Oops … she did it again! Britney Spears’ ninth studio album really is glorious.
What a fantastic and triumphant comeback this is. The mother of two’s previous album Britney Jean (the one she called her “most personal album to date”) was – to be perfectly blunt – crap. Work B**ch was a painfully awkward and bizarrely tuneless attempt at making her mark at the clubs.
The natural reflex, therefore, is to approach Glory with caution. Lead single Make Me… – with its moody R&B vibes and sultry slow jam template – teases at something good. But as with the singularity of most singles, doubts still existed about the new album’s sound in its entirety.
This time, however, it’s a legit return to form for the Pop Princess.
Sumptuous opener Invitation is quick to quell fears about the 34-year-old being irrelevant in today’s pop music. The atmospheric bedroom banger, complete with nonchalant breathy delivery and slinky synths, casually draws listeners into the 17-track collection.
Not that one needs much nudging to be sucked into the album’s bubblegum pop pursuits.
This is, after all, a Britney album: palpitating hooks, insanely catchy melodies and brazenly simplistic (and sometimes, downright stupid) lyrics. In other words, her latest record is filled to the brim with easily digestible earworms.
But what makes Glory a standout from her past studio efforts is the sheer adventurous quality of it. The Mississippi-born popstar flirts with a bunch of genres here, from Rihanna-esque reggae (Slumber Party) to full blown cabaret (What You Need). Heck, there are even touches of Latin and French music in the mix.
Vocally, Spears is at her most dynamic here. Her wafer-thin voice – meandering between coquettish purrs and breathy textures – manages to find the right balance between her limited vocal abilities and autotune magic. But let’s not delude ourselves, the all-American songstress is no Adele.
With Glory, as with Spears’ past eight albums, it’s the hits that count, and of course – loads of sex appeal.
Do You Want to Come Over? is a slice of fantastic sexed-up jam that glides and grooves along the whole Netflix and chill vibe. And on Private Show, Spears sheds all remnants of inhibition to deliver a lapdance-worthy track that borders on the goofy. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, and that makes Glory so riduculously fun to listen to.
“If I’m dancing, I know the music’s good,” she coos towards the end of the album’s deluxe version. The singer sounds as if she’s having the time of her life in the studio.
That playful demeanour helps make the tongue-in-cheek Clumsy an absolute pop masterpiece. Dizzying synths and slurry chants build up to what’s possibly the highlight of the record: Spears coyly gasping “oops” in the song’s climax.
Glory is bubblegum pop at its finest. Not that one would expect anything less from the superstar. After all, it’s Britney, b*tch.