Contributed by MusicHomme:
‘In The Zone’ may not be a blockbuster, expected of a super-celebrity, but in the light of massive slowdown and music downloading, it is surprisingly endearing. Currently, it hold on the 13th spot on the Billboard’s albums chart, outperforming her previous effort ‘Britney’ which has slide lower in the 14th week of it’s release.
So, why is ‘In The Zone’ working for Spears? The answer is the result of an ambitious artist who understands her limitations and her range, but dares to experiment and play a little.
When Ken Barnes of USA Today commented that vocal abilities are not the only deciding factor of an artist’s ability to produce good music, he cannot be more accurate. If good music equals to seven octaves, we would be listening to endless shrills of opera singers.
Spears knows this fact very well, and therefore ‘In The Zone’ is decidedly experimental and daring. When America turns towards hip hop, Spears turned towards trance and techno, but she still managed to smoothen them just enough to be digestible. Check out the trancy beats of ‘Early Mornin” set against a soft background of techno. ‘Toxic’ a bonifide top 5 hit, is frantic techno with sparse but effective beats. ‘Touch of my hand’ hinted Chinese influence, with it’s erotic lyrics is effective, while ‘breath on me’ has to be the year’s most sexual yet chaste anthem. The confessional ‘Everytime’ is believable and basic, a melancholic and vulnerable end to a sexual album. ‘In The Zone’ may not be a masterpiece but is dares to be different, and that is exactly the reason why In the Zone is working for Spears.