Britney Spears is back with her first newly recorded song since the Glory era, and it’s a duet with Elton John. “Hold Me Closer” is a spin on John’s 1971 classic “Tiny Dancer.” The updated track was produced by Andrew Watt. Check it out below.
John announced the single’s release date in an Instagram post that featured a split image of Spears and himself as children (Britney in a frilly pink dress, Elton seated at a piano).
Spears responded to John with her own Instagram post. “You can bet your bottom dollar that THIS collaboration will heighten my year by joining your brilliant hands of play,” she wrote. “Thank you for your generosity and just thinking of me to join you on such a brilliant song! How cool is it to be a background voice ON YOUR song! Sir Elton I did it thanks to your genius, creative, and legendary mind!”
In 2020, Spears released a handful of singles recorded around her 2016 album, Glory, but “Hold Me Closer” marks her return to the studio and official comeback after her fight for freedom from a conservatorship overseen by her father, James “Jamie” Spears, since 2008. That battle was chronicled in a series of documentaries set off by The New York Times’ Framing Britney Spears, as well as extensive reporting in The Times and The New Yorker. Their journalistic efforts, and those of Spears’ diligent fan base, resulted in a highly publicized court case that culminated in late 2021, when a Los Angeles judge granted Spears control of her life.
A $15 million book deal followed—a “tell-all memoir” set for publication by Simon & Schuster—along with a wedding: She married the actor Sam Asghari in June this year. The previous month, she mourned the loss of her “miracle baby” with Asghari.
Elton John has embarked upon a host of collaborations in recent years, part of a prolific streak following his 2019 biopic, Rocket Man. Among them are a track with the British post-punks Yard Act, a live collaboration with Years & Years at last year’s BRIT Awards, features with Rina Sawayama, Teyana Taylor, and Gorillaz, and songs with Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X, Stevie Wonder, and Stevie Nicks on his own 2021 album, The Lockdown Sessions.
Read “The World Will Always Want a Piece of Britney Spears” and “A Timeline of the Connections Between Britney Spears’ Music and Her Conservatorship Fight.” You can also watch “Elton John and Brandi Carlile Go Deep on the Music That Means the Most to Them.”