Record of the Week

Britney Spears “Glory”

Cover_Britney_GloryBritney Spears

I would like to make it clear get-go, that it is in no way my intention to slam Britney Spear’s new album or that I want to make fun of it – this would just be the easy and cheap trick.

It’s rather that “Glory” depresses me endlessly, well, endlessly is overstated, but it depresses me a lot. The first problem is the album title: “GLORY” – could it be any sadder? “Glory”, it would have fit The Jacksons in the early 80s, in between “Triumph” and “Victory”. But Britney? She might be so worn down by her existence as a showgirl in Las Vegas (“Piece of Me” is the name of the show she has been performing there for three years) that she just wearily rubber-stamps title proposals by her marketing department: “okay, “Glory”, why not? It’s not really worse than “Circus” or “Femme Fatale”.

The album as a whole also sounds a bit weary. But, paradoxically, it doesn’t feature less than seventeen (seventeen!) songs, and just a few of them are rememberable. Most likely the melancholy “Just Luv Me”, in which Britney’s voice seems really clear and present, but also desperate, fragile, pleading. Touching without being trashy..

The music on “Glory” has been produced super slick (from Burns, Warren Felder, Alex Nice and others), partly party-pumping, but overall rather shapeless. Just the way charts music nowadays has to sound like: there are electro swing samples (gross), doo wop vocals, reggae (on “Slumber Party”) and lots of pop-r’n’b with delayed beats. On “Glory” Britney admittedly proofs that she – after all that crap – still can keep up, but nothing more. This became especially evident at the most recent MTV Video Music Awards, when Beyoncé spread so much glamour and political awareness (they were actually Beyoncé’s Awards), and Rhianna pulled off her happy pinkish parade, so that only obligatory applause was left over for Britney. The show and the statements are long since being provided by others.

“Glory” is from top to bottom concerned with sex, something that seems stodgy and trite on the formerly mentioned long distance. The song titles allude either subtle or plainly obvious to the subject number one (“Clumsy“, “Slumber Party“, “Private Show“, “Do You Wanna Come Over?“); the video for “Make Me”, shot by David LaChapelle, doesn’t get beyond the cheap aesthetic of a Diet Coke commercial. Britney in ugly lace panties and bodies and sucking on a finger, oh dear, isn’t it time for new models of sexiness in 2016? Britney, shaken by life, relies on play it safe-symbolism, and cannot blame her for it. All of it is exhausting enough, what the people UNDERSTAND is lace panties in black or white. Oh, it’s so depressing, like I said.

More interesting is Britney’s “Carpool Karaoke” episode, where she tells James Corden that she would like to have three more children („you mean three MORE kids, so you’d have five???“), but that she no longer wants to be involved in the “men-thing”. THAT would be an interesting subject for an album, not always this lace panty-SEX-thing, yawn. I’ll keep “If I’m Dancing” and “Just Like Me” from the album and I’m out!

(Translation by Denise Oemcke)

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