They say trouble comes in threes. Need proof? Look no further than the remix of Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends.”
The original track had already become Spears’ 10th Top 10 hit, peaking at No. 8 in mid-April. But Team Britney thought the song might have enough oomph left in it to climb a little more. So Jive released a remix partnering Britney with two other pop supernovas: Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj.
Each woman has crafted an impressive, if decidedly problematic, musical résumé. Spears’ pop prowess, public sexuality and off-stage travails have been extensively documented. Minaj has pinned her reputation to her wicked wordplay, crass raps and accentuated body curves (partially censored for the purposes of this review). Ke$ha, who co-wrote “Till the World Ends,” is perhaps best known brushing her teeth with “a bottle of Jack.”
“I’m a massive fan of both the ladies I share the track with,” Ke$ha told MTV News. “I wrote ‘TTWE’ for Britney with [producers] Dr. Luke and Max [Martin], and she killed it, and I loved it, but I just thought a supergroup of three hot, strong women could just take over the airwaves.”
Perhaps. But not without a bleep or two.
The diva blitzkrieg commences with a fire-hose blast of vitriol from Minaj. Her opening rap, which replaces the original version’s first verse, takes on a female hater (allegedly fellow rapper Lil’ Kim) by belligerently labeling her a “chimpanzee” and suggesting, “Put her in a jungle with bananas on the side.” Then she mockingly adds, “Told you they’d revive your career, but somebody lied/I ain’t talking poultry when I say this chicken’s fried.” She lobs an f-bomb into the works, too: “Sniff, sniff, cries/I done slayed your whole entire f‑‑‑ing life.” (We hear two uses of “b‑‑ch” elsewhere.)
The balance of the song—oddly—trades Nicki’s skewering contempt for an anthemic salute to disco balls, glow sticks and dance (as life, as sex, as everything). “Never felt like felt like this before/C’mon get me get me on the floor,” Ke$ha’s famously Auto-Tuned voice warbles. “DJ what you what you waitin’ for?”
Then Britney takes the stage, delivering yet another iteration of her trademarked suggestive vamping. “Watch me move when I lose when I lose it hard,” she sings. “Get you off with the touch, dancing in the dark/You notice what I’m wearin’/I’m noticin’ you starin’/You know that I can take it to the next level baby.”
“See the sunlight/We ain’t stoppin'” Spears concludes in the chorus. “Keep on dancing till the world ends/If you feel it let it happen/Keep on dancing till the world ends.”
Depending on your perspective, that either means you’ll be getting a great glute workout … or it sounds something like that story about the band playing on while the Titanic sank. As the world shakes and shudders, as deep decisions are made and debated, well, let’s just keep on dancing—because that’s all that really matters. Oh, that and hatin’ on your rivals … who can’t hope to look as sexy as you do.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.