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Britney Spears - 'Radar'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:45 UK time, Sunday, 26 July 2009

Britney Spears

I am not here to cast aspersions on Britney's art. I am sure she has very good, artistically pure reasons for doing what she does, in the way that she does. And clearly 2009 is going to go down as The Year Robots Took Over The World's Pop Throats whether I scream and shout about it or not, so acting the Canute about the changing tide is just a waste of time and my good shoes.

In fact, when Britney chooses to dust down a song from her 'Blackout' album and re-release it on 'Circus', presumably because it's another swingin' electro sassfest, with froggy throatal croaking, like that '...Amy' song, there is no need for any of us to act like something is amiss. And when she takes that same song and releases it as a single, presumably as a cleaner version of that '...Amy' song which may win back the mums and dads, it is our job to stand in wonder at her creative process. She is Britney, her life is not like our lives, she makes decisions based on conflicting situations that we can only dream of, not the least of which is "are the paps watching?".

(Here's the video. Thanks for the added commercials, Team Britney!)

That said, and this is only a minor gripe, where in the world do people pronounce the word "radar" as "raider"? Is it Louisiana? Is it France? Normally the emphasis is on the first syllable - RAY-dar - and it ends with "dar", not "der". Britney, as is her way, has got creative, and now a song which claims to be about electromagnetic detection (only sexy, as in sexlectromagnetic detection, presumably) is being sung as if it's actually about Lara Croft (no need to sexy HER up, right gamenerds?).

Also, and this might turn out to be more of a major problem...it's not really THAT great a song, is it? I mean sure, artistically it's a triumph, as is everything Britney does (see above). It's got the swooshy synth swell of 'Piece Of Me', it's got that tumbledown 'Womanizer' swing to it, it's got a "da-da-da" bit at the end which is strongly reminiscent of '...Amy', and yet it is in no way as good as any of these songs. It will do. That's it.

And, worst of all, for a record which brings together so many very modern production tricks, it already sounds old. I'd have maybe saved it for the vocoder-revival in 2015, but then what do I know, for I am not Britney. She is.

Three starsDownload: Out now
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Radar has got a strong memorable chorus , and has a modern vibe.

    After Womanizer , Circus and Amy , this is the fourth single from the Circus album .

    The catchy chorus is the real hook , but for me as a whole , it fails to ignite and burst into real chart dominating pop flames. She has previously released far superior material.

    On that note , I feel inspired to list my ten favourite Britney belters !

    In no particular order ;

    1) Toxic
    2) If you see Amy (I missed the k , masterful moderators.)
    3) Everytime
    4) Piece of me.
    5) Baby one more time
    6) Stronger
    7) Circus
    8) Womanizer
    9) Unusual you
    10 Break the ice.
    11) Get naked . (I got a plan )

    Yeah , I know I did 11 , but hey , I couldn't decide on 10 .

    Amazin fact.
    JLS have just sold 106,000 copies of Beat again in their first week .

    Britney Spears sold 464,000 , in her first week for Baby one more time , her debut single. That was HUGE first week sales .

  • Comment number 2.

    I don't understand how Radar can appear on Blackout and Circus. I mean, is that even allowed? I don't get that at all!

    The song is awful. The lyrics are horrendous! I've just had to google them, before I wrote them on here, to make sure I had them right. After all, It's difficult to know what she's singing with all these warbling effect.

    "Confidence is must, Happiness is a plus, Edginess is a rush, Edges I like them rough" - What is that? Eurgh.
    "I get the tingle, I wanna mingle" - Is that the first time the word Mingle has been used in a song ever?

    I first heard this song on the Blackout album, and while it remained videoless, I fully imagined a military/James Bond/Submarine theme to the video. What we get is some rubbish about horses set in a country club. What's the deal with that? Horses have nothing to do with anything.

    This has to be the worst Britney Spears song ever.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's just not up to Britney's standards at any time, let alone when he last few releases have been very good.

  • Comment number 4.

    not really a fan of her, don't think much of this.. but what i do like is subsequent remixes and coves of her tracks... mark ronson with toxic for example..

    dunno if you guys would have heard of them but there are these two electro house producers called Mysto and Pizzi and their covers of 'circus' and 'piece of me' are brilliant dance tunes.. heavily recommend their version of circus if u have the time..

    oh, and spiritwarrior, what would u say is your favorite frankmusik track?

  • Comment number 5.

    I love Britney, really I do. But this sounds like a mouth fart. Like a tank of helium exploded in the studio b4 she recorded. Or like her vocal cords were taken over by alien chipmunks. I can't decide the best explanation for this mess. Those are to me the most likely explanations...

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    spirtit warrior... what prejudice propaganda have you been displaying on chartblog now to hav it referred to the moderators?

  • Comment number 8.

    I believe that Britney in her own right is a genius. She has the ability to create songs (whether you like them or not) that you'll always remember and know the words to.
    I love the way she alway uses personal experiences and converts them in to music that is always tounge in cheek!!!
    She will always be the princess of pop!!!
    Love you Britters!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    By that definition, the people who write jingles for adverts, theme songs for TV programmes, and a bunch of other people, qualify as "geniuses" too. I could sing you the theme songs from the old Milky Way advert and Thundercats until the day I die. Don't think that puts the writers in the same bracket as Lennon and McCartney though.

    In fact, come to think of it, I doubt Britney as a songwriter is in the same league as the TV/jingle guys either. She couldn't write something as profound and uplifting as the Raggy Dolls theme tune if she took all year.

  • Comment number 10.

    Wasn't that Neil Innes? Now he IS a genius.

  • Comment number 11.

    How Sweet to Be an Idiot. Hello Britney.

  • Comment number 12.

    Indeed it was Neil Innes. I've just looked him up on Wikipedia and learned that the Raggy Dolls theme, unbelievably, was NOT his creative high point. He had a proper career and everything.

    I've actually got the full-length, reggae-tinged version version of Raggy Dolls, as well as the TV version (intro). Sweet.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hehe... Musically, you'd have to say his 'peek' was the Rutles, cos no-one else has ever 'done' the Beatles that well. But I'm a massive fan of the Bonzo Dog Band too, and the stuff he did with Monty Python, and...

    OK, it's ALL peaks. As I said...genius.

  • Comment number 14.

    OK, REALLY did not mean to spell peak like that. The inverted commas make it look like an obscure pun, but it's not. It's just sheer inept typing.

  • Comment number 15.

    You could have got away with that. No-one would have wanted to reveal their Innes ingnorance (innesgorance?) by asking.

  • Comment number 16.

    Aw look at you, deliberately falling on your face like that, to save my blushes.

  • Comment number 17.

    "the Raggy Dolls theme, unbelievably, was NOT his creative high point."

    Lol very much.

    Bonzo - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EC6JjNSWZo one of their best. Hope it makes you sick. :)

    Sweet essence of giraffe!

  • Comment number 18.

    And, for that matter:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm8kCF_9Uns an advert by the Bonzos for Cadbury!

    or this one in the style of Rawlinson's End by Vivian:


  • Comment number 19.

    If anyone hasn't, they really must watch Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End for the quintessential Bonzo experience.

    I watched Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End (the movie, which improbably stars Trevor Howard) and Yellow Submarine for the first time together in the same night when a student and suitably medicated. Sir Henry, especially, is quite quite brain melting. I don't think I ever quite recovered. The cracks are beginning to show...

  • Comment number 20.

    I really don't know why my comment 6 was removed , but i'll write it again .

    Flatkness , I have answered your question to me on the Frankmusik posts , we can continue our conversation there.

    How on earth , someone can find this offensive is incredible.

    There are sinister forces at work....

    Oh look , I'm using Dannystyle ellipses..... lol

  • Comment number 21.

    I like the comment made "Thanks for the added commercials, Team Britney!" even I made a brief quote in that regards to her heavy moderated website to my amazement they did not take my comment off.

    Personally I was little disappointed how a commercial outfit can now dictate the direction of her music videos. It will only time be will hear her singing the Joys of Coco Cola, but wait she already done that with the Joy of Pespi.

    So I am in two hearts whether to A) buy the music and, buy the music video via itunes which I hate and B) my loyalty to everything blindingly Britney.

    My only hope is the "Fan design music video" for "Kill The Lights" will become a full version and is release a variable single as a redemption to the miserable music video released.


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