Britney Spears - Blackout
Download: Britney Spears - "Piece Of Me"
Download: Britney Spears - "Freakshow"
Download: Britney Spears - "Why Should I Be Sad?"
Blackout (Jive Records)
If Britney Spears' defining characteristic is her inability/outright refusal to deconstruct herself, as Chuck Klosterman has stated, then what are we to make of the potential self-awareness (or lackthereof) in her latest album being called Blackout?
A move like that, along with one track being called "Why Should I Be Sad?" (um...because you almost lost custody of your kids?), is either one of most gloriously tongue-in-cheek statements a pop star has ever made or its a completely dumbfounded act of what-the-fuckery that unintentionally provides insight to a mind that is utterly lacking in identity.
If you're looking for answers to the queries posted in the previous paragraphs, you won't find them in Blackout. What you will find will certainly depend on how focused you are while listening to this record. Because if you yourself suspend critical thinking abilities--which, let's face it, most people do when it comes to new-millennial pop music--if you blackout, as it were, then you'll hear one of the best dance-pop albums of the year. Any further examinations reveal more than enough headslapping, "what kind of motherfuckery is this?" moments of utter cluelessness.
The biggest surprise that Blackout has to offer is that the first five songs on it are actually terrific. Maybe this is due to lowered expectations as a result of Spears' annus horribilis (that doesn't mean what you think it means, though I don't blame your mind for going there), but tracks like "Gimme More" and "Radar" burst with dance floor energy, so long as you ignore the lyrical hypocrisies in the lyrics (Spears: Notice me! Ignore me! Notice me! Leave me Alone! MILF! MILF! MILF! etc).
The problem is that you can't hold a party without having a little burnout, and Blackout begins to seriously crash, man, around the middle of the album. As a hetrosexual man, I'd never thought I'd say this about any woman, but every song, every single song on her tape says exactly the same thing: I'm hot, only you can make me hotter, everybody notice me, why won't people leave me alone? That's it, more or less, for 12 songs. So by the time "Freakshow" and "Perfect Lover" roll around, what started out as a kitten purring into your ear has become a pit bull dry-humping your leg.
Whether Spears is or is not self-aware is one thing, but Blackout does make one convincing case: you can have surprisingly solid number of great songs, but if you start off too strong you get all partied out, man. Blackout would appear that not only has Spears done that in her private life, but in her musical one as well.
Labels: Britney Spears