Top critical review
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5. Hits and misses one more time
on 2 December 2013
Digital pop may be all about sonic perfection, but soul, substance and emotion, is frustratingly lacking. "Britney Jean" is an almost pristinely crafted result but, for an album that was suggested to be personal, not much intimacy or depth are showcased. Billed as a sequel to career-highlight and fan-favourite, "Blackout", it made no sense to launch the album's campaign with a hummering electro-club anthem called "Work b*tch". For the most part, "Britney Jean" is heavily auto-tuned, polished, with melodic electro-pop stompers, and only a few sparse personal touches. The insanely addictive "'Til it's gone" combines great vocals over a massive beat-frenzy; "It should be easy" with its Daft Punk-esque bassline is another thundering affair; and "Tik tik boom"'s crawling beats are irresistibly sexy. On the more subtle side, are the wonderfully isolating, yet, intimate gentle opener, "Alien"; "Passenger", a guitar-led midtempo with a mystical vibe; and closing track "Don't cry" whose fragility is reminiscent of former - sublime - single "Everytime". Publicity implied that this would be an intimate affair, with Britney herself saying this is an album "specifically for my diehard fans", referring to it as her "most personal record yet". It is not. Evidently, it is more of an experiment than an autobiography, a transitional record, being her first album released in her thirties. Over the years Britney has been grabbing hold of trendy musical ideas in the most unnuanced ways possible. That is a task she has skillfully accomplished. That is what makes hit albums. "Britney Jean" could be one.