Femme Fatale is the seventh studio album by Britney Spears. It was released on March 25, 2011 through Jive Records. Musically, Spears wanted to make a “fresh-sounding” and “fierce dance album”, thus incorporating dance-pop and electropop styles with elements of dubstep, techno, and trance in its sound.
Four singles were released from the album. It became Spears’s first album to have three top-ten singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, with “Hold It Against Me”, “Till the World Ends”, and “I Wanna Go” peaking at numbers one, three, and seven, respectively. The fourth and final single “Criminal” peaked at number one in Brazil and within the top twenty in five countries. Spears promoted the album with television performances, the Femme Fatale Tour, and collaborations with Kesha, Nicki Minaj, Travis Barker, and Rihanna.
- Release date: March 25, 2011
- Recorded: July 2009 – February 2011
- Genre: Dance-pop, electropop
- Length: 44:00
- Label: Jive
- Buy it on iTunes: Standard Edition – Deluxe edition
Background and development
In June 2010, during an interview with Rap-Up, Danja commented that he was working with Spears in the pre-production of Femme Fatale. Darkchild, who was also reportedly working with her, said during a Ustream session in August 2010, “Britney fans are gonna be so happy in a few weeks”, hinting about the release of new music. However, this was denied by Spears’s manager Adam Leber, who stated, “No new music news right now….Wish people wouldn’t mislead you guys with info. Not cool! PS- The guys that ARE working on Brit’s next album ARE NOT talking about it…” Leber later spoke with Entertainment Weekly, calling the sound of the record “progressive” and “a departure from what you’ve heard.” In November 2010, Dr. Luke announced that he would be the executive producer of the album, along with Max Martin. Spears explained in an interview with Rolling Stone that she had worked with Luke during the production of Blackout (2007), stating that he was “incredible” during that time and that his skills have improved. She also said that Martin was with her since the beginning of her career and that there is “nobody [she] feel[s] more comfortable collaborating with in the studio”. On December 2, 2010, the day of her 29th birthday, Spears thanked her fans for the birthday wishes and announced, “I’m almost done with my new album and it will be coming out this March.” Following the announcement of the album’s title and cover on February 2, 2011, Spears said about Femme Fatale:
I’ve poured my heart and soul into this album over the last 2 years. I’ve put everything I have into it. This album is for you, my fans, who have always supported me and have stuck by me every step of the way! I love you all! Sexy and Strong. Dangerous yet mysterious. Cool yet confident! FEMME FATALE.
On February 2, 2011, Spears announced the album’s title through her Twitter account, and also posted an image of the album cover. Following the announcement, the title became a trending topic on Twitter, and then went on to become the tenth longest-running trend on the site, as well as the first music related trend to break the top ten.
In July 2009, Spears announced that she had begun recording new material with longtime collaborator Max Martin. Spears stated her desire to make the album “fresh-sounding […] 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.” Spears also stated that she wanted to make sure Femme Fatale was completely different from her previous studio album Circus (2008). After “Hold It Against Me” was written, originally, Luke and Martin wanted to give the track to Katy Perry, but they later decided that it wasn’t the right fit for her. They continued to work on the song with Billboard, and Luke commented that before giving the song to Spears he wanted to make sure it sounded different from his previous recordings. Darkchild stated that while working with him, Spears was very “hands-on” and “had a lot of ideas for [him].” He later commented he had produced two songs for the album, with one of them featuring Travis Barker. Darkchild added that the song “[has] this rock feel which is out of the box, out of my norm, and I think it’s out of her norm as well.”
Dr. Luke revealed in February 2011 that a final track listing had not yet been chosen. Later that month, Spears worked with will.i.am. Spears later commented that she is a fan of The Black Eyed Peas, and would love to work with will.i.am again the future. She also said that she discovered Sabi through a friend recommendation, and had always wanted to feature a new artist in one of her albums, hence they recorded “(Drop Dead) Beautiful”. British producer Fraser T Smith worked with Spears on three tracks and complimented her work ethic, saying that her voice was powerful and that she focused on the music. William Orbit confirmed he had co-written a track for Spears with Klas Åhlund, but it was left off the final track listing. Orbit stated that he was displeased with the decision, and commented, “The Britney thing. Look, I went to a writing camp at Teresa’s. Had lovely time. Word got out. Assumptions were made. Dr Luke is executive producer and he locks in locks out whoever he likes. And (do [I] hear you ask) where B’s at in all this? I surely don’t know. Did a song with Klas Ahlund, who wrote ‘Piece of Me’. And is killa. But not on Femme Fatale apparently. But a good song is a good song regardless.”
- “Till the World Ends”
- “Hold It Against Me”
- “Inside Out”
- “I Wanna Go”
- “How I Roll”
- “(Drop Dead) Beautiful” (featuring Sabi)
- “Seal It with a Kiss”
- “Big Fat Bass” (featuring will.i.am)
- “Trouble for Me”
- “Trip to Your Heart”
- “Up n’ Down” — Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)
- “He About to Lose Me” — Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)
- “Selfish” — Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)
- “Don’t Keep Me Waiting” — Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)
- “Scary” — Japanese deluxe edition (bonus track)
Release and promotion
Femme Fatale was released on March 25, 2011 in Europe and Oceania and four days later in the United States through Jive Records; both standard and deluxe editions were released. The first set of promotion included an interview from Ryan Seacrest, then promotion for the album began on March 25, 2011 in a performance that included “Hold It Against Me”, “Till the World Ends” and “Big Fat Bass”. The performance was filmed at Rain Nightclub inside the Palms Casino Resort and was included in a MTV special titled “I Am the Femme Fatale”, which aired on April 3, 2011. Spears manager Larry Rudolph explained the choice of the location for the performances in an interview with MTV, saying, “we chose the Palms because the Palms is where Britney has so much history. We performed here with the Britney album, we did a similar thing. We’re doing this eight years later now and we’re doing it for the fans.” Rudolph also explained that the singer’s main goal was to entertain her fans in the Femme Fatale era, and added, “I want them to know — when the fans watch this — I want them to know that Britney is back and better than ever, not that she’s ever gone anywhere. But she’s back and she’s better than ever.” The original airing of the special in the United States was viewed by 0.665 million viewers and received a Nielsen rating of 0.3/1 in the key adults 18–49 demographic.
On March 27, Spears performed the same set of songs in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to a crowd of five thousand people for a special episode of Good Morning America that aired on March 29. The singer also performed the same three-song set and participated in two skits on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on March 29, and made a special appearance at the 2011 Kids’ Choice Awards. She was also scheduled to make several appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on the week of the album’s release. In April 2011, Spears appeared in a remix to the song “S&M” by Rihanna, after Rihanna asked her fans via Twitter who they wanted her to collaborate with. The song reached number one in the US in mid-April 2011, giving Spears her fifth number one on the chart. She also served as a guest host at the 2011 Wango Tango concert series alongside Ryan Seacrest on May 14, 2011. Spears made a brief appearance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, performing the “S&M” remix with Rihanna and a short version of “Till the World Ends” alongside Femme Fatale tourmate Nicki Minaj. On August 3, 2011, ABC Family announced that “(Drop Dead) Beautiful” would be available for free download on their website, until the premiere of the Teen Spirit series on August 5, 2011 more promotion for the album stated in the uk on her European leg of the femme fatale tour Britney promoted the album with dozens of interviews and radio pressings as well as a twister commercial which was finished after the femme fatale tour. “Trouble for Me” was also featured on the main page of BMG’s website. Spears also appeared at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, where she was awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. “Gasoline” was used in a November 2012 commercial for Spears’s perfume “Fantasy Twist”.
On June 16, 2011, Spears embarked on her sixth concert tour to further promote Femme Fatale. It was announced on March 29, 2011 and included forty-five shows in North America and twenty-six in Europe. In an interview on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show on March 4, 2011, Spears stated she would tour the United States in the “early summer” in support of Femme Fatale. On March 29, 2011, following her performances on Good Morning America, she announced a co-headlining tour with Enrique Iglesias, starting in June 2011. Hours after the announcement, it was reported by Billboard that Iglesias had pulled out of the tour. Ray Wedell of Billboard speculated that the reason may have been that Spears was deemed by news outlets as the headliner, while Iglesias was considered the opening act. The first twenty-six North American dates were also announced on March 29, 2011. The opening acts were announced on April 12, 2011. Spears stated: “This is the Femme Fatale tour and I’m thrilled to have Nicki Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys, and Nervo join me and get everyone on the dance floor. Can’t wait to take the Femme Fatales on the road.” Tickets for select markets go on sale beginning April 30 at Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s websites. In March 2011, Spears’s manager Larry Rudolph told MTV News that the tour would have a “post-apocalyptic vibe”, while commenting that “Till the World Ends” keeps becoming a theme for us.” He also confirmed Jamie King as the tour director.
In July 2011, Spears announced plans of playing a South American leg in territories she either had never been to or had not played for a long time.
Femme Fatale debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 276,000 copies. This gave Spears her sixth debut at the top of the chart and leaves her in a three-way tie for third most number-one albums for a female artist, tied with Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. In its second week, the album fell to number two, with sales plummeting 73 percent to 75,000, giving it a two-week total of 351,000 sold in the United States. The album spent five consecutive weeks within the Billboard 200 top ten. The album was certified platinum in April 2011 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and has sold 788,000 copies in the country as of March 24, 2015. In Mexico, the album debuted at number one upon its release, spending three weeks inside the top ten before falling to number thirteen. Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (AMPROFON) has certified the album gold and according to Sony Music México, the album has gone on to sell over 40,000 copies in the country.
The album debuted at number eight on the UK Albums Chart, selling 31,650 copies in its first week, becoming her lowest-charting studio album in the United Kingdom since In the Zone (2003), which peaked at number thirteen in December 2003. In Germany, the album debuted at number ten, making it her seventh consecutive top-ten studio album, and her eighth top-ten album with the inclusion of the greatest hits album Greatest Hits: My Prerogative (2004), which peaked at number four. Femme Fatale debuted at number eight in Denmark, selling 1,009 copies in its first week. On April 4, 2011 Femme Fatale debuted at number one in Australia, making it Spears’ first number-one album in the country. It was also certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) during its debut week for shipments over 35,000 copies.
On 2011 Billboard’s mid-year sales list, Spears appeared twice: Femme Fatale reached number twelve with 590,000 sold units and its second single “Till the World Ends” number eighteen with 1,989,000 sold units.
On its first week, the album sold 432.000 copies worldwide and debuted at the #2 on the woldwide chart.
To the date, the album has sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide and 800,000 in the United States alone.
Album cover and photos
The album promotional photoshoot was shoot by Randee St. Nicholas.
– Photoshoots > 2011 > Randee St. Nicholas – Femme Fatale Shoot
Deluxe edition cover:
- Australia – Gold – 35,000
- Brazil – Gold – 40,000
- Canada – Platinum – 80,000
- Czech Republic – Gold – 2,500
- France – Gold – 50,000
- Ireland – Gold – 7,500
- Mexico – Gold – 30,000
- Singapore – Gold – 5,000
- South Korea – Gold – 5,000
- Sweden – Gold – 20,000
- United Kingdom – Gold – 100,000
- United States – Platinum – 795,000