- Muzik First
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: BRITNEY SPEARS
Britney Spears is the global icon of our generation, a pop star who elevates her work beyond music to the level of a cultural phenomenon. Britney is that rare gem of a pop star where her albums as bodies of work are not just vehicles to stuff with filler and prop up chart-topping singles. Regarded as a pop icon, Spears has sold over 100 million records worldwide, including over 70 million in the United States, making her one of the world's best-selling music artists.
Femme Fatale (2011)
Across all her albums, "Femme Fatale" is Britney Spears at her most vacuous. It is pure, robotic, auto-tuned fembot energy. And for the most part, it is absolutely hypnotic. The album rarely lets up steam. It gallops along at a high energy, high BPM, dance-till-you-die pace that leaves you breathless. Britney feels like a spectral presence on her own record, which is both the album’s strength and its weakness. She’s there, but she’s distant. It is hard to relate to a lot of the tracks here. The big singles "Hold It Against Me" and "Till The World Ends" are dance floor classics, "I Wanna Go" is a vocoder-filled beast and "Criminal" is a campy classic that got its well-earned TikTok resurgence last year. "How I Roll" is early hyper pop, a weirdly produced album cut with Britney’s gasps for air building the melody. There are some dismal features on this record that drag it down slightly. Sabi (who?) features on "Drop Dead Beautiful" and almost ruins it all by rapping the lyrics “steaming like a pot full of vegetables”, and will.i.am’s droning vocals on "Big Fat Bass" are more numbing than local anesthetic. But when "Femme Fatale" is good, it is groundbreaking.
Britney Jean (2013)
.Even the most casual of Britney Spears fans know that when it comes to her albums, "Britney Jean" is definitely at the bottom of the ranked list. Before the record came out, Britney was quoted saying to the press that it was her “most personal album yet”, and then, well, everyone listened to it. "Britney Jean" is far from reflective. The lead single "Work Bitch" is one of its only highs – a camp, weird gay bar classic. Sadly, the lows on Britney Jean are LOW. Let’s not mention the Jamie Lynn Spears featured cut "Chillin’ With You." For all our sakes. A cheap sound, EDM racket. Overproduced and written without thought. The album is plagued by rumors and theories that allege Britney herself doesn’t even sing on half the tracks and that her backing singer Myah Marie recorded the lead vocals instead. Too many meaningless songs with uninspired drops.
If this is the last Britney Spears album the world ever hears, at least she bowed out in a fine form. "Glory" is a triumph, especially considering it’s the ninth studio album and followed "Britney Jean" – an album that left many writing Britney Spears off forever. On "Glory," Britney’s vocals are an instrument for her producers to bend to their will in whatever way they want. She flips from her baby voice to her deep vocal register like a light switch. She growls and electronically howls across the album in consistently surprising ways. Britney spoke a lot when "Glory" came out about how much fun she had making it, and it really shows. Whilst "Make Me" and "Slumber Party" were great, solid singles, this album shines in its deep cuts. "Mood Ring" is one of the best modern songs she’s ever done, "Liar" is the lead single that never was, and the complete stupidity of "If I’m Dancing" is carefree Britney Spears escapism in all its glory.