moments of bubblegum brilliance. Yet, it wasn’t until “Toxic” that Britney truly had a hit worthy of being a ringtone. (Hey, it even won a Grammy in 2005 for Best Dance Recording, ya’ll.)

Cartoonish Arabian strings immediately transport us to a land of sand dunes. The firm strums of a flamenco guitar adorn a very basic beat as Britney unveils the song’s entire premise: intoxicating kisses. Eventually, a synthesized quasi-slide whistle mimics Britney’s voice as our magic carpet glides above the desert. (The most glaring infirmity proves not to be Britney’s voice, believe it or not, but rather the blunder of producers Bloodshy & Avant in suppressing the guitar when it is called upon in the interlude. What is that feeble fuzzy static?) We are then treated to an infectious double-tracked chorus of vocal glissades, bends and jounces. In an inspired moment of Middle East-meets-Wild Wild West, a twang guitar wanders through. (Once again, why is that guitar so effete?)

Given that “Toxic” is probably the pinnacle of her musical output, if Britney never records another note again, it may be for the best. Actually, let’s just keep our fingers crossed that she can keep Sean Preston alive.

  • Listen to "Toxic" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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