What follows is a mishmash of bangers and ballads that’s frequently entertaining, but rarely very personal. Only the off-kilter blip-pop of ‘Passenger’, on which Spears sings about surrendering control to a new romantic partner, rivals ‘Alien’ for psychological intrigue. Most of the rest does its job well, though: ‘Perfume’ is a classy slowie penned by the hottest name in pop songwriting, Sia, and ‘Til It’s Gone’ and ‘It Should Be Easy’ are EDM thumpers that suck you right in, despite lacking the brilliantly kitsch lyrics of ‘Work Bitch’ (‘Go call the guv-a-nah!’).
Ultimately, what’s most pleasing about ‘Britney Jean’ is that Spears is actually singing again. On her last few LPs, she’s simply handed over her iconic wail for her producers to chop up and play with. Even at its weakest (‘Chillin’ With You’: imagine a Cher Lloyd track without the spunk), ‘Britney Jean’ finds Spears sounding more engaged than she has in a decade.
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