Surprise! Despite heightened expectations of retooled Madonna morphing and a publicized Dido milk bath, Britney (mach 3) is just as confused an affair as either of the campaigns (they aren't really records, are they?) preceding, cramming hiccups and histrionics into typically layered pastiches of sex and, well, nothing. Dido's co-penned "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" is an oddly majestic paean to transition. But a track like the unforgivable Neptunes-touched single, "I'm a Slave 4 U" (thanks for bringing that word into the suburban bedroom, Brit) reeks of cheap Appalonia redux, minus the Prince to excuse it ... 4 U.
Things really sink when Brit and company (whoever that might be) take all of the wind out of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," making it sound like a tin-can anthem on an episode of Kids Incorporated. But Brit's no kid anymore, shedding even more clothes for this sleeve than ever. Maybe next time she'll be naked and we can all really make fun of her.