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Posted at 1:15 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Riffs: Britney vs. Kanye/Jay-Z: The final showdown

By Allison Stewart

kanye jay-z britney"H.A.M." or "Hold It"?

It's not quite an epic battle on the level of the Backstreet Boys vs. New Kids on the Block, but when it was announced that Britney Spears and the historic pairing of Jay-Z and Kanye West were set to release singles on the same day, the Internet prepared for a pop cultural meltdown. And not just because it's the second week of January and there's absolutely nothing else going on. Although that was pretty much the reason.

In the end, Britney's team feinted, releasing her track a day early so, it can be assumed, she'd have an entire blogosphere cycle to herself. Both tracks, as Tolstoy might have said, are unhappy in their own way.

Let's compare!

Kanye/Jay-Z: "H.A.M."

What it sounds like: Synth-y rap with bloated operatic passages against a sweeping, disaster-movie-aping score.

Content: The usual bluster, spit in the usual ways (except for Hova, who goes double-time). You'll also find out what "H.A.M." stands for, although we can't repeat it here.

In conclusion: It's finally happened: Two rich guys extravagantly bragging about how great they are has actually gotten old.

(Britney meets Eurovision, after the jump.)

Britney Spears: "Hold It Against Me"

What it sounds like: a Lady Gaga impersonator's Eurovision song contest entry. It's blurp-y, Dr. Luke-y pop with a European twist.

Content: The usual Seventies singles bar, if-I-told-you-you-had-a-nice-body-would-you-hold-it-against-me-type tropes.

In conclusion: It's cute. It's not revolutionary, but Britney, unlike Jigga and 'Ye, has never been an innovator. And next to the disappointing entry from Kanye and Jay-Z, it's practically the Arcade Fire.

By Allison Stewart  | January 12, 2011; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Riffs  | Tags:  Britney Spears, Jay-Z, Kanye West  
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Next: Dan Deacon to score Coppola film; Taylor Swift with worst-selling No. 1; Kyle Minogue dances to D.C. (well, Fairfax)

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