Album review: Britney Spears - Blackout

Album review: Britney Spears - Blackout | Random J Pop

In the midst of what is beyond the point of a breakdown; the mess that has Britney Spears managed to record an album. Quite possibly her best to date.

Britney is messed up, looks a mess and probably doesn't know what day of the week it is. But her team was smart with their decisions and recruited hot producers and songwriters who could give her solid material. And props to Britney; she hit the studio and delivered what she needed to. Blackout is definitely more of a showcase of the producers and songwriters than Britney herself. The album is evenly divided between Timbaland's protegé Danja and the production duo behind Britney's widely critically acclaimed "Toxic", Bloodshy and Avant. Between Danja bringing in synthed out club stomping numbers that urban radio and clubs will latch onto and Bloodshy and Avant delivering their unique slice of radio friendly 80s euro pop - Britney has an album that is accessible to all. And let's not leave out the mixers and sound engineers! Some of the songs have Britney's vocals layered and vocoded beyond recognition - with backing vocalists stepping in to add vocal depth to the choruses and hooks. Britney's vocals have never been her strong suit, but on this album her vocals are so vocoded, auto tuned, pro tooled and layered to death that you wonder why she bothered singing at all. The song "Radar" has her vocals vocoded to the point where I could've sworn the song was performed by Stephen Hawkins with a guest feature from Microsoft Sam. Britney has never been an artist to carry a song with her vocals alone, as it's always been about the catchy lyrics and the beats. But there's no denying the producers and mixers went to work on Britney's voice. On some songs it works and on others it feels like a bit much and causes songs to sound extremely over produced.

Wisely, the album doesn't focus on the unscripted reality show that has been Britney's train wreck of a life and instead, just focuses on having a good time and how to be a skank in the clubs when the lights go down. Those hoping for some slow numbers will be disappointed. Blackout is up-tempo all the way, only slowing things down slightly for the album's closing track "Why should I be sad?" - written and produced by Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes. The song is a stark contrast with the rest of the album, yet it fits really well and acts as a great closer. Not only does it stand out for being the only mid-tempo and flat out R&B track on the album, but because it also features lyrics about Britney's relationship with Kevin Federline. Despite being a very personal and introspective song, the song wasn't written by Britney at all, but solely by Pharrell. It's hardly an amazing feat. Every aspect of Britney's life is splashed across the media so much that I'm sure we could all write a song about it. I've never been inside Britney's vagina, but I've seen so many pictures of it I could write a whole double album and host a bonus DVD about it.

Album review: Britney Spears - Blackout | Random J Pop

It's a shame Britney wasn't in a state to promote this album. Because if she was in the right state of mind and scrubbed up, she'd have a successful comeback on her hands. But the surprisingly solid music that features on Blackout is playing second fiddle to her mess of a personal life. It seems some artists deliver their best music when they're going through shit. It did wonders for Janet Jackson on The velvet rope, Mary J. Blige on all of her albums before The breakthrough, Usher on Confessions and Justin Timberlake on Justified (not so well for Mariah's Glitter and Charmbracelet though). I often wonder if Britney would've delivered an album as good as Blackout if she had her shit together. All of the albums she graced us with when she wasn't sandwiches short of a picnic weren't all that great, save for the singles. And here she is in the midst of a major breakdown, giving us the most cohesive play from top to bottom album of her career.

Blackout is an album you'll either really like or think is complete shit. There's no in between. You'll either be surprised that despite her personal life she managed to somehow put out an album that's actually decent, or you'll think the album shows no growth and relies too heavily on studio trickery to be decent. I myself think Blackout is a pretty solid and cohesive album. Given her dramatic fall from grace and acting a crazy bitch, I wasn't expecting this album to be as good as it is. I could go on about how the album tends to not variate from one sound and how Britney hasn't got that good a voice and all the rest of it. But this is Britney. All of her albums have had a lack of variation where sound is concerned. And Britney could spend 6 months in a vocal camp with the Baltimore Baptist church choir and still wouldn't sound any better. The fact of the matter is that Blackout is a solid pop record and definitely Britney's best album by a long shot. Not that her past albums were hard to top in terms of musical quality, but none the less - this is her finest album and I guarantee everybody will find at least 2 tracks they like. I would've given this album 8, but I knocked a point off for her not being able to care for her own children, another point for her dead raccoon weaves and another for the horrendous album cover.

RATING: 8 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Gimme more ★ J's fave
■ Radar
■ Break the ice
■ Get naked (I got a plan)
■ Freakshow
■ Hot as ice
■ Perfect lover
■ Why should I be sad?

Comments

  1. Ouhh Random..You were really arsh with the 5 here.You're judging the ALBUM, not HER as a mom or person.The album NEEDS a 8/10.

    If you were to judge every album like that(with artits' life-actions) welle some of them would be a 9.50 or 10 coz he/she is good personn,or goes to a lot of charity events...You see what I mean.

    I think you should stick to the 8 man! Blackout was and still is a SOLID album.

    I just so you know, She's changed now(you must know that allready)

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  2. You really think "Hard Candy" is better than "Blackout" ?

    Really????

    Hard candy had a 6/10 from you man

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  3. I hear what you're saying. I do think the album is an 8, most definitely. But that album cover was so monumentally horrid, as were her weaves and the way she did her kids - that I couldn't help but knock points off. *LOL*

    As for the vs Hard candy debate - Blackout hands down, because it doesn't feel so contrived and the songs are catchier. Plus, all of the decent songs on Hard candy could've been done just as good by Britney. Shoot! She probably would've done them better.

    It's a shame she wasn't in a state to promote the album properly, because she could've had a 5 - 6 single run. It's upsetting that the album has pretty much gone to waste because despite what the haters say, it was a tight album. At least I think it was.

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  4. Now that,I prefer! lol

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