Britney Spears is back in the music scene — this time as a free woman, finally.
Just hours after the track allegedly leaked online, Spears’ “Hold Me Closer” duet with Elton John hit streaming services on Friday (Aug. 19). The song, which is a fresh take on John’s 1972 classic “Tiny Dancer” produced by Grammy winner Andrew Watt, features the pop princess and the “Rocketman” himself singing the opening verse of John’s 1992 hit, “The One” over a club-ready beat, before diving into the chorus of 1971’s “Tiny Dancer.”
“Since most say they are honored TO KNOW ME SO WELL and only want happiness for me … you can bet your bottom dollar that THIS collaboration will heighten my year by joining your brilliant hands of play,” Spears wrote on Instagram ahead of the song’s release. “Thank you for your generosity and just thinking of me to join you on such a brilliant song !!! How cool is it to be a background voice ON YOUR song !!! Sir Elton I did it thanks to your genius, creative, and legendary mind !!! I am so grateful !!! I just keep on giving don’t I ??? Can I get an AWWWWE ???”
“Hold Me Closer” is Spears’ first new music since her 2016 studio album Glory, which also included deluxe tracks “Mood Ring,” “Swimming in the Stars” and the Backstreet Boys-assisted “Matches” that were released in 2020. Most notably, the collaboration will mark Spears’ official return to music since the end of her 13-year conservatorship.
“Tiny Dancer,” originally included as part of John’s 1971 album Madman Across the Water, was released as a single in 1972 and peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2000, the song was famously featured in a sing-along bus scene in Cameron Crowe’s film Almost Famous.
Listen to Spears and John’s “Hold Me Closer” below.
BY CHRISTIAN ALLAIRE
After her 13-year-long conservatorship was formally ended in November last year, the princess of pop Britney Spears is back with new music today—and she’s enlisted none other than fellow pop icon Elton John to do it with her. Together, the two stars have released “Hold Me Closer”—a contemporary take on John’s 1971 song, “Tiny Dancer.”
It’s Spears’s first musical project since regaining her freedom, and given her most recent new material was found on her 2016 album Glory, it’s safe to say her fans (the Britney Army, which this writer is a longtime and devoted member of) are pumped. First, a glorious wedding to husband Sam Asghari—now new music, too? America’s southern sweetheart is thriving, y’all!
So enough talking about it: I’m here to react to the new song in real-time. Join me and have a listen, won’t you? Below, find 13 thoughts I had while listening to Britney Spears and Elton John’s “Hold Me Closer.”
1. “Saw you dancing, out the ocean.” This is how Britney and Elton open the song—and it’s precisely how I wish to be listening to this brand new tune. By the water, with a cocktail in hand.
2. The song has a steady, smooth disco beat; the type you could dance slowly to all night long without ever getting tired of it. I just need a dance floor and some bellbottoms!
3. Britney and Elton are singing together at the same time—a true duet. Their voices, surprisingly, jive very well together, despite their stylistic differences.
4. I love that Britney’s using her lower register in the bridge. Her true voice! There have been rumors that the pop star has been forced by her label to sing in a high-pitched baby voice for years; It’s refreshing to see her return to her lower range, which was more prominent in her earlier work.
5. The hook is definitely a modern take on Elton’s original 1971 chorus, “Hold me closer, tiny dancer.” It’s probably no coincidence that it reminds me of the groovier take on “Cold Heart” that John and Dua Lipa recently did.
6. Elton’s sounding real good here, too. The man’s been in show business for six decades and, somehow, the passage of time doesn’t seem to affect those signature pipes.
7. There’s something about Britney’s voice and a dance track that just go extremely well together—like red wine and a basket of bread. She does things with her vocal tone that all the other pop girlies simply can’t. That’s why she’s the true princess of pop.
8. I will say: This song is pretty sweet and innocent for the pure-sexpot Britney, who once raunchily sang, “Yeah, your body looks so sick, I think I caught the flu.”
9. Her voice is also giving me serious Glory vibes here—her 2016 album, which had a more sophisticated sound. Digging this new leveled-up vibe for her.
10. Given this is Britney’s first post-conservatorship release, all I can think about while listening to this duo is how pissed Madonna must be that Elton got Britney on a track first. (Elton and Madonna have an infamous feud.) But c’mon now—there are enough music idols to go around.
11. How genius would it be if the music video was shot in Britney’s signature Instagram video style? I demand to see her do a fashion show, or twirl, to this beat.
12. Now that Britney’s partnering with icons like Elton John, I’m taking a moment to think about who else she could release a song with. Cher? Mariah? Her close friend, Selena Gomez? The opportunities are endless. True Britney fans also know that the pop star creates magic whenever she works with producer Danja (who did Blackout, her best album by far). Get Danja on the line!
13. As the soft piano outro plays, I find myself hoping this is one of many new tracks to come from Miss Spears. I think we can also all agree that we only want her to do things on her own terms, her own timing, and her own pure will, but I have a feeling she has more things up her sleeve. It’s Britney, bitch!
You just had to post those parenting videos, Kevin Federline.
Britney Spears' public spat with her ex-husband escalated late Wednesday night when Federline uploaded three videos taken by the former spouses' sons, Jayden and Sean Federline, as their mother, um, mothered them. The videos were from four years ago, when the boys were 11 and 12.
“I can not sit back and let my sons be accused in this way after what they’ve been through. As much as it hurts us, we decided as a family to post these videos,” Federline, 44, captioned the videos on Instagram. “This isn’t even the worst of it. The lies have to stop. I hope our kids grow up to be better than this.”
In the short clips, as described by Page Six, Spears chastises one of her boys for going into an ice cream shop with no shoes on and, in another video, tells a son to respect her — it's her house, she says sternly — when she enters his room to give him lotion for his "coarse" face.
In the third video, Spears and sons Jayden and Sean argue about who is interrupting whom, with Jayden saying to his mother, "I think you just care about yourself, because you won’t let us speak one word and you won’t let us go anywhere we wanna go."
Federline has since taken down the videos, perhaps in response to backlash . As of Thursday afternoon, his Instagram account had zero posts.
"It's so bizarre that Kevin Federline is posting videos of Britney's kids 'arguing' with her that are just her being a parent while they are mad disrespectful to her," cultural critic and feminist writer Roxane Gay tweeted Thursday. "Like ... good for her knowing what it means to parent."
"Dear Kevin Federline. You released a “scathing” video of a mom being a mom. Sometimes moms -gasp - have reactions," tweeted Ally Reid, a radio host in Albany, N.Y. "They might discipline by taking things away or ask for respect. This is shocking but sometimes moms will argue with their kids."
"Kevin Federline is a miserable excuse for a father. That is all," tweeted "Skylanders Academy" voice actor Greg Ellis.
The drama started over the weekend after the Daily Mail posted tidbits from Federline's upcoming ITV tell-all interview.
"The boys have decided they are not seeing her right now," Federline said. "It's been a few months since they've seen her. They made the decision not to go to her wedding" to Sam Asghari in June.
He also said Sean and Jayden had been affected by they mother's habit of regularly posting nearly-nudes on her Instagram account.
"I try to explain to them, 'Look, maybe that's just another way she tries to express herself.' But that doesn't take away from the fact of what it does to them. It's tough," Federline told ITV. "I can't imagine how it feels to be a teenager having to go to high school."
Federline and wife Victoria share parenting duties over the teen boys, as well as daughters Jordan, 11, and Peyton, 8. Federline's older kids with Shar Jackson — Kori, 20, and Kaleb, 18 — frequently visit, the Daily Mail said.
Spears' ex initially got full custody of Sean and Jayden following the couple's divorce in 2007, but that agreement changed over the years to allow the pop star more visitation. Only recently did the boys tell their mom they would be spending most of their time with their dad.
After Federline's recent remarks, Spears chimed in this week in her Instagram Story, which has since expired, saying in part, "It's hard for me to let go of things I truly love ... like my kids. The situation should have 100 percent been dealt with privately and definitely not online !!!"
She continued, writing, "Yeah, I know that teenagers are just hard to deal with at that age … but COME ON, there's being rude then there's being HATEFUL … they would visit me, walk in the door, go straight to their room and lock the door !!! The [court-appointed] MONITOR would tell me that he just likes to be in his room … I'm like why come visit me if they don't even visit me !!! But I never said that because I have to be kind !!!"
She also laid out an accusation of marijuana use at the Federline home, writing, "I can guarantee you, that house has more weed than Ludacris, 50 Cent, Jay Z and Puff Daddy combined!" (That comment earned her some backlash because she mentioned only Black artists.)
"I can't process how I dedicated 20 years of my life to those kids ... everything was about them !!!," Spears wrote as the post neared its end. "For them to knock the breath out of me ... see you can't fix me !!! No therapy or sense of worship can fix my heart !!! I will forever have trauma and I know this, I've accepted it."
Spears' attorney, Mathew S. Rosengart, wasn't having any of what Federline was selling, saying in a statement Thursday that he wouldn't stand for any bullying of his client.
"Whether he realizes it or not, Mr. Federline has not only violated the privacy and dignity of the mother of his children, he has undermined his own children, whose privacy he should protect," the lawyer said.
"Putting aside his ITV interview, Mr. Federline’s ill-advised decision to post an old video of his 11 and 12 year old children was cruel, bottom of the barrel stuff. It was abhorrent. In addition to demeaning himself and violating societal norms, he has now also created various legal issues for himself including, but not limited to, implicating cyber-harassment and cyber-bullying statutes, among other things."
Rosengart said he was working with Instagram to make sure Federline was adhering to its rules and exploring "all appropriate relief against him."
"In the meantime, as Britney herself poignantly said, whatever is occurring between her and her boys should remain private," he added. "We urge Mr. Federline to act with a measure of grace and decency and to cease from publicly discussing private matters, which benefits no one."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times. By Christie D'Zurilla via Yahoo news.