Britney Spears premiered the second single from her upcoming 8th studio album “Britney Jean” on Facebook this evening, and it’s a total home run. Co-written with Sia Furler and produced by album executive producer will.i.am, “Perfume” is a lush ballad full of piano, stirring synths, sweeping strings, and Britney’s shockingly raw vocals (well, for her standards). Seriously though, Britney Spears sounds like a human being again and there’s no trace of that strange British accent she occasionally puts on. It’s incredibly refreshing.
True to her word, “Perfume” is a much more personal record than we’re used to hearing from Britney. Sure, the real Britney may spend a lot of time drinking Frappuccinos and schlepping around her kids, but pop star Britney is usually found in the club, dancing on tables and sizing up hotties. There’s none of that fiction here. “Perfume” is just a song about feeling insecure – and a little jealous – in a relationship. Second guessing yourself, second guessing your partner – you know, things we’ve all probably done at some point or another. These are human things, not pop star things.
Britney’s changed a lot since her very public mental break in 2007. She’s world-weary now, sometimes appearing a little withdrawn or even robotic in interviews. And although I think she did a lot to rehabilitate her image with her weekly judging stint on X Factor last season, fans and the general public alike have continued to struggle to connect with the former teen idol. “Perfume” takes Britney off of her perfect pop star pedestal for a moment and brings her back down to earth. It’s a good look (and sound) for her. Sure, there will always be a place for party anthems in Britney’s music, but I think the lukewarm response to lead single “Work Birth” indicates that that’s not all the world wants to hear from her. “Perfume” is a step in the right musical direction. The chorus may feel a little small at first, but repeated listens have proven to me that it’s just the right size.
Check out “Perfume” via YouTube below. Pre-order “Britney Jean” on iTunes and get “Perfume” instantly!