Britney Spears is releasing a new album in two weeks, but you probably haven't heard anything about it ... and that, perhaps, is the idea.
One of the music world's most famous pop princesses is about to roll out a remix LP without the crush of press, publicity and advertising that usually accompanies all things Britney (from music to films to fragrances). But while the new album's been mostly kept under wraps by her label, word is slowly trickling out, and so are some of the tracks, including the album's one new song, "And Then We Kiss."
Think of B in the Mix: The Remixes as Britney's maternity-leave placeholder — she may not be putting out a new studio album until next year, but at least her older songs get some new life breathed into them by DJs such as Stuart Price and Peter Rauhofer (known for their work remixing Britney's mentor Madonna, who's got a dance album of her own due this month; see "Madonna Making 'Spontaneous' And 'Unapologetic' Dance Music").
Price had previously remixed "Breathe on Me" for a limited-edition bonus disc accompanying Spears' My Prerogative: Greatest Hits, but that "Jacques Lu Cont" version was faster and brighter, with a looped Giorgio Moroder-style beat. This one, his "Thin White Duke" remix, is half as long even though it slows the beat down to something slinky and lounge-y, even slightly off-key, making the song darker and dirtier. It also subtly repeats the word "blow" from her "Put your lips together and ..." lyric over and over, instead of just employing breathing sounds (which are still there).
Bill Hamel's nearly eight-minute trance remix of "Touch of My Hand" is sprightlier at the top, then shifts into something more ambient, where lyrics like "Control" and "Touch of my hand" are on repeat. Spears' voice gets chopped up into skittering syllables and sounds that don't form words but become part of the beat instead.
Other tracks include "Me Against the Music" featuring Madonna (Justice remix), "Toxic" (Peter Rauhofer Reconstruction mix), "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Dave Aude Slave Driver mix), "Everytime" (Valentin remix), "Early Mornin' " (Jason Nevins remix), "Someday (I Will Understand)" (Hi-Bias Signature radio remix), "... Baby One More Time" (Davidson Ospina 2005 remix) and "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know" (Hex Hector club mix).
The new song, the yearning Euro-trance of "And Then We Kiss," remixed by Junkie XL, describes a magical make-out session that makes her tremble, cry and moan, "Take me/ Touch me/ Won't you hold me close?" But since she sings at the beginning of the song that she's alone, that makes the scenario more of a fantasy than a reality: "Your love comes alive on my lips/ I feel a rush coming over and over me/ And when we touch/ This moment when everything's still/ I close my eyes/ And then we kiss." The techno effects are sweet, sunny synth lines, with orchestral overtones closing the song out.
"And Then We Kiss" has the potential to be a radio or club hit — if Jive were actively promoting the album. But this one is being marketed in a more underground way than usually associated with a superstar act. Spears doesn't appear on the cover art (save for the Japanese version); it's a butterfly instead. A promotional 12-inch with four select cuts was leaked, leading to its sale on eBay and at a few record stores, pretty much ensuring those tracks would wind up on the Internet.
One fan site, WorldOfBritney.com, has been working with the singer's management team to host a party in Los Angeles on November 22, the day of the album's release. "Britney and her new management are working their butt off to show that they're interested in achieving a closer relationship as well as a connection with the fans," WorldofBritney webmaster Ruben Garay said of the approach. "I think that's something that will be reflected on the release of this remix album in all fronts."