Can you feel it? It’s almost Britney Season. That’s right, it appears as though Britney Spears is coming back with new music from her highly anticipated ninth studio set very soon, as reports surfaced earlier this week that a new single, “Make Me (Oooh),” is imminent, and an album will be issued in the coming months.
We’re all excited to see what Brit has up her sleeve, but what if I said I have certain requests for the follow-up to 2013’s uneven Britney Jean? Would you… hold it against me?
From collaborators to lyrical themes to the lack of a certain Iggy Azalea team-up, here are the 10 things we need from Britney Spears’ ninth album. Click on to see our requests for what is sure to be one of the year’s biggest pop LPs.
The Swedish pop genius has been helping Brit ever since the beginning of her career (as in, he wrote and co-produced “…Baby One More Time”), and helped engineer her latest comeback with a handful of Femme Fatale smashes. You know what album Martin was not involved in? 2013’s Britney Jean! Britney’s next album doesn’t necessarily need to be Femme Fatale 2.0, but we’ll take a few high-speed Max Martin electro-pop bangers on there, thank you very much.
Along with Max Martin, the other executive producer on Femme Fatale was Lukasz Gottwald, a.k.a. The Notorious Dr. Luke. Britney needs no part of his controversy and alleged wretchedness; Femme Fatale was great, but look at what’s already happening to Jennifer Lopez, whose new single “Ain’t Your Mama” was produced by Dr. Luke.
The best moments of Britney Jean were either contemplative tracks like “Perfume” and “Passenger” or dance spasms like “Work Bitch,” but what was missing was anything resembling heat. This decade deserves its own “I’m a Slave 4 U,” “Gimme More” or even “Lace and Leather” from Britney Spears… and its own “Toxic” when it comes to devastatingly sexy music videos.
Britney Jean was billed as Britney’s most personal album upon its 2013 lead-up, and it was sort of personal, but also rather guarded in its approach. We need some intimacy this time around, with real vulnerability coming from an artist who has grown from child to adult to mother in the spotlight but still has so much to share with her fans. Who is Britney, right now? A lot of people would like to find out.
Speaking of showcasing Brit’s personality, let’s get some riffing on these tracks! We don’t need anything as quotable as “It’s Britney, bitch,” but hearing Spears toy around with her latest batch of melodies and sprinkle some fairy dust on top of them would be a major plus.
Earlier this year, Britney’s manager Larry Rudolph declared that the follow-up to Britney Jean is “different, it's a turn. The last few albums have been pretty straightforward pop. This is almost like if you can imagine Britney meets The Weeknd. It's got a really interesting vibe, it's a lot of really cool stuff.” The Weeknd comparison is intriguing. On one hand, Britney could be emphasizing storytelling, propulsive R&B and damaged love; on the other hand, she could be singing about drug abuse and sex with models. Proceed with caution.
Going with Sia was the right decision for Britney Jean, but “Perfume” got us only halfway there. We need a new “Everytime,” a stunning showcase of Brit’s softer side. Maybe it’s time to call up Diane Warren and get that long-awaited follow-up to 2000’s “When Your Eyes Say It”?
Remember “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Boys”? Those were 15 years ago, but Britney and Pharrell Williams are still running as pop luminaries, and deserve to link back up again. Pharrell’s GIRL solo set is only two years old; imagine Britney’s own “Come Get It Bae,” and try to keep yourself from salivating.
More than anything, Britney Spears’ ninth studio set needs to have a cohesive feel and theme, based on her track record of soaring when her vision is fully captured within a full-length. Britney was not a girl, not yet a woman on Britney; she was fed up and ready to take names on Blackout; she wanted us to dance until the world ends on Femme Fatale. Those eras, and our collective memories of them, are etched in stone. What’s next for Britney? It’s hard to say, but it’s (almost) time to kill the lights and let her next opus start rolling.