Music Reactions: Britney Spears feat. Iggy Azalea’s “Pretty Girls”

britanyspearsandiggy-prettygirls

While I was listening to today’s featured song, I had a thought of “Hey, you know, I have this blog that emphasizes lesser-known or older-or-maybe-newer music. How about I talk about a song or artist that is hot right now?” Unlike the other blog posts,  I will spare you the long artist introductions. Who needs to introduce these (hopefully) internationally or well-known artists?

This week’s hot topic is the release of Britney Spears’ and Iggy Azalea’s newest collaboration, “Pretty Girls”.

My inner nine-year old self screamed when I first watched the video. It was quite ecstatic when Britney appeared at the beginning, being old-skool Britney. Even though her life been through hell and back in the past decade, I still love Britney. Especially during this moment:

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As for her partner for this song, I really don’t know much about Iggy Azalea. Gasp! This is what I get for living in a foreign country that doesn’t care about Western music except for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and One Direction. Yuck! However, it all changed when I got cable last year and discovered MTV Japan, which features MORE music than MTV USA. (Gasp!) That’s where I first encountered Iggy last summer, performing “Black Widow” with Rita Ora at the MTV Music Video Awards. I didn’t really care for the duet because it didn’t savor my musical taste buds. However, when her other hit collaboration, “Fancy” with Charlie XCX, was announced multiple times as a nominee for multiples categories, I took notice of her and her rapping style as the song was kick butt and sassy. I also checked her out when she collaborated with Ariana Grande, who I adore so much, on the song “Problem” (which was popular in Japan).

“Pretty Girls” is basically a song that time-traveled back to the 80’s. The synthesizer speaks for the song itself, especially in the beginning with the deep synth melodies from co-writer Invisible Man.[1] The only way you can tell it’s from today is the annoying clapping, the mechanical drum kits, and the musical patterns you usually hear in today’s hip-hop. I am fully convinced that Iggy is an 80s or early 90s music fanatic as her music is heavily influenced by the synthesized beats and odd percussion. I haven’t heard that two-beat clattering during the pre-chorus’ “Eyes on us” since SWV’s “Downtown”.

How about those vocals? I haven’t really listened to a Britney song since her 2008 song “Womanizer”. I can’t really get into today’s Britney as I was totally in love with teen-pop and pure-pop Britney back in the day with songs like “Lucky”, “(You) Drive Me Crazy”, and “Sometimes”. Maaaan, “Sometimes” was my anthem during the summer of 1999. But anyways, I can’t get into the “edgy-let’s-dab-into-other-genres” Britney because her “new” stylistic choices are not as great. Furthermore, her once highly prized voice are faltering.

Listening to “Pretty Girls”, she tries to imitate the hip-hop sound by changing up her style and speed. Her pronunciation changes during this time, going from pop Britney in the chorus to hip-hop Britney during the verses. The high, staccato speed of the song also doesn’t help her as well. Her vocals are less flattering as she tries to fit as many words as possible in one musical line. However, the second verse let’s her unleash her true voice during the “They are buzzing around me like flies”.

The chorus is the gleaming point of “Pretty Girls”. It features the girls both sharing rhe main singing in the powerful (imagine the “We are Sparta”) “We… are… PRETTY GIRLS, no duh”-type of chorus.[2] Speaking of Iggy, is that her leading the vocal transition of “Some things don’t change” before the pre-chorus? If so, bravo to you Iggy! Even though some call your rapping annoying and the accent you have is so weird, you can prove them wrong with adequate vocals. Her rapping is all cool as Iggy succeeds with her smooth voice filled with pockets of crescendo outbursts and curves through each “musical contour”.

Billboard.com tried to compare “Pretty Girls” with last year’s hit “Fancy” recently in a review for the Iggy and Britney song. Sure, the two songs may have the same deep syth beats and a similar theme of “girls who just want to have fun” in the lyrics. But they are so different, which Billboard finally acknowledges at the end. What is different from the two songs is that Britney’s vocals help make “Pretty Girls” more sugary and girlish then Charlie XCX’s harsh and strong ones.

“Pretty Girls” will be crowned the party tune of this summer as it has the energy and fun atmosphere. Iggy still throws down her words in a stylish way without overpowering the song too much. And as for Britney, she still has it in her as she tries to adapt to the electro-hop genre but it doesn’t work well. I still enjoy “Pretty Girls” as it is a “delightful” treat for a hot summer party.

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BTW: I applaud the art direction of the single’s cover and the directors of the music video. When I first watched the music video, I was like “Hey wait, this is sooooooo “Earth Girls Are Easy” with Britney playing Geena Davis’ character and Iggy playing Jeff Goldblum’s.”. I got all nostalgic while watching the music video.

Bravo! Bravo!


References:

[1]  Lipshutz, Jason. “Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea Stay Fancy on ‘Pretty Girls’: Single Review.” Billboard. 4 May 2015. Web. 26 May 2015. <http://www.billboard.com/articles/review/6553860/britney-spears-iggy-azalea-pretty-girls-review&gt;

[2] Brown, August. “Listen: Britney Spears, Iggy Azalea Join Forces for ‘Pretty Girls'” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2015. Web. 26 May 2015. <http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-britney-spears-iggy-azalea-join-for-pretty-girls-20150504-story.html&gt;

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