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Circus [Deluxe Edition]

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All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
With its title, Circus nods knowingly at the madhouse that is Britney Spears' life, acknowledging that things got a little rough after the release of 2007's Blackout. It's no secret that Blackout's launch didn't go as planned: the furor surrounding her stumbling VMA lip-sync of "Gimme More" was eclipsed by her institutionalization -- a drama played out live on TV, as so much of her life is -- and the loss of custody of her two young boys to ex-husband Kevin Federline, all of which pushed Blackout far, far to the background. Britney herself didn't exactly seem engaged on Blackout -- it was a club album, a producer's showcase, so it didn't matter if Spears didn't ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
With its title, Circus nods knowingly at the madhouse that is Britney Spears' life, acknowledging that things got a little rough after the release of 2007's Blackout. It's no secret that Blackout's launch didn't go as planned: the furor surrounding her stumbling VMA lip-sync of "Gimme More" was eclipsed by her institutionalization -- a drama played out live on TV, as so much of her life is -- and the loss of custody of her two young boys to ex-husband Kevin Federline, all of which pushed Blackout far, far to the background. Britney herself didn't exactly seem engaged on Blackout -- it was a club album, a producer's showcase, so it didn't matter if Spears didn't give herself over completely as the behind-the-boards team carried her through. That distance combined with her troubles did give Britney the appearance of losing control completely, and the best way for a pop star to right herself is through image -- hence Circus, a friendly remake of the hedonistic Blackout that posits that all is better with Brit-Brit now, thank you. If Blackout was a producers' album, Circus is a handlers' album, intent on sweeping away any recent unpleasantness -- the only acknowledgement is that title -- and acting like nothing ever happened, imagining that this is still a world where Britney remains envied and desired, where she can be dolled up as a gauzy Farrah Fawcett pinup on her album cover, where she can sing a drippy ballad about "My Baby" and have nobody raise an eyebrow. She can get away with the former with a bit more ease than the latter if only because all the time, effort, and money is poured into the club tracks, such as the thumping, stuttering first single "Womanizer" and its better, the relentless "Kill the Lights," so sleek and sexy it winds up diminishing the rest of the record. "Kill the Lights" may be exceptional, one of Britney's best-ever singles, but it also doesn't have much competition here: it's one of a handful of tracks that follow through on Blackout, while the rest of Circus plays it safe, never hitting the beats hard enough to alienate a pop audience but perhaps layering on a bit too much saccharine for dance fans. It's careful and considered, right down to the single-entendre "If U Seek Amy," a Katy Perry-styled exercise in crass commercial carnality that is at once the best and worst song here. Best because Max Martin once again works his undeniable pop magic, turning this into a trashy stomper that feels inevitable and eternal, working against any sense of taste or decorum, something that the lyrics work overtime to undercut as they insist that all the boys and all the girls still want to F, U...well, spell it and you'll get the picture, and if you don't, Britney's elocution will paint it for you. This sexy strut doesn't work not because Spears' desirability took a nosedive in the five years since In the Zone -- although it did -- but because Britney's sexiness never was this explicit; she teased and hinted, at least in her music, and it feels wrong to have her be so nakedly vulgar here. Still, it was a necessary move, a way to stir up headlines and perhaps snatch the tabloid tiara from Katy's head, but the rest of the record doesn't follow through as it resorts Spears' standard formula: a couple of great dance singles, a couple of pretty good chill-out cuts best being Bloodshy & Avant's "Unusual You", a couple of not-good-at-all ballads, and a whole bunch of stuff in the middle. If she feels marginally more connected here than she did on Blackout, it's a Pyrrhic victory, as Circus never feels as sleek or addictive as its predecessor. [A Deluxe Edition was also released featuring three bonus tracks and a bonus DVD.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/2/2008
  • Label: Jive
  • UPC: 886974077626
  • Catalog Number: 740776

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Womanizer (3:44)
  2. 2 Circus (3:12)
  3. 3 Out from Under (3:53)
  4. 4 Kill the Lights (3:59)
  5. 5 Shattered Glass (2:52)
  6. 6 If U Seek Amy (3:36)
  7. 7 Unusual You (4:21)
  8. 8 Blur (3:08)
  9. 9 MMM Papi (3:22)
  10. 10 Mannequin (4:06)
  11. 11 Lace and Leather (2:50)
  12. 12 My Baby (3:21)
  13. 13 Radar (3:50)
  14. 14 Rock Me In (3:17)
  15. 15 Phonography (3:33)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Bonus Material
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Britney Spears Primary Artist, Background Vocals, Interviewee
Cathy Dennis Background Vocals
Greg Kurstin Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
Guy Sigsworth Strings, Keyboards
Max Martin Background Vocals
Leah Haywood Background Vocals
Andy Page Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Strings, Electric Guitar, Synthesizer Bass
Chris B. Worthy Guitar
Nicole Morier Background Vocals
Henrik Jonback Bass, Guitar
Windy Wagner Background Vocals
Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald Guitar, Drums, Keyboards
Kasia Livingston Background Vocals
Debi Nova Background Vocals
Candice Nelson Background Vocals
Claude Kelly Background Vocals
Luke Boyd Background Vocals
Myah Marie Background Vocals
Technical Credits
David Boyd Engineer
Greg Kurstin Composer, Programming, Producer, Engineer
Shelly Peiken Composer
Guy Sigsworth Composer, Producer, drum programming
Ron Taylor Digital Editing
Jeri Heiden Art Direction
Tom Coyne Mastering
Max Martin Composer, Programming, Producer
Jackie Murphy Art Direction
Harvey Mason Jr. Composer, Producer
Britney Spears Composer
Andrew Hey Engineer
Andrew Wyatt Engineer
Balewa Muhammad Composer
Emily Wright Engineer, Vocal Editing
Wayne Hector Composer
Andy Page Engineer, drum programming
Eric Weaver Engineer
Arnthor Birgisson Composer
Dabling Harward Engineer
Nicole Morier Composer, Vocal Producer
Henrik Jonback Composer, Engineer
Theresa LaBarbera Whites Executive Producer
Seth Waldmann Engineer
Larry Rudolph Executive Producer, Video Producer
Ezekiel Lewis Composer
Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald Composer, Programming
Alexander Kronlund Composer
Kasia Livingston Composer
Nathaniel "Danjahandz" Hills Composer
Candice Nelson Composer
James Fauntleroy Composer
Claude Kelly Composer, Vocal Producer
Jim Beanz Engineer, Vocal Producer
Frankie Storm Composer
Luke Boyd Composer
Rob Knox Composer, Producer
Brendan Dekora Engineer, Vocal Recording
Savan Kotecha Composer
Shellback Composer
Nikesha Briscoe Composer
Pontus Winnberg Composer
Stacy Barthe Composer
Adrien Gough Composer
Peter John Kerr Composer
Jim Carauna Engineer
Ronnie Jackson Composer
Rafael Akinyemi Composer
Ezekial Lewis Composer
K. Briscoe Producer
James Washington Composer
Henry Walter Composer
Christian Karlsson Composer
Benjamin Levin Composer
Patrick Smith Composer
Marcella Araica Composer, Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    15 Singles!!!!

    Love her or hate her, you have to admit, the B knows how to make a hot track! "Womanizer" is an awersome first single, but it's just a taste of what this album has to offer! "Circus" is a steller track and second single. But it gets better. Some of the highlights on the album are definately the Britney Ballads - "Out from Under" "My Baby" and especially "Unusual You" are really really great and show that she can sing. My favorite track is "Kill the Lights" it's so hot, and actually has unique lyrics that apply to Britney (think Piece of Me only 10000x better). <BR/><BR/>"If U Seek Amy" is a fun romp that'll give the middleschool kids a new catch phrase, "Mmm Papi" sounds like summer fun by the pool. "Mannequin" is another favorite that has a rockin' beat and more britney-themed lyrics. Honestly I love every track so much, just when I thought "Blur" was going to be my least favorite, it's now grown on me so much that I listen to it non-stop. There's really not a single bad track. <BR/><BR/>The Deluxe edition has two bonus tracks that are really freakin' amazing. "Phonography" has a sexy trancey synth and "Rock Me In" is just tons of fun. The deluxe also includes a really cool DVD that'll make it a must for all fans. <BR/><BR/>CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HER IN CONCERT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    SHE'S BACK!!!!

    One of her best CDs! Even thought I think they are all great! LOVE HER!!!!

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