What do you call a CD where it will be perfect if it isn’t Britney Spears ruining every song with her helium-thin rusty foghorn vocals?
Forget Me Against the Music, easily the weakest track in the CD as it’s merely another rehash of the …Oops, I Did It Again formula. (I Got That) Boom Boom is indescribably infectious. Breathe on Me is the perfect and even incandescent hypnotic dance track that is sexier than any of Ms Spears’ photo shoots. Showdown, the brilliant Bloodshy and Avant production, sees Spears swearing revenge on Justin Timberlake and all the men that wronged her, and it’s fun. Every Mornin’ is a rich and catchy tune with a hook that won’t let go. And all these tracks share one common trait: the background vocalists are wonderful and they obligingly drown out Ms Spears’s scratchy vocals on the most part. When she finally gets her voice heard, I suspect that it’s just to prevent any Milli Vanilli-like lawsuits from being filed by annoyed listeners.
From the really fabulous retro-sounding Bollywood-influenced (yes, really) dancefloor stomper Toxic to the Arabic-influenced Outrageous to the paean to masturbation that is Touch of My Hand to the reggae-influenced The Hook Up to the heartfelt ballad Shadow… there is really nothing wrong with In the Zone, production-wise. It’s a fabulous CD, truly a feast of musical wonders, a testament to the amazing ear-candy that come from the sophisticated computer thingies they have in recording studios nowadays.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for me to realize that to get to the good musical parts, Britney Spears is the necessary evil I must endure. Her voice is horrible on many tracks and listening to her breathy but limited vocal range is made even more unbearable when I compare her inadequacies to the wonderful production and those really amazing background vocalists that should be given a standing ovation at the end of the day. As it is, In the Zone proves that you can make great music if you have enough money to assemble the right people and get the right studios to work their magic, but there is just nothing you can do when you have them sung by someone with a limited vocal range like Britney Spears. Ain’t that a shame. The songs on this CD deserve better.