ALBUM THROWBACK: BRITNEY SPEARS | CIRCUS (DELUXE EDITION) (2008)
The album "Circus" by Britney Spears was released on her birthday, December 2, 2008. The weight of media expectation at the time was huge as her last album, "Blackout," truly divided critics, and it was difficult to foresee what would be regarded as being a ‘return to form’ considering just how radical her last work was. She recorded the album in the summer of 2008 after her much-publicized personal struggles saw her placement under conservatorship, as we know now as the #freebritney movement. Larry Rudolph and Teresa LaBarbera Whites, the album's executive producers, enlisted collaborators, including Spears' longtime colleagues Max Martin and Danja. Their efforts resulted in a primarily pop and dance record with urban influences.
The album opener, providing great promise for what is to come. It was played to death around the country, and am grateful for its success. However, in comparison to the other fifteen tracks, Womanizer was comparably mediocre. It was a safe bet as she needed to make a comeback, though intensely devoid of the richer quality stemming from lead-off singles such as "Gimme More." A wide array of old friends and fresh faces rallied around Spears to write and produce material. Further, the singer took her own tentative steps toward additional songwriting sovereignty with four to co-write credits via “Mmm Papi,” “Mannequin,” “My Baby,” and “Rock Me In.”
The album's title track was a highlight as I found it impossible to move forward from “Circus” without repeating it multiple times. The chugging, the ringtone-ready chorus comes storming in with an awe-inspiring amount of attitude-infused energy, roaring in like a classic Britney. "Circus" is absolutely instant; an unstoppable explosion of energy and sound and peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, Excluding the controversy of “If U Seek Amy” and the reappearance of “Radar” from "Blackout." Although, songs like “Out from Under,” “Unusual You,” and “My Baby” lean into a general sense of introspection that only incidentally hint at the emotional storms Spears had weathered up to that point.
Britney Spears has proven herself to be the entertainer I have always adored and will continue to love. You have to admit that just about every track manages to worm its way under your skin and into your eardrums, no matter how hard you try to resist. The album is sweet, sexy, and entirely fulfilling. "Circus" delivers in its purpose: Pure, unapologetic pop.