It's easy to dismiss Britney Spears as the flavour of the month, and to view her string of recent hits as mere flashes in the pan. Her newest (self-titled) album, though, puts the lie to this easy dismissal - not only is "Britney" one of the season's better pop collections, it showcases Spears' growing maturity and proves, quite conclusively, that she's nowhere close to being a one-hit wonder.
The album begins with the smoky "I'm A Slave 4 U", which combines funk beats and Arabian rhythms into a very catchy single. This is followed almost immediately by my pick for the album's best track, "Overprotected", which has enough attitude to scare most parents into thinking twice about having teenagers. The slow strains of "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" provide a minor respite, but Britney goes into overdrive with the very upbeat "Anticipating", the not-quite-a-fairy-tale "Cinderella" and the made-for-the-dance-floor "Bombastic Love" - all of which make this album well worth the purchase price.
In keeping with past tradition of covering classic singles (can you say "Satisfaction"?), there's even a fairly good cover of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" on "Britney"; purists will hate it but everyone else will probably find it acceptable. I'm not sure if "What It's Like To Be Me" is autobiographical in nature; even if it's not, it's good to the ears, and quite in keeping with the standard set by the other tracks on this album.
It's not often that a pop star succeeds in reinventing herself, and her music; the experiment too often ends in failure. Fortunately, "Britney" succeeds in this endeavour; the album is a well-crafted piece of pop/dance ear candy, and you should pick up a copy right away.This article was first published on 16 Nov 2001.