Blackout (Britney Spears album)

Blackout (Britney Spears album)

Blackout is the fifth studio album by American pop singer Britney Spears. It was released on October 27, 2007, in Australia, October 29, 2007, in the UK, and October 30, 2007, worldwide. 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. The album has sold 902,000 copies in the United States up to October 2008, and is expected to go platinum in the next month.. It was ranked at number 50 by Rolling Stone magazine in its publication of the Top 50 albums of 2007. Additionally, as of June 2008, there have been 3.1 million digital downloads of the songs and remixes from the album. To date, there has been 5 million downloads. As of October 2008, Blackout has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, without promotion.

Album history

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," of which she said was "boring".

In May 2006, it was reported that Jonathan "J.R." Rotem said that Spears had "up-tempo club songs," and "relationship songs," "and everything in between."

In September 2006, Rotem said, "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.

Spears later revealed in a personal message on her official website that she planned to release her new album before the end of 2007.

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.

In August 2007, it was revealed that "Gimme More" would be going to airwaves as the album's first single.

The album was released on October 30, 2007, ahead of its planned release date, due to numerous unauthorized online leaks, and to prevent any future illegal distribution.

Spears's website ran a competition for fans to vote for the album's title; however, none of the suggestions were used. Several sources claimed "Piece of Me" to be the album's title as well as the second single. On October 5, 2007, a message was posted on Spears's official website confirming the title of the album to be Blackout. A spokesperson for Jive Records has said that the title and theme of Blackout is about "blacking out negativity and embracing life".

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.

Spears won "Best International Album" for Blackout at France's NRJ Awards in January 2008.

An Alternate Cover for the album has also been sold in certain areas since February.

Promotion

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.

Overall, Blackout wasn't promoted or adverised, yet it sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

Release history

Country Date
Europe October 26, 2007
Latin America
Australia October 27, 2007
United Kingdom October 29, 2007
United States October 30, 2007
Worldwide

Critical reception

The album has received mostly positive reviews from music critics. 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. 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.

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.

Chart performance

Based on first-day sales data provided by the eight chains that report to Nielsen SoundScan's Building Charts, it was predicted that "Blackout" would claim the number one spot in its first week of release in the United States after it sold 124,000 units. However, Billboard made a last minute and controversial rule change which allowed albums sold exclusively at only one retailer to appear on the Billboard 200.

Therefore, despite selling 290,000 copies in its first week, the album became her first studio album not to debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Instead, it debuted at number two with sales far behind that of The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden which claimed the number one spot after selling nearly 711,000 units exclusively at Walmart. This made Spears the only female artist in history whose first five studio albums have debuted in the top two slots on the chart. Blackout also set the record for the biggest-selling digital album debut by a female artist in one week. As of 2008, the album has sold 902,000 copies in the United States alone.

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, and has been certified Gold. 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 marking 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 Spears's highest debut 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 and has so far reached Platinum status, for sales of over 70,000 copies.

Track listing

# Title Writers Producer 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 Freescha, Kara DioGuardi 4:52
6. "Get Naked (I Got A Plan)" Ellis, Araica, Hills, Nigel Talley†, Washington† Danja 4:45
7. "Freakshow" Spears, Lewis, Smith, Karlsson, Winnberg, Asher Bloodshy & Avant, The Clutch 2:55
8. "Toy Soldier" Sean Garrett, Karlsson, Winnberg, Magnus Wallbert Bloodshy & Avant, Sean "The Pen" Garrett 3:22
9. "Hot as Ice" Hills, Araica, T-Pain Danja 3:17
10. "Ooh Ooh Baby" Spears, Farid Nassar, DioGuardi, Erick Coomes Fredwreck, Kara DioGuardi 3:28
11. "Perfect Lover" Araica, Hills, Hilson, Washington Danja 3:02
12. "Why Should I Be Sad" Pharrell Williams The Neptunes 3:10

Bonus Tracks

# Title Writers Producer Time
13. "Outta This World" (Target and Japan) Danja, Hills, Araica, Ellis Danja 3:44
14. "Everybody" (iTunes and Japan) Spears, Annie Lennox, Jonathan Rotem J.R. Rotem 3:18
15. "Get Back" (iTunes and Japan) Hills, Araica, Ellis Danja 3:51
"Everybody" contains samples from the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)."

Bonus remixes

Title Time
"Gimme More (Paul Oakenfold Remix)" (Japan Bonus) 6:08
"Gimme More (Junkie XL Dub)" (Digital Bonus) 4:59
"Gimme More (StoneBridge Dub)" (Swiss & Italy iTunes Bonus) 7:23

Singles

"Gimme More" was the first single from Blackout. Spears performed the song at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 2007. It was released earlier to radio stations on August 30, 2007, and as a digital download on iTunes on September 27, 2007. "Gimme More" became Spears's highest peaking single since "...Baby One More Time," reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Since the release in September 2007, "Gimme More" has been certified Platinum in the U.S.

"Piece of Me" was released for radio airplay in the US, and was the second single from the album. The music video was shot on November 27, 2007, at Los Angeles restaurant and night club, Social Hollywood. It debuted at number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, mostly due to its digital download sales, finally peaking at number 18. It has also reached number one on the Irish Singles Chart, number two in Australia and on the UK Singles Chart, and number five on the Canadian Hot 100. "Piece of Me" has been certified Platinum in the U.S.

"Break the Ice" was officially released for radio airplay in the U.S. on March 3, 2008, and a promotional CD was released. The music video for the song premiered on March 12, the first ever of Spears's videos to be fully animated.

Speculations indicated that "Radar" would be the fourth single to be released from the album. Unfortunately, Spears was working on a new album, so on June 11, 2008, the releases of further singles from Blackout were cancelled by Jive Records. However, Radar made an appearance on several charts due to increased downloads and airplay. Due to strong airplay in Australia, it has charted at number fifty-seven on The ARIA Singles Chart. It has also charted at number eight in Sweden and number thirty-two in Ireland and New Zealand. In the Philippines, it became another number one hit from Spears. Radar has become the most successful promo-only single ever, charting highh in over 15 countries.

Charts and certifications

Chart Country Provider(s) Peak
position
Certification Sales/shipments
Australian Albums Chart Australia ARIA 1 Platinum 100,000+
Austrian Albums Chart Austria IFPI Austria 6
Belgium Wallonie Albums Chart Belgium IFPI Belgium 6 Gold 30,000+
Belgium Flemish Albums Chart 17
Canadian Albums Chart Canada CRIA 1 Platinum 150,000+
Czech Republic Albums Chart Czech Republic IFPI Czech Republic 27
Danish Albums Chart Denmark IFPI Denmark 6
European Top 100 Albums Europe IFPI 1 Platinum 1,000,000+
Finnish Albums Chart Finland IFPI Finland 22
French Albums Chart France Disque En France 2 Gold 75,000+
German Albums Chart Germany IFPI Germany 10 80,000+
Greek International Albums Chart Greece IFPI Greece 3 Gold 10,000+
Greek Albums Chart 7
Irish Albums Chart Ireland IRMA 1 3× Platinum 45,000+
Italian Albums Chart Italy FIMI 6 Silver 35,000+
Japan Oricon Album Chart Japan RIAJ 4 2× Platinum 540,000+
Japan Oricon International Album Chart 1
Mexican Albums Chart Mexico AMPROFON 2
Mexican International Albums Chart 1
Netherlands Albums Chart Netherlands MegaCharts 14
New Zealand Albums Chart New Zealand RIANZ 8 Gold 7,500+
Norwegian Albums Chart Norway IFPI Norway 12
Portuguese Albums Chart Portugal AFP 10
Russian Album Chart Russia 1 2× Platinum 40,000
Spanish Albums Chart Spain PROMUSICAE 11 Gold 40,000+
Swedish Albums Chart Sweden IFPI Sweden 11
Swiss Albums Charts Switzerland IFPI Switzerland 4
UK Albums Chart United Kingdom BPI 2 Platinum 450,000
Billboard 200 United States RIAA 2 Platinum 1,000,000+

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
Best Song (Gimme More) Won
Alfa Music Awards Awards Best International Album Won
TRL Italy Awards Best Number One (Gimme More) Nominated
TRL First Lady Nominated
Imperio Music Awards Best Album Won
Best Female Video (Gimme More) Won
Sexiest Video (Gimme More) Won
Cannes International Music Awards Album of the Year Won
2008 Teen Choice Awards Favorite Female Artist Nominated
2008 MTV Video Music Awards Best Female Video (Piece of Me) Won
Best Pop Video (Piece of Me) Won
Video of the Year (Piece of Me) Won
MTV Europe Music Awards 2008 Album of the Year TBA
Act of 2008 TBA

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, 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

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