Criticism | Between highs and lows, ‘Circus’ maintains Britney Spears’ electrifying originality



After making an explosive comeback with the groundbreaking album ‘Blackout’, Britney Spears finally returned to her roots and continued to do what she always loved: music. A year later, the pop princess plunged headlong into the bubblegum pop that propelled her to the top of the world, embracing what she has continued to represent on the mainstream stage. Combining the resurgence of electropop on the phonographic scene and rescuing the dance-pop elements she had explored on her previous forays, Britney brought to life the beloved “Circus”, which, between ups and downs, has a very positive balance when looked at for almost fifteen years after its release.

Comprised of thirteen tracks in the standard version and fifteen in the deluxe version (the latter available on Spotify), Spears met a legion of producers who, against all odds, managed to hold together for much of this sonic journey. vibrant. Of course, considering that the pop reign was an experimental amalgamation of diverse genres, he had no choice but to reinvent himself in an image that dialogued with ‘Blackout’ and ‘In The Zone’ (in terms of adult image that has embodied and reaffirmed in each of his songs since) – as seen in the lead single “Womanizer”, which opened the door for a new generation who did not know his classic songs. Reaching fans two months before the album’s official debut, the hard-hitting synth-pop was critically acclaimed for its controversial lyrical content and memorable hook, raising our expectations as to what the future awaited.

Indeed, this adventure filled with hymns adapted to the dancefloor brought the return of Max Martin to the production of certain pieces, and favored an infinite collaboration of composers and allowed the interpreter to re-sign certain paintings – without having need to be proven to anyone. , but as a thank you to those who have always been by your side. Alongside the aforementioned single, several promotional songs permeated the record, including the great “If U Seek Amy” (which deliberately pushed conservatives to deconstruct the “traditional suburban family” in the United States) and “Kill the Lights” ( an assault on the fusion of dance and R&B that drew scathing criticism of media sensationalism and the fame award, a theme reminiscent of “Overprotected”, “Lucky” and many others).

There are other tracks worthy of our attention that stand out in the magical and engaging musical profusion that Spears directs – and, contrary to what many might say, it is the ballads and semi-ballads that rob the singer of the status of the singer. ‘untouchable and reflect an insecurity and vulnerability that has accompanied it since its debut in 1999. We have the simplicity of’ Out from Under ‘, which is about a past romance that spreads its shadows in a present marked by resentment (summarized in the verse “I don’t want to dream about things that have never been”, which opens the touching chorus), and a clever robotic inexpressiveness of “Unusual You”, which abuses the autotune and the synthesizers which anticipate a realization dramatic and melancholy (“nobody told you that you should break my heart?”); “Blur”, more daring than its compatriots, is bordered by urban influences which perhaps go unnoticed, but which deserve our attention .

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Unsurprisingly, Britney is at her best when she turns to pop, demonstrating a total mastery of the genre that she helped immortalize as a teenager. The title track is the best worked, reiterating the singer as one of the pioneers of musical spectacularization: aided by Dr. Luke, Spears navigates through an agglutination of verses that still remembers anyone who has ever been interested in his discography. , regaining the performative confidence he had lost in previous years and showing that he still has control over his own art. Despite the impeccability of the song, “Circus” is one of the emblems of the princess of pop and is regarded, even by her, as one of the main highlights of her career (considering the albums that will be released later).

“Radar”, present in the previous iteration, returns with the marketing force it deserved in 2007 and relies on electro-disco like never before, feeding a fertile ground for the immersion of the euro disco and electronics. Once again, Britney justifies her title in the entertainment field by creating an unprecedented hit, combining vocal distortions with a sound rendering that dialogues in an almost symbiotic way with the title presented. By following the same steps, we find the evocative density of two tracks which also had enormous potential to be singles – “Shattered Glass” and “Phonography”, whose lyrical acidity eclipses possible slippages.

On the other hand, we are dealing with certain attempts at originality which fail to achieve what they intend to say. “Mmm Papi” gives in to the camp and the hype, emulating the fun “The Hook Up” and, sadly, nowhere near a similar level. The choir’s affected keyboard, which seeks to bring a layer of nostalgia, makes the track rhythmic and repetitive; “Lace and Leather,” which reintroduces drums and mid-tempo bass, is a solid start – however, it fails to hold back until the end; “Mannequin” suffers from the same ailments and fades away from lack of concentration, struggling to scream her verses and not doing so.

“Circus” might not be the most competent entry in Britney Spears’ career, but in the end, that doesn’t matter: as mentioned at the start of this review, the positive toll is what invites audiences on a narcotic adventure, with songs that endorse the importance of the performer in the industry and make us want to step out of our seats and hit the dance floor.

Rating per track:

1. Womanizer – 5/5
2. Circus – 5/5
3. Out of below – 4.5 / 5
4. Kill the lights – 5/5
5. Broken glass – 4/5
6. If you are looking for Amy – 5/5
7. You unusual – 3.5 / 5
8. Blur – 3.5 / 5
9. Mmm Papi – 1/5
10. Model – 2/5
11. Lace and leather – 2.5 / 5
12. My baby – 2/5
13. Radar (bonus range) – 4.5 / 5
14. Rock Me In – 4/5
15. Phonography – 4/5

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