BRITNEY SPEARS’ “GLORY” DAYS ARE HERE
Pop icon Britney Spears helped provide a potential soundtrack for the fall as she released her ninth album, “Glory,” on Aug. 26, the last weekend before classes started at the University at Albany. With themes such as love, sex and satisfaction, all 17 songs sound relaxed, seducing the listener slowly as her signature nasally voice skates delicately amid the general synth-pop production and the occasional loud bass.
The first song, “Invitation,” sounds welcoming, already determined to make amends with the listener as her 2014 single “Pretty Girls” with rapper Iggy Azalea was not commercially or critically successful. Her vocals echo as trust is the theme of this slow, reserved song: “I know it might seem crazy/But Imma put you in this blindfold/I just need you to trust me/Oh, that you see more with your eyes closed.”
The second song “Make Me…” features rapper G-Eazy and continues the gradual sound of her album. As the lead single, it is a mid-tempo R&B song that explodes into a thunderous dubstep-like chorus- an appreciative move as it contrasts the fast-paced, dancing-accompanied pop singles of her past. Having debuted and peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, it proves how relevant she remains in the current pop scene despite arriving back in 1998 with “Baby One More Time.”
With themes of entertainment and satisfaction, “Private Show” and “What Ya Need” makes one imagine Spears as a seductive enchantress on an early 20th century cabaret stage, the former revolving around an intimate, teasing act for one- the latter a sassier song with a defined pizazz like in films “Moulin Rouge” and “Burlesque.” “Man on the Moon” is reminiscent of “Alien” from her previous album, “Britney Jean” (2013) as its chilling yet romantic nature is like a charming poem, accompanied by poignant violins and a gentle production. “Just Luv Me” has Spears singing for her male lover to “keep it simple” by not messing around and showering her with affection, her voice barely concealing her desire.
“Clumsy” is the album’s strongest entry with repeating “oh-Oh-OH!” chants, a teasing “Oops!”-recalling her seminal “Oops!… I Did It Again” 2000 hit-and a sudden drop that leads to a club-ready addictive chorus. It’s is a powerful deluge of a thumping bass, synth-filled noise and nasal runs.
“Do You Wanna Come Over?” is a sultry song that contains a seemingly-hypnotized guitar that plays alongside her seductive voice. This instrument’s inclusion recalls her “Britney” (2001) and “In the Zone” (2003) albums while its sexual nature and the occasional “uh-huh” hark back to her dark and sinful effort, “Blackout” (2007). Its invitational yet naughty lyrics are also reminiscent of her “If You Seek Amy” (2009) music video where we see her awaken the morning after a sex party in a seemingly innocent-looking house.
Singing about not “gonna sleep toni-igh-ight,” Spears asserts that she wants to make the most of the night with her lover in “Slumber Party” and its production perpetuates the flashy and heart-thumping beats of the two prior songs, though to a lesser extent. Spears becomes shady, an uncommon tone in her discography, in “Just Like Me” as she bemoans how her ex-lover has a new girlfriend who looks much like her, yet she doesn’t care too much as she defiantly sings, “She can have you,” instead.
However, “Love Me Down” is similar to her songs in “Britney Jean”—hip hop musician will.i.am was an executive producer—as its electronic production sounds dated and repetitive, its overall nature sounds safe and does not add anything new. While this song could be refunded, “Hard to Forget Ya” slightly improves by providing a much-appreciated banging chorus where Spears declares that she wants to be with her lover forever, though the song ultimately becomes repetitive.
“Glory,” being her ninth release, acts more like a much-anticipated treasure to her longtime fans as she mostly retreats from her stereotypically boisterous music and offers a more intimate experience instead. “Glory” ignores all the critics and bullying that used to victimize her and Spears successfully entered a personal renaissance where although she is amid an ocean of contemporary pop singers struggling to reach the top, she seems more confident and is concerned with her and her fans’ approval only.