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Femme Fatale 12th anniversary week

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On March 25, 2011 Britney Spears released Femme Fatale, her seventh studio album, in Europe and Oceania. It was released in other territories the following days, with the American official release being on March 29 and it counted with both a standard and a deluxe version. Femme Fatale is mostly an EDM record that incorporates a lot of elements from dance pop, synth-pop, dubstep, techno, and electro. It is filled with club bangers that invites the listener to dance with lyrics about partying and love relationships, though some slow and mid-tempos appear occasionally throughout the tracklist.

It was mainly produced by Max Martin and Dr. Luke, but it also included several other producers such as Ammo, Cirkut, Benny Blanco, Billboard, Bloodshy, Darkchild, Shellbak, will.i.am, Fraser T Smith, Magnus among others. Some of the songwriters that collaborated on the tracks are Alexander Kronlund, Kesha, Bonnie McKee, Mathieu Jomphe, Savan Kotecha, Henrik Jonback, Nicole Morier, Jeremy Coleman, Joshua Coleman, Ester Dean, Benjamin Levin, Sophie Stern, Claude Kelly, and it also featured Sabi and will.i.am on (Drop Dead) Beautiful and Big Fat Bass respectively, as well as Travis Barker from Blink 182, who played the drums on the deluxe track Don't Keep Me Waiting.


Britney Spears started to record the album on July 2009, when she visited Sweden during her The Circus Starring Britney Spears tour, where she also recorded 3, the promotional single of The Singles Collection that was released later that year. In 2010, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and Danja, who had already collaborated with Britney in the past, mentioned that they were working on new Britney music, however, the claims were denied by Adam Leber stating that those who are actually working on the new project are not talking about it: "No new music news right now....Wish people wouldn't mislead you guys with BS info". It was in November when Dr. Luke revealed to MTV News that he was executive producing the album along with Max Martin:


"She's such an icon, I don't want to let anyone down. But most importantly, I want to make good music. I'm excited to be co-executive producing with Max Martin, the person who kind of invented Britney, and to make good music," he said. "And she's such an amazing vehicle to getting that music out to a lot of people in every country."


On her birthday in 2010, Britney wrote in a series of tweets: "Just wanted to thank all of you for the amazing birthday wishes you guys have been sending all day. My fans mean the world to me & waking up to all of your wishes really made me smile, so here's something that I hope will make you smile... I'm almost done with my new album and it will be coming out this March.  I AM IN L-O-V-E WITH IT!"


She also took the time to clarify some rumors about her then boyfriend supposedly having abused her:



On December 13, Popdash reported that British producer Fraser T Smith had collaborated with Britney on three tracks, two of which made the final cut: Trouble for Me and the Japanese exclusive Scary (the only song on the album co-written by Britney):


"We worked on three tracks and I love them all. I turned up straight from the plane and she was fantastic. She made coffee for us all in the studio, her voice was strong and she was totally focused on her music. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I just hope the tracks make the final cut for the album."


It was on February 02, 2011 that Britney Spears revealed on her Twitter the name and the cover of the album: "I've poured my heart and soul into this album over the last 2 years.  I've put everything I have into it. This album is for you, my fans, who have always supported me and have stuck by me every step of the way!  I love you all! **** and Strong. Cool yet confident! "FEMME FATALE""

The Deluxe version has a golden font over the same Randee St. Nicholas picture from the standard.


The same day, Rolling Stone published an article where Dr. Luke revealed that the album was still not done, and they were still choosing the songs for the final cut. He also talked about the lead single, Hold It Against Me, which had been released in January.


Originally, Dr. Luke and Martin, the Swedish songwriter behind some of Spears’ biggest hits, including “…Baby One More Time,” planned to give the song to Katy Perry. “We might have played it for her, but it definitely wasn’t a Katy Perry record,” Dr. Luke says by phone from Conway Recording Studio in Los Angeles. “We had it for a while. I wanted to make sure it didn’t sound like everything else I’ve done. I brought it into Billboard, and he just killed it. It can be hard in the verse, and the bridge is super, super hard, but the chorus is super-pop. You can play that chorus acoustically on a guitar and it’s still going to sound great.”


On February 08, Britney tweeted to be at the studio with will.i.am. Though we didn't know at the time, the track they were working on was Big Fat Bass.

He added "The song I did with britney is ganna be crazy fresh. from the super bowl to the studio workin on a mega smasher. can’t wait till its done". Though another William was not so happy, since he didn't make the cut for the final track. On a Twitter rant, compiled by Bradley Stern from Muumuse, William Orbit revealed his dissatisfaction:


the Britney thing. Look, I went to a writing camp at Teresa’s. Had lovely time. Word got out. Assumptions were made. Dr Luke is exec prod and he locks in locks out whoever he likes. And (do i hear u ask) where B’s at in all this? I surely don’t know. did a song w Klas Ahlund, who wrote ‘Piece of Me’. And is killa. But not on FF apparently. But a good song is a good song regardless. gotta say, to me, a tru singa just wants 2 sing all the time. But some are only up for it till their mojo cranks out. some things are of the moment. And a few months beyond. And some r forever. U know that in your heart. see blank looks, then years later, the kudos. All means nuthin. We’ll see what we we’ll see. So if u’all could ease up on the Brit Q,s Don’t ask me, I’m not the glitz guy. Enjoy the FF!


The next day, will.i.am was interviewed by the Associated Press about the new song, as well as some drama regarding the attacks he received from Britney fans, who he named the "Britney Army", after posting that some people don't tweet by themselves (Britney's Twitter at the time used to have posts signed by Larry Rudolph, Adam Leber and other people from her team). He clarified he was not talking about Brit, since he saw her himself tweeting when they were in the studio.

He added on Twitter: "Britney tweets for herself I saw it with my own eyes when we recorded in the studio today. She's such a sweet heart she's a perfectionist. You guys read into things way to hard ... shame on who ever thought I was talkin about britney ... so sad people want to start things. The song I did with britney is ganna be crazy fresh. from the super bowl to the studio workin on a mega smasher. can't wait till its done."


Femme Fatale was trending topic on Twitter for more than six days after its announcement. On February 10, she had Twitter chat where she talked about the album. "I would describe it as moody, edgy pop with A LOT of energy. I co-wrote a couple of songs. I think it's some of the best work I have ever done. There are a few mid-tempos that could be considered ballads. I have a lot of history with #MaxMartin and @TheDoctorLuke so it's always fun to collaborate with them. They make such incredible music. I'm so excited and I can't wait for you guys to hear it. I think its some of the best work I have ever done!" During this same chat, a fan asked for her opinion on Global warming and Lady Gaga, to which she replied a now iconic answer:


In late February, MTV posted an interview with Darkchild, who talked a bit about the album: "Britney's always great to work with. I've worked with Britney for 12, 13 years now. It's always great to work with someone when you work with someone time and time again; it's always great, and it always gets better. And just to see her evolve as an artist, it's an amazing, amazing thing." Besides working on tracks such as the Darkchild Remix of Overprotected or I Love Rock 'n' Roll, he had also produced the demo of Gaga's Telephone sung by Britney that leaked in 2010. "She was very hands-on. She had a lot of ideas for me," he said. "She's great. She gets it. She is a top-notch veteran pro at this now." And when asked about Dr. Luke and Max Martin he said: "I never spoke to them, [but] those guys are just great, and the stuff that they've been doing is just really, really great stuff. I'm sure with their hands on it, it's great." The two tracks he worked on were He About to Lose Me and Don't Keep Me Waiting, both deluxe edition tracks.


In the beginning of March, she went to Ryan Seacrest's radio show to talk about the album:


On March 17, Rolling Stone published an interview with Britney prior to the release of the album. She talked about her involvement during the process of recording it:


I have always been heavily involved in every album I have ever made. I’m very stubborn when it comes to recording and will only record songs I love, which is why it takes me a long time to make an album. I have to feel connected before I record and the song has to spark something inside me. Very few songs do that. I guess it’s a good process because I love all of my music. I know there are a lot of artists that hate songs they recorded. I don’t feel that way.



I wanted to make a fresh-sounding album for the clubs or something that you play in your car when you’re going out at night that gets you excited but I wanted it to sound different from everything else out right now. I also wanted to experiment with all the different types of music I love which is why you hear a mixture of pop, hip-hop and dance throughout the album. I also really wanted to play with my voice and change up my sound here and there which was really fun.

I listen to a lot of different music from all over the world and I guess I just gravitate towards what sounds fresh and what makes me want to move. I really didn’t want to record anything on this album that could be mistaken for anyone else out there. I think my first two singles, “Hold It Against Me” and “Till The World Ends,” sound completely different from anything else and I think when my fans hear the rest of Femme Fatale they’ll see how fresh every song is.

I’m a big vibe person when it comes to music so a song really has to make me feel a certain way in order for me to fall in love with it. I love hard pounding dance songs with really beautiful melodies over them. Those are my favorites.



She also talked about the two collaborations on the album and how they came about, as well as her musical influences at the moment:


I love the Peas but I also love Deadmau5. I guess I’m all over the place. Lately I have been listening to Robyn and Adele non-stop but I also love to find new artists that very few people know about. It’s one of my favorite things to do because it’s like being part of a secret. Friends and people around me are always showing me new artists that they love and that’s how I learned about Sabi and ended up working with her on “(Drop Dead) Beautiful.” I have always wanted to feature a new artist on one of my albums and she is really cool.

The Peas make incredibly catchy, fun pop/dance records and I LOVE will.i.am’s style. I have always wanted to do a song with him and would love to work with him more in the future. He is so interesting.



When asked about Dr. Luke and Max Martin she said they were like "two peas in a pod. It's a total bromance". On Dr. Luke:


We have known each other for a really long time. Most people don’t know this but we actually worked together when I was recording “Blackout.” He was incredible back then and he has only gotten better over the years.

When we first sat down to talk about Femme Fatale I knew I wanted to make a dance album that was ahead of everything else out there but unique to me which is why I was so picky with the recording process. I only wanted songs that I immediately connected to. I also wanted to make sure that this album was completely different from Circus or anything else I had ever recorded. I love Circus but I wanted something darker and edgier. I also wanted to make an album and didn’t want to just record a bunch of songs and put them together. I think Femme Fatale is really connected from start to finish.



On Max:


Max played a huge role on this album and he has been there since the beginning so there is such a huge level of trust. He gets exactly what I am saying when I tell him what I want and don’t want musically.  His melodies are incredible and he is always coming up with weird sounds, which I love. The whistle on “I Wanna Go” still gets me every time I hear it. Who would have thought of that? There is nobody I feel more comfortable collaborating with in the studio.


In another interview, she explained the origin of the title of the album, among other things such as her favorite tracks and working with the people that collaborated on the record:


Femme Fatale debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 with 276,000 copies in the United States, where it went on to sell more than 800,000 copies by 2020. It was also #1 in Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and South Korea, while being Top 10 in almost every other country it charted, except for Poland, where it peaked at #17. It was voted Favorite Billboard 200 No. 1 Album at the Billboard's Mid-Year Music Awards.


A total of four singles were released in order to promote the album: Hold It Against Me, Till the World Ends, I Wanna Go and Criminal. It became Britney's most successful album chart-wise. The day of the release in America she appeared on GMA to perform a few songs in a morning to remember, and that night she also appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. An MTV documentary titled I Am the Femme Fatale, aired later on MTV, where they showed another promo performance.


From June to December, she embarked on The Femme Fatale Tour, performing in Mexico for the first time in almost 10 years, as well as some countries in South America, including several places where she performed for the very first time.


In 2020, it was released on vinyl through Urban Outfitters, and it got a special splattered edition in 2021, as well as cassette release.


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