Despite all of the odds against it, Blackout amounts to a logical extension of Britney Spears' musical career last visited on 2003's In the Zone. The new album, just like her last, is fueled by electronic dance beats and bleeps. She has dropped much of the hip-hop that didn't fit so well in the first place while upping the adult sexuality quotient. Far from being an audio train wreck, this is a strong dance-pop collection with some true pleasures
The Club Is the Focus
Throughout Blackout Britney Spears has her sights set clearly on the dance floor. That is where the electronic bleeps and heavy electro-fuzz bass are at their best. Her breathy, often electronically enhanced, vocals work in the club as well. With a wealth of retro influences weaving through the songs here, the recent album that looms largest over this whole project is former boyfriend Justin Timberlake's club-savvy pop smash FutureSex / LoveSounds. Blackout does not break ground in the same way Timberlake did, but fans of "SexyBack" will find much to like here.
Catchy and Fun
One element that makes this clearly a Britney Spears album is the presence of a scattering of irresistible individual songs that are catchy enough to stick in the head like a wad of tasty bubblegum. "Freakshow's" propulsive minimalist keyboards will have you singing along before the tune winds up. "Piece of Me" turns public trials and tribulations into a fierce dance workout. "Ooh Ooh Baby" has a sexy glitter rock stomp that will remind you of...well...Gary Glitter, and it's just as catchy. The Neptunes-produced "Why Should I Be Sad" is a sly Prince-style slice of evening jazz-pop as well as being the final word on Kevin Federline, and if there's anything that rivals In the Zone's "Toxic," it's "Hot As Ice."
Top Tracks on Blackout
- Gimme More
- Piece of Me
- Hot as Ice
- Why Should I Be Sad
All Cylinders Are Firing...Musically
The disastrous stage performance that kicked off this year's 2007 MTV Video Music Awards gave us all pause about what a full-length Britney Spears album would sound like. Fortunately, the concerns were unfounded. Blackout is a solid effort. It is unlikely to lose any fans and many of these tracks will fill the dance floor. Her personal life may be hitting countless rough patches, but the voice and style that are undeniably Britney are fully intact. Welcome back!