See what critic Chuck Arnold thinks of Spears's first disc since 2003

By Chuck Arnold
Updated October 25, 2007 08:05 AM

Her personal life may be a hot mess, but there is plenty of hot music for dancing one’s troubles away on Britney Spears‘s new album, Blackout, her first studio CD since 2003’s pre-K-Fed In the Zone. (Hey, maybe she was actually researching beats on the party-girl circuit.)

“Gimme More,” the panting first single, was just a tease, because there are better – if not exactly bolder – tracks, like “Toy Soldier,” with its fun simulated snare drums, and the cool, T-Pain-assisted “Hot as Ice” (one of five cuts produced by Timbaland protégé Nate “Danja” Hills).

Only two songs, though, really offer any insight into her well-documented struggles: the media-blasting “Piece of Me” and the K-Fed kiss-off “Why Should I Be Sad,” which, after 11 cuts of nonstop partying, leaves you facing the melancholy morning after.