"Scream & Shout" is an upbeat dance and electropop track written in the key of G Major and with a moderate tempo of 130 beats per minute. It contains lyrics about having a great time on a night out. The track begins with Spears rapping "When you hear this in the club / You're gonna turn this shit up / When we up in the club / All eyes on us / See the boys in the club / They watchin' us / Everybody in the club / All eyes on us" with Nicki Minaj-esque vocals and a British accent. As it follows to the chorus, will.i.am joins Spears as they sing, "I wanna scream and shout and let it all out/ And scream and shout and let it out/ We sayin', 'Ohh, wee ohh, wee oh wee oh'/ We sayin', 'Ohh, wee ohh, wee oh wee oh'/ I wanna scream and shout and let it all out/ And scream and shout and let it out/ We sayin', 'Ohh, wee ohh, wee oh wee oh'." "Scream & Shout" also interpolates a sample of the lyric "It's Britney bitch", which was used on Spears' 2007 single "Gimme More", which is used before every breakdown on the track.
Spin writer Marc Hogan noted similarities to Azealia Banks' "212" (2011) on the track, and compared the background vocals of it to the ones of "Are We All We Are" (2012) by P!nk. Keith Caulfield of Billboard said that the "dark" song "features a very different look for Spears, whose voice is roboticized to a nearly unrecognizable degree." Following the song leak, a reviewer for Idolator said, "we're pleased to report that it's pretty good — and slightly kooky," deeming the "When you hear us in the club / You're gonna turn this shit up" lyrics as "probably accurate" while praising the use of the "It's Britney bitch" line. Rebecca Macatee of E! Online considered the track as "clubby, catchy, cool", while comparing Spears' vocals to the ones of Madonna, but noting, however, the use of pitch-correcting software Auto-Tune. Bill Lamb of About.com, however, thought that "the digital effects are seamless and the use of modulations of Britney Spears' voice to build the chorus sounds perfectly natural in this context." Lamb continued saying, "the spacey, free form bridge is beautiful despite will.i.am's singing talent limitations." A Rap-Up reviewer notice the use of Auto-Tune on will.i.am's vocals only.
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