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December 10, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-12-10

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Art i'E

8 - Tuesday, December10, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

ALBUM REVIEW
Pop queen loses voice on 'Britney Jean'

0

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T his isn't the with my science partners Erin
and Caitlin, co-starring Erin's
'itney Spears I stuffed pythdn.
I could go on, bdt you gg the
remember point. Britney Spears's songs -
and my horribly uninventive
KAYLAUPADHYAYA parodies - have more or less
ManagingArtsEditor provided a soundtrack for my
life, whether I was on bus rides
ft green flower set against to and from show choir competi-
background branded the tions, warming up on the tennis
D I ever owned. My dad, court or experiencing my first
he help kiss.
butter D+ Yes, I'm a 21-year-old human
helped woman with a few too many
free Bntrneyie a Britney feels. Which is why it
pastel should come to no surprise that
from BM im Queen Brit's latest release, Brit-
cessive RCA ney Jean, was one of my most
wrap, anticipated albums of 2013,
popped especially when the pop legend
my long-gone boombox. herself promised it would be
as ...Baby One More Time, her "most personal record yet,"
was love at first listen. the creative response to all of
he way home from a swim the personal problems she has
hen I was eight, I got gog- faced in the past few years. "It
uck in my hair. And, per- has really inspired me to dig
ecause my cousin Maren deeper and write songs that I
town and Britney Spears think everyone can relate to,"
d to score just about every Spears wrote on her website.
it we spent together in Despite the fact that Spears
lays, I changed the words co-wrote every piece on the
cky" to recap my harrow- 10-track album (likely a reac-
igled goggles experience. tion to years of critics question-
ng it the whole car ride ing her own contributions to
her body of work), Britney Jean "All eyes on me."
urth grade, when our sci- is about as personal as a sham-
eacher challenged us to poo commercial. Her promise of self-titled Brit
up with a creative way to dark, probing material flies out ued to strike a
t on geology, other stu- the window, replaced by paint- conformity a
howed up with dioramas by-the-numbers lyrics commu- from there.S
ttered poster boards and nicating little more than "fame genre's standa
ollections. I showed up sucks, love sucks, sex rocks, so big pop's mos
microphone and a kara- let's dance about it." foundations, us
achine and performed a Britney Jean conforms to cal to express
itten rendition of "Oops I every overplayed trend in Auto-tuned an
Again," changing the lyr- today's pop - robotic vwerps, vocals define
be about the differences thumping bass, hollow percus- as an artist, a
en metamorphic, sedi- sion, auto-tune - but only at auto-tune isn't
ry and igneous rocks. their most basic, uninspired lev- mick as it is an
n, in ninth grade biology, els. It's not that Spears has never to highlight, co
ised this unique (read: conformed in the past, but her statement. "It's
) talent when I filmed an previous efforts work within she asserts ove
ional music video about the framework of Top-40 tropes More." She kn
ribosomes and mito- in order to move the genre for- she knows wh
ia called "I'm a Cell 4 U" ward. Spears perfected pop on she does it dam

q
j

RCA

ney, and contin-
balance between
and innovation
She became the
rd by mastering
t machine-made
sing the mechani-
s the emotional.
d over-processed
Britney's voice
nd in her music,
so much a gim-
instrument used
ontort and make a
s Britney, bitch,"
r 2007's "Gimme
ows who she is;
at she does, and
n well.

Until now. Britney Jean
drowns in the deafening,
screams of contractual obli-
gation (as the eighth, it's
Spears's last album required
under her RCA contract). Brit
doesn't reinvent herself, but
even more disappointingly, the
album doesn't even play to her
strengths. Isolated moments
hint at Spears's prowess, but
none offer the sexiness, art-
istry or longevity of some of her
past power singles. A decade
after my first listen, "Toxic"
still gives me an intoxicating
rush. Listening to the entirety
of Britney Jean, however, feels
like waiting for a sneeze that

never comes. Executive pro-
ducer will.i.am does what he
does best: rehashes dying EDM
tropes and meets the minimal.
requirements necessary for
club-readiness.
The pre-released "Work
Bitch" and "Perfume," as well
as the leaked "Alien," satisfy
- but pop shouldn't satisfy; it
should. thrill. Britney Jean's
only thrilling track is also its
most bizarre: a campy, dis-
sonant duet between Brit and
younger sister Jamie Lynn
called "Chillin' With You" that
haphazardly stitches together
metallic trance with sugary
guitar sounds. It's so weird it

works, a genreless enigma. And
hey, weirdness iswelcome on an
album that all too often bores.
And if nothing else, it at least
informs us that Britney's more
of a red wine gal and Jamie's
more of a white.
What has always drawn me
to Britney Spears's music is its
escapism, the delirious, dream-
like seduction that bleeds
through most of her work (and
she epitomizes on 2007's Black-
out). Britney Jean fails to awak-
en that ecstasy within me. If I
can listen to a whole Britney
album and resist jumping to my
feet to dance, there's something
very, very wrong.

10

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BRIGHTON
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