This year was going to be a fantastic year for pop music. All of its queens were set to release albums: Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady GaGa, and the original queen, Britney Spears.
However, all three queens fell short of the throne. Perry delivered an album that was disappointingly tame compared to its powerful single “Roar.”
Cyrus spent most of her album (and 2013) trying to shock audiences instead of providing quality music outside of her singles.
Gaga’s “ARTPOP” didn’t make the splash that her albums usually do. Spears’ eighth album, “Britney Jean,” which was released on Dec. 3 was no different.
“Britney Jean” was promoted by Spears herself as being her “most personal record yet,” according to an open letter that was put up on her website.
As a 32-year-old woman who has been in the spotlight for well over a decade and has gone through many trials in the public eye, the idea of a personal, vulnerable album grabbed fans’ attention.
Unfortunately, listeners get a shallow peak at Spears’ life compared to the deep look that they were promised.
The album opens with the track “Alien,” a synth-filled tune about feeling like an outcast and wanting to be accepted. It seemed like it had the potential to be a powerful and catchy song that listeners could jam out to, but it never gained enough momentum.
The second track was the first single released, “Work Bitch.” It was popular on the radio for a few weeks after its initial release, but it wasn’t catchy enough to stay at the top of the charts. It’s an overproduced song whose lyrics sound like something a personal trainer would yell at a client during a hard workout.
“Perfume” is the first track that seems genuine and personal. It’s about her “marking [her] territory” by leaving traces of her perfume on a boyfriend she believes is cheating on her.
Another track that can be filed under “overproduced” is “It Should Be Easy,” a collaboration between Spears and will.i.am, who served as the album’s executive producer.
It clearly tried too hard to be an electronic dance music-style hit in the style of Calvin Harris or Avicii, and it didn’t hit the mark. The lyrics left much to be desired with lines like “You make me feel like a million billion,” and “I’ve got visions of me and you happily just livin’.”
If the album was meant to get personal, then “Tik Tik Boom” went a little too far by letting the audience know what Spears wants from her lovers in the bedroom.
Spears is known for having sensual songs, but this one borders on crude as the frequently used lyric “tik” sounds suspiciously like she’s saying “dick.” The highlight of the song was the rap performed by featured artist T.I.
“Body Ache” and “Now That I Found You” were the two tracks that had the most potential to turn into classic Spears songs that made the listener want to get up and dance. “Body Ache” came somewhat close to delivering, although it’s doubtful anyone’s body would be aching from dancing to it. They would likely just get a little bit sweaty.
The collaboration between Spears and her younger sister, Jamie Lynn, was a mess of a ballad that undoubtedly proved that the younger of the Spears sisters actually has the better voice.
The biggest train wreck of the album was “Don’t Cry.” The intro consists of a catchy tune being whistled, but everything from then on out is another overproduced mess.
Add Spears to the list of pop divas that let fans down in 2013. The overproduction, which could be the fault of will.i.am, ruined much of the potential the album had to be good. Instead, the “personal” album left the audience shouting “Gimme More.”