“There are two types of people in the world”, Ms Spears states two songs in, on the title track of her sixth album. These, in case you were wondering, are “the ones who entertain, and the ones who observe”. On ‘Kill The Lights’ a hapless photographer is asked “Is that money in your pocket or are you happy to see me?”, while ‘Blur’ finds Brit waking up next to someone strange and demanding: “Who are you? And what’d we do last night?” Another (slap-bass heavy) song is entitled ‘Lace And Leather’. Yup, what we have here, people, is the umpteenth attempt to
turn the perceived chaos of Britney’s transitition to adulthood – she’s 27 next week! – into sleazy, raunchy, dirrty adult-pop product.
Which would be fine, except for one large problem: Britney Spears is quite simply rubbish at being sexy. Her voice – treated and autotuned to within an inch of its life throughout – still sounds like that of the Mouseketeer who brought us ‘…Baby One More Time’, with every breathy “Mmmm… yeah!” and all the oh-so-naughty lyrics, such as the ones above, sounding forced and unconvincing. Of course, on a large number of the tracks here she has the solidly cool-sounding (no doubt expensive) backdrop of futur’n’b pop over which to wail other people’s words about just how difficult and mad =her life is (“It’s like Groundhog Day,” she claimed in an interview recently).
Truth is, though, she sounds most at home on sickly sweet, maudlin closer ‘My Baby’. Which might just say it all about who she really is.