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Britney Spears, ‘Britney Jean’ – Album Review

Britney Jean
RCA

Britney Spears had quite a bit at stake for her eighth album.

We know she can do dancefloor bangers, as she has done seven album’s worth of those. Sex-kitten, breathy vocals? That’s part of Brit’s musical DNA. We know it.

By Album 8, fans are clamoring for something a little deeper and more personal from Brit Brit. She has gone on record multiple times to say that the pain from her recent split with fiance Jason Trawick was exorcised in the album. Did she truly answer the call and give us her most personal album, one that lets us in on what’s happened to her heart?

The answer is not really. The album is rife with synthy, EDM dance songs and there are a few emotional moments. There are more bangers than ballads.

So while this does not feel like Brit’s way of ripping her heart out of her chest and slapping it on her sleeve for her Britney Army to see and relate to, it’s still a solid set of songs where she does what she does best — make you wanna dance!

1. ‘Alien’
The William Orbit-produced opener finds Brit delivering her words in both breathy and robotic fashion. The song is a grower — it was boring when we first heard it, but it slowly grew on us.

2. ‘Work Bitch’
Brit’s first ‘Britney Jean’ single is a hard-charging, house-style anthem, designed for dancefloor domination. Brit adopts her faux British accent, Madonna-style, which we’ve heard before, through most of the lyrics. [Watch the 'Work Bitch' Video]

3. ‘Perfume’
The Sia-penned power ballad pulls back the curtain to reveal Brit’s vulnerability. She addresses her insecurities about her lover’s ex. It’s a rare moment where Brit lacks confidence, and lets us get to know Brit on a more intimate level. It makes her instantly easy to relate to. [Listen to 'Perfume']

4. ‘It Should Be Easy,’ feat. will.i.am
Britominator! She sounds like a cyborg, albeit a sexy one, thanks to liberal use of Auto-Tune in her duet with her frequent collaborator will, which isn’t as good as ‘Scream and Shout’ from his album. It sounds like a David Guetta-style radio EDM song.

5. ‘Tik Tik Boom,’ feat. T.I.
Is there an album out there in existence that doesn’t feature T.I.? This percussive track is Brit gone urban, with plenty of vocal processing. Yes, we get the sexual metaphor. It smashes us over the head.

6. ‘Body Ache’
The untzing beat is not too different from that which powers ‘Work Bitch.’ Brit just wants to dance. The beats almost sound like the tip of a cracking dominatrix whip. It reminds us of Swedish House Mafia.

7. ‘Til It’s Gone’
Brit turns in a Madonna-like dance song circa ‘Ray of Light.’ It’s sharp and pointed. Gone, baby, gone.

8. ‘Passenger’
Blips and beeps, it’s all synthetic, sounding like an ’80s video game before Brit’s breathy, sex kitten voice comes into play. It’s the movie soundtrack song with a bit of a rock current coursing through its veins.

9. ‘Chillin’ With You,’ Feat. Jamie Lynn Spears
Brit teams up with her baby sis on this track, comprised of acoustic guitar and lazy beats in the verses. It’s cute song. It then becomes more of a cheerleader-y, hollaback girl anthem in the chorus, backed by tribal beats. Yes, she sings “whichew” (aka “with you”). Jamie Lynn, who is forging a country career, has an able voice, too!

10.’Don’t Cry’
The standard edition ends with this heartfelt, vocally-driven song. It’s Brit opening up, slightly, about a split she promise she will survive. But she leaves us hungry for more, which we get on the deluxe edition.

Deluxe Version:

11. ‘Brightest Morning Star’
The song starts out as a lullaby with Brit singing about the “light of my beautiful life.” It’s another more personal power ballad. Could this be about her new BF David Lucado, who she admitted to being in love with recently?

12. ‘Hold on Tight’
This is a more personal Brit track, with beats snaking around her voice as she muses about a lover that comes to her in her dreams. It’s a dreamy power ballad.

13. ‘Now That I Found You’
This sounds like Avicii and the aforementioned Guetta, the latter of which co-penned the song. It’s totally modern EDM, thanks to its sing-songy verses and then epic, escalated, dancefloor choruses, which don’t need vocals.

14. ‘Perfume (The Dreaming Mix)’
The deluxe edition of ‘Britney Jean’ closes with the most personal song on the record in a differently mixed form. There’s some swirls of wind behind her voice and some acoustic guitar work, but it’s not too much different than the powerful and underrated original.

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