Saturday 25 May 2019

Energy crisis: Britney's 'Blackout'

Britney Spears: Blackout (JIVE)

Chris Wasser

Not much publicity has surrounded this comeback record of sorts, the oddly titled Blackout. We did however witness a rather embarrassing, lip synched performance of her new single Gimme More at the 2007 VMA's in September.

Besides from a shoddy and seemingly cheap video for the track, in which a semi-naked Britney dances around a pole, that's been about it in terms of promotion.

What we have here is a bold decision by Spears to set up home inside of a new, edgier and overall provocative dance and electronic pop aura.

The aforementioned Gimme More kicks things off with Spears opening with the distorted line "It's Britney, bitch," somewhat setting the tone for the rest of the record. The track, lined with a poor man's Timbaland beat, (which is no surprise, considering producer 'Danja,' a protégé of Tim's, is behind the desk here), floats around groaning vocals and saucy lyrical content.

Catchy as the repetitive chorus may be, the track sounds a little plastic and hardly gives off the whiff of a successful single, never mind a comeback hit. Surprisingly enough, though, it's been just that for the singer.

Piece of Me drowns slowly under cloggy production and a lyrical theme that for all of its close connection with the trials and tribulations Spears has had to deal with, weren't even penned by the singer who could have very easily recorded her fairly unchallenging input on Blackout in less than a week.

In fact, Britney only lends her writing "skills" to two tracks here, and even a number as personal as Why Should I Be Sad, doesn't find her name attached to it. We also can't help but snigger at the sheer hilarity of the 80s like Heaven on Earth, in which Britney professes her true love for a mystery man with the "palest green eyes" she's ever seen.

There are enough potential singles here; that's something which we can be certain of. There's little doubting we'll hear the bouncing and digitally affected vocals of Radar and the livelier Hot As Ice on the radio soon enough, but both tracks still seem a little under par.

If Britney had something more appealing to add to the microphone than mediocre vocal work and tracks as ridiculous and downright annoying as Get Naked and Toy Soldier, then maybe we'd take an interest. For the time being though, Britney's personal life could prove to be a far more interesting affair than Blackout; an album low on thrills, originality and energy.

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