Britney Spears, “Glory” (RCA)
All signs pointing to new Britney Spears music screamed disaster: Her Billboard Music Awards performance reminded us, for the 100th time, she’s a robot, and her last album, 2013’s “Britney Jean,” had some of the worst songs Spears ever recorded even though Sia, David Guetta and will.i.am worked on the project.
Her new album, “Glory,” also seemed rushed as its announcement and release came in the same month and the amateurish album artwork looked like it was edited with an Instagram filter. Even as she appeared on “The Late Late Show” in the ever-popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment, which aired Thursday night, Spears barely sang and barely seemed present.
It begs the question: Why are you releasing music today Britney Spears?
You won’t get a clear answer from her new album, but if there’s any hope that Spears could return to pop-star status, “Glory” is her best bet.
The 12-track groovy set is much better than “Britney Jean” and brighter than 2011’s “Femme Fatale.” While pop wanes off of electronic dance music and borrows again from R&B — thanks to the success of acts like Beyoncé, Miguel, Rihanna and a slew of lesser-name acts blending R&B with other genres — Spears has taken note and jumped on the bandwagon. And right, Britney Spears and R&B should never be in the same sentence, but these songs aren’t authentically Britney (has she ever been authentic?)
Lead single “Make Me…,” featuring rapper G-Eazy, is a slick, sexy tune that showcases a stronger side of Spears, as does “Slumber Party,” ”Love Me Down,” ”Just Luv” and album opener “Invitation.” And while the album has missteps — “Clumsy” sounds, well, clumsy, and “Hard to Forget Ya” is easy to forget — it is a sign that Spears could finally make some real movement after years of basicness.
She’s slated to perform at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, and while there’s a high percentage she will fail, here’s to hoping she hits it baby one more time.