Yesterday, while every person on Twitter was foaming at the mouth over the dresses and suits worn by people in a much higher pay grade than them, will.i.am decided to take a different tack. Damn the trending topics, he had a snippet of a Britney Spears collaboration to post! And so he did: Here are the opening 40 seconds of “The Big Fat Bass,” which allegedly features Britney on vocals although the woman singing to will about being “the trouble” sounds less like Our Heroine than Myah Marie when she has the sniffles:
will didn’t talk about how he turned Britney into something even more fembotty-sounding than , but he did explain his motivations for the track in a slam-poetry blog post:
the bass is an important element to club dance music
this song celebrates bass
thank you britney for collaborating it was a pleasure working with you
thank you for trusting my instincts
you’re a doll
i look forward on working with you again…
its an honor because you rarely do collaboration…
im your second…
im glad you like the big fat bass…
(See? Deep meaning!)
All of this is well and good, but one has to ask: With Spears herself only speaking once, and speaking oddly during the run-up to Femme Fatale—a process that, remember, still has four weeks to play itself out—is leaking all these snippets really a good thing?
The phrase “diversionary tactic” comes to mind; since Spears can’t (or won’t?) go out to promote the album in the weeks before its release beyond the boilerplate “make a video, show up on a TV show to perform a few songs,” the other people involved in the process have been forced to put themselves front and center in service of the record. While this might be another way of attempting to rekindle the mystique surrounding Spears—see also the smattering of promo photos for the album, which despite being close-ups are most notable for what’s being covered—to make people forget completely the paparazzi-chronicled meltdown of 2007/08, it still seems, well, weird. It’s even stranger when you compared to the recent tactics employed by Lady Gaga, who seemed willing to go on leased-access stations in Dubuque to promote the release of “Born This Way.” (Also, really, leaking the song during the Oscar runup only adds to the “something to hide” idea.)
Should Jive cut the crap and just release another song in full? Maybe; after debuting at No. 1, “Hold It Against Me” is currently sitting right outside of the Billboard Hot 100′s top 10 (although it did gain points this week, it was leapfrogged by both Dr. Dre and Eminem’s “I Need A Doctor” and Justin Bieber’s Jaden Smith collab “Never Say Never”), and having back-to-back chart-topping debuts could help Britney steal some of the spotlight currently being hogged by Lady Gaga and her crazy-selling “Born This Way.” But what if Song No. 2 misses the chart-topping mark a la the followup singles from Circus (the title track peaked at No. 3, the annoyingly self-satisfied “If You Seek Amy” at No. 19)? Will that mean bad buzz for Femme Fatale? Or is Brand Britney impenetrable enough that the curiosity surrounding this album will overpower any stumbles its songs might take in the run-up to March 29? Here’s hoping that the latter is the case, another song comes out, and nobody gets the bright idea to leak the record in a series of 28 trailers a la the long, slow build to the (inevitably?) disappointing “Hold It Against Me” clip.