IN THE ZONE

JANE STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 4:48 PM ET


IN THE ZONE
Britney Spears
(Jive-Zomba-BMG)

Spears' fourth disc is her most likeable yet. It's also the singer's most sexual and experimental, in a harmless, Madonna kind of way.

No surprise then that the Material Girl appears on and co-wrote the silly first dance single, Me Against The Music. Better bets are two sexy, sweaty dance tunes: The throbbing Breathe On Me -- with Spears pleading "Boy, don't stop, 'cause I'm half way there / It's not complicated, we're just syncopated" -- and the ode to masturbation Touch Of My Hand, a pop-electronica confection that brims with Eastern-sounding strings. Also good is the Moby-produced, mid-tempo Early Mornin', bolstered by strings, electronic beeps and big beats; the "Bollywood" strings-drenched pop song Toxic, and the fun, funky Brave New Girl.

But not everything works, such as the harder-edged urban cuts like (I Got That) Boom Boom featuring the rap of the Ying Yang Twins -- "She naked, she soakin' wet /Striptease like a mutha', dripping sweat,"-- and the R. Kelly-written and produced hip-hop-pop tune Outrageous. Also falling flat are the reggae of Showdown and The Hook Up.

When it comes to ballads, Spears keeps them to a minimum, weighing in with the mainstream-sounding Shadow and Everytime, the latter offering clues to her breakup with Justin Timberlake. (More on Britney Spears)

Track Listing
1. Me Against the Music (featuring Madonna)
2. (I Got That) Boom Boom (featuring Ying Yang Twins)
3. Showdown (featuring Ying Yang Twins)
4. Breathe On Me (featuring Ying Yang Twins)
5. Early Mornin'
6. Toxic
7. Outrageous
8. Touch of My Hand
9. The Hook Up
10. Shadow
11. Brave New Girl
12. Everytime
13. Me Against the Music (featuring Madonna) Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix
 


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