"I'm gonna mark my territory," sings the once-imperious Spears on Perfume, the most recent cut from album number eight. Trouble is, there isn't anything on Britney Jean that wipes the floor with Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus, the pretenders now remodelling the pop firmament neglected by Spears. The dead hand and cheesy rave stabs of will.i.am dominate this record, even though he produced only a couple of tracks. Much here is busy, effective dance-pop that works, but it fails to rivet like Britney's 00s output. The sheer functionality of these tracks belies the idea of a "personal" Britney album, and Passenger has the air of a confessional. Dancing is easy to songs like Body Ache, but weirdly, Katy Perry and Sia co-wrote it with Diplo.
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666