First, Britney Spears rediscovered her marbles; then she relaunched her singing career. Now she has stumbled on her old knack for offending middle America.
The singer has been forced to rename and partially rerecord her latest single from her Circus album, "If You Seek Amy", amid a scandal over provocative word play. Sung quickly, the track's title line is sexually offensive, claim listeners.
As a result, dozens of US radio stations threatened to withdraw the single from their playlists, while families have called for a "parental advisory" warning.
Two parts of the song caused outrage. One was: "All the boys and girls are begging to If You Seek Amy." The other was its chorus: "Oh baby, baby, if you seek Amy tonight/Oh baby, baby, we'll do whatever you like."
Spears announced yesterday that she will change the title to "If You See Amy" and amend the allegedly offensive sections of the track. The decision means the lyrics no longer make sense, but the realities of the global record industry mean that she was probably left with little alternative. She will release the amended version of the song in the UK in May.
The track was also attacked in Australia. A Sydney housewife, Leonie Barsenbach, described her outrage: "I was astonished when I heard my five- and seven-year-old kids singing 'f-u-c-k me'," she said. "I was horrified. I got them the Circus album but there was no warning on it... It is extremely offensive. I feel deceived."