Britney Spears’ ‘Britney Jean’: Review Revue

Dec 3rd, 2013 // 11 Comments
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Well, Britney Spears’ latest opus Britney Jean hits retailers today, and the critics — much like the fans — are split about the album. Is it great? Is it terrible? Is it both? (Probably.)

In my review, I showed the pop princess some tough love, writing: “It’s the first time in fifteen years that Spears has ever released something truly lackluster. Accordingly, listening to it is kind of a bummer.” By and large, the critics tended to agree that Spears missed the mark on this release, with most commenting upon the initial promise that this would be her most “personal” yet and whether those expectations were met.

Head below to read what the reviewers had to say. 

:: The New York Times agreed that “the music has lost its snap,” writing: “The fun leaches out while the calculation stays obvious on Britney Jean. The lyrics touch Ms. Spears’s usual bases — love, lust, dancing, success, breaking up — with no personalizing details.”

:: emusic described the album as “bangers and mush” as well as “briskly businesslike,” but offered an even-handed take, saying: “For all the talk about Spears’s devotion to her job, it’s nice to get a sense that she’s actually enjoying herself, and managing to free herself from at least some of her career’s more stress-inducing aspects, while she’s on the clock.”

:: Our friends at SPIN complained that in departing from Spears’ dance-pop formula for something more personal, she “wipes out”: “Spears never seems in control. She wears clothes well, hooks up with the right choreographers, and boasts a singles discography to rival Pink’s and Gaga’s. But through it all, she remains a passenger.”

:: Rolling Stone concedes that there’s an absence of “disco kicks” and “nothing here explodes,” but maintains that it’s a solid release with a lot of sentiment: “It’s a concept album about the loneliness of pop life – with a high-profile broken engagement behind her, Brit gets personal and drops her most bummed-out music ever.”

:: The New York Post eviscerated the album, complaining: “She was never much of a singer, but hearing Britney morphing herself into a horribly auto-tuned dance diva for her eighth album creates a bigger problem than the one she’s trying to solve.”

:: The Washington Post was also displeased with the sound of the record, attacking its lack of timeliness and originality: “Spears has never been a musical pathfinder; like Madonna, she’s better at breaking down avant-garde sounds and reassembling them for mainstream consumption. But Britney Jean is hopelessly dated; its exercises in EDM, dubstep-pop, disco, trance and arena ballads would have sounded familiar in 2011.

:: The Los Angeles Times complained that the album relied too heavily on cliches: “Britney Jean, the new studio album from Britney Spears, is marked with so many sleights of hand, dubious lyrics and bombastic but boringly simple melodies that the too-rare levitation of its better moments seems an animation trick.”

:: And our own MuuMuse, in his In-Depthney and Personalney review of the record, said a lot of good and important things, but spelled it out most frankly here: “For the first time in her career, Britney has released an album that is just okay — by her standard, anyway.” Sigh.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.

  1. Critics gonna critisize. Music speaks for itself. This album never meant to be breakthrough album from the beginning. It’s as modest as Britney is. She may be cold, boring, simple, odd.
    People always expect something extraordinary from Britney and then when it comes out – and hey – sigh – that’s not what we expected – I hear from each corner. And it’s kinda annoying when people unlearned to enjoy the music. They want more, more, and more, new, new and new….Long story.
    Britney got only ONE album that has its mark. You know it. The others are good with some legendary songs. This one is also good and also with some legendary song (ALIEN).

  2. I get an advice for you all – stop listening to music for couple of months and then turn Britney Jean on – you’ll love it :)

  3. Tisha

    This makes me just sad. She didn’t do this album for ratings or good criticque, she did it to express herself and share her feelings to whoever will listen. I for one love the album, she has come a long way and has matured into a woman that I would rather my girls idolize rather than Miley, Gaga, and Katy Perry. All of which have jumped on the back of Britney. They wouldn’t be where they are today without her.

  4. I actually really dig this album. It’s up there (as a whole) with Blackout and Femme Fatale, the two Brit albums I find most cohesive in that I didn’t skip songs. “Til It’s Gone,” released as a single, will be huge and I feel the bonus track “Now That I Found You” could’ve been a great single choice.

  5. Janina Grey

    I think it’s double standard. People are too critical with Britney. even when her vocal are stripped down, they still say “autotune”. Its a pretty decent record and I think its because Britney is so avantgarde with her music that this album is not as “trendy” as her previous albums.. and did these people heard PRISM? My god the lyrics in that abum and the music, definitely dated!

    • There’s no double standard. It’s pretty much a fact she’s using autotune. You can hear it. And even still her voice sounds weak.

      I agree about Prism though it’s not the album the critics were reviewing here so it shouldn’t matter.

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