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Britney Spears on her new album, her favorite music

By Steve Knopper, Rolling Stone
"I have always been heavily involved in every album I have ever made," Spears says.
"I have always been heavily involved in every album I have ever made," Spears says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spears said she wanted to make a fresh-sounding album for the clubs
  • She said it was important that this album be completely different from "Circus"
  • Spears: "I just gravitate towards what sounds fresh and what makes me want to move"
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The following is a Q & A between Britney Spears and Rolling Stone.

(Rolling Stone) -- Rolling Stone: Do your kids like the new record? What have they said about it?

Britney Spears: Yes. They definitely dance to it but its kind of funny because they are still confused ... It's like, 'who is this Britney Spears singer in contrast to mommy?'

RS: How has your involvement in the record-making process changed over the years?

BS: I have always been heavily involved in every album I have ever made. I'm very stubborn when it comes to recording and will only record songs I love, which is why it takes me a long time to make an album. I have to feel connected before I record and the song has to spark something inside me. Very few songs do that. I guess it's a good process because I love all of my music. I know there are a lot of artists that hate songs they recorded. I don't feel that way.

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RS: What was your idea for the overall sound of this album?

BS: I wanted to make a fresh-sounding album for the clubs or something that you play in your car when you're going out at night that gets you excited but I wanted it to sound different from everything else out right now. I also wanted to experiment with all the different types of music I love which is why you hear a mixture of pop, hip-hop and dance throughout the album. I also really wanted to play with my voice and change up my sound here and there which was really fun.

RS: You hear traces of some real cutting-edge dance music on the album -- for instance, the dubstep break on "Hold It Against Me." How do you find new sounds?

BS: I listen to a lot of different music from all over the world and I guess I just gravitate towards what sounds fresh and what makes me want to move. I really didn't want to record anything on this album that could be mistaken for anyone else out there. I think my first two singles, "Hold It Against Me" and "Till The World Ends," sound completely different from anything else and I think when my fans hear the rest of "Femme Fatale" they'll see how fresh every song is.

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RS: Do you still go out to clubs? What kind of dance music do you like?

BS: I don't go out that much anymore but when I do, I definitely like to go out and dance. I'm a big vibe person when it comes to music so a song really has to make me feel a certain way in order for me to fall in love with it. I love hard pounding dance songs with really beautiful melodies over them. Those are my favorites.

RS: What kind of music do you listen to at home?

BS: I love the Peas but I also love Deadmau5. I guess I'm all over the place. Lately I have been listening to Robyn and Adele non-stop but I also love to find new artists that very few people know about. It's one of my favorite things to do because it's like being part of a secret. Friends and people around me are always showing me new artists that they love and that's how I learned about Sabi and ended up working with her on "(Drop Dead) Beautiful." I have always wanted to feature a new artist on one of my albums and she is really cool.

RS: What led to your collaboration with will.i.am? What was it like working with him?

BS: The Peas make incredibly catchy, fun pop/dance records and I LOVE will.i.am's style. I have always wanted to do a song with him and would love to work with him more in the future. He is so interesting.

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RS: Dr. Luke has become a big-name producer in his own right since your last album -- is it different working with him now?

BS: Not really. We have known each other for a really long time. Most people don't know this but we actually worked together when I was recording "Blackout." He was incredible back then and he has only gotten better over the years.

RS: Dr. Luke said last fall that "I want [the sound] to get harder in some ways, and maybe a little more deep into electronic -- grimier." Did you have that same agenda for the album? Do you feel like you accomplished that?

BS: When we first sat down to talk about "Femme Fatale" I knew I wanted to make a dance album that was ahead of everything else out there but unique to me which is why I was so picky with the recording process. I only wanted songs that I immediately connected to. I also wanted to make sure that this album was completely different from "Circus" or anything else I had ever recorded. I love "Circus" but I wanted something darker and edgier. I also wanted to make an album and didn't want to just record a bunch of songs and put them together. I think "Femme Fatale" is really connected from start to finish.

RS: What is it about Max Martin that makes you so comfortable collaborating with him? How much bigger of a role did he take on this album than he did for "Circus"?

BS: Max played a huge role on this album and he has been there since the beginning so there is such a huge level of trust. He gets exactly what I am saying when I tell him what I want and don't want musically. His melodies are incredible and he is always coming up with weird sounds, which I love. The whistle on "I Wanna Go" still gets me every time I hear it. Who would have thought of that? There is nobody I feel more comfortable collaborating with in the studio.

RS: How would you characterize the studio relationship between Max and Dr. Luke?

BS: They are two peas in a pod. It's a total bromance.

Copyright © 2011 Rolling Stone.

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