Ready to reveal it, let inhibitions come undone…’ Britney Spears declares on ‘Invitation’, the opening track of Glory, her ninth album. It’s a lyric that feels appropriate as Britney hasn’t sounded this uninhibited in years.
Uninhibited she may be, but is the album any good? In one word, yes. It’s absolutely her best since Blackout, but anybody who tells you it’s on a par with In The Zone and Blackout are massively reaching. There is a great 10 track album contained in Glory. You just need to pick out the album you prefer and delete the filler from your iTunes/Spotify.
My one gripe with the album is how terribly produced it is. Compare it with Bieber’s Purpose – the album it replicates in places – and it sounds like you’re playing Glory underwater. Was there a conscious decision to make a gritty, grainy sounding album as opposed to the polished pop of Britney Jean? Or is it that the vocal producer on the album has done so much work to the vocal in post-production that the tracks were mixed to match the vocal?
While we’re on the vocal, I’ve heard many people saying Britney’s vocals on the album are incredible, and granted, she sounds like she’s singing more than she has in years, but these aren’t vocals to be writing home about – let’s keep some perspective. Britney Spears sounds great for Britney Spears, that’s about as kind as I can be.
Let’s talk about the music…
Britney is talking about sex on ‘Invitation’ (isn’t she always), but the track is actually quite sweet and very reminiscent of Britney Jean highlight ‘Alien’. Thankfully the similarities between the two albums ends there.
‘Man On The Moon’ is a highlight, and wouldn’t have been out of place on the Oops orBritney albums, before she turned into an out-and-out EDM sex robot. There’s absolutely a continuation of the ‘Lucky’ story buried in here, and I’d love to see this as a single, but I doubt it will happen.
‘Do You Wanna Come Over’ as I’ve already talked about is utterly brilliant. It’s dark, it pulsates and throbs – quite like me when I first heard it – and is perfect Britney brilliance.
’Slumber Party’ is excellent. I just pray that she’s not singing about the type she’d host for her children and their friends. The reggae-lite vibes and sexy late-night synths are really strong, and they don’t necessarily sound ripped from another album.
‘Just Like Me’ takes a while to get going, but the chorus is worth the wait. There are such a strange collection of instruments in the mix. Acoustic guitar in the verse, with some castanets and finger-clicks for good measure. The pre-chorus is heralded in by trap beats and everything drops out a phaser synth chorus. Weird, but it works.
‘Hard To Forget Ya’ is incredible. I love it. Britney sounds so carefree and the track is unlike anything anybody’s doing right now. It wouldn’t sound out of place on a Little Mix album, and funnily enough one of the writer’s wrote ‘Black Magic’. More of this please, Britney.
‘What You Need’ references ‘Toxic’ with a cheeky string part, but throws in some muted trumpets, a Hammond organ and some big band percussion for good measure. Britney herself hits the nail on the head when the track ends and she declares, “that was fun…”
‘Liar’ is epic, and well worth buying the (Deluxe Version) of the album for. It’s a dirty, gritty jam with an admittedly great vocal performance, Britney really suits her lower register. The first few seconds sound really similar to Tinie Tempah’s ‘Pass Out’ but thankfully the similarities end there.
‘Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortes)’ is pretty impressive. It’s subtle and catchy, and the Spanish hook is really clever.
Despite being a bar-for-bar replica of Bieber’s ‘I’ll Show You’, ‘Just Luv Me’ is a radio-ready hit, something Britney needs to give this album a wider audience. The two tracks are so similar Britney should be expecting a lawsuit. Bieber is a bit of a tool, so I’d still rather listen to the Britney version, but it’s disappointing on an album leaps and bounds from her last to see this kind of blatant plagiarism.
‘Love Me Down’ is pretty tough and it works, but its another imitation. This time, Rita Ora is getting the Britney treatment on this reworking of ‘Black Widow’. It’s a ‘no’ from me.
‘Better’ is more generic EDM nonsense. It’s pleasant enough, but doesn’t add anything to the album.
‘Private Show’ still offends me on so many levels. Britney should not be imitating Meghan Trainor. Ever. Granted, it’s catchy, but I just can’t support the imitation of a zero.
‘Clumsy’ also gets s big thumbs down from me. Ariana Grande can put this trash out on her own, she doesn’t need Britney doing her own versions of it.
At first listen I enjoyed the spontaneity of ‘If I’m Dancing’, but the more I listen to it, the more it offends my ears. If the track hadn’t been produced to within an inch of its life, to cover the fact its a bit of a mess, it could have been great.
‘Coupure Électrique’ or ‘Blackout’ in English, is a genius reference to Britney Spears’ genre-defining album. It’s just a shame the track is so unbelievably pointless.
So that’s it, Glory is absolutely glorious in places, and with a bit of editing could actually have been a brilliant Britney Spears album. It’s great to see her with so many writing credits on an album, something unseen since 2004’s In The Zone. Britney Spears collaborating with Julia Michaels (Selena Gomez) & Justin Tranter (Justin Bieber) is a very smart move that has her sounding more relevant than she has in a long time. Long may this revival continue.
Glory is available to download or stream from iTunes and Spotify.