just listen Everytime then Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word to realize it: a meeting between Britney Spears and Elton John was absolutely natural and, in many ways, necessary. The 40-year-old popstar and the English Rocketman only needed a piano, a microphone and a pretext: a return to the studio from Britney after years of silence, or rather media noise, a mixture of happenings Instagram and court decisions to free her from parental guardianship. The English Lord, also subject to a particular agenda – a farewell tour to the stage postponed for two years by the pandemic, seemed ready for a final blow.
Announced on Instagram by Sir Elton John himself six days ago in the form of a photo highlighting the mirroring journey of the two icons, the release of Hold Me Closer had the effect of a bomb: finally, these two were going to connect their universes and show everyone that the throne of pop is rightfully theirs. And, suddenly, this Friday, August 26, Hold Me Closer is out.
The title in question is a pop single that takes on the trappings of a disco revival, a musical genre in vogue in the 70s to which Elton John was a total stranger at the time. The song’s lyrics are a response to that of Tiny Dancer, one of Elton John’s greatest hits, released in 1972, written at the time by lyricist Bernie Taupin. Britney Spears’ track pays homage to the career of Elton John, also incorporating passages from The Onea track by the Brit released in 1992. Hold Me Closer tells the story of an encounter with a dancer that we place at the edge of the sea and which continues in a motel thanks to a road trip.
But the title, whose production was entrusted to Andrew Watt (known for his work with Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Ozzy Osborne), a 32-year-old producer who plays spoilsport in this story, fails to make an impression. The American who was entrusted with the custody of the two legends did not seem to want to continue the tribute beyond the words. The producer claims to have been influenced, in his composition, by Prince, but it is also difficult to hear the Minneapolis Kid at the turn of this title. Hold Me Closer sounds like most tracks played at low volumes in supermarkets and highway stations: synthetic instruments with little depth added serve expected chords, and Britney and Elton’s voices are partially unrecognizable, polished by a voice corrector who seems more there to make up than to reveal their talent. One wonders, when the song launches, if it is an advertisement for a bank or a home delivery application. But no “skip” button appears.
Elton to the rescue
In view of the quality of the discography of the two pop legends, Hold Me Closer is anecdotal. Britney Spears was, in the 2000s, produced by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugotwo of the greatest pop and rap producers the world has ever known, and I’m A Slave 4 U was arguably the most sweaty and haunting single the singer has worn. Sir Elton John wrote his most beautiful albums between 1971 and 1976 when he collaborated with Gus Dudgeanalso a producer of Space Odditysign david bowie. If it was necessary to pay him true homage, then Andrew Watt could have contacted Timbaland who, in 2007, sang 2 Man Show in duet with the Lord. Timbo realized at the time that Elton John only needed a piano and a few ad lib. to provide the show.
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