Playing with Fire (Kevin Federline album)

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Playing with Fire
Studio album by Kevin Federline
Released October 31, 2006 (2006-10-31)
Recorded 2005–06
Genre Hip hop
Length 49:36
Label Federation
Producer Britney Spears (exec.), Bosko, Christopher Notes Olsen, Fingers & Twirp, J.R. Rotem, Versatile, Young Classic
Singles from Playing with Fire
  1. "Lose Control"
    Released: October 2006

Playing with Fire is the debut and only studio album from American personality and rapper Kevin Federline, released on October 31, 2006 through Federation Records. The album's executive producer was Federline's then wife Britney Spears, who also featured on a track on the album, and with whom Federline composed two tracks that did not make into the track listing. Contributions to the album's production came from a variety of producers and songwriters, including Bosko, J.R. Rotem, and Versatile. Playing with Fire was universally trashed by music critics, and is the lowest rated album on music review aggregator Metacritic.

The first single option, "PopoZão", was released on December 31, 2005. Produced by Disco D and co-composed by Spears, the song takes inspiration from Brazil's favela funk. The song was panned by critics, and the single release was canceled. "Lose Control" was released in October 2006 as the official lead single, and premiered with a performance at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards. Playing with Fire debuted at number 151 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 6,000 copies, and has sold over 16,000 copies in the United States according to Nielsen Soundscan.

Development[edit]

"I feel like in my life, in the last couple of years, with everything that's gone on, that's how I feel — like I'm playing with fire. [It could also mean] things I say on there are playing with fire, the press is toying with me, so they're playing with fire — it goes all different ways."[1]

—Federline speaking to Entertainment Weekly in regard to the album title.

In July 2004, pop singer Britney Spears became engaged to Federline, whom she had met three months before. The romance received intense attention from the media, since Federline had recently broken up with actress Shar Jackson, who was still pregnant with their second child at the time.[2] Federline felt the public and press saw him as someone who was "in Spears' shadow" and only wanted to benefit from the relationship.[3] Trying to be seen as a recording artist himself, Federline decided to work on a studio album, inspired by hip hop music.[3] Spears financed the project, because the singer wanted her husband to feel supported by her.[3] Federline then worked with several producers including Christopher Notes Olsen and J.R. Rotem.[4] Spears also composed two tracks with Federline titled "Y'all Ain't Ready" and "PopoZão"; however, they were not in the final track listing.[5] When asked about the album, Federline said, "It's like an upbeat club record. Everything on it, you can just pretty much dance to it. It says a lot, in a fun way. It speaks for itself."[1]

Release and promotion[edit]

"PopoZão" was the first single to be released from the album, on December 31, 2005.[6] According to Chuck Arnold of People, "the frenetic dance track (its title refers to a bootylicious posterior) taps into the favela funk sound popular in Rio de Janeiro and features production by Disco D, who keeps things popping with breakneck beats."[6] Arnold considered the song annoying, and dismissed Federline's rap.[6] On September 11, 2010, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked it at number 84 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, stating, "thankfully, we rejected this crap outright. OK, we broke a man's spirit, but the alternative was much worse."[7] The second single to be released was "Lose Control", which premiered with a performance at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards.[8] On September 27, 2006, it was announced that "Crazy", featuring Spears, would be included on the album instead of "PopoZão",[9] and that "Lose Control" had been chosen as the lead single instead.[10] Along with the announcement, it was revealed that the first 500 fans who pre-orderered Playing With Fire via Federline's online store would receive an autographed photo. All pre-orderers were also entered into a contest to attend a record release party in Los Angeles hosted by Spears.[9] Playing with Fire was released on October 31, 2006, through Federation Records.[4] One week after the release, Spears filed for divorce from Federline, listing irreconcilable differences.[11]

Tour[edit]

In early October 2006, Federline commenced the Playing with Fire Tour at Webster Hall in New York City, where he performed to an estimated audience of 300 out of a total seating capacity of 1,500, with only one-third of attendees remaining by the end of the concert.[12] On October 8, 2006, many of the tickets for the show on House of Blues in Chicago were given away for free.[12] Following the poor reception, the remaining dates were ultimately cancelled.[13]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 15/100[14]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 1/5 stars[15]
Billboard 30/100[14]
Entertainment Weekly F[16]
IGN 2.9/10[17]
Now 1/5 stars[14]
People 2/5 stars[18]
Rolling Stone 1/5 stars[19]
Slant Magazine 1/5 stars[10]

Playing with Fire was universally panned upon its release. The album also holds a score of 15 out of 100 (indicating "overwhelming dislike") based on 7 critical reviews, according to the music review aggregator Metacritic.[14] It is the lowest rated album on the site.[20] A Billboard reviewer was critical about the production and Federline's rap, stating that, "in general, Federline enunciates well."[14] A critic from Now commented that "his flow is generic and instantly forgettable and his lyrics are trite, inconsequential and full of self-importance",[14] while Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a F, stating that the concept of it is "about squandering Britney Spears' fortune."[1] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic called the album bad in an uninteresting way, further adding that it is "too serious about being taken seriously to get unintentionally silly, and the album is a bore because of it."[15] Jimmy Newlin of Slant Magazine said that none of the album's producers have credibility or are innovative, which resulted in "half-hearted beats, annoying musical tics, and enough bass to make your speakers beg for mercy."[10] A positive review came from Ron Harris of Associated Press, who said that Playing with Fire "is a credible, entertaining debut", praising tracks such as "Privilege", "Kept on Talkin'" and "Crazy".[21]

Chart performance[edit]

Playing with Fire sold 6,000 copies on its first week, debuting at number 151 on the Billboard 200.[22] As of January 22, 2007, the album has sold over 16,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan.[23]

Divorce[edit]

On November 7, one week after the album was released, Britney Spears divorced Kevin Federline, citing "irreconcilable differences".[24] According to a representative for Federline's lawyer, the divorce filing "caught Kevin totally by surprise."[25]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro"       0:57
2. "The World Is Mine"   Christopher Notes Olsen, Kevin Federline, William Crawford Notes 2:43
3. "America's Most Hated"   Jonatham Rotem, Federline, Crawford J.R. Rotem 3:42
4. "Snap"   Cecil Brookes IV, Federline, Crawford Young Classic 3:54
5. "Lose Control"   Rotem, Federline J.R. Rotem 3:36
6. "Dance with a Pimp" (featuring Ya Boy) Rotem, Federline, Crawford J.R. Rotem 3:50
7. "Privilege" (featuring Bosko) Federline, Bosko Kante Bosko 3:59
8. "Crazy" (featuring Britney Spears) Kante, Federline, G Louriano, DJ Emz Bosko 3:23
9. "A League of My Own"   Federline, Andrew Roettger Versatile 3:35
10. "Playing with Fire"   Federline, Fingers & Twirp Fingers & Twirp 4:48
11. "Interlude"       0:56
12. "Caught Up"   Olsen, Federline, Crawford Notes 3:47
13. "Kept on Talkin'"   Olsen, Federline, Crawford Notes 10:36

Charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[22] 151

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Soll, Lindsay (October 27, 2006). "Rappin' with K-Fed". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ Staff Reporter (August 31, 2007). "Britney Spears' Biography ". Fox News. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Heard 2010, p. 187
  4. ^ a b Playing with Fire liner notes. Federation Records (2006).
  5. ^ Heard 2010, p. 188
  6. ^ a b c Arnold, Chuck (January 5, 2006). "REVIEW: K-Fed's 'PopoZão'". People. Time Warner. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (September 11, 2010). "100 Worst Songs Ever". AOL Radio. Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Federline performs at Teen Choice Awards". Associated Press. August 21, 2006. Retrieved January 12, 2003. 
  9. ^ a b "Kevin Federline cuts PopoZão". The Bosh. Uropa Inc. September 27, 2006. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c Newlin, Jimmy (October 31, 2006). "Playing with Fire Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  11. ^ Stritof, Sheri; Stritof, Bob. "Britney Spears and Kevin Federline Marriage Profile". About.com. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b TMZ staff (October 8, 2006). "K-Fed Can't Give it Away". TMZ. Time Warner. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Two Federline Shows Cancelled Due To Poor Ticket Sales". Contact Music. October 31, 2006. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Kevin Federline - Playing with Fire". Metacritic. Retrieved January 12, 2003. 
  15. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (October 31, 2006). "Playing with Fire - Kevin Federline". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ Willman, Chris (November 3, 2006). "Music Review: Playing with Fire - Kevin Federline". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ D., Spence (November 8, 2006). "Kevin Federline – Playing With Fire". IGN. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ Arnold, Ralph; Novak, Chuck (November 6, 2006). "Picks and Pans Review: Kevin Federline". People. Time Warner. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  19. ^ O'Donnell, Kevin (October 30, 2006). "Playing With Fire: Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 27, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Highest and Lowest Scoring Music and Albums - Page 91". Metacritic. Retrieved April 17, 2013. 
  21. ^ Harris, Ron (November 3, 2006). "Surprise! K-Fed's debut CD not all that bad". Associated Press. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Who bought K-Fed's debut album?". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. November 24, 2006. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  23. ^ Caulfield, Keith (January 22, 2007). "Ask Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  24. ^ TMZ Staff (November 7, 2006). "Britney Spears Files for Divorce". TMZ. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  25. ^ Ken Lee and Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna (November 10, 2006). "Britney Spears Heading to Miami". People. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 

Bibliography[edit]