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Arriving little over 12 months since her last album Blackout, Circus is designed to put Britney firmly back in people's minds as a pop star rather than a daily source of gossip. Although ''It's Britney, Bitch'' may be unforgettable, this album, her 6th, arrives with manager Larry Rudolph back in charge and Britney herself sounding less like some producers have artificially recreated her voice just to be able to release an album.
Circus, echoes its title through the album with unnerving beats and creepy riffs. Innocent little Britney that we knew ten years ago can hardly smile sweetly any more after such a public breakdown, so as expected it's an album of dark electronic drums pausing only briefly to be demure on the restrained Out From Under and in the bizarre pastel colours of the cover artwork.
Announced as 'the former princess now the queen of pop' on the aggressive Kill The Lights, Britney sets her self up for a meeting with the paparazzi declaring, ''All the flashing trying to cash in hurts my eyes''. Like a sequel to Piece of Me, Britney battles through the frantic chorus with her hatred of Lights, Camera, Actions. Conversely, on title track, Circus, she loves the attention being shone directly on her as the ''ringleader'' as she sings of adrenaline flowing through her veins when it's time to put on a show. The more heavily produced a track is the better, with Lace And Leather pounding with dark industrial beats, and the crude pun of If You Seek Amy, in which Britney returns to super producer Max Martin pushing its way out as album highlight - it's ''ha ha he he ha ha ho'' chorus centered over playful yet sleazy drums that will be irresistible to dance to.
Despite this, there are perhaps one too many tracks that fall flat. We don't want to hear Britney sing acoustically on My Baby or messing about with silly voices on the nauseating Mmm Papi. We want Womanizer with its over repetitive chorus, and slamming sirens. Britney 2.0 needs to be full of wild dancefloor driven moves, and when Circus gets them, only then does it excel.