Britney Spears' new album 'Britney Jean': Track-by-track review
Britney Spears is ready to reveal all aspects of herself on her eighth studio album "Britney Jean."
Described by the singer as her most personal record to date, Spears told fans earlier this year, in an open letter on her official website, that she wanted to dig deeper and express herself in different ways compared to her previous records.
"I have been through a lot in the past few years and it has really inspired me to dig deeper and write songs that I think everyone can relate to," Spears wrote. She later added, "I want to show you the different sides of Britney Spears. I am a performer. I am a Mom. I am funny. I am your friend! I am Britney Jean."
Spears, who has remained one of the most famous pop singers in the world more than 15 years after she began her career, attempts to shake things up on "Britney Jean." She collaborated mostly with producer and "Scream & Shout" duet partner will.i.am. Spears also co-wrote much of the album -- a stark contrast to 2011's "Femme Fatale," which featured no writing credits for the singer.
While at times the album fails to truly find its "personal" footing -- titles such as "Tik Tik Boom" and "Body Ache," while amusing, hardly scream "personal" -- die-hard fans of the pop star will certainly relish and appreciate the new music Spears has to offer before embarking on her highly-anticipated two-year residency show, "Britney: Piece of Me," beginning Dec. 27 at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
"Britney Jean" can be streamed for free on iTunes ahead of its official release on Dec. 3. (Warning: the album contains suggestive language.) Check out a track-by-track review of the standard edition of the album below.
1. "Alien" -- Spears opens the album with a track recalling a time she felt lost in her world, possibly referencing her well-documented personal struggles. Lyrics for the song include, "I tried but I never figured it out / Why I always felt like a stranger in a crowd / Oh that was then, like an alien." The mid-tempo track features creative production from frequent Madonna producer William Orbit and is a standout on the album.
2. "Work B----" -- The album's lead single remains one of "Britney Jean's" most creative and forward-thinking offerings, with its aggressively-dance driven beat and spitfire lyrics, which find Spears commanding listeners to work hard for the finer things in life. Spears is as confident as ever, showcasing her now-trademark British accent on the track, as well as her own "hot body" in the song's music video.
3. "Perfume" -- Spears expresses her paranoia and anguish over the thought of her lover longing for an ex-girlfriend. Showcasing some of her most raw vocals in years on the emotional power ballad, Spears declares to mark her territory on her lover, singing, "I'll never tell, tell on myself, but I hope she smells my perfume."
4. "It Should Be Easy" (featuring will.i.am) -- Spears takes her vocals to new robotic heights on this will.i.am-joined dance club track. The song, an electronic dance music (EDM)-driven piece, finds Spears longing for her idea of the perfect love, singing, "I've got visions, boy, I've got visions / Of me and you, happily just livin'." "It Should Be Easy" is one of the more disappointing tracks on the album, for Spears' over-produced vocals as well as little excitement from will.i.am's guest appearance.
5. "Tik Tik Boom" (featuring T.I.) -- In one of "Britney Jean's" raunchier offerings, Spears begs and coos for her lover to make her feel a particular way. T.I. makes an appearance during the song's bridge, blending nicely with the songs electro-pop-meets-hip-hop beat. The track's immediately catchy chorus is sure to translate well across radio formats as a potential future single.
6. "Body Ache" -- This mid-tempo electro jam features beats similar to Spears and will.i.am's "Scream & Shout," only this time Spears is in command of the dance floor, singing, "I wanna dance 'til my body ache / A little bit longer / Turn you on, make you radiate / A little bit stronger." The mid-tempo approach for a song about dancing hard in the club is a nice juxtaposition, however, the song refrains from jumping off to somewhere as exciting as the lyrics describe.
7. "Til It's Gone" -- In one of the album's standout tracks, Spears declares you'll never know what is truly good until it is gone. Lyrics for the song include, "I try every night to turn the page / but daylight can't confine me to a cage." The song features immense EDM-inspired production that comes to a culmination in the song's dazzling bridge. "Til It's Gone" is sure to be a favorite amongst fans and club-goers across the world.
8. "Passenger" -- Co-written by fellow pop singer Katy Perry and produced by Diplo, "Passenger" finds Spears relinquishing her insecurities and hesitations in order to let someone in. Lyrics for the song include, "It's hard to jump with no net, but I've jumped and got no regrets / My co-pilot yeah that's right, now I can just enjoy the ride." Lyrically, the song is refreshing and vulnerable, giving fans a glimpse at how Spears was able to trust in love again.
9. "Chillin' with You" (featuring Jamie Lynn) -- In perhaps the strangest track on the album, Spears collaborates with her sister, fellow singer and former "Zoey 101" star Jamie Lynn Spears on the track, about not having to worry about a thing when the two, presumably, are together. Fans of Spears will enjoy seeing the singer team up with her younger sister, however, the track feels mostly out of place.
10. "Don't Cry" -- In the album's closing note, Spears shares the heartbreak of a failed relationship, urging her ex to not see each other cry. The ballad, possibly referencing her breakup from ex-fiance Jason Trawick, a breakup Spears said inspired songs on the album, contains lyrics such as, "This is gonna be our last goodbye / Our love is gone but I'll survive." Ending on a somber note leaves listeners to wonder where Spears' story will go next, maintaining a certain level of mystery while managing to bare her soul.