Do you want a piece of her? That's what she asked in a previous single and in her Vegas show, as if we all had our expectations from a pop artist who has worked ( bitch ) for us for almost 20 years in the recording studio. If you ask a Britney fan, they all have their own favorites: Classic teen Britney, confident and sultry pre-Federline Toxic Britney, coo-coo Blackout Britney or latter-day focused Circus/Femme Fatale Britney. So when something new hits the streets that doesn't fit into your piece of her, reactions are mixed.
Recently the gay internet blew up with chatter about of her first two singles ( plus two teasers ), "Make Me" and "Private Show," with die-hards enjoying but waiting for remixes and the remaining passive fans ignoring or hoping it's not indicative of the forthcoming ninth studio album, Glory.
Britney has stated before that Glory was a labor of love she's been working on, to create a new quality sound. Well, she did ... for her. Glory, off the bat, sounds as if she listened to countless other pop/dance acts like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Beyonce take a detour from upbeat to mid-tempo and find success.
If you were waiting on the big bang Britbrit puts out from the starting gate and were concerned about "Make Me" being too dull, the opening "Invitation" won't help. Basically a prequel to "Make Me," complete with sexual commands and finger snaps, so much, you might not notice the aforementioned "Make Me" has even begun. But both make a sweet and sensual start, if you can suspend expectations. The album starts to get a bit more upbeat as you go along with the sweet, almost Bruno Mars-y, "Man on the Moon," the Destiny's Child-like "Slumber Party" or the Timberlake vs. Pharrell riff of "Do You Wanna Come Over?" Too bad it's equally balanced out by the drippy and dull forgettable tracks that may or may not be outtakes from Ellie Goulding's last album ( that's not a good thing ).
If you're still holding out for a few chunks of Britney comfort food, then be patient. The album ends with what should be her next two singles. "Hard To Forget Ya" has that fun little dance build and urgency that we loved in "Til The World Ends," and the album closer* "What You Need" is the biggest revelation. While that Megan Trainor back-to-basics sound does nothing for me, it completely works on this one. Britney sounds fresh and vibrant and breaks out of her vocal cliches, sounding as if the pop veteran is having fun for the first time in years, even ending on a very Janet Jackson-like, "That was fun!". And it was, Britney. At least for the most part.
Glory has some good ideas, some old ideas, and a good amount of sound-alike copying of what's hot this summer. This may not be the album that brings her back to "glory" from Britney Jean, but it could very well be the needed transitional album she's needed to do to break off a few of those "pieces."
*There is a bonus version with five more tracks that, in many ways, outdo some of the regular tracks. Look into it.
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