Britney vs. J.Lo: Washed Up Divas Duel for Pop Spotlight

Sarp Yavuz, Staff Writer


Ke$ha deserves her due for writing Britney’s amazing new single “Till The World Ends,” which leaked online last Wednesday. From the ethereal, uplifting bridge to the wordless, euphorically chanting chorus, the new Britney single is destined to be the summer anthem of 2011. That’s right, I used the words “euphoric” and “ethereal” in the same sentence to describe a pop song. That’s how good it is.

One of the best things about Britney’s next album Femme Fatale is that even before its official release, it has already been incredibly surprising: No one saw it coming when Brit used dub-step for her first single, “Hold it Against Me.” Unlike Gaga, an artist who revels in her own unpredictability, Britney is moving more gradually and subtly into uncharted territory.

And it’s about time: Since 2007, Brit’s been going through something of a dry spell. Although Britney’s 2007 Blackout was fantastic, the record primarily appealed to only hardcore Brit fans and did not find major mainstream popularity. Although her latest album, 2009’s Circus, was more commercially successful, as a diehard Britney fan it left me longing for the days of “Oops I Did It Again,” “Boys” and “Toxic.” The title track off Circus is not the best song to listen to if you are craving classic Britney, and while “Womanizer,” the first single off of Circus, was the official sequel to “Toxic,” like any sequel it left a lot to be desired.

This present-day Britney, however, seems more promising. While the news of her collaboration with may strike some as a bit suspect, Britney’s willingness to work with producers other than Bloodyshy and Avant (“Toxic”), Dr. Luke and Max Martin (“Till the World Ends”) signifies a return to pop greatness. Britney is not just making another album, she is announcing her reclamation of the royal Pop Princess throne (a throne on which Gaga was giving birth in her video for “Born This Way,” released just last week).


Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez’s latest single, “On The Floor” featuring Pitbull, already has many listeners hooked due to its “Stereo Love” vibe. The single — and its recently released video — inspires the same level of awe as “Waiting for Tonight” did almost fifteen years ago.

Although J. Lo has produced a lot of enjoyable R&B songs during her lengthy career (especially during her “Jenny from the Block” era), her real strength as an artist lies in her ability to balance urban tracks with up-tempo club hits that you scream the lyrics to before throwing yourself on to the dance floor. The latter has been missing from her repertoire for a while.

J-Lo’s latest album, 2007’s Brave (released around the same time as her Spanish record Como Ama Una Mujer), marked her transition back into mainstream dance pop. While I would happily dance to “Que Hiciste” or “Do It Well,” the album was subpar, and J-Lo’s return to the pop charts did not really work out. While some of the songs off Brave were fantastic, at the end of the day my friends and I just wanted to dance to “Rude Boy” and “Poker Face.”

“On The Floor” brings Jennifer Lopez back into the fold of pop stardom. While the single itself is very good, watching the video with a pair of headphones amplifies the listener’s experience of the song ten-fold. The bass is higher, J-Lo looks great and the doré tones used in the lighting, sets and clothing make for a hot, enticing video.

The best part of “On the Floor” is the choreographed number at the end, in which J-Lo stands on a stage in the middle of the dance floor and the entire crowd mimics her moves. It is a very short sequence, short enough to work without succumbing to Saturday Night Live levels of parody.

With the release of their new singles, both J-Lo and Britney are back, and ready to dominate the Billboard Charts once again. Here’s hoping J-Lo’s Love? comes out soon, and Britney’s Femme Fatale contains songs as good as, if not better than, “Till The World Ends.” If the snippets they’ve been teasing us with are any indication, this year is going to be a good year for pop music.

In the words of Rafiki, the baboon from The Lion King: “It is time.”