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 The Times' The Best Pop Album Of The Noughties list

5. Blackout - Britney Spears (SonyBMG, 2007)
The title was pertinent enough - Spears had shaved her head and was in and out of rehab when this vocally scrunched, harshly metallic album appeared. No one expected it to be this good.



          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 Britney, Jason and the boys: One big happy family

Britney Spears and her manager/boyfriend Jason Trawick, may have been frolicking aboard a yacht called Oscar on Nov. 15 - but it might as well have been named The Love Boat.

The pair, along with Brit's two sons, Sean Preston, 4, and Jayden James, 3, looked every bit the committed couple while sailing in Sydney Harbour, and friends tell OK! their affection for one another is as unsinkable as the 108-foot vessel on which they cruised.

"Jason adores her and just wants to be with her," a pal of the pair, who went public with their romance in June, tells OK!. "He's proactive with the boys and works hard to show Britney how committed he is to her and to her family."

Indeed, Jason, 37, does seem to go the extra mile for Brit, 27. Sources tell OK! he spent every night with the singer at her L.A. home after their trip to Mexico in October. And then, of course, he flew halfway around the world to support Britney on her Australian Circus tour.

"Britney trusts him implicitly with the kids and feels more secure going to work when he's with them," says the friend. What's more, Sean and Jayden appreciate his presence, too. "He's a total hero to them," another Brit insider reveals to OK!.

"He's a natural. Britney loves to see the boys with Jason. It just seems so right." Echoes the first pal, "The kids adore him and call him 'Jase.' He is amazing, engaged, caring, fun - even [ex husband] Kevin [Federline] likes him."

It's good that everyone's on board. The day before their high seas adventure, Jason, Britney and the boys strolled through Sydney's Botanic Gardens, stopping to cuddle close for what looked like a family photo. Jason pulled Britney to his side, while the singer leaned into him and flashed a smile. It was an awfully pretty picture, and one that the Brit pal says we should get used to seeing.

"Britney wants her life back," says the pal. "And she sees the stability Jason brings as a means to an end." She might also be seeing her beau as the perfect roomie. "I think after the tour he's going to move in with her," reveals the friend. "They're talking about taking the next step."



          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 Britney dedicates Everytime to 'everyone who's been loved and hurt'

Britney dedicated Everytime to 'everyone who's been loved and hurt' during yesterday's concert at the Acer Arena in Sydney.


          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 The Singles Collection debuts at #22 on Billboard 200

The Singles collection debuts at #22 on Billboard 200. This is pretty good for a second greatest hits compilation. The release of the Ultimate Fan Box Set will also considerably boost sales.

As for 3, it jumps 2 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 going from #8 to #6.

Below is a great review of The Singles Collection:

When Britney released '...Baby One More Time' at the tail-end of the last century, few would have predicted that she'd still be around today. Sure, it quickly became obvious that the track - reportedly rejected by TLC - was one of the great pop singles, but the history books are littered with the remains of stars that instantly light up the charts only to burn up just as fast. Despite some filler-heavy albums, Britney has always been something else, and this compilation perfectly captures the career of one of the best singles artists of the last ten years.

Where her 2004 Best Of, My Prerogative, was let down by some needless inclusions, unsatisfying sequencing and under-written new material, the 18-track Singles Collection is as lean as the star herself after a couple of months on the road. Better still, it features the best singles from the Blackout and Circus albums, which salvaged Britney's career as a pop artist in the face of a personal breakdown. The only possible quibble is having newbie '3' tacked on the start rather than the end - ruining the otherwise chronological tracklisting - but in the grand scheme of things that matters not-a-jot.

Running from '...Baby One More Time' to 'Radar', you get a single-disc timeline that shows a progression in style and substance from school uniform-wearing pop ingénue to sultry motorik saucepot. There's an argument that the 65-minute run-time should have been extended to include a few more songs, but in the main it's the slowies that have been dropped, and that's no bad thing. Of course, there's little you can say about the songs themselves that hasn't already been said. Hits like 'Toxic' and 'Oops!... I Did It Again' proved their cultural cachet by featuring in Doctor Who and John & Edward's most magical moment respectively. Even the oft-forgotten 'Stronger' boasts two stone-cold classic pop moments: the lyrical inversion of her debut hit ("My loneliness ain't killing me no more") and that sound drop-out at two-and-a-half minutes that teases before the chorus slams back in.

Britney's voice has long been a source of contention, but while the debate about the value of a lip-synced live concert continues to rage, this compilation underlines her worth as a distinctive pop singer, at least on record. She certainly doesn't have the pipes of contemporaries Christina or Shakira, let alone the likes of Mariah or Whitney, but as last year's X Factor finalists showed, it's not as easy as it looks to make these songs sound as good as they do here.

And there's nothing that sounds out of place. The thematic muddle of wedging a coming-of-age ballad ('I'm Not A Girl...') between two slabs of sexed-up hip-pop ('Slave 4 U', 'Boys') looks dodgy on paper, but sounds perfect in the listening. Best of all is the double-header of 'Everytime' and 'Gimme More', where you get Brit's best ballad jammed up against a throbbing robopop thriller that's rightfully survived her infamous VMAs performance. The only arguable weak link is the Madonna-featuring 'Me Against The Music', but in this context what once looked like a respectful passing of the baton now seems like an unconditional surrender of pop Queendom to its rightful heir.



          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 MTV looks back at Britney's career to celebrate The Singles Collection

With the release of Britney Spears: The Singles Collection, MTV News is looking back on the pop star's career through interviews with video directors, music-industry insiders and Spears herself, as she reflects on some of her greatest hits. Keep checking out Britney's news page at for all things Britney!


          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 Christian Siriano: Britney's style is 'so real'

Britney Spears has made a career out of crawling around onstage and dancing through her videos in barely there outfits. But when it comes to really nailing down the one moment that Britney was at her most stylish, designer Christian Siriano says it's all about her understated look when she performed onstage with Madonna in 2008.

"My favorite Britney moment was when she was kind of having this tiny bit of a comeback, right at the beginning," he told MTV News. "And it was when she wore the beautiful black pants and that white blouse onstage with Madonna. I thought that was so chic and so not her, so that's why I really liked it."

Britney also dazzled Siriano's senses at the 2008 VMAs. "And then obviously when she won all of her music awards recently in that sequin dress," he recalled. "And she looked really chic, but I liked it. I think it worked."

She also could do no wrong at the 2001 VMAs. "She did wear a black Dolce and Gabbana minidress, like, years and years ago," he remembered. "That was good. That was really good. Even though it was crazy, that was good."

Siriano said he would love to tackle the challenge of designing a little something for the pop star. He's already got Lady Gaga on his résumé, so why not?

"I always say, 'Britney, I would love to do it,' " he said. "I would love to make something fabulous for her because fashion-wise, it's very interesting. She's one of the biggest pop icons but ... it's never about clothes ever. It's so weird, because every other of these pop divas it's so much about clothing and fashion, and it's not with Britney. It's very strange."

But, Siriano applauded her down-to-earth, girl-next-door sense of style. "On her down days, she's just a normal girl and in her cutout jeans and Uggs and cutoff T-shirt," he said. "And I think it's kind of cool that it's so real."



          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 Britney meets young fans backstage at The Circus

SHE was hardly wearing the outfit of a nurturing mother, but Britney Spears was happy to show her maternal side as she met some of her younger fans.

Spears, who will perform her final Sydney show tonight before heading to Brisbane, hung out with Randwick Children's Hospital patients Jessica Sukkar, Amelia Sukkar and Sonia Tadros backstage after her concert on Tuesday night.

And the US pop princess has been playing the doting mother with her own children while in the harbour city, taking sons Sean Preston and Jayden James to Sydney Aquarium on Wednesday.

Spears, who has already performed three shows at Rod Laver Arena, will return to Melbourne with her Circus tour on November 27, and then finish in Adelaide on November 29.



          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 Insiders say Britney has had enough of Australia

A source close to the singer - who plays Sydney's Acer Arena tonight (Nov 20), before heading off to Brisbane - told the Chicago Sun Times: "She is very happy to be getting out of that country."

And it seems Britters might never come back once she's wrapped the final night of her 'Circus' tour.

A source said: "It's been hard for her. She's never been subjected to this level of criticism before. She hadn't had an easy year of it before all this."

The singer has been enjoying the sights of Sydney, nevertheless, and yesterday (Nov 19) took a trip around the Harbour in a private boat. One mole told us: "She's licking her wounds at the moment after all the negative press. She just wants to keep her head down and be gentle on herself. "

Meanwhile, Brit's fellow Yank Michael Buble, who's also in Oz, has jumped to her defence saying the criticism is "nasty" and telling Aussie media to give the poor girl a break.

Michael told Melbourne's Herald Sun: "You'd think she killed someone. Okay, she lip-synchs her show. People know that, they make the decision if they want to go and see her do that.

"Does she deserve the way she's been completely bashed by the media here?


We agree, Buble.

Oh Britterz, we understand why you might feel like giving the country and everyone in it the two-fingered salute, but millions of folk down here love you, sweetie. Honest.

We'd hate to think we’d never see you again. Or that a couple of viper-tongued journos had won...



          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 New studio album due out this Spring?

Britney Spears will release the follow-up to 2008’s Circus in late spring 2010, it has been confirmed.

According to her record label Jive, the singer is working towards a May release for her seventh studio album.

US songwriter Sean Garrett recently confirmed that he is penning material for the new record.

The 27-year-old is also expected to team up with Max Martin, who wrote previous hits including '...Baby One More Time', 'If U Seek Amy' and current single '3'.

Spears releases The Singles Collection on November 16.



          Posted by Kevin on
21 Nov


 The Ringleader with a mustache

Britney debuted a brand new look for her opening number during her second concert at the Acer Arena in Sydney. Brit came on stage wearing a top hat and mustache for her Circus performance. I love this look!


          Posted by Kevin on
20 Nov


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