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Britney, Kanye and Jay-Z release singles

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The much-anticipated first single from Britney Spears’ untitled seventh studio album dropped a day early on Monday. “Hold It Against Me” set a record for most radio spins in a day, a total of 700, surpassing Rihanna’s “Only Girl” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” according to BDS, Nielsen’s radio tracking branch.

It tastes like Spears’ “Shattered Glass” from 2008’s “Circus,” but hits harder. The club beat is catchy and grittier than her usual singles. While the lyrics are tame and generic at best, the song balances out with a pounding kick drum. The song seems to be going in the direction of a lot of recent singles, mimicking the bass-heavy dubstep genre that’s been popular in England for the past decade. The lyrics don’t get many points for originality, but the song is a delicious teaser for Spears’ upcoming March album. Is it too early to say the Queen of Pop is back?

Another song was released Tuesday from two of hip-hop’s reigning powerhouses, Jay-Z and Kanye West. “H.A.M” is an acronym for “hard as a motherf*****,” and it paints a picture of the two rap kings’ upcoming joint album, “Watch The Throne,” scheduled to be released later this year. The dark and jittery beat, produced by Lex Luger, quietly hovers behind Kanye and Jay-Z’s verses until the chorus, where it swells and crescendos.

If this song were a battle, Jay-Z would take the crown. Kanye’s verse is weak and seems to only be there to introduce his mentor and the rest of the album. It wouldn’t be surprising if this track were the first on the album. The egocentric lyrics, combined with the artfully messy beat, promises a snarky anthem for 2011 and are the perfect segue into a new year of hip-hop music.

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