2001 – Zomba Recordings - 47 minutes

Poor Britney. Up until now caught between a rock and a tweenie place, the squeaky clean pop queen has finally decided to chase another market. Tossing off the candyfloss stylisimo of her debut offerings, Britney has been transformed into a sultry vamp knocking out tunes across various popular music genres. While this transparency should win her a more diverse fan-base, it's more about marketing than music.

The album is peppered with faux-raunch tracks ('Slave', 'Boys') meant to herald Britney as new sex-kitten and as 'Britney' goes, these are the best tracks. Combining off-key broodiness, asymmetric beats and her reinvented husky vocals, some of this stuff is, well, quite funky. The pseudo-masochistic 'Slave' might alienate some of her younger fans, but its dark beats beg to be remixed.

The classic Britney sound hasn't been totally repressed (see 'Overprotected' and the syrupy 'I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman') but this is definitely a move away from the schoolgirl safeness of her career to date. The blonde one doesn't distance herself two much from the pillars of pop and there are enough high-calibre offerings here for the long-term fans.

The less cynical amongst us might say that this gamine has successfully reinvented herself as a coquettish pop vixen, but could we not have been spared the cover of 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll?

Sinéad Gleeson

Tracklisting: I'm A Slave 4 U – Overprotected – Lonely – I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman – Boys – Anticipating – I Love Rock 'n' Roll – Cinderella – Let Me Be – Bombastic Love – That's Where You Take Me – When I Found You – Before The Goodbye (Bonus Track) – What It's Like To Be Me