A blackout can be a power failure or when the lights in a theater are dramatically turned off or a suppression of information or a temporary loss of consciousness. Britney Spears – or someone – could have named her much-anticipated (?) new album, dropping tomorrow, Blackout for any one of those reasons. Seems talk from those who have happened upon a physical copy of the CD is that Spears’ presence on the album is strangely lacking. We already know she didn’t write the songs; now it seems she might not have sung them either. Of course, the suggestion that Blackout is Spears-free is stunningly conspiratorial – like the “Paul Is Dead” theory of yesteryear – but Kelefa Sanneh in the New York Times today makes a good case for it. In part:
[T]here 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. It isn’t always. On this album, unlike on previous ones, Ms. Spears isn’t credited with doing any of her own backing vocals. […] In general the parts that sound the most Britney Spears-ish are the whispered introductions and interjections. ¶ Earlier albums have arrived complete with effusive, multipage thank-you lists. […] “Blackout” has no thank-you list at all, which will likely be noted by fans who are already suspicious that this album is really a hastily cobbled-together grab bag. And those same fans will surely notice that someone seems to have run low on photographs of Ms. Spears. The booklet is padded with pictures of empty chairs (two) and stills from the notably slapdash “Gimme More” video (six).