Britney Spears, Glory | Album Review
On her ninth studio album ‘Glory,’ Britney Spears indeed sounds glorious. There are plenty of standouts throughout the album’s course.
After releasing a disappointing album in 2013 (Britney Jean), Britney Spears wouldn’t let it happen again. Spears’ mediocrity extended to flop “Pretty Girls” (featuring Iggy Azalea). After a rollout comprising of four hot (at least moderately-hot) singles, ninth studio album Glory sets up as a “return to glory” for the former teen-pop star. Is Glory worthy of the hype? For the most part, yes.
“Invitation” and “Do You Wanna Come Over?”
“Invitation” is indeed inviting. Spears doesn’t overthink the opener, delivering a warm, lush record that beautifully showcases her instrument. More focused on sound and ambiance as opposed to powerhouse vocals or deep songwriting, “Invitation” finds her in a strong, artistic state.
Follow-up “Do You Wanna Come Over?” is more energetic, finding Spears putting on the dancing shoes. All in all, it’s a well-produced, danceable record that’s fun, flirty, and sexy. She gives a sound performance that is highly suggestive without crossing any lines. This is record that suits her skill set, and sets the bar high for Glory as a whole.
“Make Me…” and “Private Show”
On “Make Me…” Spears tackles an urban ballad… While this could’ve be a risk given her vocal skill set, it pays off. The production provides a huge lift, particularly the warm synths. While the lead vocals are perfectly suited, arguably it’s the radiant harmonized vocals during the chorus that shine brightest. G-Eazy gives “Make Me…” a hot rap feature, the only one gracing the album. G-Eazy doesn’t reinvent rap with the verse, but it fits.
Standout “Private Show,” like “Make Me,” is sexy, but more aggressive. The production work is slick, mixing pop, hip-hop, and urban cues. Spears’ assertiveness is jaw dropping. The hook is infectious – naughty yet irresistible as she suggestively sings of her intentions.
“Put on a private show / pull the curtains until they close / I put on a private show / We’ll be whiling all on the low / work it, work it, boy watch me work it / slide down my pole, watch me spin it and twerk it / work it, work it, boy watch me work it…”
“Man on the Moon” is sweet. It doesn’t pack the punch of “Private Show,” but it’s pleasant, even if it’s not the crème de la crème. “Just Luv Me” is more memorable and groovier, steeped in the urban-pop cues that make Glory successful. While Spears sings understatedly, her subtlety is virtuous, with the production supplying more bite. The chorus is a selling point.
“But I’m not gonna ask you for nothing / just luv me, just luve me / I’mma keep it simple, real simple / just luve me, just luv me…”
“Clumsy” features an interesting groove. The bag of production tricks is alluring and varied, with the synths and drum programming standing out in particular. Fast and Incredibly energetic, the exuberance is a chief selling point.
While “Clumsy” is superb ear candy, it’s imperfect, suffering from the pitfall of being more record than song. There’s a lack of meaningful lyrics and substance, coupled with the fact Spears doesn’t exactly “light it up vocally.” That said, Spears has never been expected to give a powerhouse vocal performance, so the utilization of vocal distortion is a pro, not to mention the falsetto.
“Slumber Party” isn’t a traditional slumber party by any means. The innuendo is amped up to the nth degree as Britney and her man prepare to make love. Beyond making love, apparently they plan to make a sex tape… The proof is in the lyrics:
“We use our bodies to make our own videos / put on our music that makes us go f*cking crazy.”
What more can be said?
“Just Like Me” follows, changing the narrative from sex tape to cheating. Britney sings about her man cheating with a girl who is her clone.
“Heart’s beating fast / when I’m turning the key / I see you on your back / and I can’t believe / she looks just like me…”
Glory rolls on gloriously. “Love Me Down” yields one of the slickest productions, not to mention an equally infectious record. “Love Me Down” is successful because it showcases Spears’ personality. Similarly, “Hard to Forget Ya” finds Spears at her most lucrative – danceable, gimmicky, and infectious. “What You Need” concludes the standard version soundly. The feisty attitude = #winning.
Ultimately, Britney Spears delivers her best album in years. Glory is indeed glorious, never missing the mark. There are songs that are better than others, but no notable miscues. A bonus is the fact that after releasing multiple singles, the songs she didn’t release are great too. Glory is one of the best pop albums of 2016.
Gems: “Invitation,” “Do You Wanna Come Over?”, “Make Me…,” “Private Show,” “Just Luv Me”