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Blackout is the fifth studio album by American pop singer Britney Spears, released by Jive Records on October 27, 2007. Spears began working on this album as early as February 2006, exploring into electropop and urban pop and recording with new producers such as Danja. Blackout was her first studio album in four years since 2003's In the Zone and marks the first time Spears is the executive producer of one of her albums. The album's title refers to "blacking out negativity and embracing life fully". The songs on the album are thematically focused on sex, love and Spears' relationship with the media. It is unique in its artistic values in that Spears uses superficial themes such as sex to convey a lot more, usually her relationship with the media.

Blackout debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, becoming her first and so far only studio album not to debut at number one due to a last minute rules change by the Billboard music association. According to the IFPI, the album was 32nd in terms of units shipped by the end of 2007. To date, the album has sold over 3.2 million copies worldwide.

The album's first single, "Gimme More", peaked at number one in the Canadian Hot 100 and became a top five hit in twelve countries. The second single, "Piece of Me", reached number one in Irelandmarker. The final single, "Break the Ice", reached number one in the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play, making all the singles of the album go to the top position of the chart. All three singles were critically acclaimed and made frequent appearances on lists that listed the year's best tracks. The album was named the 5th "Best Pop Album of the Decade" by The Times and won "Album of the Year" at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008.

Production

In February 2006, it was reported that Britney was "in the midst of recording her next album," which could possibly be released later that year. According to the People magazine article, Spears said her new music could "reinvigorate the current pop scene," which she said was "boring". Three months later, Jonathan "J.R." Rotem was quoted as saying that Spears had "up-tempo club songs," and "relationship songs, [...] and everything in between." Rotem said in September 2006, "Our goal is to try to one-up it," referring to the hits on the radio at the time. "I can tell you there's some dance stuff; there's some slow, more introspective stuff; some club things," the producer said.

Britney Spears began working with Nate "Danja" Hills while she was pregnant with her second child. Recording began in Las Vegas and continued at Spears's home in Los Angeles.

Spears later revealed in a personal message on her official website that she planned to release her new album before the end of 2007. After various songs from Blackout's recording sessions were leaked onto the internet, it was announced in August 2007 that the Danja-produced "Gimme More" would be released as the album's first single.

Release

Due to these numerous unauthorized online leaks, the Jive Records did everything possible to prevent and avoid any further illegal distribution of songs including moving up the release date of the album to October 30, 2007" a rep for Jive Records says in a statement. The album was released in the U.S., two weeks ahead of its planned release date of November 13, due to numerous unauthorized online leaks, and to prevent any future illegal distribution. The album had poor promotions because Spears had "other parts of her life that she had to focus on".

This is the first studio album for which Spears did not do any promotion prior to its release, with the exception of her performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. Jive Records posted a commercial for the album on its official YouTube page.

In addition to the official "Piece of Me" music video, the "Britney Spears Wants a Piece of You" contest, in which fans could create videos for the "Piece of Me" single themselves using MTV's Video Remixer, began on November 30, 2007. The winning video aired on TRL on December 20, 2007. MTV, Jive Records, and Spears herself chose the winner.

On November 13, 2007, U.S. store Target released a special edition of Blackout with the bonus track, "Outta This World", a bonus mobile wallpaper, and a ringtone.

Reception

Critical

The album received mixed reviews from critics. Still, Digital Spy called it "the most danceable, modern and thrilling album that Spears has ever made, the disc where she finally shakes off the last remnants of her Mickey Mouse Club image." Also, The Guardian stated that "It's a bold, exciting album: the question is whether anyone will be able to hear its contents over the deafening roar of tittle-tattle." Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B+ rating, and praised the album as "a perfectly serviceable dance album abundant in the kind of bouncy electro elements that buttressed her hottest hits." Popjustice also stated the album was "modern sounding, and brilliantly produced." Rolling Stone went on to give the album three and a half stars out of five, and joked that Spears will "continue to crank the best pop booty jams until a social worker cuts off her supply of hits." Critics have also noted new influences in Spears's music, such as the London-based underground electronic genre dubstep as the main influence for the track "Freakshow".

This album was ranked at number fifty by Rolling Stone in its annual publication of Top 50 Albums of 2007. In addition, it was also called an "album sure to be remembered as a monument of deranged techno-pop amorality." In November 2009, The Times named the album as the fifth best pop album of the decade.

However, there were also negative reviews. Newsday titled its review "Save your money" and called the album "terrible." Billboard stated "This is still pop, but the last bits of Spears's song-and-dance girl veneer are cracking, along with the rest of her public persona." Other reviews noted the overwhelming presence of "studio trickery" had the effect of making her sound like a "Brit Bot." "If a blow-up sex doll could sing, this is what she'd sound like," wrote critic Jim Farber. "In terms of studio trickery, Paris Hilton's album [Paris] was practically 'unplugged' compared to this." PopMatters was unimpressed with the album as well, writing, "Right down to its utterly garish cover, Blackout is utterly disposable and ultimately forgettable." The New York Times wrote that she "cuts a startlingly low profile on Blackout, and there are times when it scarcely sounds like a Britney Spears album at all. Even when not buried in electronics, her distinctive singing voice sounds unusually vague, and sometimes it's hard to be sure it's hers". The Hartford Courant was very negative in their review, saying that "there's a lackluster vocal or element of unintentional comedy that makes you wonder how much better Blackout might be as an instrumental club album".

Commercial

The album sold 124,000 copies on its first day in the US, with sales of 290,000 copies in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan. It debut at number 2, making all of her studio albums debut in the top two positions. Blackout also set the record for the biggest-selling digital album debut by a female artist in one week. As of July, 2009, the album has sold 967,000 copies in the United States, becoming her least successful studio album there to date. The album re-entered the chart at #198, selling over 4,600 copies on the week Spears' sixth album, Circus, debuted at number one. This was her first studio album not to be certified by RIAA.

The album was received equally well in the United Kingdom, debuting at number two on the UK Albums Chart, her highest debut since her sophomore album Oops!... I Did It Again, which debuted at number two. The album quickly fell out of the top forty, however, it managed to remain in the top seventy-five through continued sales. As a result of the success of the album's singles, "Gimme More", "Piece of Me", and "Break the Ice", the album climbed back into the top forty in its twenty second week of release, with a massive jump of eighteen places from number forty-three to number twenty-five in one week. The following week, the album climbed another six places and re-entered the top twenty, placing at number nineteen in the chart, and chartting its ninth week back in the top forty.

In New Zealand, the album debuted at number eight on the New Zealand Albums Chart, making it, at the time, Spears' highest debuting and charting album since Oops!... I Did It Again in 2000. Although it quickly fell off the chart, it re-entered after the success of "Piece Of Me," and climbed back up to number eleven where it stayed for three weeks. Blackout was certified Gold for sales of over 7,500 after fifteen weeks, and remained on the chart for twenty-one weeks.

The album was also successful in Australia, debuting at number three on the Australian Albums Chart selling 9,987 copies in its first week, and shortly after reaching Platinum status for shipments of over 70,000 copies.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the album was number 32 in terms of units shipped worldwide by the end of 2007. As of June 2008, there have been 3.1 million digital downloads of the songs and remixes from the album in the United States.

Promotion

Britney Spears opened the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards with a performance of "Gimme More". It became perhaps the most talked-about televised song and dance routine since Michael Jackson's appearance a quarter century earlier on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever special. Her singing, her dancing and even her wardrobe were all commented on extensively. The performance was mostly considered disappointing and hurtful to her career. Following the performance, Spears herself did no more promotional work for the album. It was reported in March 2008 that Spears would embark on a world tour, but the tour never happened. She didn't perform in the U.S. again until December 2, 2008 where she promoted her next album on Good Morning America.

However, in the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen herself did promote the album without Spears, she featured two songs of the album including "Toy Soldier" and "Gimme More" on her show, in which she danced along with the track and along with her studio audience. She also gave away copies of the album to the audience.

Spears eventually embarked on The Circus Starring: Britney Spears in March 3, 2009, which includes performances of "Piece of Me", "Radar", "Ooh Ooh Baby", "Hot as Ice" "Freakshow" and "Get Naked (I Got a Plan)". The LAZRtag remix of "Gimme More" is used during the Martial Arts Segue part of the show. "Break the Ice" is used in a video interlude set to Spears' music videos and using a sample of Kat DeLuna's "Run the Show".

Singles





  • "Break the Ice" was officially released for radio airplay in the U.S. on March 3, 2008, The song peaked at number 43 on the Hot 100. The music video for the song premiered on March 12, the first, and only, ever of Spears' videos to be fully animated.


  • "Radar" was originally canceled for a single release because Spears had begun recording new material for her sixth studio album Circus but still it was sent to international radio stations and gained considerable airplay. "Radar" was later released as the 4th single off Circus on June 23, 2009. It peaked at number 88 on the Billboard Hot 100.


Track listing

# Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Time
1. "Gimme More" Nate Hills, James Washington, Keri Hilson, Marcella Araica Danja 4:11
2. "Piece of Me" Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg, Klas Åhlund Bloodshy & Avant 3:32
3. "Radar" Karlsson, Winnberg, Henrik Jonback, Balewa Muhammad, Candice Nelson, Ezekiel "Zeke" Lewis, Patrick Smith Bloodshy & Avant, The Clutch 3:49
4. "Break the Ice" Araica, Hills, Hilson, Washington Danja 3:16
5. "Heaven on Earth" Nick Huntington, Michael McGroarty, Nicole Morier Kara DioGuardi, Freescha 4:52
6. "Get Naked (I Got a Plan)" Ellis, Araica, Hills Danja 4:45
7. "Freakshow" Britney Spears, Lewis, Smith, Karlsson, Winnberg, Jonback Bloodshy & Avant, The Clutch 2:55
8. "Toy Soldier" Sean Garrett, Karlsson, Winnberg, Magnus Wallbert Bloodshy & Avant, Sean Garrett 3:22
9. "Hot as Ice" Hills, Araica, T-Pain Danja 3:17
10. "Ooh Ooh Baby" Britney Spears, Farid Nassar, DioGuardi, Erick Coomes Kara DioGuardi, Fredwreck 3:28
11. "Perfect Lover" Araica, Hills, Hilson, Washington Danja 3:02
12. "Why Should I Be Sad" Pharrell Williams The Neptunes 3:10
13. "Outta This World" (Target store exclusive, iTunes and Japan bonus) Hills, Araica, Hilson, Washington Danja 3:44
14. "Everybody" (iTunes and Japan bonus) Jonathan Rotem, Evan Bogart, Britney Spears, Annie Lennox J.R. Rotem 3:16
15. "Get Back" (iTunes and Japan bonus) Marcella Araica; Corte Ellis; Nate Hills; Nigel Talley Danja 3:41


Source:

Bonus remixes

  • "Gimme More" (Paul Oakenfold Remix) (Japan Bonus) - 6:06
  • "Gimme More" (Junkie XL Dub) (iTunes Bonus) - 4:59
  • "Gimme More" (StoneBridge Dub) (Swiss & Italy Non-iTunes Digital Bonus) - 7:23


Different Artworks

  • Taiwanese Version has a slightly different front artwork, a totally different back, including a biography, and a booklet with the lyrics for all the songs
  • Korean Version also has a booklet with all the lyrics
  • Japanese Version also includes a booklet with all the lyrics


Charts

Chart (2007) Peak
Position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 3
Austrian Albums Chart 6
Belgian Flemish Albums Chart 17
Belgian Walloon Albums Chart 6
Canadian Albums Chart 1
Dutch Albums Chart 14
European Top 100 Albums Chart 1
French SNEP Albums Chart 2
Finnish Albums Chart 22


Chart (2007) Peak
Position
German Albums Chart 10
Hungarian Albums Chart 24
Italian Albums Chart 6
Mexican Albums Chart 2
New Zealand Albums Chart 8
Norwegian Albums Chart 12
Swedish Albums Chart 11
Swiss Albums Chart 4
UK Albums Chart 2
U.S. Billboard 200 2


Certifications

Country Providers Certification Sales or
Shipments
Australia ARIA 2x Platinum 140,000+
Belgium IFPI Platinum 15,000+
Brazil ABPD Gold 50,000
Canada CRIA Platinum 100,000
France SNEP Gold 75,000
Hungary Mahasz Gold 3,000
Ireland IRMA Platinum 15,000
Japan RIAJ Gold 100,000+
New Zealand RIANZ Gold 7,500
Russia 3× Platinum 60,000
United Kingdom BPI Gold 100,000+
United States RIAA 967,000+


Chart procession and succession

End of year charts

Year Country Chart Ranking
2007 United States Billboard 200 138
Australia ARIA 56
Greece (International) IFPI 41
2008 Australia ARIA 83


Awards

2007

Awards ceremony Award Results
Billboard Readers' Choice Album of the Year Won


2008

Awards ceremony Award Results
NRJ Music Awards Best International Album Won
Hit Music Awards Best International Album Won
MTV Europe Music Awards 2008 Album of the Year Won
Shockwaves NME Awards 2008 Worst Album of the Year Won


Release history

Region Date
Europe October 26, 2007
Latin America
Australia October 27, 2007
Philippines October 28, 2007
United Kingdom October 29, 2007
United States October 30, 2007
Brazil
Argentina
Worldwide


Personnel

  • Vocals – Britney Spears
  • Background vocals – Britney Spears, Corte Ellis, Jim Beanz, Robin "Robyn" Carlsson, Kara DioGuardi, Sean Garrett, Keri Hilson, Windy Wagner, Pharrell, Nicole Morier, Ezekiel "Zeke" Lewis, Nate Hills
  • Keyboards – Avant, Bloodshy, Fredwreck
  • Bass – Klas Alund, Eric Coomes, Henrik Jonback
  • Guitar – Eric Coomes, Fredwreck, Henrik Jonback


Production

  • Executive Producer: Britney Spears
  • Producers: Nate Hills, Avant, Bloodshy, Sean Garrett, West Furtado, Candice Nelson, Kara DioGuardi, Freescha, Farid "Fredwreck" Nassar, Ross Davies, The Clutch, The Neptunes
  • Mastering: Tom Coyne
  • Engineers: Jim Carauna, Jordan "DJ Swivel" Young, Duro
  • A&R Executive: Teresa LaBarbera Whites
  • A&R Administration: Nancy Roof
  • A&R Coordination: Jenny Prince
  • Zomba Production Coordination: Cara Hutchinson
  • Clearances: David Schmidt, Kobie "The Quarterback" Brown, Jeff Monachino, Damon "Ellis" Ellis


  • Photography: Ellen von Unwerth
  • Art Direction and design: Jackie Murphy, Jeri Heiden, Glen Nakasako
  • Stylist: Patti Wilson
  • Makeup: Francesca Tolot
  • Prop stylist: Kirsten Vallow
  • Manicurist: Lisa Jachno


References

  1. [1]
  2. "Britney 'like a singing blow up doll'". NineMSN. Retrieved October 24, 2007.]
  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/29/arts/music/29spea.html?_r=2&ref=music&oref=slogin Retrieved on 2009-03-20.
  4. http://blogs.courant.com/eric_danton_sound_check/2007/10/cd-review-blackout-by-britney.html Retrieved on 2009-03-20.
  5. Britney Spears Debuts #1 on European Albums Chart and Debuts #1 on U.S. Digital Albums Chart
  6. Break The Ice: UK Chart Update For Week Ending April 20th
  7. http://www.undercover.com.au/News-Story.aspx?id=3367
  8. http://www.aria.com.au/pages/httpwww.aria.com.aupageshttpwww.aria.com.aupagesARIACharts-Accreditations-2008Albums.htm
  9. FMQB Single Release's
  10. http://www.britney.com/ph/music/blackout Britney Spears Official Website
  11. http://www.ultratop.be/fr/certifications.asp?year=2007
  12. [2]
  13. http://www.disqueenfrance.com/fr/monopage.xml?id=259165&year=2007&type=8
  14. http://www.irishcharts.ie/awards/platinum07.htm
  15. http://translate.google.com.do/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.riaj.or.jp/data/others/gold/200901.html&ei=F1_FSc34Dpultge7jIHICg&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.riaj.or.jp/data/others/gold/200901.html%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG
  16. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=412&cfgn=Year-end+Albums&cfn=The+Billboard+200&ci=3089761&cdi=9580535&cid=12%2F31%2F2007
  17. http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-100-albums-2007.htm
  18. http://www.ifpi.gr/chart01_annual.htm
  19. http://www.vanessaamorosi.net/2009/01/02/official-aria-charts-top-100-2008/
  20. Editors from NRJ Awards. Britney Spears' Blackout Best International Album Retrieved on December, 2007.
  21. [3]
  22. HIT MUSIC AWARDS Winners
  23. http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/music/newsid_7269000/7269401.stm
  24. http://www.nme.com/news/nme-awards/34781



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