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'Blackout' is Britney Spears' 5th studio album and was released back in 2007 following a much highly public string of meltdowns. "Blacking out from negativity" was the concept of the title which was Britney's first studio album since her 2003 offering 'In The Zone' and it didnt dissapoint. I consider it to be one of her best albums to date and probably the best album she had recorded when it was released.
The album kicks off with the infamous line "It's Britney B***h!" As 'Gimme More' swings into action, it delivers fantastic lyrics, yet repetitive but is very catchy, the beat of the track is very funky and different from any other pop song on the market at the time of it's release, the track closes with Danja saying "The Legendary Miss Britney Spears" - And at this point I'm just hoping the album fulfils to his words...
Second track 'Piece Of Me' begins with this explosion of a beat and is lyrically about Britney's relationship with the paparazzi, from her point of view it was the 2nd single from the album and is probably one of Britney's best hits. I love it.
Third track 'Radar' is another classic dance/pop song it has all the qualities, catchy lyrics, pumping dance beat and great vocals. It is not a song to be skipped!
'Break The Ice' is the fourth track and the third single from the album, she apologises for being away so long and really makes up for it, the lyrics are spot on the beat is weirdly fun and her vocals are good mixed with heavy breathing.
'Heaven On Earth' is the fifth track on 'Blackout' and could be considered a ballad, if not it is one of the closest you will get to one on this album. I love her vocals in this, her voice defintley takes over the whole song. And you cannot help but hear the desperation in her voice as she sings about doing anything for the man she loves. Favourite!
Sixth track 'Get Naked (I Got A Plan)' is one where the name speaks for itself, it brings back an element of some of the more sexual songs from her previous album 'In The Zone' but in a more raspy way. Her vocals are good as she teases us about jer body. Love it!
Seventh track 'Freakshow' is a fast sang pop song, I would say it is the weakest song from the album, but is one of those songs which gets stuck in your head.
Eighth track 'Toy Soldier' is a song about finding new love and targeting a more manly man then her previous love. The beat is rocking and the lyrics are catchy. A good track!
Ninth track 'Hot As Ice' is fantastic! I just love the lyrics, it is probably the most un-Britney like song she has ever done and it pays off very well. The beat is amazing too!
Tenth track 'Ooh Ooh Baby' even had my mother dancing to it who is the biggest Britney hater on this planet! It compliments her voice and the beats as it is more of an Indiany beat. Love it!
Eleventh track 'Perfect Lover' is lyrically about embracing her lover emotionally and sexually. And about how he turns her on. I love it! The beat is a bit of a let down though'
The final track 'Why Should I Be Sad' is lyrically about the breakdown of her marriage to husband Kevin Federline and what she did for him throughout their relationship, she really expresses herself in this song and when I first listened to the song during her meltdowns it was heartbreaking to hear. She expressed herself the only way she could at the time and it paid off. Fantastic. Love it!
SKIP TO: Heaven On Earth (Track: 05)
Not to be missed. A fantastic album!
Britney Spears - Blackout
Artist: Britney Spears
Length: 43 minutes
Number of tracks: 12
Britney Spears must be known to everyone, but just a brief introduction. Her full name is Britney Jean Spears born December 2, 1981 in America. Since she was seventeen she is in the spotlight after her first hit with "Baby One More Time" and has since then sold more than 83 million albums worldwide. At the beginning of her career she was known to be very successful and worked non-stop until her fourth album In The Zone '. Then appeared still 'The Greatest Hits ", but quickly her personal life overshined her music career. She mainly came in the news for her excesses and a new album was push back. The release of 'B in the Mix, The Remixes "wasn't therefore a big release, until her big album' Blackout 'was released. This album was referred to as her comeback, but again her personal life overshadowing this release. Eventually her life is better now, but still not right.
Blackout was released in 2007 when the life of Britney was still full coverage in the media and especially not in positive sense. That she had mainly her self to blame by strange actions in public. The CD was her first album in four years and there was plenty that happened four years in terms of relationships, children and of course the media. Her CD is therefore full of songs about relationships and sex, and dealing with the press. The album is mostly a dance album with electro-pop music, in other words, many mixed numbers which made much use of the computer. Following the numbers on the album:
1. Gimme More
2. Piece of Me
4. Break the Ice
5. Heaven on Earth
6. Get naked
7. Freak Show
8. Toy Soldier
9. Hot as Ice
10. Ooh Ooh Baby
11. Perfect Lover
12. Why Should I Be Sad
The first number of the CD's Gimme More and was also released the first single from the CD. It is best described as a wonderfully upbeat dance song, and is especially catchy with the chorus: "Gimme Gimme More '. Very good song to hear during the night. Unfortunately, this track quickly came with a negative charge. Britney performed with this song for the first time in four years again, but was far from a successful performance. The gig marked the life of Britney: chaotic and unstable. Despite a great song to listen.
Fortunately, the dramatic performance of Gimme More was soon forgotten with the release of the song Piece of Me. Again, this is a good dance song, but with a slower beat. It's one of my favourite song on the album. She sings in the song about her relationship with the media and they always want more. It fits very well within her own life, just funny enough, she did not write the song her self. This song is pretty catchy from the start.
Heaven on Earth is however a softer song. Britney's voice sounds a little softer than the rest of the songs here and there.. The song is about love and that is feels like heaven on earth when she's with him. In the background you can hear a loud beat, but the song is mostly soft and calm.
Get naked starts right with a delicious beat and a man who raps in the beginning and you hear Britney with some gasping noises. The rest of the song you hear Britney with some rap, not really sing and is more sensual and calmly. The song is about being naked and with a man. It's a really good dance song, good the beat in the background.
Toy Soldier is one of my favourite songs from the album mainly because it is fresh and quickly. Again, again more rap by Britney with a good beat in the background. The song is what kind of a military style setting with marching sounds. You're quickl getting in the song by the catchy beat.
Why Should I Be Sad is the last song on the album is a ballad with still beat that you already heard on the other tracks. I must say that the song is disappointing and certainly not a good closing of the albim. The rest of the album tracks are especially nice and upbeat, but this song just lacks character and is just empty. It has no catchy chorus and therefore you don't really get into it.
Especially the last couple of albums of Britney Spears, I certainly do like, mainly because I like the nice upbeat dance numbers and that she focuses on more and more. This album is filled with songs that mainly features electronic sounds and beats in the background here and there and her voice is also distorted. The pace of the songs varies with songs like Gimme More and Toy Soldier, where the rate is higher, but songs like Heaven on Earth and Why Should I Be Sad calmer. That is even as the weakness of the CD. In the song Why Should I Be Sad you really miss just a certain depth and emotion in the song and that is also characterized the entire album. Here and there you feel a certain connection with her own life, but it is mainly about superficial. For most songs certainly not annoying, but a ballad without that feeling doesn't feel right. The album is best described as pop / electro dance music and if you do like that then you'll love this album. Want an idea of the numbers then I suggest you definitely have a look at this search on Youtube, where you can listen to all the songs.
Blackout - Britney Spears is her latest album to date ever since she hit the headlines not long ago but for all the wrong reasons such as getting a divorce and her shaving of that famous hair of hers in front of many shocked onlookers. I feel that she has a lot to live up to now all that has happened she needed to pick her self up and get back to some complete normality and what way to do it by coming up with such a cool album such as blackout as the name which seems to be what happened to the miss spears.
In my opinion I feel that the album cover looks a little bit on the cheap side and more effort could have gone into making her look a little more classy and stylish etc. There are 12 tracks on the album most being fairly good but the one I like most has to be the ever so popular more air played gimme more track as it is cool and funky with some good up tempo beats but at the same time makes you want to get up and dance along to the song. It is just basically the type of song you would expect from Britney as she mostly delivers quite good songs.
The other track break the ice and radar are quite cool songs with some quite heavy strong lyrics and basline. They are quite catchy tunes and fierce with lots of potential. The third track piece of me is good compared to some other tracks on the album but it can get a bit repetitive and if it was to be played a couple of time it tends to get a bit annoying but having said that it is quite a catchy song with some nice beats. The tracks that I dislike the most have to be toy soldier and heaven on earth my reason being is that the songs don't stand out as much and are rather weak and dull and Britney could have tried a lot more harder to come up with a more edgier song like her other songs to date. I found the two tracks rather so lacked energy and cool funky vibes I could hardly contain my ears listening to the two tracks.
Overall this is quite a good album but just not as good as her previous albums in the past but compared to what she has been through in recent times she done well with coming up with such a cool and funky album and I'm sure a lot of her fans won't be that disappointed with this. It is quite a solid well put together album and is a worthy buy. You can buy this album for as little as £4.85 including p&p from amazon.
This was the album that came out not long after Britney's 'media troubles.' She had lost her hubby and her hair, but had she lost her ability to deliver musically?
Who is she:
Oh you must know! US singer who found fame off the back of the million seller 'Baby One More Time'
On this album:
This album continues Britney's trend to explore a more urban side to her music, as she grapples with dirty basslines and pouts her way through most of the tracks. The opener, which she performed at the MTV awards is a grower. 'Gimme More' manages to give off a funky vibe while retaining a pop sensibility. Britney breezes through the verses with ease and has little to do on the chorus except chant 'gimme more' over and over. It is repetitive but it also does the job.
For pure indulgence head for the raunchy 'Piece Of Me' which is finding Britney being overtly sexual. The dirty bassline on this track is what sells it and the grimey nature appealed to my darker side. More of this can be found on the song 'Get Naked' which seems to hold up a card saying 'come and get me boys.' Britney is not afraid to lay on the ambiguity here and the track comes across with attitude and feistyness. I also rate 'Break The Ice' which is a surefire urban pop workout with a great rhythm that will have you grinding away.
With twelve tracks here you get a solid album, though I would have liked some more poppy numbers as there seemed to be too much cool urban stuff for the sake of appealing to market trends.
The terrible front cover and the fact that it's synonymous with Britney's fall from grace make Blackout pretty misleading overall. I'm actually quite disappointed - not because of the album, but because of the way it's been marketed and the lack of release of the good songs on it.
I'm not going to do a song-by-song analysis of the CD; you can look at the track lists if you're considering buying it. What I will say is that there are several good songs on there that haven't been released as singles. Despite the corny names, 'Oooh ooh Baby' and 'Hot as Ice' are both very catchy, great songs.
I remember reading a thread on a gossip site about which song Britney should release next from this album (a while back), and there were so many different responses and arguments. Normally it's pretty evident from pp albums which should be released as singles and which we should all pretend have never existed - but there are only one or two songs on this album that are, in my opinion, not single material.
Some of these are Britney's best songs, lyrics that actually vaguely mean something, and just basically an all-round great album. I just hope her next album, Circus, will be just as good if not better - I think it probably will be as she is setting the stage for a big comeback.
Blackout is britneys 5th studio album and was released in oct 2007 .
This album is fantastic and has great tracks on some of my favorites are freak show and toy soliders.
I think what inspired britney with the songs on this album is the break down she suffered .
There is 12 great tracks on the album.
Sadly britney didnt do much promotion work on this album so it didnt get the justice it deserved .
The only thing i dont like about this album is the front cover one box i think its too tacky and doesnt do britney any favours .
Most of the tracks are up beat and make you want to grab your hairbrush and start dancing .
I cant not WAIT for her circus album to be release , ive heard a few teasers and i think it sound brill and although blackout was brillant i think this album will beat it by far .
Since emerging as a huge icon for young girls around the world, Britney Spears has managed to transform herself from teen pop sensation to scandal queen and has had a tough time of it in the media for the past couple of years, with her relationship (or lack thereof!) with Kevin Federline and her children being prime targets for the paparazzi.
In the midst of it all, she has continued with her music. Irrelevant of her controversial performances on stage, her talent is still huge, and she can still produce good music, and this album, Blackout, released late in 2007, shows that despite everything, or perhaps because of it, she can still produce the goods.
Piece Of Me
Break The Ice
Heaven On Earth
Get Naked (I Gotta Plan)
Hot As Ice
Ooh Ooh Baby
Why Should I Be Sad
Of these tracks, two have been officially released into the mainstream, and these are the first two on the album. They highlight the emotional turmoil Britney was going through at the time of the recording of this album, which lasted through most of 2006 and 2007, yet these two tracks are more commercially orientated than the other tracks.
Of more recent years, Britney has personally made an attempt to break away from the schoolgirl image and the icon for girls and made a move for womanhood. She has also done this in her music. This album has a lot of suggestive titles, and some of the lyrics are explicit if not in content then in their suggestions and descriptions. It seems like an attempt to appeal to an older, more mature audience who want to see Britney as a woman developing in life and in music.
As a result, the music is a lot darker, and full of feeling, but there is also a lot of negativity showing through. I felt that a couple of the later tracks seemed pointedly directed at individuals, written with them in mind and as a backlash to some of the attention she had been receiving, and although this would detract from what many would hope to be a typical fun-loving girly album, what it does do is give her a seemingly raw quality and a true feeling that she is in control of her own music.
However, the album lacks a certain something. As an ensemble, it is impressive, but too full of hurt and anger to be that appealing. The album did extremely well upon release, and recently won the award for Best Album at the MTV Music Awards, a coveted prize indeed. The media attention can surely have done no harm, and I imagine that many will have the album as it does promise a bit of feeling in it that has been lacking in her previous releases.
Blackout is Britney Spears' 5th studio album, and I feel the gateway for more passion and personality in her next. More recently, Britney has reinvented herself, appearing in the press to have retaken control of her life. She looks better, the video for her latest single, Womaniser, has her looking more respectable (despite relative nudity) and she looks to be taking a mature approach to life once more. Hopefully now the media will treat her with a bit of respect and we will be able to see a true musician emerge from the past few years of turmoil. I think she has a lot more to offer musically, and Blackout is not to be underestimated in terms of potential. It shows us a certain musical maturity in its combination of tracks, and only just falls short of being excellently constructed due to a lot of hurt and anger and pent up expressions coming through in the music. Bring on the next album, entitled Circus, which is out within the next month and promises to set her back on track to being a great artist in all forms once more.
My niece has this album, it's the latest one by Britney Spears. I personally wouldn't buy it as I'm not a fan and it's just not my style. However, since she plays it pretty much every time I'm over, I've heard it many times so I can write a review about it.
I must say, compared to her previous music, I can't say that this is as good... It's missing the edginess I guess and all the songs pretty much flow in to one and sound to me like one long record.
The overall style is pop with loads of dance and up tempo songs. The producers on this album are less known and their styles perhaps a bit repetitive.
I guess the fact that she wasn't having the greatest time in her life whilst recording this could have something to do with the diminished quality of songs and vocal performance on this album.
There were only about 3 singles that were released which were: "Gimme More", "Piece Of Me" and "Break The Ice".
In my opinion, her previous stuff was much more edgy and suited her better, perhaps the producers she's worked with have something to do with it... I don't know, but in my opinion, she'd have to step up her game to keep the record sales up as this one did not do as well as her others either.
Blackout is Britney's fifth studio album it was released in late 1997. This is the first new album Britney has made since her very public breakdown. It is very different from all her previous offerings, a lot darker and it has been heavily produced. Gimmie More the first single released from this album was in my opinion designed to shock and remind the world that she is still a great artist who can sell records with the best of them. Piece Of Me is another song about Britney's life and her struggle for privacy, it is a really good song with a great beat. The rest of the songs on the album are all very good especially Break The Ice which sounds totally different to the first two releases from the album. I think Britney has chosen these songs for her comeback album very wisely they show she has grown as a artist through all her personal struggles. I think she is great and will be around for a good while yet.
This was Britney's highly praised fifth album to date and despite all the traumas and troubles reported in the media at the time, she still managed to attain a considerable degree of quality in these songs. I should also warn you that this album de contains some explicit lyrics that some might disrupt those with delicate sensibilities.
For most of the time the album hits all the right notes and even manages to tickle the roots of urban authenticity. There are one or two weaker efforts that kind of act as fillers but they don't deflect from the overall quality. The album reflects strong influences from both the urban and electro-house music scenes largely due to the impressive production team that includes the input of Bloodshy and Avant (who were behind the success of the single Toxic), Pharrell Williams, Sean Garrett and Danja.
The album has similarities to her last CD but on first listening Britney's sex-kitten vocals continue to purr like never before and it is even possible to detect a more disciplined and refined approach. This is no doubt due to the use of strong studio effects on many of the tracks where plenty of manipulation in the vocals and instrumentation is evident. Some might argue that these effects are overused and go some way to disguise the lack of true natural vocal power and range in Britney's repertoire. But as we all know, a great pop sound does not depend on a great voice and these songs for the most part make good use of backing vocals and sampling throughout.
Like most of her albums Britney generally sticks to one or two sounds, and this at times can seem a bit repetitive. Nevertheless there are some strong dance tracks on this CD. The album starts off with "Gimme More", a hooky slice of electro pop with a killer chorus that will have you hitting the dance floor in no time. The furious rendition of 'Piece of Me' sees poor Britney obviously having a dig at the media and press for making her life such a living hell in recent years, poor thing, God bless her. This was released as a single and although a bit more cutting edge than her previous, nowhere near as catchy. The hard edged and multi-layered vocal of 'Heaven on Earth' is backed by a simple bouncy electronic dance rhythm. In truth this, along with "Why Should I Be Sad ", is one of the weaker and rather mediocre tracks on the album that perhaps prevents this CD from being a classic. You don't have to strip down to your undies in order to enjoy "Get Naked - I Got A Plan " - it's another catchy dance floor track, but I hate the irritating male backing vocal that ruins the song. Radar is more inventive with nice varied beats and plenty of electronic vocal manipulation layered throughout the track. Likewise the slightly more upbeat "Toy Soldier" is another spellbinding R&B flavoured pop melody. The catchy beat of "Perfect Lover" brings the album to a nice close and will keep you dancing till the end.
This is dance/pop, it's simple and lyrically unsophisticated, but it's what Britney does best and it's what Kylie can only dream about.
1. Gimme More
2. Piece Of Me
4. Break The Ice
5. Heaven On Earth
6. Get Naked (I Got A Plan)
8. Toy Soldier
9. Hot As Ice
10. Ooh Ooh Baby
11. Perfect Lover
12. Why Should I Be Sad
As I was hitting my twenties when Britney first came onto the music scene, I have never been her biggest fan, as her songs where usually about teenage troubles which was the era I had just struggled through. However, every now and again I have enjoyed some of her songs such as Stronger; Don't let me be the last to know and Every time.
I was quite looking forward to hearing this album as I am sure most people where, as it has been released, while Britney still seemed to be going through her breakdown, and I have to say I was really unimpressed. It seems to be another 2 fingers up to the world album, and another all about me, me, me, album which I think we have all heard enough of now.
I am looking forward to the time when Britney really grows up and releases some material that we can all relate to.
October 27th 2007 (UK)
1) Gimme More
2) Piece of Me
4) Break the Ice
5) Heaven On Earth
6) Get Naked (I Got A Plan)
8) Toy Solider
9) Hot As Ice
10) Ooh Ooh Baby
11) Perfect Lover
12) Why Should I Be Sad
Britneys latest album shows she's still as powerful as ever.
The twelve-track CD pulses with beats that force you to dance and lyrics that beg you to sing.
Her songs seem to be aimed at the press and paparazzi who ridicule her life and she finds a way to eradicate any notion that she is struggling in the music business. Infact it places her as the queen of the chess board and proves she still has it.
Once you've reached about the 10th track it may start to feel slightly repetitive and maybe the lyrics are pushing to prove a point, yet this notion acts as a way of drilling in the fact that good talent is not being wasted.
Though the music in itself, along with the album sleeve and the lyrics completely divorces Britney from the Britney whos album I bought eight years ago. However in this sense I think it allows us to accept that she is herself evolving and thought that is clearly tough for people to swallow these days...it is definitely worth accepting if this is the result.
With tracks written and produced by Pharrell Williams (such as 'Why Should I Be Sad') and collaborations with T-Pain (in 'Hot as Ice') this expolsive album is one I definitely recommend, and will undoubtedly get you in the mood for a night on the town with the girls.
Britney Spears - Blackout
Most people have heard of Britney Spears, her recent comeback, which didn't go exactly to plan. Also her public breakdown and loss of her children, however recently she has started to sort her self out and get things back on track. I'm going to review her recent album called Blackout. I will be reviewing each track out of 5.
1. Gimme More (4.11) 5/5
I love this song it has to be one of my most favourite on the album. It got a lot of press when Britney performed this song and she seemed like she was drunk, she wasn't really tuned into her performance at all. The start of the song starts with Britney saying 'Its Britney Bitch!' and it really gets your attention. There are synthesisers and you get the impression that someone is clapping the beat which makes you want to get up and dance straight away. It has a very quirky chorus 'Gimme gimme more', I think it is very fitting for the first track on this album as it definitely makes you want to listen on. The song is about her dancing and that it feels like the crowd is shouting gimme more. It is a very upbeat track and always lightens up my mood.
2. Piece of Me (3.32) 5/5
This song is about Britney herself and how she can't get a moment to herself. It's about the media pursuing her all the time and that they want a piece of her. She says how they provoke her to get a reaction so they can get money off her. To me this song is her trying to tell people how her life is and it doesn't matter what she does they wont leave her alone. It is a song, which you can dance to and easily sing along to. Its very light-hearted with a soft beat to it, which is easy listening.
3. Radar (3.49) 3/5
This track is about some man being on her radar and she's interested in him. The song is very upbeat with a lot of synthesisers in the background, which sounds like bells ringing. Britney's voice sounds computerised in some parts of the song. It is another song you can dance to and it has a great beat to it. The words are hard to figure out, as there is so much background music and a lot happening. It doesn't really show off Britney's voice, as she isn't singing much only really talking. If you listen to it loads it can get annoying after a while.
4. Break the Ice (3.16) 5/5
I like this song I find it relaxing and dreamy. Another dance song that you can actually hear what she's singing so you can sing along. She has backup singers singing high pitched which I think gives it that dreamy feel to it. The song is about meeting someone, breaking the ice and how she can make them feel hot.
5. Heaven on Earth (4.52) 2/5
This song is about falling in love with someone and its like heaven and earth when she is with them. She whispers a lot in this song, and there is a loud beat in the background. It is one of the weaker songs on the album and is not my favourite. In fact I would find myself skipping it a lot.
6. Get Naked (I Got a Plan) 3/5
This song has someone rapping at the start and they are lots of moaning which sounds stupid. Then his voice is al distorted and slowed down. The song is about getting naked and getting together with some man. It is another dance song, which is ok, but it sort of sounds like all the rest and in my opinion nothing new.
7. Freakshow (2.55) 3/5
This song is about her dancing with someone and how they are going to make it up giving them a freakshow when everyone is watching. Computerised voices are used a lot in this song which makes it seem very computerised and to be honest I think it spoils the song.
8. Toy Soldier (3.21) 4/5
This song has a very fast beat to it, which is great for dancing to. There is a very fast drumbeat to it, which makes you get the feel that they are marching. It is about her wanting a Toy Soldier who will look after her. Britney's voice sounds computerised through the whole song. I like the chorus it's different and very catchy.
9. Hot as Ice (3.16) 5/5
Britney's actually singing in this song, which I like to hear as it sounds better than computerising it. It is a very light and airy song which will guarantee you get up and dance. The song is about her being great and she's cool as fire and hot as ice. I think this is saying that you don't really know what to expect from her. As it is a contradicting statement and she will make you feel like heaven.
10. Ooh Ooh Baby (3.28) 4/5
The guitar is playing a great beat in this song, the chorus is very catchy. This song is about how a man is making her feel complete. It is very fast paced and easy to dance to.
11. Perfect Lover (3.02) 1/5
Back to synthesisers and computerised sounds, which I think is annoying, as there is too much of it. The song is about the perfect lover and how they are so great. It isn't my favourite as it just sounds like noise to me instead of music. It really is an album filler.
12. Why Should I be Sad (3.10) 1/5
This song is the slowest on the track but it still has a strong beat. To be honest the song has no character and is boring. I usually miss this track, as I don't like. The song is about splitting up from someone and why should she be sad she's moving on.
I give this album 4/5 as they are some great songs. There are some very weak ones which to be honest just annoy me. The more I listen to the album the more I like it. You definitely would have to be in the mood for dance music as this is the only type of music on this album she offers. It cost me £7, which I thought was good value for money and I'm glad I bought it.
Also posted on Ciao under my username denisekelly40
Considering Britney Spears isn't exactly the most sane person in the world right now, this album reminds us of what made Britney a house-hold name in the first place. Britney has been making the tabloid headlines for all the worng reasons for too long and this album could be the start of a new beginning for her. She has some of her pop-style hits on this cd but she has also including songs like "piece of me" which is representing her life at the moment and adding a new r'n'b flavour to her album. There are also a few bad choices such as Gimmie More which has a horrible video and makes you never believe that once Britney was a young girl singing songs like "baby one more time" and "oops i did it again" this album is definetly different to her others and shows that Britney has grown up. Still a grat album for any Britney fan.
Few singers are as prominent in the world's press these days as our Miss Spears. Rarely does a day go by where we aren't regaled with another picture of her wandering the streets in a pair of ripped tights and a straw hat. It's becoming increasingly difficult to remember why Britney's famous; before the drugs, tantrums and mental breakdown, she was one of the world's biggest selling female solo artists. It's even more difficult to remember that she still is, as her musical reputation disappears into obscurity, overshadowed by custody battles and trips to psychiatric hospitals.
In the midst of all this, Britney produced her fifth studio album, Blackout. After the apparently premature release of a Greatest Hits compilation in 2004, it came as something of a relief to Britney's fans that new original material was available and the album was released in October 2007 to an audience full of anticipation. It was an uncharacteristically quiet arrival. Britney was already drowning in emotional and marital problems and was barely able to pull herself together long enough for any kind of promotional activity (her disastrous appearance at an American music award ceremony will surely go down in history.) Expecting a complete dog's dinner, the world was therefore somewhat surprised to find that Blackout was not the career killer they were expecting.
A spokesperson for Britney's record label claimed that the name of the album was about "blacking out negativity and embracing life". Indeed, Britney herself was keen to persuade everybody that she would be invigorating the current music scene. Clearly, she hasn't achieved this but what she has done is produce a reasonably catchy selection of contemporary pop / dance songs, with strong influences from both the urban and electro-house music scenes.
Britney's profile as a singer (and a celebrity) means that she was able to surround herself with the best music producers in the current scene and names like Bloodshy and Avant (who were behind the huge single Toxic), Pharrell Williams, Sean Garrett and Danja have been lined up on production and / or writing duties. The finished product is not actually that far removed from her last album and works to a fairly consistent formula. Spears' vocals have never been the strongest and whilst her trademark squawk has been played down to an extent, it crops up every now and again as if to remind us that this is the same person who sang Baby One More Time. Most of the songs are production-rich, absorbed in vocal and instrumental effects that disguise the weakness of Britney's vocals and draw the listener's ears into a finished effect, as opposed to a good old-fashioned song. Backing vocals and samples are used to great effect, more so on some songs more than others and whilst this is generally quite effective, the producers occasionally try just a bit too hard. This isn't Britney and Friends; this is supposed to be Britney.
If Blackout had a tagline, it would almost certainly be, "look, no knickers". As Britney tries harder and harder to be sexy, she seems to succeed less and less and in spite of counter claims from her marketing team, Blackout is an excellent reflection of the way in which Britney's world is headed. In the video for "Gimme More" she writhes ironically around a night-club as a pole dancer, seeming to believe that we want her to give us more of thus, when in fact we'd rather she just got on with some good pop songs, but it's a trend that's evident throughout the album, no more so than on "Get Naked (I Got A Plan)" where she musically rests her breasts suggestively on her audience's lap, regardless of whether she was invited or not.
Blackout isn't one of those albums you can listen to end-to-end, the novelty and appeal wearing off part-way into the running time. The Danja tracks are the strongest. The aforementioned "Get Naked" is probably the most notable of them all, more so because of the strange vocodered male vocal that is far "dirtier" than Britney's breathy, rather desperate ranting about whipping her drawers off. "Gimme More" (the first single) works in a similar vein, but wasn't perhaps strong enough to lead the album. "Break The Ice" has a more noticeable R & B feel, sounding not unlike something that Rihanna might have produced and Britney's vocals work well here. "Hot As Ice" is bubble-gum Bronx, with an overall sound that curiously puts Britney backs about ten years in sound, but it somehow works. "Perfect Lover" is another "show us your bits" song but the softer vocals mean that it is slightly more effective in its intentions that some of the albums other material.
The Pharrell song "Why Should I Be Sad" is the strongest R & B track and probably exposes the inadequacies of Britney's vocals the most, as the song feels as though it really should be sung by someone like Kelly Rowland or Rihanna. Pharrell's backing vocals are a welcome addition, but serve only to further prove the fact that the song should be on someone else's album. Kara DioGuardi contributes only one song here, "Ooh Ooh Baby", which sounds not unlike a Gwen Stefani song (and would almost certainly sound benefit if the ex No Doubt singer did the vocals). This is the closest to a traditional pop song that the album has to offer and is one of the more infectious.
The Bloodshy and Avant songs are a fairly mixed bag. "Piece of Me" (the second single) is the most likeable of the bunch, threatening to expose a rather more self-aware Britney than we've ever seen before. Deriding the popular press (and all those who support it) Britney jaunts through a catchy little tune that sounds not unlike the material Madonna was doing five years ago (anyone remember Music?). "Radar" is truly awful, the sort of song you might expect your little sister to construct in her bedroom whilst messing around with her friends. "Freakshow" is better, with a slightly harder edge and stronger overall arrangement. "Toy Soldier" is even better again, with a curiously mechanical electro-pop sound (and accompanying vocal) and would certainly make a strong single release.
Blackout is inescapably Britney-esque, and a logical progression from her last album. Dismissing the belief that less is more, Britney goes for overload here, drowning us in samples, production techniques and gimmicks. It doesn't fool anyone, of course, but it does deliver a surprisingly likeable album in the face of expectations of something inferior. It's difficult to associate the album with a mood. This is probably best described as "radio music; approachable in small doses but not something to immerse yourself in. I like it; but only so far.
The standard album contains 12 tracks, but there are up to six additional tracks / mixes that can be found on various international or download versions.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Gimme More
2 Piece Of Me
4 Break The Ice
5 Heaven On Earth
6 Get Naked (I Got A Plan)
8 Toy Soldier
9 Hot As Ice
10 Ooh Ooh Baby
11 Perfect Lover
12 Why Should I Be Sad