Sunday, November 30, 2008

the Circus starring Britney Spears

it's been a month of Britney here at the Tribune. her new album, Circus, comes out on her 27th birthday, this Tuesday. and tonight on MTV (and on MuchMusic in Canadia), the much-previewed documentary Britney: For the Record premieres. And I bet by the end of the week I will be scrambling to get tickets to her tour -- which hopefully will come to Toronto, or else I'm travelling for Britters.

let's walk through the Circus, track by track. You can stream the entire album on B's website, if you want to play along.

y'all know "Womanizer" by heart now. my favorite part of this is singing along to the "just-just what you are-are-are" part. fuck that's fun! and that is what Britney Spears songs are best for. having a dance party. Title track/second single "Circus" didn't knock me off my chair at first, but once it gets going (all eyes on me in the center of the ring...) it's killer. And the video is going to be all sexy fire ringleader shiz.

"Out From Under" is a proper ballad and while it's prolly a bit personal for Britney, it ain't the best song. It's no "Not A Girl," no "Everytime"; it's more of a "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know." I'll sing along but I won't be feelin' it, you know? A maybe skip the track for me.

But if you do skip that track, you land on one of my favorites on the album: "Kill the Lights." This song is about paparazzi fucknuts, but mostly it's just a fun dance party. "Shattered Glass" will drive you crazy if you don't like Britney cuz she doesn't sing "glass," she sings "gla-eee-ass" and she says it nearly 1,000 times. But near the end of the song it goes all crazy electronic mess-around and gets fun.

"If U Seek Amy" is my other top shelf song. It's playful and catchy and bombastic. The joke with the "if u seek amy" sounding like "f-u-c-k me" is a bit juvenile, sure, but this song is awesomesauce. "Unusual You" was EW's standout song in their otherwise tepid review; I find it a little bit depressing. The object of her affection is so unusual because he hasn't broken her heart yet, and is where he says he'll be. :(

Things get creepy with "Blur" -- this song is about waking up in someone's bed, not knowing how you got there or if you had sex with them. (Who are you? What'd we do last night?...Hope I didn't but I think I might have.) It's like the less-fun sequel to "Early Mornin" from In the Zone. The one track I can't bear to listen to: "Mmm Papi." Even the title gives me the shudders. Let's not talk about it.

But we get right back on track with "Mannequin," which is as good as anything on Blackout. "Lace and Leather" sounds like a Prince song from the '90s, i.e. kinda pervy and totally killer. Skip "My Baby" -- I feel mean to say that, 'cause it's about how much Britney loves her kids, but it's a descendent of "Dear Diary" from Oops... And for those of you not familiar with the deep Brit tracks, that means it barely has a melody and is impossibly Hallmarky.

Inexplicably, "Radar" from Blackout appears again here. It's a great song but ...? "Rock Me In" is not much to write home about, but fun and dancey. At first, I thought "Phonography" would be about the study of phonographs. But no, it's a combo of phone and pornography. This song is about how dirty talking on the phone is super sexy times. (Side note: my blog is going to start popping up in some interesting google searches. thanks Britney.) It's like that *Nsync song "Digital Getdown," only with more phone euphemisms than you ever imagined were possible. Content aside, the song is pretty wicked.

There's a few bonus tracks -- "Trouble" (haven't heard it) and "Amnesia" (really love it; i would have replaced "Mmm Papi" with this track) -- and that's it, kids. Show's over.

Britney gets in her requisite number of baby babys and overall, I'd say this album is only 5% less awesome than Blackout. Blackout was ballad- and "Mmm Papi"–free so there was nary a track skipped. Circus gets a solid A from me. I wish that Britney would sometimes sing about things other than partying and boys and sex. But if I were in her position, I wouldn't want to share anything earnestly personal with the world either. And we'll get a glimpse of why not in tonight's documentary: all eyes on B in the center of the ring just like a circus.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

As a fellow unabashed Britney fan (who just finished watching For the Record), I mostly agree with your post. I love-love-love the title track - easily my favorite.

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that "If You Seek Amy" took me awhile to get, but I love that one, too.

The other highlight for me is "Amnesia" - awesome sound.

"Mmm Papi" and "Trouble" are kind of meh -- but I certainly think that Circus is just as good as, if not better than, Blackout.

Crissy Calhoun said...

i still haven't heard "trouble"! but i guess i won't have to wait long...

after watching For the Record, i had "Out From Under" in my head. Did you love the film? So sad and charming and lovely to see her talking, finally.