The Bottom Line
Let's face it. No other current pop music producer seems to have the truly golden touch like Max Martin. Add to that Britney Spears on the hottest hit streak of her career, and they are virtually unstoppable. Yes, she is again courting controversy here with lyrical content, but the bottom line is this is another irresistibly catchy pop confection that beats out most everything else on pop radio today. However, "3" doesn't rival some of the top classics of either Max Martin's or Britney Spears' career.
- Instantly catchy chorus leading off
- Beautiful middle section
- Britney's ability to surprise and startle lyrically
- No new ground broken here musically
- Written by Max Martin, Shellback, and Tiffany Amber
- Produced by Max Martin
- Released September 2009 by Jive Records
Guide Review - Britney Spears - "3"
Yes, she does seem to be singing about sexual 3somes. That is new territory for both Britney Spears and mainstream pop music. If that offends you, there is no reason to consider "3" further. However, if you see it as just another example of Britney Spears pushing on the boundaries of acceptable content, "3" will feel like classic Britney to you.
The last collaboration between Max Martin and Britney Spears, "If You Seek Amy," raised serious eyebrows due to its transparent efforts to introduce a certain word into pop radio playlists without exactly pronouncing it in the song. This time around "3" is rather blatant lyrically. There aren't many alternative ways to interpret, "1,2,3, not only you and me," or, "Merrier the more, triple fun that way." It will be interesting to watch whether there is any similar uproar over "3" compared with previous Britney Spears controversies. However, it is equally possible "3," without any specific, individual offensive words, may just be passed off with a wink and a nod as Britney doing her thing.
Musically, "3" is ultra-catchy dance pop filled with familiar Max Martin synth sounds and vocal effects. It has a beautiful middle section, but there is no new ground broken here. Overall, "3" is reminiscent of Madonna's recent "Celebration." Both are singles that musically present nothing particularly new, but they do manage to encapsulate many of the elements that make the singer a star. "3" is a quality reminder of just who Britney Spears is as an artist, but, despite the controversy over the lyrics, it feels most like a bridge to the next chapter in her recording career.