We love a good comeback or five, don’t we? And since burning out in the mid-aughts and then blazing back with 2007’s Blackout, the indestructible institution known as Britney Spears has made a career out of comebacks, releasing a rollercoaster of peaking- and plummeting-career albums throughout her two-decade reign. Perhaps her biggest music slump came just a few years ago, in 2013, when Britney Jean tanked fast and hard on the charts. No wonder: Who thought the world needed a “personal” album (WTF with the shlocky EDM and chipmunk-level vocal manipulation and religious innuendo?) from someone so aloof that we all breathe a sigh of relief when she actually appears to be having a good time? The reception to “deep” Spears was ill-received, and that’s something her ninth studio album, Glory, recognizes and thankfully forgoes, opening with an ethereal lead-in that piggybacks off Selena Gomez’s hypnotic latest.
As it eases into its own urban flavor, Glory delivers almost purely on the basis that Britney is best when she’s merely hawking her brand of elusiveness, writhing over suggestive come-hithers. And oh, is there writhing. From slow and sustained (“Invitation” and “Just Luv Me”) to the floor-dropping kind (“Do You Want to Come Over?” and “Clumsy”), Spears has a one-track mind. This girl just wants to have fun, y’all. That giggle at the end of the swinging classic Britney romp “Private Show?” There’s actual joy present. And personality! And she’s singing! Work, bitch? This time, you bet she is. When all’s said and done, when “Liar” storms in and she’s taking that chorus to the sky, you realize the Holy Spearit has risen once again.
Three and half stars
— Chris Azzopardi
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.