A heck of a lot must be riding on the success of the ‘comeback’ album of one Britney Spears. And while it’s not a comeback in the truest sense of the word (her last album ‘Blackout’ was only released last year), it heralds a brilliant return to form for the singer, whose private life has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride over the last 18 months.
We’ve seen the album’s first single ‘Womanizer’ conquer charts the world over, have praised those in the creative team who came up with the ‘Womanizer’ logo and have been scathing of the album cover (which we still don’t like one bit), but are the contents of the album anything to write home about? We’re happy to say ‘yes, my word they are’.
Second single ‘Circus’ (which has just gone to radio in Australia) sounds like the kind of music you’d expect from Swedish songstress Robyn, ‘Out From Under’ is a sweet and simple ballad, and ‘Kill The Lights’ is a shoo-in for a single release, trademark Britney, cheeky, fun and up-tempo.
‘Shattered Glass’ lyrically deals with a cheating ex-partner and the desire not to take them back, albeit over pumping dance beats, punctuated with stabs of guitar while ‘If You Seek Amy’ is fun, fresh and more than a little bit cheeky, “love me, hate me, say what you want about me, all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy’ – if that’s what she’s really singing…
The album produces a darker feel on ‘Unusual You’ which starts off sounding like something from the Kelly Clarkson catalogue before bursting into a soundtrack of thumping beats, not dissimilar to ‘Breathe On Me’ from her ‘In The Zone’ set.
‘Blur’ is mid tempo and slightly repetitive, lyrically dealing with amnesia from a big night out on the town and ‘Mmm Papi’ is cute, bouncy, summery pOp – think surfing in the ’60s, all with a deliciously catchy ’80s-esque chorus.
‘Mannequin’ is highly produced mid-tempo pOp music, with a stabbing beat, while ‘Lace And Leather’, with it’s funk bassline and mid-tempo beats has a great retro feel about it, ‘This feeling’s so strong, I’m putting you on tonight’.
The album proper (we’re getting bonus tracks) closes with the unnecessary and ill-fitting ‘My Baby’, which is a simple, piano-driven ballad, where Britney warbles about her love for her children (we were picturing a slow-motion black and white video compilation of Britney dropping her kids etc) – it’s the album’s only real low point.
‘Circus’ is Britney regaining her musical mojo, lyrically discovering where’s she’s been, who she is and where she’d like to head next. It’s highly produced (sometimes overly so), but it’s laced with some of the finest pOp moments of 2008, some oh-so-now sounds and some clever lyrics that we guarantee the kids will be singing along with in the months and years to come.
Now, if only we could just get past that awful $2 cover art…
Britney Spears’ ‘Circus’ is released into stores this weekend.