Today, four years after its release, Britney Spears’ latest album Glory re-entered the iTunes charts. Unexpectedly, the 2016 record reached number five on the overall album ranking and number one in the pop category. At the time of its release, Glory only managed to debut at number three on the Billboard chart, continuing the trend Britney started after her iconic Blackout dropped: minimal promotion and relying on hardcore fans, without whom every single one of those albums would have flopped miserably.
After the disastrous Britney Jean, one of the worst and most carelessly made pop albums in modern history, Glory seemed like a light at the end of the tunnel, like a boy interested in you five minutes before the bar closes. A new hope.
Despite the awkwardness, which these days, sadly, is kind of synonymous with Spears, Glory era blessed the fans with a few special treats. Her interviews had a little bit more depth(like the funny, yes, actually funny interview with Jonathan Ross), she performed at the VMAs with G-Eazy (it wasn’t that good, but at least she could be arsed to perform somewhere, uh) and even played a special Apple Music Festival set in London.
The record itself turned to be surprisingly good. The singer admitted getting inspiration from Selena’s album Revival, especially in the opening track Invitation. Raunchy Do You Wanna Come Over? reminded everyone of the iconic Blackout. She even included foreign languages on her album for the first time in her career, which was a clear sign she cared and wanted to experiment, wanted to go somewhere with her music. She also sang the album’s closing track in French. Obviously, she ain’t Christine And The Queens, but at least she tried.
What went wrong, then?
I am one of those who believe that 2013’s Britney Jean, again, one of the worst pop albums I’ve ever heard in my life, is to blame for Glory‘s bad performance at the time of its release.
Let’s go back in time, revisit 2013 again and look a little closer. Back then, the singer was about to announce the Vegas residency. Her team decided it would be a great idea to support it with a brand new album and a proper stiff, forced documentary. I mean, whatever floats your boat. The record, which was promoted as Britney’s the most personal, managed to create more scandals than I had incidents of alcohol poisoning. People quickly started talking, blogging, tweeting, bitching.
The online drama started just a few weeks after the album announcement. The awkward documentary I Am Britney Jean was off-putting AF, the hand-written letter to her fans turned out to be written by someone else, originally. There was also a Britney x Sia scandal, as the Australian singer who back then was on top of her charts, admitted she wrote the song Perfume by herself in a few minutes, despite Britney claiming she had written the song together with Sia during a proper writing session. Nasty gal.
The songs were embarrassing too. Making Will.I.Am an executive producer was like making Katie Hopkins an immigration officer. Bad idea. The song called It Should Be Easy, featuring the Black Eyed Peas legend himself is still, years later, one of the reasons why I can’t get a proper good night sleep.
The rumours claiming Britney didn’t even sing on the album, hiring Myah Marie, back up singer with a similar voice to sing Brit’s parts was when people said enough.
It’s a shame. Glory, which came out three years later, was a really good pop album. Songs like Just Luv Me or Just Like Me had this intimate Circus vibe. Love Me Down and Liar could have been chart-toppers.
Let’s all hope Glory wasn’t her last ever release. We all know she can do well. She can do better.
Stream Glory, babes.