Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy

Slightly Delayed Tuesday ends with a concept almost as flimsy as itself…


Alex Macpherson: Much of Circus, Britney’s latest opus, tries very hard to carefully recreate the druggy, lurching haze which characterised its predecessor, Blackout. Mostly, it wears that hard work rather too heavily, faking being fucked up while simultaneously trying to give the impression that the Britney train is safely back on its rails. ‘If U Seek Amy’ is an exception. Single entendre apart, it finds Britney stumbling blindly around looking for, probably, her dealer. In the process, she babbles endless nonsense like “HA HA HEE HEE HA HA HO” over pitchshifting oddness and – crucially – a tempo fast enough for the track to work as a club banger.

Jordan Sargent: “Piece of Me” found Brit at her lowest point, broken and alienated by the flashing bulbs of TMZ, hot white lights that would eventually contribute to the deterioration of her marriage, her relationship with her children and her life in general. In “If You Seek Amy” she’s just as alone, except now she’s roaming the club begging for someone to take her home. We never find out if that happens, but we do see Brit resort to the lamest of all high school taunts: more people want to fuck me than you. It’s enough to ruin the goodwill built-up by having the balls to push the song to radio.

Iain Mew: Musically and in its overwhelming feeling of a resigned lack of control, “If You Seek Amy” reminds of nothing so much as The Knife’s creepy masterpiece “One Hit”. They even share demented faux-laughter as a lyrical device, although the more convincing deadness of feeling means this shades it as the more disturbing of the two.

Keane Tzong: Before the release of Circus, Max Martin described “If U Seek Amy” as the best work he’d ever done. Looking back on that now, the hubris is too much to comprehend: it’s a statement so completely wrong it actually casts a shadow over all the songs he’s ever written before. “If U Seek Amy” feels lazy and underdone, as though everyone involved in its writing lost all their creative faculties immediately after coming up with the pun. The Max Martin of yore would have known that a few “ha ha hee hee ha ha ho”s and a one-note joke just aren’t enough to make a good song. Even if you give it Britney, who, despite a surprisingly present and committed performance, can’t save this from being as utterly mediocre as it is.

Ian Mathers: Yes, yes, controversy blah blah blah. But here’s the thing: The titular wordplay is clumsy and rough, the rest of the lyrics are both shit and incoherent (first Amy is a character, then she’s not; the section where Britney is promising that she’ll do “anything” if you sleep with her is both sad and completely antithetical to what the rest of the song is about), the vocals are just autotuned enough to be both annoying and foreign (i.e. sound nothing like Britney Spears), and the backing is undistinguished. You don’t have to be running around screaming “won’t somebody please think of the children!” to think this song is shit (which is all the more reason not to censor it, of course – freedom of speech applies as much to bad art as good).

Joseph McCombs: My issue isn’t with the homophoniness itself so much as the poor application of it: “beggin’ to if you seek Amy” doesn’t scan on the literal level, so the line has no choice but to exist on the crass one. But who cares; the whole world loves it when she makes that sound. Oh Baybuh Baybuh Baybuh.

Edward Okulicz: Nobody, repeat, nobody intones the word “baby” like Britney – it’s her word and damned if she isn’t going to warble and warp it like the demented robot she has always been. The lyrical jokes are obvious (and, one suspects, deliberately so) but it’s hard not to notice the relish with which they’re delivered. More importantly, the melody has the same infectious taunt of her last two singles, and it’s this that carries the song when you actually listen to it rather than snigger at the lyrics.

Doug Robertson: The tragic thing is that she probably does genuinely consider this to be a clever title. Rumours that Britney’s original treatment for the video consisted solely of her putting one hand on her cheek and giving the camera the finger “cause, like, it’ll look like I’m just scratching myself! It’s totally subversive!” are, sadly, probably true.

Additional Scores

Jonathan Bradley: [5]
Martin Kavka: [4]
M. H. Lo: [6]
Martin Skidmore: [7]

2 Responses to “Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy”

  1. The fact that this averaged a good point and a half more than that La Roux song is fucking disgraceful. At least Jackson gave a committed vocal performance instead of this mess.

  2. What Ian said.