Today, will.i.am's "Scream & Shout" featuring Britney Spears was finally farmed to radio stations, a week after the single had a slippery debut post-leak. On Wednesday, the music video is set to premiere around Spears' new gig on "The X Factor." A preview to the Ben Mor-directed clip has been posted below.
I'll admit it. The refrain "Scream and shout and let it all out" is super catchy. It's got that. But a catchy phrase does not a great song make. Below I outline my hoarse-voiced disappointments with "Scream & Shout":
1. Not enough Britney
The retread of "It's Britney, Bitch" is the only recognizable Britney element to this dance track. Maybe she's happy that singing in unison and laying down two lines of flaccid harmony only required a day of work in the studio (or a few megs of GarageBand files). But fans -- including myself -- are disappointed in this "collaboration," entertainingly fake English accent aside.
2. Too much will.i.am
This is his track, from his album, yes. We didn't show up for his "rhymes," though, we showed up for Britney combining forces with somebody, anybody who puts her to work. will.i.am hasn't earned a top 10 solo effort yet, and this is the play, particularly since his contribution on her last album, "Big Fat Bass," went nowhere. It's a packaging ploy, and I don't appreciate it. However, it is the expected move from a man who first named his album "Black Einstein," only to change it to a Twitter hashtag.
3. Combined, they sound awful
Do you remember on Guns 'N Roses' "Appetite for Destruction," the first single "It's So Easy" and Axl Rose has to double the vocals on the pre-chorus and it just sounds like crap because he's shrill at an octave higher than Duff McKagen? See circa 0:55 and all its counterparts.
4. Look at this official single cover
Just look at it:
5. This is not a song
Around 3:10, when i.am reminds us: "It goes on and on and on and on." Most every phrase written for the song is repeated ad nauseum. It doesn't break, it takes no chances, it is a sample loop. A lot of dance music has dynamic, arc, heart, mettle. This does not. It is the aural equivalent of an animated .gif. It's wallpaper (willpaper?) onto which you pin other art. It's a desert of laser sounds, vocal processors and unsorted dance music ephemera, and no other life can be sustained.
Here is the preview to the "Scream & Shout" video. Britney, in a positive note, looks great.