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Britney Spears has been tearing up the pop world for over two decades now. Her music was started some kind of revolution in the 90s, and her music was part of the soundtrack of the 2000s. Her ninth studio album Glory is a good representation of her career as its come to be, but hits both extremes of good and bad.
It gets off to a bumpy start. Bubblegum pop can describe the first opening sequence of the record. 'Invitation' kicks it off in a dinky way. It's an oddly dirty track in the most innocent way, the over-produced vocals adding to its innocence. 'Make Me...' improves a bit, though with a very weak verse from G-Eazy. I wish we could just not talk about 'Private Show' - it's one of the stupidest things I've heard in a long time. The chorus chants in some weird country/rap tonallity the god-awful lines "Work it, work it / Boy watch me work it / Slide down my pole / Watch me spin it and twerk it".
Beyond the beginning of the record there are some other subpar moments. 'Do You Wanna Come Over?' sounds like something that would've gone down well at the beginning of her career, but not so much anymore. The whole line of tracks from 'Hard To Forget Ya' through 'Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortes)' (two of these tracks are found on the deluxe edition) is wholly forgettable - 'Change' is oddly distorted at the beginning, too.
Over her career, though, Britney has learned how to make plenty of great tracks. This album has a lot of soul and character to it. The first memorable track on the album is 'Clumsy' - a lot of groove and a fantastic instrumental and vocal performance gives this song a big pop appeal. The instrumental begins with an almost carnival vibe before an electronic, pulsing synth takes over the choruses. The verses are bluesy and Spears' vocals sound scratchy enough to pass it for some blues singing.
From a bigger perspective, it's all of the stripped-down and rawer tracks that sound a lot better than the rest of the songs. 'Just Like Me' starts off with an acoustic guitar and overall doesn't build much sonically, the choruses with a synth that begs to explode, though subduing it seems to have done the trick. The melody fits the bittersweet meaning of the song: a combination of jealously of a lover being with someone else, but the comfort knowing that their new partner is the spitting image of you. 'Love Me Down' is also not as in-your-face as many of the other songs, and has great melodies that build to epic choruses that have an awesome bassy pulsation going with them.
The album's deluxe version contains track called 'Liar', which sounds like classic Britney build in with her newer style. It has that mid-2000s flair to it with the choruses with plenty of harmonies and string punches. It's an epic song that definitely should've made it onto the regular version of the record. It has a dinky harmonica in it that adds a playful vibe to it, and the melodies of the song overall make it an all around great track and it sounds like her best hits from the peak of her career.
Glory is a natural progression for Britney Spears. Her innocent dirtiness comes through just as it would have 10 years ago, and her pop appeal is getting greater and greater while not losing sight of her previous sound. I only wish the album didn't have so much wrong with it otherwise that the great tracks wouldn't be standalones on an otherwise weak album. It's a Britney album, that's undeniable, but there's not enough personality in the lesser tracks to make it any more than average.
Favorite Tracks: Liar, Clumsy, Just Like Me, Love Me Down
Least Favorite Tracks: Private Show, Do You Wanna Come Over?, Hard To Forget Ya
Rating: 65 / 100