It’s time for some BRAND NEW BRITNEY!
Only Britney Spears would dare follow up the release of futuristic electro banger and globally chart-conquering Scream & Shout with a light, fluffy, kiddy pop tune. Tailored especially for the Smurfs 2 soundtrack, and with lots of tweeting from ‘Britney’ to suggest the song is a treat for her boys, our expectations were set low. We knew it would never be the best song named ‘Ooh La La’ with that honour fairly obviously going to Goldfrapp, or even the second best, with that honour going to Misha B. Set against these circumstances we have to admit we were somewhat worried about what ‘Ooh La La’ might sound like. Once the thrill of hearing a brand new Britney track had fully subsided – for she is one of very few artists from whom we utterly relish hearing new material – here are our thoughts on the track.
Nonsensical chants: When the song’s title itself is a nonsensical chant, it gives a pretty good indication that the song will contain many a nonsensical chant. Aside from the obvious ‘ooh la la’ there’s an agreeable ‘ooh my my’ and some annoying vocoded nonsensical sounds at 2:35 which last far too long. So, in other words, the song contains a disappointing lack of nonsense considering that the track is for a bloody Smurfs film!
Generic or does it sound like a Britney single? Of course anything by Britney sounds “Britney” thanks to her instantly recognisable and unmistakable nasal vocal. Sonically it does at one point sound a bit like ‘Seal It With A Kiss‘ from Britney’s last album; regardless it’s hard, and ugly, to imagine this is the direction Britney is headed in with her new material. It sounds a bit too ‘bouncy’ and ‘fun’ for Britney, although one can easily imagine a lesser popstarlet such as Demi Lovato or Pixie Lott rubbing their grubby hands together and thanking their lucky stars, were they to end up on the receiving end of this song.
Lyrics any good? The opening line – ‘you don’t have to look like a movie star’ – is completely patronising coming from a woman whose entire career has rested as much on her various images as her vocal talents. On the other hand, Britney’s taste in men does suggest that she prefers those who don’t look like movie stars, so this line does appear to be grounded in truth. The rest of the song is full of horrible will.i.am-level generic fluff about ‘can’t nobody get down like us / we don’t stop till we get enough / c’mon turn it up till the speakers pop’ which we conclude is nothing more than extremely lazy songwriting. However, the chorus is undeniably catchy and well written, even if it does contain rhymes you can hear coming a mile off.
Production: As we’ve noted above, ‘fun’ and ‘bouncy’ are our chosen adjectives for the song and this applies to the production too. As ever, Britney’s vocals are very heavily produced, and the guitar in the chorus feels a bit out of place on a Britney song. The production during the choruses is pleasant enough although the EDM-inspired ‘breakdown’ sound is completely superfluous on a song like this. Worse still is the ‘breakdown’ which starts at 2:35. It is merely an annoying time-filling device wasting away 30 seconds of our lives and yours. But at 3:05 when Britney’s honey-laden vocal re-enters the song, it sounds simply gorgeous, and we can’t resist flashing a little smile.
Best-bit: 3:05 – 3:20
Pop-foolish rating: 5/10
Verdict: This song does have a large feeling of ‘will this do?’ written all over it. The exclusion of a proper middle-8 is just sheer idleness whichever way you look at it, and the lyrics to the whole song are essentially lazy and banal. Yes,the song might have been written for a movie and written for kids but that doesn’t excuse such complacency. We feel a bit insulted on behalf of Britney really – a song written for Britney should have something about it – however small. This song lacks the X Factor but as a standalone release with little-to-no impact on Britney’s actual career, we will be able to tolerate it, and occasionally even play it on iTunes.