Album Review: Britney Spear's Glory

Britney Spears new record, Glory, is the kind of album fans have long been waiting for from the pop star. It's as cohesive as her best records (2007's Blackout and 2003's In the Zone) but this album focuses on her considerable (and often forgotten) vocal talents and a breezy aesthetic that make Glory not only the best summer record this year, but the best record of Spear's career.

The album is mostly set in a cozy, luxurious bedroom where Brit plays the sexiest mom-next-door ever. She calls listeners in with the soft "Invitation," and continues the theme with the single "Make Me," the campy "Private Show," "Just Love Me" (her best slow-groove ballad in a decade), the thumping come-on "Clumsy," dance masterpiece "Do You Wanna Come Over?," and the burlesque-ready "Slumber Party." In contrast to previous efforts, these tunes vary in tone from intimate ("Just Love Me") to playful ("Do You Wanna Come Over?") but their productions avoid clutter and focus Spear's enigmatic voice. She can coo, whisper, groan, and warble with more dexterity than ever. There's a reason she's one of the most iconic vocalists of the last 20 years, and Glory allows her to show the many shades of her voice.

She can even belt when she's called to. In "What You Need," Spears goes balls-to-wall delivering a funk-influenced come-on that feels like a lost Duffy gem. At the end of the song, she closes the record saying, "That was fun," and that's the whole point: Britney Spears enjoyed making this music. Glory shines because it is a pleasure to hear Spears having such a good time.

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