Last week, while the rest of us were battling it out Hunger Games-style for the last turkey at the grocery store, Britney Spears’s eighth studio album, Britney Jean, quietly began streaming on iTunes, one week before its official release. While you probably didn’t get a chance to have a listen, the critics sure did, and they had a lot to say about the 32-year-old pop veteran’s new offering.
Though there is some mix of opinion about Britney’s follow-up to 2011’s wildly-successful Femme Fatale, most agree that this album is a shift away from 20-something, club-loving BritBrit — though a few bangers still remain.
We’ve rounded up some of the top critics’ reviews of Britney Jean. Check out what they had to say:
Spears' eighth album is a transitional record, just like her third album. But whereas 2001's Britney found Spears — no longer a girl, but not yet a woman — feeling her way toward adulthood and the candid sexuality of club life, Britney Jean, her first album released in her thirties, is a subtle shift away from frantic bangers and into more forthright songwriting.
Like the Black Eyed Peas back in 2009, Ms. Spears and Will.i.am have turned to European disc jockeys who have found dance music’s lowest, least funky common denominator: the steady thump of four-on-the-floor.
— The New York Times
…[T]he balladry Femme Fatale suppressed comes roaring back on a disc that most closely recalls a wan version of Madonna's William Orbit-helmed Ray of Light … Spears, much like Ray-era Madonna, is mourning how fame alienated her, but unlike her evident role model, she fails to supply any evidence that she's learned from her estrangement.
Britney Jean, which takes its title from her family nickname and has been billed as the most ''personal'' of her eight albums, tells you virtually bupkus about her struggles over the years. But in just 10 tidy songs, it brings us closer than ever before to that distant dreamer.
— Entertainment Weekly
It's a concept album about the loneliness of pop life — with a high-profile broken engagement behind her, Brit gets personal and drops her most bummed-out music ever. If the title reminds you of Elton John weeping over Marilyn Monroe, figure it's meant to, because this poor girl has been getting way too much candle up in her wind lately.
— Rolling Stone
How do you feel about Britney’s new sound? Let us know in the comments below.