Album Review by Annabel Bayross
Britney’s new album, inspiringly titled BRITNEY offers a mix of girlie pop and sexy R & B. There’s two sides to this album; one half captures a temptress Britney whilst the other a virginal, youthful girl. It begins well, the seductive I’M A SLAVE 4 U encapsulates the Britney we know and love. The provocative, flirtatious lyrics coupled with her infamous ohhhs and ahhhs make this song top dog. It follows the winning formula that a lot of her songs obey, CINDERELLA and OVERPROTECTED also stick close to this style. But this all too familiar change in tempo as it approaches the well-known chorus rhythm, triggers recognisable memories of BABY, ONE MORE TIME. These songs may well reach No. 1 but sadly because this prototype is duplicated time and time again over familiarity leads to indifference.
A lot of the other songs have been written and aimed towards a specific target audience – little girls growing into little ladies. Most of the lyrics concentrate on the ‘coming of age’ theme. The ballad I’M NOT A GIRL, NOT YET A WOMAN is not really Britney’s true style, perhaps designed more as a commercial strategy. Lines such as, “What am I to do with my life” portrays an innocence and confusion which the younger generation can relate to, thus furthering the popularity appeal. All of these questions keep us guessing and make it impossible to quite categorise Britney into girl or woman status. The explorations of relationships and young love are common themes pursued throughout the album. All this uncertainty conveniently coincides with the imminent release of her debut film, which seems to neatly parallel her real life. The excessively publicized ‘has she, hasn’t she?’ question has over-exposed Britney and this issue appears as the frequent subtext of most of her songs, which does get a bit boring.
Her admiration of artists such as Madonna and Michael Jackson also comes across through this album. So many of the songs include Britney’s female version of Michael Jackson-like yelps. BOYS sounds like an imitation of early 90’s Madonna, with husky vocals whispered most of the way through, the lyrics are mundanely repetitive while LONELY and BEFORE THE GOODBYE adopt an R & B, dance-like quality. This album opens well but seems to digress to a ‘nothing special’ kind of level. BOMBASTIC LOVE redeems itself a little with a catchy beat but mostly the girlie ballad style songs aimed at the younger listeners pale to insignificance. The more adventurous the song, the more memorable it will be. We know and she knows that a classic Britney tune will always top the charts.