This week’s wrap-up includes plenty of girl group lovin’, a lil’ bit of RiRi and a special celebration for the upcoming birthday of the living legend, the sensual seductress, the enchanting mistress, Miss Britney Spears. In fact, every song on the list sort of seems to connect back to the pop princess. Why? ‘Cause I’m like the ringleader… I call the shots!
Credit: Getty Images/WireImage/Greta Karen
1.) Britney Spears, “Scary”
It’s Britney, bitch! And on Dec. 2, while I blow out the candles on a homemade Vanilla Frappe-flavored cake, Miss Spears will be ringing in the big 3-0 in Mexico, where she’s finishing up her incredibly successful “Femme Fatale” tour.
From the iconic schoolgirl skirt to writhing onstage with a 7-foot albino python on the 2001 VMAs to a bit of smooch ‘n’ grind with the almighty Madonna in 2003 to the turbulent, oft-unpredictable chaos of 2007′s Blackout era to a triumphant return to the stage — whip in hand — with the “Circus Tour” in 2009, leading all the way up to the greatest pop record of 2011 (Femme Fatale), Britney Spears has continued to set the standard in pop music. So how does one properly celebrate the birth of a woman who’s continued to entertain, captivate and inspire legions of fans for well over a decade?
Well, there’s no obvious choice: I could go with an obvious No. 1, from “…Baby One More Time” to her most recent “Hold It Against Me,” or perhaps a career-defining number like “Stronger,” “Gimme More” or “I’m A Slave 4 U,” but instead I’ve opted for one of B’s latest cuts: “Scary.” Produced by Fraser T. Smith, the criminally underrated Femme Fatale bonus track sees Britney going a little cray-zay in lust: “I wanna take over your body/Like it, like it’s Freaky Friday,” the Princess croons with a distinct flutter of Thriller-era Michael Jackson on the ’80s-tastic synth-pop spook jam.
Queen B mysteriously added the genius track to her VEVO earlier this week. Single No. 5? I sure hope so! Regardless, it’s yet another smash to add to Spears’ flaw-free discography.
At 30 years old, Brit’s already been running the game for well over 13 years (13 — so scary!), but the eternal pop princess has only just begun having her fun. Oy, I’m getting emotional now. Happy birthday, Britney! <3 + LISTEN TO BRITNEY SPEARS’ “SCARY”
2.) The Saturdays, “White Lies”
They’ve already produced two of the year’s best dance-pop stormers over the summer (“Notorious” and “All Fired Up”). And on Nov. 21, the sugary-sweet ladies of The Saturdays came full force with their storming third studio album, On Your Radar.
Along with new smashes like “Get Ready Get Set” and “Faster” lies a particular electro-encrusted gem: “White Lies,” co-crafted by supreme Swede-pop producers Carl Falk (Darren Hayes, Nicole Scherzinger) and Rami Yacoub (Britney Spears, Celine Dion). Unsurprisingly, the results are staggeringly genius: Set on top of a surging four-to-the-floor beat and some 8-bit Nintendo-friendly electronica, the girls wring their hands as they fret about spilling some deets: “Ooo, it’s time to talk about truth now/It’s time I… /It’s time that you know what you’re getting into now,” the girls sing over the ridiculously catchy chorus. I don’t know what you could have done to feel so guilty, but if it leads to songs of this hot fiya quality, I highly suggest keeping those dirty secrets to yourselves, girls!
It’s a beast of a pop-club stormer — and if it’s not released as a single immediately, the girls will be missing out on their biggest hit to date. + LISTEN TO THE SATURDAYS, “WHITE LIES”
+ Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump!
3.) The Charlies, “Let That Body Breathe”
Before The Charlies were The Charlies, they were Nylon — a successful mid-’00s Icelandic girl group with three No. 1 albums, 10 No. 1 hits and even a UK Top 30 hit (2006′s “Losing A Friend”) to their name. But now the name’s changed, and the girls have headed back into the studio with some major pop producers, including J.R. Rotem (Britney Spears) and The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars), as well as up-and-coming Icelandic production team StopWaitGo.
The first fruits of their labor come in the form of a free mixtape released earlier in November: The Start A Fire EP, complete with six surging pop tracks including the utterly manic, cannibal-minded “Monster (EAT ME!)” and an absolutely gorgeous cover of Coldplay‘s “Yellow.”
One of the best tracks of the bunch? “Let That Body Breathe,” a sizzling electro-pop scorcher. “We’re only animals/So right that it’s wrong,” the girls purr before launching into the robo-tastic chant of a chorus. With its dub-tastic breakdown and surging beats, the track screams pure Femme Fatale deliciousness — that is, with a distinctly Scandinavian crunch. Ones to watch! + LISTEN TO THE CHARLIES, “LET THAT BODY BREATHE”
4.) Rebecca & Fiona, “Hard”
If you aren’t already aware of Rebecca & Fiona after hearing their gorgeous contribution to Kaskade‘s new record Fire & Ice (“Turn It Down”) or their No. 1 smash Swedish single “Bullets,” get acquainted now. The drop-dead gorgeous Swedish DJ duo have been making waves in their homeland for more than a year since the release of their slammin’ singles, including “Luminary Ones” and 2011′s “Jane Doe.”
Earlier this month, the girls released their debut record, I Love You Man, a colossal collection of hypnotizing trance-pop tunes and Swede-pop melodies. “Hard,” easily one of the best cuts from the compilation, bangs with all the scorching of a classic ’90s club cut: “All I want to do is to be here with you,” the girls coo across the dark, moody throwback beats. Still living for La Bouche? How about some Inner City? Don’t waste another second! Listen IMMEDIATELY, and prepare for these girls to pop in a major way Stateside. + LISTEN TO REBECCA & FIONA’S “HARD”
5.) Rihanna, “Fool In Love”
Last week, Princess RiRi rih-leased her critically acclaimed sixth studio album, Talk That Talk. And between all the filthy grinding beats and pouty-mouthed come-ons about cake lies an unexpectedly sobering mega-ballad: “Fool in Love,” the final track off of the deluxe edition.
“Mama,” RiRi yelps over the chilly ambient background, “I found a man/Who loves me and understands.” Lyrically evoking a bit of Brit Brit’s “Criminal” and Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach,” the Barbadian beauty has taken a dive for a bad boy — and shes sticking to her guns. It’s not only Rihanna’s most emotional performance on the whole record, but arguably her best vocal performance to date. An end to that Rihanna reign in sight? Fuggedaboutit. + LISTEN TO RIHANNA’S “FOOL IN LOVE”
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and plotting the various ways in which he will bring down Katy Perry to become Rihanna’s best friend. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting and musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.