Dr. Luke is all over this one, so the song sounds like every other glittery, trance-infused hit crowding the airwaves at the moment. Plus, it shouldn't surprise anyone: "Hold It Against Me" is the epitome of all Britney singles of the last decade. It's kind of dark and dirty in tone, the lyrics are thinly veiled insinuations slanting toward sexual behavior, and, of course, the current beat trend is present (it has not only a cooling trance breakdown, but a mini-dubstep breakdown, too!). You even get a little trademark Britney baby talk halfway through.
In a word, "Hold It Against Me" is nice; Brit's definitely taking the safe route. But is this single and the subsequent album (due out in March) supposed to blow minds? No. Has Britney's music ever had that kind of power? No. But it is a good sign. The havoc-wreaking personal life that has held her spotlight hostage for so long is out of focus at the moment. The performer we all know and sort of love could actually be making a healthier comeback than the forced, premature attempts of the past. Even her tweets -- while often strange and obviously put out there by management -- come off normal, even by Britney standards.
Still, "Hold it Against Me's" thumpy, shiny goodness might be the song that helps some of us get over the fact that Brit will never produce another "Toxic," or ever again don a red latex bodysuit under the "I'm still a nice girl" premise. Furthermore, like any good Britney song, this current single (which hinges upon a pick-up line used in A Night at the Roxbury) does what a Britney song should do. It begs the eternal Britney question: Is she joking -- or are we just laughing at her?