Hear Britney Spears (Really) Sing “Hold It Against Me” — Without Auto-Tune

Jul 13th, 2011 // 14 Comments

One of several criticisms often lobbed at Ms. Britney Jean Spears is that she can’t actually sing that well. It’s common knowledge that the pop culture-happy diva is hesitant to do live vocals, though reportedly nearly half of her Femme Fatale concert is sung live (unlike Britney concerts of the past). And like many Top 40 superstars these days, it’s pretty obvious that the vocals on her album have been Auto-Tuned within an inch of their life. Or have they? A new, supposedly Auto-Tune-free clip featuring the black-clad bride singing “Hold It Against Me” has surfaced online, prompting many to speculate that the pop tart’s pipes might be stronger than we think. Hear it below.

First off, we’ll say that, overall, this track sounds nearly identical to the single version in most places — so yes, Britney’s singing is reasonably strong here.

But are these really 100% raw vocals? Have they not been processed at all? It’s hard to tell. Can she really say “haaay-zaaay” like that without the aid of electronics? Or, next, will someone be telling us there’s a live band in the studio performing that dub-step breakdown?

Presumably, this is an early studio recording of the Femme Fatale track — but who knows, really? Team Britney is notoriously hush-hush about releasing any details that actually humanize her and might point out that she has flaws just like the rest of us. But if Britney can sing as well as she does on this track, why doesn’t she sing live more often? Why Auto-Tune her so heavily?

All we’ll say definitively for now is, she probably sings better than your average Marine.

What do you think? Is it time to stop holding Britney’s vocals against her?


  1. My dream has came true! I wanted to nearly kidnap britney and make her sing live for me! … You cant really blame me? Ever since she went crazy she cant sing or dance as well as she could! But if this recording is real I hope people will see that she is actually still able to sing, and hopefully encourage britney to sing live!

  2. auto tune or not, i love Britney!!

  3. All of the hullabaloo about Autotune is just so silly, and it’s really getting old. It’s not like anyone’s going “hey Idolator, why don’t you show us your rough drafts? Ugh, you use Spell Check? You have an editor? That is so lame, I’m gonna go listen to Adele.”

  4. jim

    this is 10000000x better, britneys voice is unique, thats why i cant stop loving herr, amazing

  5. this is just the regular song-without backup vocals.

  6. Why

    Good riddance Bonnie. It’s all about Britney here.

  7. cato

    OMG this better that the original………may in some parts miss the electric sound but anyway i love it! ;9

  8. i saw her live 5 days ago and u could tell she was singing live, and she totally sang this song live! it was amazing, of course she still used auto-tune for some of her songs but the show was amazing, and this song without auto-tune sounds great but i get why they used it…it goes well with the beat and the feel.

  9. issa

    Am not fan of Britney … but still i love her and i don’t care if she sing live or not , she been through a lot !!

  10. me

    you guys are dumb. that thing is auto tuned like crazy.

  11. Will

    I would imagine that there is tremendous pressure on her to sing like this in concert, so to avoid mistakes, she lip syncs. Makes sense to me.

  12. Valerie

    20 seconds in, when she says “Play my favorite song” there is an audible autotune on the word “play”…. so this is not un edited

  13. this is autotuned, just not much else is done, no reverb, blahblah extra stuff.

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