Britney Spears - Glory [Track-By-Track Album Review] | Get Tonk'd | Your pop culture protein fix

Spears' greatest offering since 2007's Blackout... maybe even 2003's In The Zone.

Britney Spears - Glory [Track-By-Track Album Review] | Get Tonk'd | Your pop culture protein fix

Spears' greatest offering since 2007's Blackout... maybe even 2003's In The Zone.

1. Invitation (B. Spears / Julia Michaels / Justin Tranter / Nick Monson)

Produced by Nick Monson | "Let inhibitions come undone"

REVIEW: Glory marks the first Spears album to open with a mid-tempo, and from the first pulsing "ohh" of "Invitation" we already know we are in for something special. Equal parts magical and moody, Spears' airy falsetto begs us to "put your love all over me" and believe me... we are ready. We've been ready since 2007's Blackout. Maybe even since 2003's In The Zone. Here's the thing: I can already hear the Selena Gomez comparisons, and that Spears is no longer setting trends, but chasing them. However, this is Britney (Bitch!) and we haven't heard Britney's stamp on this sound. The voice of an artist with over a decade's head-start on Gomez, gives a heft to the track that her contemporaries could only dream of touching. This isn't a Revival, it's her Invitation.

2. Make Me... (Feat. G-Eazy) (Britney Spears, BURNS, Joe Janiak, Gerald Gillum)

Produced by BURNS | "Something sensational"

REVIEW: After Invitation's flawless lead-in, "Make Me..." begins with that familiar sped-up vocal sample you've been hearing everywhere since Justin Bieber's Purpose captured the zeitgeist. Thankfully, it doesn't dominate and Spears treats us to a vibey mid-tempo that builds to a lush chorus of layered vocals and harmonies. G-Eazy's assist is not unwelcome, giving the track commercial appeal, without overpowering the artist. I may have over-listened, but in comparison to the rest of the album, "Make Me...", whilst fab, feels a little safe.

3. Private Show (Britney Spears, Carla Marie Williams, Tramaine Winfrey, Simon Smith)

Produced by YoungFyre | "My encore is immaculate"

REVIEW: When I first saw the "Private Show" perfume commercial (on which this song is featured) I was nervous. The strain of the vocal... The auto-tune wrenching Spears' voice up to the correct notes... It was grating. I did not have high hopes for the full song. I was wrong. Those minor flaws aside, "Private Show" is a wacky, sassy, neo-50's sex bop (the only way I can describe it) in which Spears uses every crack, creak and warble of her instantly recognisable, ever-unique voice to evoke a fun and flirty striptease for her lover... and his eyes only.

Pop crush put it better than me in their awesome review, here:

4. Man On The Moon (Jason Evigan, Illsey Juber, Phoebe Ryan, Sterling Fox, Marcus Lomax)

Produced by Jason Evigan | "I can't compete with the stars in the sky"

REVIEW: Still keeping it mid-tempo, "Man On The Moon" is reminiscent of Britney Jean's "Alien", only far superior. Opening with an Imogen Heap-inspired a cappella, "Moon" is cry for love, with Spears sending her signal not just across the Earth, but out into the stratosphere. It's interesting how many 'space' references there have been throughout Spears' illustrious career. From the obvious, "Oops!...I Did it Again" music video, to the lesser-know cuts, "Outta This World", "Heaven On Earth" and the aforementioned, "Alien", maybe Spears is trying to tell us something? This is also not the last time on Glory that we're going hear Spears' affinity for other languages. The countdown on "Moon" is inspired, leading to it's magical final chorus that is actually quite touching. The poignancy of the lyric "I can't compete with the stars in the sky" does not go unnoticed.

5. Just Luv Me (Daniel Omelio, Magnus August Holberg, Julia Michaels)

Produced by Cashmere Cat & Robopop | "I'm a keep it simple, real simple, just love me"

REVIEW: Another moody mid-tempo that one again uses a sped-up vocal sample in it's production, whilst also incorporating that marimba sound you may recognise from Ariana Grande's, "Be Alright". Familiar, yes, but like I mentioned before with "Invitation", this is Spears' take on the sound. And she owns it. With a "simple, real simple" vocal delivery that is all layers and breath, Spears demands for someone to "just love" her. I'm sensing a theme here. Brit is single after all. While it may seem that I'm suggesting Glory is front-loaded with th same ol' (love) songs, it's not. In fact, each song feels like it has been building to "Just Luv Me" and gives the album an anchor...which is good, because things are about to get weird. 

6. Clumsy (Talay Riley, Warren Felder, Alex Niceforo)

Produced by Oak Felder & Alex Nice | "Call me a fool, call me insane, but don't call it a thing"

REVIEW: The record takes a turn here, returning to 'classic' Britney dance territory... but with a twist. I mentioned Ariana's "Be Alright" earlier, but it's relevant here too, because similarly, "Clumsy" is ALL hook. It doesn't follow the structure of a pop song, with verses almost coming out of nowhere, making the track feel like it could be an interlude. "Clumsy" isn't my favourite, but I like it's experimental feel and the "Oops!" line definitely gave me a little Stan happy!

7. Do You Wanna Come Over? (Mattias Larsson, Robin Fredriksson, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Sandy Chila)

Produced by Mattman & Robin | "Whatever you want! Whatever you need!"

REVIEW: "Do You Wanna Come Over?" is the closest Glory gets to old-skool Brit-pop, fitting into that electro-pop sound that came somewhere between In The Zone and Blackout (I feel like it could've been on the "Chaotic" EP), whilst also giving me hints of "Lace And Leather" from the underrated Circus album. The Prince-inspired guitars and the Janet Jackson-esque drop ("Nobody should be alone if they don't have to be") give the track a really fun, throwback-vibe which is a cool change-up to the album's more current sound.

8. Slumber Party (Mattias Larson, Robin Fredriksson, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter)

Produced by Mattman & Robin | "If it's seven minutes in heaven, make it double. Triple!"

REVIEW: Time to get chill again with "Slumber Party", one of the more 'urban' tracks on the record, which features a cool reggae vibe that wouldn't be out of place on a Rihanna disc. The difference is, Spears maintains a softness that differs from RiRi's sexual aggression. This is arguably filler, being neither single, nor fan-favourite material. But it's still very good. And hey, maybe I'm wrong? I initially hated "I'm a Slave 4 U". 

UPDATE: This song is amazing!

9. Just Like Me  (Britney Spears, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Nick Monson)

Produced by Nick Monson | "Heart's beating fast when I'm turning the key. I see you on your back..."

REVIEW: Straight up, "Just Like Me" hits us with a bluesy, acoustic guitar, adding to the album's eclectic sound. Lyrically, the track brims with danger, but Spears never lets the anger over-take, only full voicing the pre-chorus, which gives the record a tension and unpredictability. Will she let this Womanizer go, or will she go full Femme Fatale?

10. Love Me Down (Andrew Goldstein, Evan Kidd Bogart, Jesse St. John, Jessica Karpov)

Produced by Andrew Goldstein

REVIEW: "Love Me Down" opens with a (slightly dated) "Freakshow"-esque, dubstep wobble before transforming into a Gwen Stefani rap-sung, ska-pop track. Whilst catchy and hook-filled, I assumed "Down" was just another filler... THEN! That riffy drop into an opera(ish) breakdown giving those early-2000s feels and also life! Folks'll need to back up when this hits the clubs.

11. Hard To Forget Ya (Oscar Gorres, Ian Kirkpatrick, Brittany Coney, Denisia Andrews, Edward Drewett)

Produced by Oscar Gorres & Ian Kirkpatrick | "Oh yeah baby, you got me misbehavin'"

REVIEW: Okay there is so much going on in this track that I love. The almost middle-eastern intro with a hint of "Easy" by No Doubt, the "Hard To Forget Ya" hook reminiscent of the breezy "Something Special" from JC Chasez's solo album Schizophrenic and the glorious bridge with a melody so familiar, yet just out of reach. I can't put my finger on it. Grr. Anyway, "Hard To Forget Ya" is a fan favourite if ever I heard one. 

12. What You Need (Britney Spears, Carla Marie Williams, Tramline Winfrey, Simon Smith)

Produced by YoungFyre

REVIEW: Aside from the valiant attempt at full-voiced singing and the sassy lyricism, "What You Need" feels a little forced and repetitive. I've never been a fan of the big band/jazz sound on pop records and, dare I speak the words, this sounds like a Christina Aguilera B-Side. One of the few album missteps and a little out of place.

13. Better (Britney Spears, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Michael Tucker)

Produced by Bloodpop | "It's so much better"

REVIEW: Now for the deluxe. "Better" is not to dissimilar from some of the album's earlier cuts, with a hint of Tinashe's "Player". It's got a great groove and "so good, so good, so damn, so good, so damn, so good, so right, so good" hook is already iconic.

14. Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortes) (Mattias Larsson, Robin Fredriksson, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter)

Produced by Mattman & Robin | "Trying to impress, trying to be the best..."

REVIEW: Here we go. This is what I expect from a Britney bonus track. Something a little more experimental and different. "Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortes)" has that in spades. Taking those guitars from "Ooh Ooh Baby", chilling everything out and throwing in a European flavour, "Change" wouldn't be unwelcome on Blackout. Spears also dabbles in Spanish here and it's divine.

15. Liar (Jason Evigan, Breyan Isaac, Danny Parker, Nash Overstreet)

Produced by Jason Evigan | "Baby, talk, talk, talk, keep on lying through your teeth"

REVIEW: Last minute jewel alert. "Liar" might be my secret favourite. With it's dirty, southern grit and harmonica sample, this is an attitude-filled anthem about a cheating lover. It's got a total Carrie Underwood "Before He Cheats" vibe, then breaks down into a football chant of "Till The World Ends" proportions. A refreshing change to the lovelorn sex-kitten presented through most of the album.

16. If I'm Dancing (Ian Kirkpatrick, Simon Wilcox, Chantal Kreviazuk)

Produced by Ian Kirkpatrick | "Butterfly from the bottom of the ocean"

REVIEW: "If I'm Dancing" smashes us over the head with a electro-fizz straight out of the Femme Fatale handbook, then immediately switches gears. Spears' breathy vocal glides over the Timbaland-esque beat, and the track's Euro-feel sits nicely alongside "Change Your Mind" and the final track "Coupure Électrique".

17. Coupure Électrique (Britney Spears, Lance Eric Shipp, Nathalia Marshall, Rachel Kennedy)

Produced by Lance Eric Shipp | Comme une coupure électrique

REVIEW: "Coupure Électrique" immediately had fans in spin when it was revealed that the direct French translation was 'power outage' aka 'Blackout' aka 'The greatest album of all time!' (I kid, I prefer 'In The Zone' haha), so the pressure for this to be nothing short of magnificent was incredibly high. Does it deliver? In spades! "Coupure Électrique" is one hell of a sexy song! It's a dark, pulsing track, with Spears' fragile falsetto drifting over the top. The French lyrics are roughly translated as:

I forget the world, when you make / Make love to me, my love /  I forget the world, when you make / Make love to me, my love / Like a power outage /  I forget the world, when you make / Make love to me, my love / A moment with you / In the dark / A moment with you / In the dark / Like a power outage / You’re the light / You’re the light / I forget the world, when you make / Make love to me, my love / I forget the world,when you make / Make love to me, my love / Like a power outage / I forget the world, when you make / Make love to me, my love

FINAL THOUGHTS ON GLORY:

If you've made it this far, well done. I won't keep you much longer. Straight off the bat, Glory is an excellent album; an eclectic, sprawling mish-mash of styles, brimming with personality and life. Whilst Spears' has never been much of a vocal technician, I would argue that she hasn't given this much vocal-attack since her 1999 debut, ...Baby One More Time, and while there is a touch of trend-chasing and few experimental missteps, I'd rather that than the soulless mediocrity presented in 2013's Britney Jean. Glory is a true return to form and long-time fans can breathe a much deserved sigh of relief...

Britney Spears is finally back.