Brit­ney’s back!

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - – Ch­ester Chin –

OOPS... she did it again! Brit­ney Spears’ ninth stu udio al­bum re­ally is glo­ri­ous. What a fan­tast tic and tri­umphant come­back this is . The mother of two’s pre­vi­ous al lbum Brit­ney Jean ( the one she ca alled her “most per­sonal al­bum to date”) was, quite frankly, terr ri­ble. Work B** ch was a pain nfully awk­ward and bizarrely tune­less at­tempt at mak­ing h er mark at the clubs. The natu ural re­flex, there­fore, is to app proach Glory with cau­tion. Lead sin ngle Make Me... – with its moody R&R B vibes and sul­try slow jam tem mplate – teases at some­thing good. But as with the sin­gu­lar­ity of most sin­gles,s doubts still ex­isted about the e new al­bum’s sound in its en­tir rety. This time, how wever, it’s a le­git re­turn to form fo or 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 Mis­sis­sip­pi­born pop­star flirts with a bunch of gen­res here, from Ri­han­naesque 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** ch.

Brit­ney Spears Glory RCA

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