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SONG SCRUTINY — ‘S&M’ (remix)

Rihanna and Britney_S&M.jpg

The new No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart is Rihanna‘s “S&M,” and as noted in a recent story on the magazine’s Web site, the first full week of digital sales for the song’s version featuring Britney Spears helped push the tune to the top.

Lyrics: What stands out the most in the remix is that Spears actually has her own, brand-new verse. The original had the same verse repeated twice, and despite the kinky undertones, didn’t help to make the song memorable. With the new verse, Spears actually fills the role that a rapper would if he had worked on the remix. Of course, the theme of bondage and unspeakable bedroom behavior is corny and has been done before, so the end result is cliche.

Music/arrangement: Sonically, the song doesn’t break any new ground, either. It has a decent driving bass and synth beat that has been sped up a bit for the remix, but it’s hard to distinguish this from the original.

Production: Whoever mixed Spears’ vocals owes her an apology. She sounds very nasal, and the Auto-Tune is working overtime to blend her in with Rihanna’s more powerful, natural voice. Elsewhere, there could be a little more real drumming. The intro features some isolated snare, but it gets buried by the over-the-top electronic kit when the vocals kick in.

The verdict: Yank it. If Spears wanted in on this song, she should have paid to have it written for her or just covered it in her live show. The pseudo-risque element of this song needed a male counterpoint — not a cooing starlet with a stuffy nose.

— By Mike Madden