Dirrrty Pop Review: Britney Spears – Circus

The one we all know. I always liked it but just saw it as a new improved version of Ooh Ooh Baby until I started hearing it on the radio or in shops, and every time I did it would be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I went to a seminar the other day and all I could think of was “you! y-you are, you! y-you are, womanizer, womanizer, womanizer BABY!”

This features Lil Wayne, who I’d never realised has such an ugly rapping style. How is he so popular? Pop legend Dr Luke was involved with this one, but it’s not one of his career high-points, and it won’t be one of Britney’s either if she goes ahead and releases it next. Then again, with Lil Wayne’s popularity, it might go down well in America. Not sure it will here, though.

Out From Under
A pretty ballad, very pop and girly. I like it, but it’s not as distinctive as past Britney ballads such as Everytime or Not A Girl. Still, it’s better than all of those early Britney dreary ballad moments.

Kill The Lights
Produced by Danja and Jim Beanz, it’s no surprise this sounds like a continuation of Blackout, a follow-up to Gimme More especially. The intro is great and it’s lyrics are quite fun, but sonically it’s nothing new for Britney.

Shattered Glass
Another Dr Luke creation, with the punchy catchiness he’s known for, and plenty of silly sound effects. An unassuming electro-pop-r’n’b track I can imagine Monrose releasing.

If U Seek Amy
I knew straight away when I heard this that it was the Max Martin track of the album – it’s super-catchy and extremely addictive, the most poptastic and the best song on Circus. Quite fittingly for the title, it sounds a lot like Amy Diamond, but I don’t think she’s going to be singing a song that purposefully sounds like an invitation for rude stuff any time soon. I’m not sure if it’s Max’s best work, as he himself has stated (better than Baby One More Time? Really?), but it’s a brilliant pop song anyway.

Unusual You
A brooding electro-pop number, interesting but not a great sing-along. I can imagine this particularly appearing on Rachel Stevens’ last album, but she had several similar ones which were better.

This was so boring I forgot I was listening to it and didn’t notice for a minute or two when it actually finished. The only thing in its favour is that it’s better than Blur!

Mmm Papi
I’d heard this one was a bit mad, but actually it’s one of the more fun and unpretentious songs on the album, even if the chorus is a bit silly. It doesn’t quite work and is a bit imitation-pop rather than the really good stuff, but it’s enjoyable enough, and the talky bit is amusing.

The weird sound effects are back, but make this song (like much of Britney’s recent work) seem like it’s trying too hard to be weird and interesting pop, instead of just great pop. It’s so important not to lose track of the main purpose of pop music i.e. to get stuck in your head and refuse to leave.

Lace and Leather
Another Dr Luke track, and quite a nice poppy one as well. It reminds me of Lene Nystrom actually, but then it’s no It’s Your Duty.

My Baby
This is actually about a very small child kind of baby and not the grown up kind, unless she has a boyfriend with tiny hands. I can’t believe I’m so out of the loop I don’t even know who Britney’s dating, if anyone. It’s a very sappy song, kind of sweet if you can tolerate this sort of thing, but nothing very exciting.

Best of the bonus tracks:

One of the Lady GaGa tracks, unfortunately none of which made it onto the album. This is weird and interesting but forefronts the poptasticness, which is what pop acts should always aim for. It’s not as good as Lady GaGa’s own best songs, but better than most of Circus.

Rock Me In
Nice electro-pop song written by the ace Greg Kurstin, very fast with talky verses, a great little bridge and a chorus that reminds me a lot of Moonbaby. Certainly the most Girls Aloud-ish of the new Britney songs.

Catchy with nice bouncy background noises but sounds so much like she’s singing “pornography” that it’s a bit off-putting. Despite that I really like this one, it’s very jolly and danceable. The bonus tracks are much more consistently poptastic than the actual album tracks!

Another great bonus track. Very fast-paced, really drawing you in as it builds up. Loads of ace bits in it, especially the chorus. Britney sings in an odd voice at times, picking up a bit of an accent that reminds me of Nelly Furtado. I wish this was on the album so it could be a single, cos it’s a million times better than the proposed new single, Circus.

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