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This Day in Pop: Britney Spears releases 'Britney Jean' album in 2013 (November 29)


This Day in Pop: Britney Spears releases 'Britney Jean' album in 2013 (November 25)  

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Since November 25, 2013, Britney Spears had had her eighth studio album Britney Jean out for free streaming through the iTunes store and iTunes radio. However, the official release would come on November 29 in Australia and some European countries, December 02 in the UK, and on December 03 in the United States. Japan received their edition on December 04, which included some bonus remixes.

 

Executive produced by will.i.am, with whom she had already collaborated in 2011 on Big Fat Bass, 2012 on Scream & Shout and early 2013 on the remix for the latter, the album features mostly pop and EDM sounds, with a mixture of up-tempo club bangers and ballads. Announced as her most personal album ever, the lyrics talk about a variety of topics, covering aspects of fame and its effects, in songs such as Work ***** and Alien, heartbreaks and breakups in Perfume or Til It's Gone and even touches more spiritual themes in songs such as Brightest Morning Star and Now That I Found You. The album features will.i.am himself on the track It Should Be Easy, rapper T. I. on Tik Tik Boom and her sister Jamie Lynn on Chillin' With You.

The standard version of the album leaked online on November 20, days ahead of the planned release date. About the event Britney tweeted: "To those of you listening to the leaks... I hope you love... I made this album specifically for my diehard fans so I'm just hoping every song touches you because each one is a piece of me:fakecry_christina_aguilera_xtina_crying_tears_wipe_sad:

 

The album debuted and peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200, with the lowest first-week sales out of all of her albums since ...Baby One More Time, 107K units. Which was still impressive considering the leak two weeks prior, the week of free streaming and the lack of promo. It went #1 in China and #2 in Venezuela though, reaching Top 15, Top 20 and Top 30 in the majority of the other countries it charted.

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No more singles were released besides the two that had already been put out before the album release: Work ***** and Perfume. On her documentary I Am Britney Jean, Alien was suggested to be released as a third single eventually, but this never happened. Audio clips for Now That I Found You and It Should Be Easy were uploaded to her Youtube channel in 2014, but nothing happened afterwards. In the following months, several songs of the album were sent to various radio stations across the US for testing purposes. Radio campaigns organized mostly by Exhalers were done in order to request such songs on each of the stations. It Should Be Easy was eventually sent to radio stations in Italy too.

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Though they weren't released for commercial purposes, official remixes for It Should Be Easy and Tik Tik Boom were issued in early 2014, but they were sent to nightclubs exclusively. Some fanmade CD's are still making the rounds on the internet.

 

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Where it all began

As early as August 2012, while she was participating on The X Factor as a judge, anticipation for her eighth studio album started to show in the music scene, since this record would mark the end of her recording contract, which was owned by RCA after they absorbed Jive Records in 2011, the original label that had signed Britney Spears. People such as L. A. Reid, co-judge on the show, and Barry Weiss, the former head of Jive, showed interest in getting Britney to join their respective record labels after she was done with "B8". (She ultimately renewed her contract with RCA).

In October, "Blackout" was trending on Twitter for the fifth anniversary of the album, to which Britney took notice and teased a follow up to the record with a tweet: "I heard Happy Birthday Blackout was trending earlier... thank u all for loving the album as much as I do. Blackout 2.0?"

It ended up being a "Blackout 2.0" indeed, only in the sense that they both failed to hit the Top spot on the Billboard 200 chart, and they both lacked of promo performances or a corresponding tour as the other albums of hers did. Also because they're both fan favorites :jj_janet_smirk_hehe_haha_lmao_lol_giggle:

 

It was earlier that October that she was seen on The X Factor with old collaborator Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins at the studio, while she was receiving a call from Simon. It was denied by her reps that they were working together on new music though, but in early 2013 it was confirmed that even though in early stages, she had started to work with "inspiring producers" like Hit-Boy (who remixed Scream & Shout). will.i.am was also confirmed to be part of the project.

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Another person denied by her reps was Elijah Blake, who had told MTV in December 2012 that he had spent some time at the studio with Britney: "I would say it's definitely the 'unexpected' Britney in so many ways, in that she's playing with new textures and stomping on new grounds and genres. From talking to her, she's definitely trying to push the envelope this time — and really talk from a more personal point of view, and with Rodney Jerkins by her side, I'm hella excited. You're talking about Darkchild, the guy who changes music over and over again and never runs out of ideas. This album is gonna be crazy!"

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At the set of the music video of Scream & Shout (Remix) Hit-Boy commented to MTV about working with Britney:

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"I'm bringing my world to her world, so I'm infusing what I do in hip-hop and bringing pop elements to it. So it's just going to be a global sound,"

"We've just been throwing ideas back and forth so far. So I can't really put a number on it or anything but it's coming together."

"I mean she's actually just really nice and cool. It's nothing different than working with everyone else, just a really cool person."

"I mean Britney, I mean she's amazing. She's been around for years and she's gonna to continue to do her thing. I wanted to just show people that I'm not just a hip-hop producer, that I'm not just an urban world [and] that I'm just a music maker in general. And I can make quality stuff no matter what it is and when she reached out it's like so perfect ... to make it happen. So we went in the studio and we started making some ideas already. And it's coming out nice, so I'm excited about that."

He ultimately didn't appear on the album :pieceofwhat_britney_awkward: Other collaborators that didn't make the cut were Scoop DeVille and Wiz Khalifa. On her interview with Shape magazine, Britney commented “the record is definitely going to be more hip-hop than pop this time around.”

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Where it truly began

In May 2013, will.i.am confirmed to be the executive producer of the record. In an interview for Billboard he explained a little bit about the process of recording he was having with Britney:

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"We start next week. Before we even start we've had these juicy sessions, where we've been bonding, building the trust and comfort. I've never worked like this before – not even the Peas."

"I wanted to just go to lunch for two months, which is totally different from how you typically do it. I said, 'Let's talk about what you're excited about. Let's talk about things you've done in you career, what you're happy about. Let's talk about spending time with your kids, let's talk about your breakup. Let's talk about how now you're single, how independent you might feel.' We started talking about all that stuff. So I said, 'do you mind if I write this down? I don't mean to impose but I want to interview you. I need this to create a filter.'"

"When people start bringing us stuff, I can say 'Actually we can't have this song. Yes, we want dance songs but that's a little too dark.' I want it to fit with the emotions. I'm really excited about that and honored that she trusts me. I don't want to let her down. I just want to do it the way a brand would do it. They wouldn't say, 'Take this. Put it out.' That's not what you would do. You'd come up with a mood board, the logos, the font, all the other stuff."

 

 

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According to Larry Rudolph, Britney told him about will.i.am “I want Will to be a central figure in the album; I don’t want to have hundreds of songs sent over.” will.i.am added "Sometimes I’d write songs; some of them came from other people. But Britney wrote a lot of the songs.” (Britney appears credited as co-writer on every single track on the album). "We need to talk about what she's excited about in life. I gotta talk about the things that hurt her. I gotta talk about the things that make her concerned — she's a mother," will.i.am said. "I gotta talk to her about all the things that her fans want to talk to her about. I gotta be the vehicle between her and her fans. We can't do another song about going on the dance floor. Really? Didn't we see a bunch of Britney doing that already? Don't we want to see something that comes from her heart?"

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Anthony Preston worked with him as associate executive producer. Later that month, Naughty Boy and William Orbit were also confirmed to be part of the record. Naughty Boy however, ended up not taking part in it, due to the tight schedule he had while promoting his own material.

 

 

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In July, Britney also confirmed to have created a song with Sia. She tweeted: "Had an AMAZING writing session today with the beautiful and talented Sia. We wrote such a special song together : ) "

About working with Britney, Sia commented "Britney was extremely sweet, she came in with the title ‘Brightest Morning Star’ and told me that’s how Jesus found his way. She wanted to write a kind of gospel song that wasn’t ramming it down your throat."

 

In August, Britney shared the recipe for Album #8:

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:kylie_proud_yes_wow_impressive_amazing:

In September, the day of the Desert Performance announcement of her Vegas residency Britney: Piece of Me during Good Morning America, she revealed the still untitled album would be released on December 3. She also revealed there would be a song called Perfume.

 

In October she traveled to the UK and did a bunch of interviews to promote the Vegas show, her single Work ***** and the upcoming album. She revealed the title of the record to Capital FM, Britney Jean

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At Ellen she explained it was the "term of endearment" her family would call her when "she was bad"

 

 

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Later that month she wrote her fans an open letter and revealed the artwork of the album.

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Dear Fans,

I haven't sat down to write you guys in SUCH a long time.  Long overdue!  We're all so used to getting our thoughts out in 140 characters, but sometimes its nice to take time to sit down and write something a little longer and more personal.  I am putting the finishing touches on my new album, "Britney Jean" over the next few days and I am so excited for you to hear it.  I poured my heart and soul into this album and it's been an incredible journey.  I've learned a lot about myself, and as I am finishing, I am reminded of the incredible foundation that has supported me for the last 15 years.  Thank you all for continuing to follow me on this journey and for allowing me to do what I love to do.  I can’t believe this is my eighth studio album and I know I keep telling you that it is my most personal record yet, but its true and I’m really proud of that.

I have been through a lot in the past few years and it has really inspired me to dig deeper and write songs that I think everyone can relate to.  Working with people like Sia, William Orbit, and of course Will.i.am has been an amazing experience.  They have listened to all of my ideas and helped me bring them to life.  There are a lot of really fun, upbeat dance songs, but it was important to me that I show my strength, and my attitude, and my vulnerability.  Of course, I also have some surprises for you guys ;)

I want to show you the different sides of Britney Spears.  I am a performer.  I am a Mom.  I am funny.  I am your friend!  I am Britney Jean.

Hope you love my labor of love!

Love Always,
Britney

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( Standard cover / Deluxe cover / Arabia Saudi cover )

 

 

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In November she confirmed the tracklist of the album after it had leaked online "Sneaky hackers always trying to ruin my surprises. Here is the TRUE #BritneyJeanTrackList"

 

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Before the album leaked in full, some of the tracks had leaked already, such as Passenger and an early demo of Alien. A demo of Tik Tik Boom performed by G.R.L. also hit the net. After it was available, it was very well received by fans, at least by most Exhalers :tbh_britney_nod_yes_yas_ftr_for_the_record_vma_2008_circus: On the BreatheHeavy's forum countless threads were done in order to support every song of the album: #TeamAlien #TeamBodyAche #TeamTilIt'sGone etc were the common topics you would see those days. Every song received the fan support to be released as the next single (except maybe Chillin' With You :jamie_lynn_grape:)

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Later, the album would be surrounded by controversy, after the leaking of some audios of the recording sessions of Alien, where she sounded out of tune (which William Orbit explained to be just warming up exercises that weren't supposed to be released to the public) and the allegations of Exhale's favorite backup singer Myah Marie to be lead singer on the album instead of Britney. Myah Marie has denied the claims more times than the amount of singles she's ever released: “I am so grateful for the opportunity to provide background vocals for Britney Spears on a small number of her most recent works, I most certainly cannot take credit for her tremendous talent as a singer. She is a veritable ‘living legend’ with a longstanding reputation for excellence in all aspects of her artistry.

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A, now iconic, glitch that can be heard in the final version of Alien was also criticized by fans, with William Orbit blaming it on will.i.am's production. "One day the story will.be.told But right now, the future is far too bright to look back".

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The album received mixed reviews because of how impersonal it sounded to some after the numerous occasions it was stated this would be her most personal album ever. Its sound was also criticized for being a bit dated. To this day, though the album hasn't managed to sell lots of copies around the world, it somehow is the only album of Britney that keeps charting on iTunes on several countries simultaneously in a consistent fashion, almost a decade after its release.

 

In 2020, Urban Outfitters released a hot pink vinyl of Britney Jean.

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In 2021 it got a clear edition and a cassette release.

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  • Love 3
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I'm not gonna lie, I liked that album back then bc I was listening to EDM a lot and Work ***** was MASSIVE and a really good song with an AMAZING video, she worked with some EDM people that I really appreciate, this album just sucks bc the vocal production is not really that good, maybe they didn't have enough time for it and the Alien glitch and Maye vocals is really a turn off

Till Is Gone have this 2000 EDM vibes that I really like, hearing Passenger for the first time by Sia and Diplo was really cool too, the Hold On Tight bridge is great and I love Now That I Found You vocals

Another fun fact is that the whistle from Dont Cry is from someone of Foster The People that was working the studio next to wills. 

I’m not really a fan of Perfume tho, lyrics is kinda cringe but she looks so beautiful and the video is not really that bad like some of you like to say

That album would be better as a 7 track EP, it's very different and poorly done bc it was a rushed sided album, we all know they were full focused on POM

But now I just think it's sucks lol and I don't even know what to suggest a better cohesive second single instead of Perfume, it really is what it is 

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They did her dirty by forcing her to record a song about having to work (*****) and promote this awful mess of an “album” (which was rushly crafted just to make those extra couples of millions at the end of the year) as her most personal yet, when it turned out to be the complete opposite. But hey, at least we got Alien…

On a positive note, if we’ll ever get a new Britney Spears album, it could never be worse than Britney Jean. 

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  • Super Mods

Slay at this Britney Jean deep dive! :mimiclap_mariah_clapping_applause_proud_yes_Yas:

3 hours ago, PokemonSpears said:

It ended up being a "Blackout 2.0" indeed, only in the sense that they both failed to hit the Top spot on the Billboard 200 chart, and they both lacked of promo performances or a corresponding tour as the other albums of hers did. Also because they're both fan favorites :jj_janet_smirk_hehe_haha_lmao_lol_giggle:

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