Review: Britney Spears Releases Bold but Flawed 'Britney Jean'

"Passenger" counts among its co-writers, Katy Perry and Sia, which makes one wonder if it was a "Prism" reject. Again, Britney is putting on a way-too-forceful vocal tone, awkwardly pushing the words out. "Don't Cry," the standard album ender, gives way to a middle-of-the-road ballad. As Britney sings, she sounds like someone who has been crying, especially when her voice cracks on the word "survive."

Other than the "Perfume" remix, the deluxe edition offers three passable ballads with "Brightest Morning Star," "Hold On Tight" and "Now That I Found You." The latter suffers though when it picks up the pace during the chorus and morphs into what can essentially be described as electro-dance hoe-down, with what could be a synth banjo buried deeply in the mix. I still say these bonus tracks should've been on the standard edition, because they offer a nice wrap up to the album.

I can't quite recommend "Britney Jean." It's a conflicted record with too many flaws to be considered even good on the whole, but it does show some promise. Britney Spears is still very much a pop confection, but those repeated lines in "Perfume" ultimately almost save the day. For one fleeting moment, she had me smiling.

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