Britney Spears: Britney Jean

Posted December 4, 2013 by in Pop



2/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Genre: Synthpop, pop
Producer: Chico Bennett, A.C.,, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort, Marcus van Wattum, Kool Kojack, Otto Knows, Anthony Preston, Keith Harris, Richard Vission, LWAM, Peter Carlsson, Cirkut, Freshman III, HyGrade, Christopher Braide, Kool Kojack
Label: RCA
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 36:04; 50:48 (deluxe)
Release Date: 3 December 2013
Spin This: "Perfume," "Alien"


She plays with universe outside of synthpop regimen; "Work Bitch" and "Perfume" add more colors to her persona


Producers often put too much on her or put very little on her vocals, ultimately revealing vocal weaknesses. She seems uninspired in places, particularly when her sister Jamie Lynn upstages her on "Chillin' With You."

Pop princess doesn’t put enough work into eight solo album

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Pop princess doesn’t put enough work into eight solo album

With a singing career than spans back a little over a decade, Britney Spears has seen her fame come and go. She gained a little bit of it back with her brief stint on Simon Cowell’s US version of X-Factor and also chalked up a few pop dribbles on the charts (“Til the World Ends,” “I Wanna Go,” “Scream & Shout”). It was enough just to get by. But she remains a Madonna clone for her generation, albeit more stiff and confused. Like Beyonce did with B’Day, Spears cooks up a slightly-egotistic musical birthday gift to herself with Britney Jean, her eight studio album. Seriously, the album officially dropped a day after her actual birthday. Hoping to become more personal on this affair, Spears – with the help of in the director’s chair – imagines a narrative that goes through the “loneliness of pop life.” She doesn’t necessarily produce a divine concept album here. And she isn’t on course of duplicating the magic of her previous outing, Femme Fatale.

Rather than opening the disc with the big synthpop extravagance of her previous full-length LP, Spears opts for “Alien,” a midtempo slow burner that sounds so alien to her catalog of club hits. There’s a slight pain inside the story: “I tried but I never figured it out/Why I always felt like a stranger in a crowd.” The mood quickly vanishes when “Work Bitch” (or “Work Work” for clean versions) – a meager alteration of “Scream & Shout” – immediately follows, providing all the gay circuit parties with more vogue action. It’s an irritating piece of club fever that only gets better with forced repetitive listens. And that’s after you get over the dry hum that the song is a celebration of’s regulated gimmickry. Plus the faux British accent is just another element inside the Spears’ reinvention bubble.

It’s pretty obvious that the tone of the album seems troubled due to Spears’ lack of enthusiasm. She’s not handed the best of songs to play with, so she appears a bit bored and flustered than usual. “Tik Tik Boom” has no boom boom pow; “Body Ache” feels more like heartbreak on Spears’s synthetic performance; the Katy Perry/Sia-penned “Passenger” makes her feel like one as all the synths overshadow the little voice she has; she’s upstaged by her own sister on “Chillin’ with You.” Then Spears and join up together for a robotic duet in the Autotune world on “It Should Be Easy.” It fires up David Guetta-esque synthpop alongside real funky bass, but the trite lyrics (“la-da-dee/la-de-da”) and lack of melodic beauty holds the song back from big pop dreams.

Of the better selections, “Perfume” exposes glorious layers of string arrangements and light piano gloss while Spears bobbles and weaves through a love ballad that raises her hand to Rihanna’s “Stay.” She doesn’t like driving so much in the AC lane, but makes the trip anyhow while trying to fake her way as a pop balladeer. Overall it’s still an album standout; even it’s only a fair artifact according to the Top 40 playbook. “Til It’s Gone,” is beautified synth mayhem, exposing the strengths of the David Guetta fingertips. Unfortunately for Spears, she comes out sounding like a last-minute prop on Guetta’s creation.

For what it was, Femme Fatale positioned the troubled Spears with a comeback. It had all the glamour and fierceness for a 21st century pop diva while showing off a broad range of high-octane radio-ready dance numbers. Britney Jean is more of a minor setback. Sadly much of the blame will once again fall on the hand of the producer. was the mastermind behind Spears’s last wave of success – thanks to “Scream & Shout” and to a lesser degree “Work Bitch.” On this set, he produced or co-produced nine of the ten album tracks (four bonus tracks – all mid-grade ballads, except for the second reconjuring of “Perfume” – make up the deluxe version), so that simply means Spears is at the mercy of the chief executor. Because of the setback, Spears can still walk away with her head up. She knows deep down inside that this is just as much a blunder than it is hers.



About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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