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Britney Spears and Mind Your Business review: An insult to Britney’s legacy

The Black Eyed Peas frontman has displayed shockingly poor judgement in letting this car crash of a record into the world, writes Attitude's Jamie Tabberer

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By Jamie Tabberer and Britney Spears in the cover art for 'Mind Your Business' and Britney Spears in the cover art for 'Mind Your Business' (Image: Epic Records)

It’s the single artwork for me. The first sign of catastrophe around Britney Spears and’s new song ‘Mind Your Business’ – a sequel of sorts to their 2012 monster hit ‘Scream and Shout’, and perhaps the runt of the litter of those original sessions – was the song’s cover image.

In it, the pair stand back-to-back in what appears to be a spaceship decked out with shades of platinum pink. So far, so Michael and Janet Jackson’s ‘Scream’-meets-Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’.

But look closer. If you’re a massive gay, like this writer, you might notice Britney’s (gorgeous) hair and make-up are strangely familiar. That’s because the photo of her was “actually taken 20 years ago by Mike Liddell,” according to one Twitter user.

Rumours of AI used to conjure Britney’s likeness in the accompanying music video remain unconfirmed. But one thing’s for sure. Britney is almost entirely absent from this project. Not least on this unlistenable oddity of a song itself, in which she sounds nothing like herself.

Which, in the past, has been the point. She didn’t on the stylistically similar ‘Scream and Shout’, either. (She was reportedly inspired by Tulisa’s British accent on the demo, which was kind of charming.) Meanwhile, on Blackout, producers built a compelling concept album around the theme of a pop star’s inaccessibility.

“Am I the only one bored of Britney saying ‘bitch’ at this point?”

But there’s no rhyme or reason to Britney’s vocal paralysis on this mess of a song. It’s nothing but childish talk-singing… And it has eternal toddler’s fingerprints all over it.

“Mind your b-, mind your b-, mind your b-, mind your b-,” she incessantly repeats on the chorus, like a malfunctioning robot, making frustratingly little sense. “Mind your business, bitch!” she eventually clarifies, coldly. Am I the only one bored of Britney saying “bitch” at this point?

When chimes in, the song – is it pop? Is it dance? Is it anything? – becomes officially unlistenable. His lyrics, ostensibly about privacy, are utter nonsense. “Too much looky-looky, get up off me, too much watchy, whoa, hands up in the cookie jar…” What? Then there’s his flat tone and vocal tics which, 20 years on, sound unbearably dated.

Two thirds of the way through, an automated voice joins in, somehow emanating more life and personality than our two stars combined. (Not that I’m saying that Britney has no personality. She is one of the most charismatic musicians of our time. What I’m saying is, has absolutely failed to capture her charm. Maybe the same can be said of all the songs he’s produced for her over the years.)

“The production is sparse and basic, as if it was created by an infant on their first keyboard”

Autotune, swearing: such tricks are hallmarks of high-profile songs that have been rushed and cobbled together; that had holes that desperately needed plugging up. (See Sam Smith and Madonna’s ‘Vulgar’.) And still the production here is sparse and basic, as if it was created by an infant on their first keyboard. The effect is one of coldness, distance, laziness, and disinterestedness.

Britney deserved better. Granted, she wasn’t as present on last year’s Elton John duet ‘Hold Me Closer’ as fans might’ve hoped. But at least there were some fabulous vocal flourishes there. Even a key change, in fact. One gets the impression Elton coaxed these Britney-isms out of her. That he took a sense of pride and responsibility in only releasing something good enough for her.

Not that Britney doesn’t have agency here. It’s amazing that she’s now more in control of her life and career than she’s been in years. And she apparently approves of this song’s release, having promoted it (a little) on her Instagram. But she’s never claimed to be much of a songwriter or a producer. As such, one imagines, she’s looked to others on matters of quality control. Or perhaps I’m being too forgiving, and responsibility for ‘Mind Your Business’ lies as much with her as with her collaborator.

“It sounds like a Black Eyed Peas song – that is to say, a novelty record”

But that doesn’t feel right. This song sounds like a or a Black Eyed Peas song. That is to say, a novelty record; a bizarre experiment that challenges you to love and hate it at the same time, like ‘My Humps’. But there’s simply nothing to love here.

Although I believe means well – I can just about remember how seriously he took his mentorship on early seasons of The Voice UK – the release of ‘Mind Your Business’ is evidence of foolishly bad judgement. Just like his bloody name.