New Britneyology

“Glory” – the official New Britneyology review!

Posted by: Karenannanina on: September 6, 2016

The sources who claimed that Britney’s Glory would be a very different kind of album for her were not wrong. Some have tried to define its position in her oeuvre by comparing it to In The Zone, but those people ARE wrong. ITZ was a collection of unique but separate little gems, all totally different and unrelated to each other musically, where Glory, for all its oddities, is a more consistent – or less diverse – body of work. Yet this IS a collection, not an “auteur” creation – no producer has provided more than 3 of the 17 tracks on the Deluxe Edition.

The songs on ITZ were linked by their powerful sexual content, and at the time I felt that ITZ might just be Britney’s version of Madonna’s Erotica. The songs on Glory are also linked by their sexual content, but there the comparison with ITZ ends. It could be argued that here we have a Britneyfied version of Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable, surely the gold standard for moody, erotic albums with interesting rhythms and subtly addictive melody lines interspersed with a few bangers. But that argument depends on one’s perception of Glory as a whole.

And there’s scope for some very different perceptions. One is that it displays a frisky, re-energised Britney delivering fun, beat-filled sexy songs with unexpected gusto, interspersing them with softly sung chillout mood-sustainers. Another is that it was originally meant to be an album of intricate, rather adult songs about sex and relationships, but “her people” panicked, wanted an each-way bet, and introduced counterbalance in the shape of brash, noisy exploits with unfamiliar beats and crass, bombastic lyrics. Karen Kwak, the album’s Executive Producer, suggests that an interpretation involving fun and randomness is the more accurate one. To me, it all seems a little bit schizophrenic, but maybe I’ve forgotten how to have fun.

Some reviewers have picked on the lyrics, or individual lines within the lyrics, to submit Glory to a lit-crit evaluation from which it could never emerge well. The lyrical content of pop music doesn’t interest me much, except insofar as certain key phrases leap out, although I’m obviously not deaf to the fact that a lot of these songs are about hooking up. But if we work on the basis that in pop music, with only a few exceptions, the words are merely a vehicle for a singer’s performance, I won’t pick a fight over them. To say that Glory is an album about sex is about as useful as saying that Circus is an album about diversity. To adopt one reviewer’s sensible phrase, “That’s what she sings about”.

What interests me more about this album is the rhythmic content. This is the area that differs most from anything Britney has done before. There is huge rhythmic variety among these tracks, yet, contrarily, you might get the wrong initial impression that the same track has been made several times over. You might think of applying this thoughtless thought to (for instance) Just Luv Me, Slumber Party and Love Me Down. The snarky might feel called upon to allege that these tracks don’t go anywhere. Yet they do have an important role, a kind of cumulative effect, in the album, and they are given individuation by those varied beats.

It’s also a good idea to remember that on a typical album, it’s love at first sight with some songs, instant dislike with others, and takes-time-to-get-to-know-ya with others. On Glory, more than on most albums, there are quite a few quiet little tracks that take time to reveal themselves fully and become memorable. But when they do, songs that started out with an “OK” rating may escalate to “Good” or even “Excellent”.

There are sonic differences on Glory too. In the past, many of the productions on Britney’s albums have been set within a tightly spaced, narrow acoustic framework, so crowded as to seem almost claustrophobic. On Glory we find some grander, more reverberant acoustics and bigger, more spacious soundstages. The productions are excellent and imaginative throughout. The instrumental work is mostly sparse but clever, innovative and appropriate. Much use is made of different vocal textures and effects, wordless vocalization, surprising interjections and cute spoken sections. Much of this happened on Britney’s previous albums too, but here they get enough space and clarity to stand out and make an impact.

Several other reviewers have struggled for something smart to say in disparagement of Britney’s voice on Glory, but they have mostly missed the mark. Her voice is not particularly “adenoidal”, “strangulated”, “robotic” (and blah blah) here. Indeed, it’s a lot less eccentric than usual. Her metallic “sex Kitten” voice emerges on a couple of tracks, certainly, but a lot less often than on Femme Fatale, the nadir for Britney’s vocal listenability. Here her voice is mostly in her super-smooth, super-sweet high or mid-register (13 of 17 tracks) but with many variations within that general style. The only obvious criticism from a fan’s point of view is that she rarely sounds as distinctive and “different” as the Britney everyone imitates.

As usual on Britney albums, the bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition seem better than some of the songs on the main album. But then, that’s a matter of taste. Liar is fabulously dramatic, Coupure Electrique utterly charming, and If I’m Dancing has a melody that sticks in the head like Gorilla Glue. There are wonderful highlights on the album, but the beauty of Invitation, Make Me, and Man on the Moon is counterbalanced by the irredeemable ugliness of Clumsy, What You Need and Private Show

Let’s take a look at the individual tracks.

Invitation
A brilliant opening to the album, and an absolute standout track. Definitely from the Janet Jackson playbook, it’s slow-to-medium, has a gorgeous melody, and receives an achingly sweet and fervent performance from Britney in her highest, most ethereal pitch. Invitation sets the mood and temperature that the other chillout tracks follow.

Do You Wanna Come Over?
A grinding beat drives the verses as Britney delivers an unashamed booty-call in suitably seductive style in a song that’s full of different episodes, hooks and variety. The pre-chorus “Nobody should be alone if they don’t have to be” is sweeter-voiced but urgent. Then the men come stomping in with the thundering chorus “Whatever you want!” underpinned by Britney’s legato purring. “Do you wanna come over?” is spoken and sounds almost pleading. Wonderful!

Make Me
A lovely melody and a very well-structured song, building tension and releasing expertly. Britney alternates between her sweet high register and her seductive mid-range. She even manages to include her famous “Mmm-yeah”! G-Eazy’s rap break doesn’t please everybody, but at least it’s clearly enunciated and there’s no mention of vegetables. The instrumental tracks chime supportively. Another standout track.

Private Show
A throwback to a lost era of doo-wop soul dating back to the early 1960s. Britney wails the lyrics in a strong but extremely unsubtle voice, sounding more like the popular caricatures of herself than on almost any other track on the album. The backing tracks riff their triplets strongly. It’s crass but amusing, and has its highlights, such as Britney’s amazingly high notes after the bridge, and her “We do it all again? Nah, I’ll take a bow!” I must remember that line for future use…

Man On The Moon
Another of the excellent tracks, this is another well-constructed song, with an attractive and instantly memorable tune echoing the pure-and-simple pop of the 1960s. There is one issue: at first, Britney’s voice sounds strained on certain words, and especially “moon”, but I should have known better – it’s actually an effect caused by the interaction of her voice with that of the male backup singer. Better mixing would have done wonders. Incidentally, there can’t be many songs featuring the words “Patience, darling!”

Just Luv Me
This is one of those soft, gentle tracks that make little impact at first hearing, and Britney sings it in her softest, gentlest, wispiest voice. It’s OK-becoming-good. Janet J. has chillout mood-sustainers like this on her albums too. Soon they become indispensable as we get to know their special little instrumental sounds, and for some weird reason, they pop up and play in our heads at unexpected moments. The production is swirly, atmospheric and graceful.

Clumsy
Another of those odd, churning 1960s retro-rhythms, and a sound reminiscent of what used to be called a “blues band”. A generic and uninteresting melody finds Britney’s regrettable “robotic sex kitten” voice getting an airing. There’s lots of call-and-response and chanting, and a cute little-girly “Oops!” here and there, and Britney’s odd pronunciation of the word “clumsy” is rather charming. But I don’t like it. I expect to skip this track on future playings of the album – or better still, omit it altogether from my personal re-edit.

Slumber Party
Another very Janet-sounding track, this seemed like a mere mood-sustainer at first, but since then I’ve re-evaluated it (and re-re-evaluated it) upwards. There are so many hooks, melodic, lyrical, vocal, and instrumental, that it’s now unforgettable, and definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. There’s a lot going on in the production. The special little moments where everything goes quiet are pure magic. The words are pretty rude but who cares!

Just Like Me
A mood-sustainer, or one of a body of more intimate songs aimed at an older and more mature audience? This time the rhythm is a Latinish sway (and there’s acoustic guitar and castanets!). Some have theorized that it’s Britney’s comeback to Timberlake’s Cry Me A River video. But she’s not like that, and it was a long time ago. Anyway, it’s sung sweetly and without apparent malice, and there’s some lovely smooth vocalizing at the end.

Love Me Down
Lovely, wonderfully complex interlocking vocal effects as the song proceeds, and yet again a piece notable mainly for its rhythm, which is much jumpier this time. Gets an OK, since neither music nor words are particularly distinctive. By this stage in listening to the album, one can no longer entertain the view that these low-key, dreamy meditations are mere “fillers” between the major works. There are just too many of them. They must, in fact, be integral to the very point of the album. However, given that, there must be scope for some creativity in putting together a customized album with a different running order.

Hard To Forget Ya
A lively, jumpy retro rock-and-roll rhythm, but an unoriginal melody, and doesn’t really get us anywhere. It fails to amuse or to entertain. Another great production makes the best of the material, and Britney tries to give it added value with some varied vocals, but in my mind this would join its soulmate Clumsy in the “omit” list.

What You Need
It’s that 60s blues band again, with lots of Hammond organ and brass, and another contribution to the already replete “burlesque” category. It’s like a particularly thick-eared, dumb response to Aguilera’s Ain’t No Other Man, and Britney sounds like the worst parody of herself, with “may” instead of “me” etc. Let’s hope it was all a joke. “That was fun!” chirrups Ms Spears at the end. Er…. no.

Better
Again Latin-flavored, with a mid-tempo chugging rhythm. Another Janet-sounding track, another mood-sustainer, pleasant to listen to and smoothly sung, with swirling airy effects and lots of wordless vocalizing, but one of the less memorable tracks. At first, I rated it as OK rather than good, but now I find it playing in my head every day, so.. upgrade!

Change Your Mind (No seas cortes)
This time the Latin inspiration is overt. There’s a gently swaying rhythm with a touch of flamenco drama. The sweet vocals are more distinctively Britney than on some of the other tracks, and there are some appealing hooks, including the lines sung in Spanish. Faced with a gentilhombre who’s either nervous or trying to behave himself, horny Britney tries to change his mind. I like it a lot, but aren’t some of these tracks getting close to MOR territory? (Or, given the many Latin-ish tracks, to Emma Bunton’s A Girl Like Me?) Just a thought…..

Liar
This is one of the standouts. An excellent piece of drama in its music, its words, and its lush string-enhanced production. It starts and ends with growling men chanting, there’s bluesy harmonica and automated hand-clapping and Britney delivers in her most seductive mid-range. It’s truly memorable in its melody and its structure. If this had Rihanna’s name on it, or Adele’s, it would be a single and would be a smash.

If I’m Dancing
There’s so much to like about this song. On an initial hearing, it doesn’t sound like much, but then you realize that you’re singing it to yourself an hour later. The production is colourful and imaginative, with what sounds like wasps fighting in a jar here and sumptuous synth-strings there, and Britney’s voice wafts breathily in its highest, most unaffected register. I’m not sure what the male interjections add to the proceedings though.

Coupure electrique
An utterly charming way to end the album. The lyrics in French add allure to the loveliness, the melody is gorgeous and Britney is engaging, but it’s all over far too soon. I’m not entirely sure about Britney’s pronunciation of “coupure”, but I don’t feel inclined to bash her for that. A beautiful ending to the album.

14 Responses to "“Glory” – the official New Britneyology review!"

This has been a great read, and I got very a very different experience from the album, I do love it soo.
We have very different views of the record, my favorites are the songs like Clumsy, Love Me Down and Hard To Forget Ya, the later two are such classic pop songs and come from such a real but fun place. Hard to Forget Ya literally sounds like a song from the early 00’s and late 90’s and I find great love for it. Love Me Down is very modern and it works to its advantage and it’s fun to listen and dance too. Clumsy is modern classic and I’m so glad she showed it off before the album came out.
What You Need and Private Show to me come together as they are both jazzy and doo wop and Britney has so much FUN with those songs, and I’m glad she finally got those sounds on a record.
Do You Wanna Come Over? is also such a highlight, the guitars, the chatty parts, so glad that sound made it onto the record too. Along with Just Like Me which has that rock sentiment in a different way.
Liar is such a anthem, and so very rocky and I’m so glad she put it out there. It was great to hear.
Change Your Mind is exhilarating and I love her singing in Spanish. I love the fast singing before Change Your Mind, and the third verse in Spanish.
Better is good role model Britney, know someone before having sex with them, or I think, either way, it’s a great song, but it does need a little work.
Coupure Electrique will soon join my lullaby tracks, so sweet
Just Luv Me is well developed, and comes from such a strong place, and Cashmere Cat does such a good job with his usual warm production.
Man On The Moon initially didn’t make any sense to me, but it sound good so yeah. She described it as a positive song, and maybe it is, wanting to find her Man On The Moon and not get her heart broken again.

If I’m Dancing literally didn’t make any sense to me until like, the second week of having the album. It’s way TOO busy and way too noisy, and usually I like noise, but that man voice yipping all over the track takes me out of it, sad to say. Slumber Party took time to grow on me too, but it took much less time. Just, way too many noises. Slumber Party is fun though.
I also like how delightfully On Trend this record is, with the tropical vibe and the hypnotic vibe. This album also balances Britney’s experimentation(musically, lyrically), secret wants, personal experiences and love of sex, all at the same time. Just like she always does.

My groupings:
Amazing: Love Me Down, Hard To Forget Ya, Come Over, Just Like Me, Liar, Change Your Mind, Invitation, Make Me, What You Need, Private Show, Coupure Electrique
Good: Slumber Party, Better, Man On the Moon, Just Luv Me
Blah: If I’m Dancing, nowadays I can tolerate it and even like it, but I don’t get the buzz, the song is so over done.
Growers: If I’m Dancing, Slumber Party, Man On The Moon

The songs I want released are Love Me Down, Just Like Me, and What You Need, just shows the sounds and her experiments on the album. (and if we are including bonus tracks: Change Your Mind and Liar)
The songs other fans want released are Slumber Party, and If I’m Dancing, don’t ask me why, maybe they like noise?

I have a lot of feelings, mostly positive, and I am glad Britney fans liked it in general on the fandom on twitter, we lost a few good ones in both the Femme Fatale and Britney Jean era, and it’s nice to see her music appreciated again, but self proclaimed fans. I also like the extra promo she did.

Hi, first time poster, longtime reader and lover of Britney!

I love reading your in-depth articles, but this time I mostly agree with Suckerpunch. While Clumsy and Private Show aren’t classically “good”, in my opinion, I can’t help but like them for their sheer goofy fun. It’s about time Brit released something so intentionally comical; I’ve always thought her a natural comedienne, and these songs show that talent extends to singing as well as acting.

I liked G-Eazy in “Make Me..”. Loved his clear enunciation and relatively slow rapping (which suites the song), and wholeheartedly second the appreciation that there was no mention of vegetables in his rap! While subjective, I also thought he had good chemistry in person with Brit at the VMAs.

Finally, I ran the lyrics of “Coupure Électrique” through Google translate, and found a very probable shoutout to the album Blackout. Here are the lyrics, from AZLyrics, with Google’s translation in parentheses:
J’oublie le monde, quand tu fais (I forget the world, when you do)
Fais moi l’amour, mon amour (Make love to me, my love)
J’oublie le monde, quand tu fais (I forget the world, when you do)
Fais moi l’amour, mon amour (Make love to me, my love)
Comme une coupure électrique (Like a blackout [literally, “electrical cut/break/disconnection”])
J’oublie le monde, quand tu fais(I forget the world, when you do)
Fais moi l’amour, mon amour (Make love to me, my love)

Mon amour (My love)

Un moment avec toi (A moment with you)
Dans le noir (In the dark)
Un moment avec toi (A moment with you)
Dans le noir (In the dark)
Comme une coupure électrique (Like a blackout)
T’es la lumière (You’re the light)
T’es la lumière (You’re the light)

Thank you so much for the comments! Recognizing the many good reviews “Glory” has received, I’m fascinated that the album is capable of pleasing so many people, for so many different reasons! As a sensitive but serious old hag, I’ve probably forgotten how to have fun, so I’ve come down unfairly hard on the fun tracks. I’ve made a little amendment to acknowledge that fact.

Do you guys think the tracks are in the best possible sequence, and should any of the extra tracks on the Deluxe Edition have been swapped for any of those on the main album?

I have no complaints with the tracklisting, so that’s two albums in a row with no awkward moments (Unlike Circus with the strange, OFU+KTL and FF with random jitter of IWG-IO-HIR).
Ideally, I wished she put Liar and Change Your Mind on the standard. You can see how high I rank those songs. Liar before Just Like Me, Change Your Mind between Love Me Down and Hard to Forget Ya.

This album is amazing. Britney is owning every song, and every song has an amazing sound. I missed this Britney. I liked Femme Fatale a lot, but she was robotic on it. The album wasn’t generic, it was actually a pretty interesting album sonic wise, but it was as functional as it could possibly be.

I think Circus and and Britney Jean had its moments, but as cohesive pieces of work they failed, especially the latter, which had too many songs that felt mediocre and underwritten and were terribly produced. Circus had more amazing songs, and I really like it, butit didn’t feel very cohesive to me honestly, and there were some songs which just didn’t hit the mark.

Glory is a complete return to form. Britney hasn’t sounded like this in ages, and the songs are amazing. Slumber Party is a beautiful, breezy late summer masterpiece, those horns are masterful. Invitation is otherwordly beautiful, Change Your Mind is sensual and fresh, and If I’m Dancing is completely nuts. Man On the Moon is a bittersweet treasure, and Just Luv Me transports me somewhere peaceful. Her vocals are spine-chilling. I actually forgot she could sing like this.

I enjoy Clumsy. Honestly it’s such a Britney Spears song in the sense that it’s so weird. Mixing trance with gospel rhythms and ragtime piano lines? That sounds very Britney to me, and I think Britney’s at her best when she’s a pop weirdo. She’s never your generic popstar. And I enjoy What You Need too, her vocals are fire. I don’t enjoy Private Show that much, mainly because I don’t like the melody.

So yeah, Britney has given us another amazing album. It’s her best since Blackout and I have it on repeat since its release. Hopefully it’ll do well on charts. But if not, at least the job is done and it’s excellent.

Nobody has given Karen any credit for her review, so I will do it! I love that she has concentrated entirely on the music, refused to be influenced by Britney’s scandals and legends, or by tabloid opinions, or by other reviewers, and hasn’t used this as an opportunity to take cheap shots at “Britney Jean”. And she’s been very thorough. Sometimes we have complained that Karen doesn’t make it clear if she thinks an item is actually any good, but here she makes it very clear – even if most of us don’t agree!

Honestly, the best part about this album for me is that it’s actually Britney singing and she sounds very engaged and focused. I think that was a lot of people’s main gripe with BJ or even a few tracks on FF. Whether or not it was true, the whole Maya Marie flap and feeling like — it was’t that Britney COULDN’T sing, she just chose not to — were so frustrating and disheartening. For long time fans that have been with her since 98, Glory has been such a return to form, such a reminder that she really is a force to be reckoned with as a pop icon and an artist and producer of music.

Hi, not a regular poster here and am a formerly big Britney fan. I figured I’d get my thoughts out here.

Overall, Glory is very impressive. There’s something really scattered and chaotic about it, though. I would’t be surprised to find there were several different scrapped album ideas here, with the tracks all squashed together. The track list is awful, I changed that straight away. There’s a strange showtune theme on numerous tracks. Why would Britney lurch from showtune/jazzy 40s pop to today’s Justin Bieber R&B pop blueprint? That makes no cohesive sense. The album is frantic, exhaustive and, honestly, all over the place. I end up seeking “solace” in tracks like Better and Just Luv Me, where she breathes for a second and allows the song to just play out.

Having said that, I think it’s interesting how many little nuances and tidbits are on this album. Having two tracks on the same album called “Just Luv Me” and “Just Like Me” is no accident, that’s specific creative statement. But of what? What is she trying to say? Is she saying don’t judge a book by it’s cover, because neither track speaks to each other, and they both tackle vastly different subject matter? Or am I forcing meaning that’s not there by saying both songs are actually about the same thing: Britney’s own self perception? How did she choose to name them so similarly? How did her label agree to such similar titles? So many questions, but no one will answer them.

That’s my primary issue with this album; I feel it requires someone much more vocal about their work than Britney is about her finalised products now. I need more context, more explanation and more understanding of why Glory is what it is. I pondered about the title “Glory” for weeks, until she finally clarified her son thought of it after listening to the album in full (which is perfect btw, gives it a truly, unique personalised touch, as well as the unfiltered, unaffected summarisation from a child).

Invitation: This track is spellbinding and the first of many convincing performances from Britney. She fully embodies the role she’s playing, and I believe what she’s describing. I like the maturity in her approach too, she doesn’t sound like a little girl here even though she’s using one of her highest voices. Key lyric would be “Kinda thinking out loud”. She’s in that dreamy space where her inhibitions are lifting and she feels totally at ease in the sexual context her lover is now seeing her in. There’s something funny about the blindfold reveal too, like she knew how it would sound. The beginning of two album themes: wanting more from her sexual encounters and being the one calling the shots/controlling the situation. His reaction comes from her action. I feel like that’s new for her, lyrically but maybe not. Also “You’ll see more with your eyes closed” and Love Me Down’s “I see who you are with the lights out” seem to speak to one another.

Make Me – First week of release I was so taken with this, but the shine wore off very quickly with the mess surrounding the videos. The chorus is still a small slice of heaven, but it’s over far too soon. The verses ruin the momentum and speak-singing really didn’t suit the vibe of the song. I had Faith Hill ‘Breathe’ vibes going for the music video (particularly after that gorgeous single cover)…but instead got “Britney Spears: The Parody, featuring Product Placement” instead. I just want to forget Make Me ever happened at this point. I’ve already deleted it from iTunes.

Private Show: This one surprised me. The first time I heard it I had a raging headache and this really did not help! I’m still not sure what she thought she was doing vocally. My guess is she didn’t care because once those lyrics really get under your skin, this song is unstoppable. The energy it brings is beyond infectious and her voice is just so obnoxiously vibrant. Evoking her old school deep voice so succinctly for “All my tricks are spectacular/My encore is immaculate” – what a Moment! I also love PS because I really don’t think it could’ve been done convincingly by someone who hadn’t spent 90% of their life on stage. You realize this really IS a performance, in every sense of the word, and there’s a knowing behind her vocal work here. I get visions of her co-writing this while thinking fondly of her Vegas shows (which are technically private shows, since they constantly exist night after night but only a certain crowd sees them). I don’t even take notice of the sexual element because the performance is too captivating. I honestly adore this song.

Man On The Moon: I feel nothing for this song, sadly. It covers ground Alien already covered much more convincingly. We know Britney hasn’t dated in a while, and she rather brashly swore off men for the foreseeable future in Carpool Karaoke, so there’s no truth to this song that I can determine from a distance. Of course that doesn’t mean it means nothing to her, but it feels false to me somehow. I do like the insecurity theme and how interesting that Britney has gone from Mrs Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous to “I’m invisible”. Also in Private Show, she says “We don’t need crowds”. Her post 2007 life is shaping a different worldview but I still feel there’s no direction. This song doesn’t go anywhere. Not that it has to. The production doesn’t interest me at all either.

Just Luv Me: Ever since she cryptically tweeted this title months ago, I’ve kept this in mind. Maybe I knew it’d be my favorite track? It’s the exact sort of dark, moody, contemplative pop I like to sink my teeth into. My only criticism is the chorus was wasted and feels lazy. Still, this is perfect and I should stop dreaming of a black-and-white dance studio focused video of Britney performing the lyrics to herself in a mirror right now because it’ll never happen!

Clumsy: I feel like this is doomed to be the second single just because it has the classic structure of pop radio songs today and it’s classic sex kitten Britney. It’s not boring exactly, it’s just the usual. The “oops” and beat drop is fun, of course, it sounds good in your ear. But the odd jazz/scat tune and Britney singing through her nose about a sex partner we know she doesn’t have just makes me think this was recorded because it will sell by default of being a Britney song with half a pulse. A lazy single choice if it becomes one and lazy filler with good production.

Do You Wanna Come Over: I like the tiny aside hidden in the lyrics where she says they don’t have to have sex if he doesn’t want to. Again with the hinting towards wanting more than just mindless carnal fun. Like Clumsy, it’s all high energy, no substance for the most part.

Slumber Party: This one tries to at least sound enticing and intimate. It reminds me of Rihanna’s “Loveeee Song”, an equally hypnotising track that’s also mostly about sex, but the vocal performance hints at an emotional craving, yearning of some sort. I like when her voice fades into the music on the words “slumber partyyyy”, and I like her ad-libs toward the end. It’s all a bit too Kylie Minogue for me to really love, but this would be a much more ideal, different single choice if she and her team ever wanted to change a few minds about her, sonically, without abandoning the sex kitten selling point.

Just Like Me: I wish she’d stuck with the acoustic vibe of the verses. I don’t like the sudden switch to 90s Madonna on the chorus. It’s ineffective. The lyrical content is a goldmine though. Her devastation comes from being easily replaced, being good enough on the surface but not good enough for him on the inside. What does it mean when someone is just like you, but they’re not YOU? Something is intuitively wrong with her, she feels, and her wistful, almost casual performance says she’s 5 seconds away from blaming herself for his cheating. That is, until she comes back with “She can have you!”. A lot to unpack here, a very layered story. I just have no expectations for her to even acknowledge this song so I end up avoiding it. Why bother?

Love Me Down: the only other obvious single choice, in my opinion. I expected to be turned off by the bratty, foot stamping vocal performance but its actually quite addictive and she pulls it off (where someone like Fergie sounds ridiculous using this same voice). I like how the song just spins around and falls all over itself and the chorus actually creates the “down down dowwwwwwnnn” feeling very accurately. This song also struck me as being almost identical to Showdown. I imagine this is the song people think of when comparing Glory to In The Zone because honestly? Love Me Down would fit on that album seamlessly. The tiny operatic “ohh!”s in the bridge remind me of old Max Martin 00s pop. Lyrically, there’s really nothing of note here, though “I see who you are with the lights off” is interesting.

Hard To Forget Ya: I have no idea why this song is on the album. It’s fine, I don’t hate it but…why? Why does it exist? What is she talking about? What does she like about this song? Why does it sound like an Oops reject? What is that melody on “shaking in the heat of the night” that everyone knows is from something but can’t place it? Maybe this confusion was the intention. I feel like Britney forgot it’s not 2001 anymore with this track. It feels very outdated.

What You Need: I cringed when I read some Britney fans saying “Show this to people who think Britney can’t sing!”. Yikes. If this is what “good singing” sounds like to the casual listener, god help us. I don’t think it’s a disaster, it’s just…she’s 34. She sounds like a 15 year old girl. Why Britney still enjoys the little girl voice is just another question I’m never going to get answered. Why her label still enjoys hearing it is beyond me too. Even Paris Hilton has long ditched her baby voice. I don’t know why Britney and Fergie are still so insistent on pushing the “I’m a sexy baby!” theme (and I wish Melanie Martinez would quit it too!) but any potential this song had (and tbh it had a LOT) is ruined with the ridiculous childish cries. So I obviously dig the few deeper notes, and it is kinda cool to hear her go from super high to SUUUPER low on “…it’s winner’s time”. At least she’s having fun.

Better: Yes, this is much better, Brit! Another obvious single choice. Catchy as hell, not mindlessly repetitive, still has the beat drop, presents a different take on sexual encounters and sounds like something a sexually active single mom in her thirties would be experiencing in her life. It’s totally reasonable to imagine Britney has had this (s)experience. That unexpected, slightly inappropriate chemistry she has with Mario Lopez and the rumours surrounding them – this song is a much more accurate, honest depiction of that strange “in between” place relationships can go when you’re a bit older. You can have a hot night one time, then go back to business the next day, or maybe forever. The final outro where she breathes “better, better” is just…hot. I like the twists and turns of the beat and the “so good so damn so good” bridge is very original and somehow perfectly suits the song while sounding nothing like it!

Change Your Mind: This is just me, but it grinds my gears that she uses “perfect specimen” wrong in the first verse. She’s trying to say he’s well behaved and classy but that’s not what “perfect specimen” means! Aaah! Anyway, the song is fun enough but again, feels a bit outdated.

Liar: I’ve noticed this song is quite popular but to me it’s very generic. I’ve only listened a few times so maybe that’s the problem.

If I’m Dancing: This took a few listens to get used to. I really dig the sudden stop and “Did you get that?” moment, like what the hell is that?! The song reminds me of a posh French club for some reason. It sounds like anonymous club pop that’s just trying to put into words the odd experience of deliberately drinking mind altering chemicals in order to slow your thought process down so you can move against a stranger in a room full of people all moving to a set beat. Basically it sounds like my mind when I’m drunk in a club LOL.

Coupure Électrique: Unanswered Glory question #343938: why did she sing in several different languages? She kinda did answer this one; because she hadn’t sung in French or Spanish before. OK. Not the explanation I was looking for. Maybe this is a transitional album for Britney and she’s having trouble expressing her overall point. So she’s even turning to non-English methods of communication to express in a way her own language might not allow. Does it feel different to sing in French? Did she dislike the song in English? Did she write it in English? This is where Glory gets me, I can’t stop thinking about HOW it came to be but there’s no way for me to know. The song honestly doesn’t do much for me but I still want to learn all about it.

Right now, Glory just exists. It’s fast becoming ‘just another Britney album’ because she only offers bare minimum promotion and interviews to contextualise it. It leaves me wanting more but not in a good way, like when I can’t find a word that’s on the tip of my tongue. I definitely like the album, but only about 50% of it. Mostly it just makes me feel like this: “????!!!!????”.

No song on this album touches my heart the way first album hits like “Born to Make You Happy” and “Sometimes” did. I really feel those old ballads are Britney’s secret weapon. My god, what I wouldn’t give to see her sing them live to the best of her ability in a stripped down set during her Vegas show. Her whole show seems to be songs about seductive and hardcore sex. Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s a craving for the romantic Britney to reemerge. Just you watch the reaction if she brought back those songs.

You know what, I listened to the “Oops” album in the car recently and realised that something unique has been lost over the years. There was something incredibly touching and innocent in her voice back then, and her songs explored so many emotions. It was a unique combination, and this was probably what laid the foundation for her supremely devoted fanbase. I’m thinking of writing an article that compares and contrasts “Oops” and “Glory”. Any opinions would be very welcome.

that would be interesting, to me, OOPs made me a fan so yay

Have you heard the Japanese bonus track Mood Ring?

Hi Naaman! xoxoxoxox What have you been up to since SBUK folded? Um… no, I’ve been a bad fan and haven’t heard “Mood Ring”. But I shall do so, this very day!

Tell us your thoughts. Maybe in an in-depth review? It’s a beautifully sinister and sexy song.

Comments are closed.


  • Sarah Giansanti: First off, yeah! I've missed your writing haha Secondly, I've always been baffled of how people can say Britney's not a singer... Derr, that's her
  • Aline: Great article as usual. Please Karen, never stop writing for the site. I love your thoughts about our queen!
  • Karenannanina: Thanks Craig! I didn't realise I'd left some tracks out. I'll see what I can do!