20 DecibelsGenre: PopSounds like: It’s Britney, Biatch
Say what you will about Britney Spears, but there’s one word I never thought I’d use to describe her albums: depressing.
But if ‘Blackout’ is good at anything, it’s bumming you out. Britney’s voice never has sounded this listless and robotic – but that’s not the biggest problem. Her mind obviously isn’t into it anymore, and her body isn’t either.
Some of the most embarrassing songs are the sex jams, which pale in comparison to ‘Toxic’ or ‘Slave 4 U.’ Her moans in ‘Break the Ice’ and pick-up lines in ‘Ooh Ooh Baby’ are not only unconvincing, but laughable.
Every Britney Spears album has been essentially about the lifestyle of Britney Spears, but her recent public meltdowns make ‘Blackout’ feel more personal than past efforts.
However, since Britney didn’t write most of the songs, they send out mixed messages. In the annoyingly chirpy lead single ‘Gimme More,’ she seems to be enjoying how the ‘cameras are flashing while we’re dirty dancing.’ While in ‘Piece of Me,’ she decries all the attention, ‘I’m Mrs. ‘She’s too big, now she’s too thin.”
Britney’s public persona forces you to think differently about songs that may have seemed perfectly natural for her to sing five years ago.
For instance, it’s almost impossible to listen to ‘Gimme More’ or ‘Ooh Ooh Baby’ without thinking this is a woman who has kids and probably shouldn’t be spending every night at the club. What used to be a guilty pleasure now just makes you feel guilty.
Many songs on ‘Blackout’ are about the paparazzi, and naturally, Britney saves only one for former husband Kevin Federline, ‘Why Should I Be Sad?’ In it, Britney says she was committed to their marriage, but Federline wasn’t – which seems a little petty, especially since in the news it appeared to be presented that blame could go both ways.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Why Should I Be Sad?’ is one of the few songs on ‘Blackout’ that Britney had a hand in writing.
Britney Spears albums admittedly have never been about the lyrics. In the case of ‘Blackout,’ lyrics are more interesting than the music.
Nothing here comes close to rivaling the production on her past few albums. Most of the songs this time around aren’t even memorable, and the ones that are usually prove to be more annoying than enjoyable.
‘Blackout’ finds Britney in a precarious position. She’s been through too much to still convincingly play a 20-something sexpot. But she still wants to hold on to that life, and understandably so. Perhaps that’s why ‘Blackout’ is so depressing. It’s a reminder that we all grow old, and we can’t always do the same things we used to. It’s hard to take pleasure in Britney’s pain, because in the end, it’s our pain, too.
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