Monday, 9 November 2009

46: Britney Spears - Break The Ice

The most talked about popstar of the decade has had plenty of ups and downs in the past 10 years, but in professional terms, she hit all the right notes on 2007 "comeback" album, 'Blackout'. Her least commercially successful work (with fewer than a million sales in the US up to July 2009), it divided the critics, but made a fan of me.

'Break The Ice' might have only been track 4 on the album, and the third single released, but it definitely sounded like the most important comeback song on 'Blackout', maybe even her entire career. 2006-7 had been rough on her, Britney the villain, the focus of intense media coverage, idle gossip and pure speculation. There was the driving incident in Feb 2006 (when she was photographed driving, with her baby son on her lap); the divorce from K-Fed played out in the media; rehab; the head-shaving; an umbrella attack on a pap photographer; that dreadful VMA performance; and wall-to-wall coverage of her custody battle. There's probably some truth to the stories that emerged in that period - it would be understandable in light of her life in the glare of the paparazzi flashbulbs. I felt sympathetic towards her, but what I didn't expect was that she would return, only 9 months after the aforementioned head-shaving, with the finest pop album of her life.

And 'Break The Ice' was a confident song, a statement of intent, opening with Britney whispering "it's been a while, I know I shouldn't have kept you waiting, but I'm here now." Her breathless vocals never sounded better, whilst Timbaland's right-hand man, Danja did an immense job on production duties with that earworm of an electro tune.

Unfortunately, Britney's aforementioned "issues" meant that she wasn't able to record a video for the song, and the excellent animated version that was created seems to be something of a rarity on the interweb. So instead, here's the work of a dedicated fanboy (not me, I hasten to add).

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