Buried Bops & Bangers is a weekly feature pulling unappreciated pop songs from the archives.
Britney Spears doesn’t get enough credit for her ability to take risks. In the past decade or so of her career particularly, she’s served pop that bends the rules. Blackout was the most twisted, electronic pop record of its time, Circus had blurry, left-centre cuts like Unusual You and even 2016’s flop Glory gave us Cashmere Cat and BloodPop production.
Of all the records she’s dropped over the past 10 years though, Femme Fatale is arguably her best. She took on big, EDM-infused bangers and scored chart glory once again but it wasn’t a straight-forward record. From soft trance moment Trip To Your Heart to the glitchy, chopped chorus of I Wanna Go, Femme Fatale was weird. Nothing in pop that year though came close to finding the future as much as How I Roll did.
A Swedish production team including Bloodshy and Magnus Lidehall and US producer Emily Wright, served Britney her most minimal, bubblegum-based beat yet and the result was spectacular. Pop has continued to move towards more and more minimal soundscapes, scarred from the onslaught of EDM that infiltrated the charts around the time of this record. In 2011, Britney made us a song that sounds exactly like the sort of music that’s infiltrating the radio right now (think Ariana Grande’s thank u next or Rita Ora’s Let You Love Me).
How I Roll has the malleability of a SOPHIE beat and the unpredictability of Cashmere Cat’s club work. It’s a song you’d never expect from a popstar whose star was supposedly fading and while it wasn’t chosen as a single we’re giving it the props it deserves now.
It would be remiss of us to finish this article without delving into Britney’s ambiguity with the line “you can be my ____ tonight.” There are still arguments as to what the word actually is. We say it’s “fuck” others say it’s “thug”. Please be the former.
Check out our full Spotify playlist of Buried Bops & Bangers: