Since she first exploded into the glittering ’90’s pop market just before the turn of the millennia, it is hard to deny the influence that all-American starlet Britney Spears has had on the charts. Her back-catalogue reads like a record label’s fairytale, with the former teen idol spewing hit after hit, from her unforgettable debut …Baby One More Time to the intergalactic Oops! I Did It Again, to Toxic, Womanizer and To The World Ends, Spears continuously succeeded in denting the charts internationally, despite the well publicised ups and downs of her personal life. Now on her eighth studio album entitled Britney Jean, can Spears retain her crown as the princess of pop?
Alien is a surprisingly subtle starter for an album opener, with a mid-tempo beat that bubbles under the surface in a (pun somewhat intended) spaced out manner. This is brought to an abrupt end with the familiar stomping beat of Work Bitch, a commanding club anthem which intensifies and builds into maelstrom of trance. Body Ache is one of the more interesting EDM (electronic dance music) influenced treats to be demolished, whilst Tik Tik Boom – featuring American rapper T.I. – is surprisingly bass heavy and R’n’B influenced, sticking out majorly in the surrounding sea of dance tracks, however it serves here as Spears most relevant contribution and is definitely a stand out number.
Unfortunately, for a second single, Perfume is weak and ultimately forgettable, despite showcasing a more mature vocal from Spears, whereas overdone, robotic auto-tune is the weapon of choice on the will.i.am featured It Should Be Easy, to the extent that it feels a little too unnecessary.
The whole album suffers from being a repetitive in both lyrical content and the penchant for EDM, however it is when steps are taken away from the pounding electronica that the album shines; the aforementioned Tik Tik Boom, and the chilled out Chillin’ With You featuring Britney’s lil’ sis Jamie Lynn, whose voice holds an unexpected amount of clarity. Whilst there are instances of pop goodness, the overall conclusion of Britney Jean is that Spears’ eight album is a largely impersonal and forgettable affair, a judgement that is made due to the dominating sludge of EDM that – unfortunately – makes one of pop’s brightest stars seem as dull as anybody else.