Britney Spears – Glory [Deluxe Edition] (Album Review)
Artist: Britney Spears
Album: Glory (Deluxe Edition)
Standout(s): Private Show, Man on the Moon, Just Luv Me, Do You Wanna Come Over , Slumber Party, Love Me Down, What You Need, Change Your Mind, If I’m Dancing
Britney Spears has been the embodiment of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Despite all her personal woes and public meltdowns, she’s been consistent with her musical output. The music has sustained a level of quality befitting the crowned princess of Pop. But, her last album, Britney Jean proved to be a dead end in her creativity or lack thereof. Though the album featured a few gems like the translucent balladry of Perfume, the inspirational dance anthem Work Bitch, and the William Orbit masterpiece Alien, it was a failure of a project. Will.I.Am can be either extremely brilliant or painfully contrived. We were treated with the latter. With Will.I.Am at the helm to act as executive producer, Britney Jean fumbled with disposable and soulless EDM, try-hard urbanism and phoned in emotions.
After Sunday’s telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards, Britney showed that she is returning to her old self. Her brief yet effective performance of her lead single Make Me was polarizing depending on which publication you read. But one thing is certain, her latest album Glory is aptly titled. Britney had returned to her former glory musically, “spearitually” and visually.
The album is filled with a kaleidoscope of different sounds not synonymous with the pop princess. One of the more organic productions comes in the form the burlesque show girl anthem Private Show. Britney’s vocal performance is electric, soulful, and charismatic. Her husky lower register takes center stage. The vocal texture in this song is intriguing. Though some of the lyrics are a bit ridiculous, the overall product is remarkable. She has not sung with this kind of zeal since her debut. The sequel to William Orbit’s Alien finds its way through the cosmos on Man on the Moon. The drum loop and melody cascade against her delicate voice. The irradiance guitar riff shimmers on the track. As Alien recounted her woes of feeling different, Man on the Moon tells the story her longing for her soulmate.
Britney continues the sensuality on the trap-pop Just Luv Me and Slumber Party. Britney whispers and coos reminiscent to her In the Zone era. The laid back approach works well on the track. Britney understands how to use her voice to invoke tenderness; something that many of her contemporaries still haven’t quite mastered. Selena Gomez should definitely take notes. Do You Want To Come Over is classic Britney. The mixture of Dub and acoustic guitar create a nice tension. The pre-chorus builds into the hook well. The energy is well maintained throughout the song. Her foray into the trap-pop continues on the intentionally overproduced Love Me Down. Mixing Ska/Reggae riddims with trap drums is genius. It’s very on-trend with the likes of Sia, Gwen Stefani and Selena Gomez. The chorus is so overproduced it works for this kind of blaring bass heavy track. The album closer on the standard edition What You Need, is by far the best album finale of all her records. It has fire, passion, fervor and keenness. The stripped back production allows for Britney’s voice to shine. Additional treats from the deluxe edition include the Spanish dance-pop confection of Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortes) and bombastic If I’m Dancing.
Britney has easily crafted her best work since 2003’s In The Zone, arguably her best album to date. Glory has style, flair, drama, personality and some semblance of substance. Her last few albums dialed up the energy but lost the soul. The production overwhelmed and sometimes washed out any trace of her on those albums. This album has soul and grit. The production is rich, full and exciting. Her voice isn’t perfectly polished on every song. There are some instances of raw and unfiltered vocals over the album. The album gives Britney room to breathe. It’s refreshing to hear Britney sing and not sound like a fembot which became the standard post-Blackout album. The production isn’t overshadowing her vocal performance. The pace is sequenced perfectly. There was definitely a great amount of time and care put into this labor of love. Behold Britney Spears, the princess of Pop in all her wonderful glory.