Britney Spears - 2016
It’s getting to the stage these days, that I am finding it hard to believe even myself, that a Britney Spears album could really find a home in a top ten list. Am I truly just a fan boy now? Am I one of those people that believe everything she does is magic, regardless of the quality of it? Do I honestly believe that this album is better than the multiple others that were fighting to get into my top ten? The answer to those questions: Yes. As long as Godney is going to hire the best producers, studio-up her voice, and make listening to music sexy and fun, I’m in. All in.
In defense of my pick, if you look at the reviews for this album, the majority of them were overly positive and declared that Britney was back (though where she went, I’m not sure - her last album was only three years ago). What most reviewers point to as the key to the reemergence of Britney, was (oddly enough), her voice. Over the seventeen tracks (deluxe album), Spears throws her voice in multiple directions, but regardless of the tone she uses to amplify the mood of music, what doesn’t change, is the emotion behind it. She sounds honest in whatever feeling she is trying to convey, which is a huge step up from where she was as a singer when recording Britney Jean.
Complimenting Spears’ ability to be multiple different singers on one album, is the eclectic mix of tracks found on Glory. Fortunately, there’s no attempt to venture into genres already covered (electronic on Femme Fatale; sappy ballads on Britney Jean; R&B on any of her other previous albums), which leads to this odd mash-up of pop/dance songs and a whole host of other songs that I have no idea what genre they belong in. Could it be that Britney is redefining music? No, but the crossover of multiple genres carefully brewed together in single tracks, makes the majority of this album hard to define. Seriously.
The best songs off the album are truly the ones that seem new to her repertoire. “Clumsy” is an absolute thumper of a house track (think Will Smith’s, “Switch” on heavy steroids), whereas, “What You Need” hears Britney completely outshine the incredible uptempo funk arrangement, outfitted with a nasty brass section and rhythm section hits throughout. The two tracks that briefly slow the tempo of the album down (but not by much) - “Slumber Party” and “Just Luv Me” - are easily the best songs of her career below a mid-tempo BPM (other than “...Baby One More Time”). To prove that this album seems, feels, sounds different/better than her previous attempts, Godney even sings a song entirely in French - and sounds amazing when doing so.
Regardless of my unquestionably blind love for Britney, this is honest to god, an amazing album. When I first started finalizing my top ten, I refused to even consider Glory, thinking I might have lost the ability to judge her work critically. For some time it was not invited to the top ten party, but the more and more I searched for another album that I truly liked more and thought was more deserving than, at the very least, the #10 spot, the more and more I realized that there simply wasn’t another album to outshine it. Britney is in top form and this could be her greatest album to date...until the next one comes out.
Andrew Scott ranks this as the
#10 favorite album of 2016