BRITNEY SPEARS FT. MADONNA, “Me Against the Music”

who knew the maternal instinct was so strong in madonna? oh, sure, the named might’ve tipped us off, but if her foray into children books wasn’t enough (and for some, it apparently is), she has become something of a mother figure to britney, counsels her not to smoke, date fred durst, and so forth. but if she really had her girl’s best interests in mind, she would’ve advised her against a) naming her album ‘get in the zone’ (what zone? the diet? autozone?) b) recording this song and c) inviting herself, madonna, to guest on it. last time they hooked up, so to speak, as everyone recalls, it was in service of that dog of a tune of madonna’s “hollywood” on the vmas. at least that was mitigated by the kiss; nothing quite rises/stoops to that level on “me against the music.” the opening banter alone is about as natural as the rapport between celine dion and frank sinatra on that hideous cover of “all the way.” and just as one has forgotten her presence, she appears mid-song to reassert it, as awkward as when one’s own mother calls out “i love you” across a crowded room full of one’s peers. when i first heard the (madonna-less) version of this song during the nfl kickoff festivities, it sounded like a chic song — dancefloor friendly, prominent rhythm guitar and choral presence — and i can’t help but feel how much better it could’ve been if it were. madonna knows nile rodgers, worked with him during her formative years. she should’ve facilitated that meeting. after all, what are moms for?