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Britney Spears 'Britney Jean' album sampler released, showcase inconsistent album from will.i.am's heavy hand [REVIEW]

by Carolyn Menyes   Nov 20, 2013 14:54 PM EST

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A little less than two weeks remain until the release of Britney Spears' eighth studio album Britney Jean. Unfortunately for the "Perfume" singer, the album has begun leaking like mad. Tracks such as "Alien," "Don't Cry" and "Brightest Morning Star" have already arrived online prematurely.

To help combat the leaks of Britney Jean, Spears and her team are starting to rollout the album on their own. First stop? A full album sampler with short snippets of each of the record's 14 songs.

To fit with Britney Jean's snippets being released, Music Times will do a short snippet track review for each of the songs. Check out first impressions of Britney Jean below:

1. "Alien" -- This funky track (which experienced a full demo leak on Monday) has gotten some vocal reworking in the pre-chorus. The dips and sways add to the bouncy feeling of the track, and with "Alien," it seems like Britney Jean is off to a good futuristic pop start.

2. "Work B*tch" -- The album's lead single continues the warbling, electronic vocals from "Alien" with a strong club backing. There's little more to be said about this song that hasn't already been done, so let's move on.

3. "Perfume" -- The second single is notably stronger than "Work B*tch" and captures old school Britney in a way that hasn't been heard in years. Excuse the lame lyric video; this song is a winner.

4. "It Should Be Easy," feat. will.i.am -- will.i.am is a music ruiner (just ask Tyler, the Creator). Despite his lameness, Spears is banking on the success of the bland as hell "Scream & Shout" and hired the former Black Eyed Pea to produce a large chunk of Britney Jean, which is quite worrisome (and we're only on song 4). On the track where he officially features, there are recycled, generic EDM beats and some vague lyrics about partying. Color me surprised. This snippet sucks. Next.

5. "Tik Tik Boom," feat. T.I. -- While I was hoping this would be a cover of The Hives' 2007 single of the same name, that is not the case. Here Spears wants you to make her "tik tik boom," which is sort of TMI if you think about it for more than a second. Once again, there's the generic EDM vibe and some classic Spears nasally vocals. I bet will.i.am had his hand in this song too.

6. "Body Ache" -- Mid-album is obviously where Spears goes electronic, which is fine. She's never been one to break any crazy new musical ground (except with her debut single "Baby, One More Time") but simply following the established pattern of what's known to sell big in 2013... Seriously, damn you, will.i.am. I can't even tell the fully realized difference between tracks 4 through 6.

7. "'Til It's Gone" -- We continue the adventure of Britney in EDM land on "'Til It's Gone." This track seems to be a little more insightful lyric wise, and Spears doesn't get lost in the instrumentation like she does with the previous three songs. Chalk this up as a win, I guess.

8. "Passenger" -- This song seems like a good middle ground between the crazy will.i.am electronic hand (from which I'm still recovering) and the essence of Spears herself. Spears opens up about wanting someone else to lead her for a little while with some solid vocals and a strong mid-tempo pop beat.

9. "Chillin' With You," feat. Jamie Lynn -- The first 20 seconds of this snippet shine. Spears sounds light and happy in a seemingly love ballad about having a relaxed love. Then this weird tribal beat comes in and everything goes to hell in a computerized hand basket.

10. "Don't Cry" -- The closer of the standard edition of Britney Jean is a strong break up anthem. The final track on any pop album isn't necessarily going to be the strongest, but for Britney Jean, it's nice to hear Spears return to form.

11. "Brightest Morning Star" -- This song shines just like Spears' love interest in this song. It's light and airy enough to refresh listeners from the mess that is the middle of this album and manages to feel hopeful and sparkly in all the right ways. It's easy to imagine what Britney Jean could have been when listening to this bonus track.

12. "Hold On Tight" -- Like "Perfume," this song also oozes of old school Britney. She ventures into ballad territory without oversinging and manages to get her love message across.

13. "Now That I Found You" -- Spears seems to finally truly open up here, singing about a love that saved her from herself on this penultimate track on a deluxe edition that shines more than the standard version. "Now That I Found You" is touching without being cheesy and manages to incorporate dance music elements without being overbearing. Kudos.

14. "Perfume (The Dreaming Mix)" -- The real standout track from the front half of Britney Jean gets an acoustic guitar backing and some heavier drums in this remix, in a sense that really works. A bonus track by ever definition of the term, the Dreaming Mix of "Perfume" works just as well as the original.

As a whole, from this seven-minute preview of Britney Jean, the album seems wildly inconsistent. The heavy, evil hand of will.i.am slaughtered the middle third of what was supposed to be Spears' most personal album to date. Instead, there are generic EDM beats and boring, vague lyrics.

Spears does manage to break away and shine at times. There's "Perfume" and the William Orbit produced "Alien" that make for a strong start to the album. Surprisingly, the four bonus Britney Jean tracks have more personality and relatability than half the tracks on the normal version, raising the question about who picked the tracklisting.

Listen to the Britney Jean snippets below:

Britney Jean, Spears' eighth studio album, will arrive in stores on Dec. 3.

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