Life Doesn’t Always Go My Way

July 28, 2010

Britney
Britney Spears

(2001)

Remember when Britney wasn’t cuckoo bananas? This album should be a great reminder of what her legacy should be. Surprisingly, this is a strong pop album that hasn’t lost a lot of its fun. Though there are some clunkers (an ill-advised cover of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll,” and a Dido-penned coming-of-age song) Britney delivers what it promises.
The album tries hard to convince us that Britney is a big girl who can make her own decisions, thank you; well, a court has already decided on that matter this summer so so much for that theory. She does have fun making the argument though: “I’m a Slave For You,” is a slinky jam that uses words like “hell,” and “damn,” (oh, she is so grown up!) “Overprotected,” is probably my favorite song on the album; a Max Martin classic where she belabors the point that she can do what she wants. The song is crazy fun complete with the typical Martin’s typically inspired chord progressions. Problem is it includes heavy background vocals from someone who’s not her. The track “Cinderella,” does the same thing; damn, if you can’t even make magic in the studio to convince us you can sing, you must be a pretty poor vocalist. “Boys,” is a great ditty penned by Pharrell but it really could have been sung by anyone—as usual, Mr. Williams has too much presence.
Towards the end of Britney, there’s some “deep cuts,” that are cute on their own but pretty interchangeable. That, unfortunately, is the rule for most pop albums. “Plastic Love Song,” even rips off Pink’s “Some Girls,” in a blatant manner. I was hoping for a country-pop song a la “Don’t Let Me Be the Last To Know,” but to no avail. Not even a duet with her then-bf, Justin, can save the latter half of this album.
In the end, Britney starts with a bang but ends with a whimper– yeah, there’s a simile in there somewhere.

–MEW

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