Well, this is an unexpected treat. “This Kiss,” a demo leaked from the rich Circus era of Britney Spears’ career, has finally made an appearance online, and…it’s a weird one, for sure. The first thing that really stands out about it is Britney’s uncharacteristically warbly vocals (which Popjustice accurately describes as “delivered as if Britney recorded them in a giant fish tank”), but that’s just one of the litany of this song’s off-kilter qualities, which also include the weirdly incoherent chorus (“This kiss, this kiss, this kiss / Just loves you my friend”), the poorly-translated-sounding verses (“And right when I saw the door / You walked in and I fell to the floor”), and above all else, the way the song’s oppressive bubbliness (those synths!) contrasts with the song’s obviously despairing lyrics.
It’s not exactly surprising that this song didn’t make the cut on Circus—it sounds under-written, under-produced and woefully half-assed—but there’s something undeniably charming about the whole thing, all coming together for the simple-enough, cascading “This kiss, this kiss, this kiss” chorus. The kernel for a great pop song was there if everyone involved wanted to put forth the proper effort, but it’s a lovable mess as is. Listen for yourself: