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With just eight short days until the release of "Blackout," Britney Spears's attempt at stepping away from all the sock-related distractions and again donning her popstar hat (a Kangol-brand porkpie), the first reviews have appeared, including a dispatch from the NY Daily News in which the critic is struck by the robot behind vocals:

Her twerpy chirp of a voice and flirty Lolita persona serve mainly as mascots for the music, providing the brand name and raw goods that a massive cast of writers, producers and marketers then manipulate into something commercially attuned.

If Britney is indeed as out of it as she appears, that would only give the behind-the-scenes experts more freedom to prop the pop queen into whatever settings they deem most flattering.

Much of "Blackout" suggests as much. On many tracks, Britney sounds so worked over, she doesn't even seem like a person. Instead, she comes off like some machine that bleeps and bloops out an airy array of oohs, ahhs and groans. If a blowup sex doll could sing, this is what she'd sound like.

The bleeping/blooping Spears (AutoBrit illustration courtesy of the Daily News) may provide for some infectiously synthetic dance grooves, but only serves as a sad reminder that there exists no autotune-software to correct whatever flaws have been plaguing the singer's personal affairs. If only life were that easy, and there were a computer program that could reverse a regrettable evening spent locked inside a Winston's bathroom stall, while a two-man security detail was left with the messy business of attending to double diaper duty on a cigarette-strewn table top.