Last night, yet another unreleased Britney Spears song leaked online and it got us thinking about the seemingly never-ending run of leaked Brit-Brit songs and what many of them have in common.
"Ouch" is a fantastic, mid-tempo jam about heartbreak with a clean beat and a strong vocal performance from Spears, whose vibrato is on point throughout the two-minute snippet that appeared on the web. We love Britney and have a pretty good feel for her oeuvre and think "Ouch" is at least as good as, if not way better than, well, about half of what makes it on any given Britney album.
Like many pop stars, Britney records tons of songs for each planned album and along with her producers, A&R people, management and, goodness sakes who knows, the pool guy, edits it down to a 12-ish song set that (hopefully) feels like one coherent entity. That leaves plenty of good tracks, including "Ouch," on the cutting room floor.
Many of those discarded songs have found their way online and given how good some of them are, we had a thought. Why not release an EP of the best of Britney's discarded gems. Something comparable in length to Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster EP. We could call it Britney: The Cutting Room Floor Collection. Or Britney: Look At All These Great Songs I Forgot To Release, Y'all. Maybe Britney: The Best of the Rest. (If you have a better idea, feel free to share it in the comments below!)
So, with "Ouch" already on the roster, we need six more songs that leaked online without an official release. Let's get started!
This simple ballad features what is perhaps inarguably Spears's best vocal performance ever. Like her idol Madonna, Brit isn't really known for her voice, but that doesn't mean it's bad – once stripped of all the autotune and digital flourishes, it's actually quite good. Also like Madonna, Spears' singing voice is a distinct, easily identifiable instrument capable of conveying a surprising amount of emotion and personality, proving you don't have to be a belter to stir listeners. Every time one of your hater friends says "Britney Spears can't sing for s**t" please forward them this song and ask them how crow tastes.
"Rockstar" was recorded during her sessions for Blackout. How it didn't make that album boggles the mind. There's something dark here, unsurprising given the time it was recorded, with Brit speak-singing over a pounding guitar riff. Curiously, it's less a dance track than most of Spears' up tempo songs, which is probably why it got the ax. Still, it's defiant and interesting and different from much of Spears' back catalog.
Another experiment from the "Blackout" sessions, another missed opportunity. Upbeat, a little crazy and vaguely reminiscent of the Circus track "Mmm Papi" (but way better!), "Dangerous" is a definite head-bopper.
>> "Love 2 Love U"
As spacey as "How I Roll," but with a serious twist – it is set very directly to the tune of Madonna's "La Isla Bonita." As in, Britney swapped out Madge's lyrics, threw some laser sound effects and a bit of horn action and set it free. One might expect Madonna would appreciate the homage – she's always had a soft spot for Spears and, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
>> "Strangest Love"
Another ballad, this time backed by a thumping beat, some digital effects (which is also a very Madonna thing to do) and swelling instrumentation, "Strangest Love" is lush and warmer than most tracks that go down the electro ballad road. It also feels like a bigger, more-produced companion to Spears' spare "Everytime," and there's no way that can be a bad thing.
As gonzo as it is fun, "Abroad" is an anomaly that we shouldn't like as much as we do. Sure, the production is a little cluttered, but she sure sounds like she's having fun here doesn't she? This is an album track and not a single, for sure, but it would bring some much needed light and personality to any Britney record, which can sometimes feel a little distant and mechanical because of the way her voice is often processed.
Did we miss any unreleased Britney gems? Let us know in the comments below!