the partiers scream and shout …
The inspiration for this week’s Singles Party came from a billboard. Yes, a billboard. Stuck in traffic on New Jersey’s Route 287, Pop-Break editor-in-chief Bill Bodkin must’ve seen about the ad for will.i.am and Britney Spear’s new single and video for “Scream & Shout,” which was debuting that night on The X Factor, at least 20 times as he sat in gridlocked hell.
That got us to thinking: When was the last time we saw a song that heavily promoted? Remember when albums and tours had TV and radio commercials, billboards along major highways and street teams tacking up as many stickers and posters as humanly possible on city walls, tollbooths and record store bathrooms?
So we thought, this new hotness from Brit and the Black Eyed Pea would be the perfect first pop song we look at on Singles Party.
Here’s what our editors had to say about this track.
Lauren Stern: The Black Eyed Peas are forever my guilty pleasure. So whatever has the name will.i.am attached to it, I’m automatically going to like it. However, even though my man Willy is on the track, I can’t lie that I was skeptical before listening to this. A lot of Britney’s songs are either big hits or total misses so I wasn’t totally sure if I would love this collaboration. But she wound up not having a big influence either way. Like all the rest of anything will.i.am does, this song is catchy as hell and I love how it’s stuck in my brain all the time now. I must say, though, the whole “It’s Britney, bitch” thing seriously needs to be slaughtered and put to rest already. It’s just totally stupid and irritating. Verdict: Add to the Playlist.
Brent Johnson: When the catchy, staccato intro started pulsating, I couldn’t believe it. “Is it just me,” I thought, “or does the new will.i.am/Britney collaboration sound like a New Order song? Maybe this won’t suck.” But then the rest of the song happened. All ‘Scream & Shout’ leaves me with is a lot of questions: Is Britney impersonating Madonna impersonating the Queen of England? Did will.i.am finish recording and actually say, “Yup, this is a good idea”? Does an iPhone really float in water? Maybe this is meant to be funny? No. It’s just terrible. Verdict: One and Done.
Kelly Gonsalves: Considering what the song is trying to achieve, it isn’t half bad. Yeah, it’s the same generic lines about the club not being able to handle you and other such lines that are mostly there just because they’re easy to sing along to regardless of your particular level of intoxication. Nothing particularly sticks out about this techno-pop dance number, but people will definitely enjoy getting jiggy with this jam on the dance floor. Listening to Britney’s awkward and unnatural attempt at a deep British accent is certainly amusing, and I know I would enjoy making stupid faces and screaming “Britney, bitch” at the top of my lungs. Overall, while this song is not the most impressive even for its genre, it’s nothing completely intolerable. Add some disco lights and a blaring sound system, and this song is good to go. Verdict: Add to playlist.
Jason Kundrath: will.i.am is a pop giant. For over a decade, both as a member of The Black Eyed Peas and as a solo artist, he has repeatedly proved his ability for writing club-bangers with mass appeal. (“Let’s Get Retarded”, “I’ve Got A Feeling”, “My Humps”) And while his latest single could have been great, Britney Spears’ awkward and downright bizarre contributions turn it into an annoying mess. From the moment she opens her mouth with the declaration, “When you hear this in the club / You’re gonna turn this shit up,” things get off to a weird start. It has that sad and pathetic ring of a pop star past her prime going for a paltry bit of shock value. And it is shockingly bad. Immediately after this, she puts on an inexplicable British accent — Madonna-style — to comedic effect. What’s really unfortunate here, however, is that subtracting Britney’s portion, will.i.am has put together a very decent track here. Featuring a cool, driving pulse and compelling electro-industrial sounds, will.i.am’s sections of the song are quite enjoyable in that happy, mindless way all the best club songs are. But Britney’s presence is tacked-on, unwelcome and unnecessary. will.i.am should have known better. Verdict: One and Done.
Bill Bodkin: There’s a difference between a good club-banger and a popular club-banger … and having worked the infamous Jersey Shore club scene for nearly a decade, these ears know the difference. will.i.am has been a master of being able to put the proverbial lipstick on a pig and if you close your eyes hard enough you’d imagine you were making out with Britney Spears. However, not even the Black Eyed Pea can save this track. No matter how much lipstick you put on this pig, you know you’re french kissing a nasty old warthog. will.i.am’s biggest trick to taking bad songs and making them enjoyable has always been a big, undeniable hook coupled with a killer beat. On “Scream & Shout” he’s got the hook — the hypnotic chorus and his own smooth as silk vocals work well here — but where’s the beat? We are in the age of electro-synth, but why is this beat so hollow and wimpy? Where’s that big, nasty, make-it-clap bass drop? Where’s that driving-fist-pump-while-no-one’s-looking thump? Where’s that groove that’ll make you loose control when you’ve had one too many or you’re just caught up in the moment? The song completely lacks that.
And as for Britney (Bitch), you could’ve inserted any woman into this part of the song. Seriously, if you said that the female vocals were done by Mandy Moore, Meryl Streep, the reanimated ghost of Queen Elizabeth or any of the ladies involved in this column, it wouldn’t sound absurd because you honestly can’t tell this is even Britney Spears singing. She’s so auto-tuned that she’s barely recognizable. This one will undoubtedly be a popular track bounced around every club the world over, one just has to wonder … why? Verdict: One and done.
Joe Zorzi: It’s hard for me to judge a song like this. I’m not a fan of either will.i.am or Britney, but I had a feeling it would be a party jam. And it is. I can’t deny that any time I hear this in the club, I’m gonna “turn this shit up.” It’s fun and catchy and was made to be a club banger.
But is this a good song? No. No it’s not. It’s by the books. will.i.am knows how to make a hit. He takes whatever is hot at the time and recycles it into a brand new pop jam. This song is a perfect example of that: a pounding EDM beat, lyrics about clubbing, big drops, “it’s Britney, bitch.”
Overall, it’s really up to you. Do you like to party and dance with your friends to nonsensical, fun, silly songs? Well, I do. So I’m going to add this to my partying playlist. Verdict: Add To Your Playlist
Final Verdict: We’re split down the middle. The song has really polarized the staff. Some of us believe it’s absolute, mindless dreck while the other half believes this is a legit, fun club-banger.
So we put it to you, the reader — what do you think? Let us know.