Circus is the sixth studio album by American pop singer Britney Spears. Jive Records, in collaboration with Zomba Label Group and Sony Music Entertainment, released it on November 28, 2008. Having moved over 505,000 copies in the United States in its first week, Circus debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one, making it Spears's fifth number-one album. The feat made Spears the only act in Nielsen SoundScan history to have four albums debut with 500,000 or more copies sold.
The first single, "Womanizer", became Spears's first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 since her debut "...Baby One More Time", almost 10 years prior. The second single, the title track of the album, "Circus", debuted at number three on the Hot 100 chart.
4.1 Live performances
6 Track listing
6.1 Bonus tracks
6.2 Deluxe Edition
7 Charts and certifications
8 Chart procession and succession
10 Release history
12 External links
It was confirmed in May 2008 that Spears was "in the experimental stages of a new album." Spears's manager, Larry Rudolph, announced in a July 2008 press release that Spears would be "spending her summer in the studio, working on a brand new album [...] with a team of top-notch producers and songwriters, and we're very excited about what she's accomplished so far." In an August 2008 interview with OK! magazine, Spears said that the album is "more urban. I'm working with producers who are just amazing [...] There is this fresh new energy." "I'm writing every day, right here at the piano in this living room... This is my best work ever."
Shannon Holtzapffel, a dancer in the leaked video of Spears dancing to "Mannequin", told The Daily Telegraph, "When we were finished rehearsing, they'd take the CD and put it in a safe. I've never experienced anything like it before."
Rolling Stone magazine's fall music preview stated that Spears "has recorded some 30 tracks for her sixth studio album." Spears continued, "I came into the studio because I had some free time, but once I started working, I was like, 'This is cool!' It just happened."
In the United Kingdom, the album was in direct competition with the new Take That album, titled The Circus, released on the same day. Take That's manager claimed the album's title choice was a coincidence, and that the band had worked "months in advance " and would not be changing the title.
Danja and Bloodshy & Avant, who produced several tracks from Blackout, both announced independently that they were recording with Spears again. Vocal producer Jim Beanz told Us Weekly that he had also been in the studio with Spears. He said of Spears: "Everyone has personal stuff, but a true professional doesn’t bring it into the studio." Spears collaborated much on the album, saying, "The process was cool, because I got to write a lot of the songs, and in the beginning, I really took part in that. ... I experimented with a lot of the pop producers that I worked with on my earliest albums." Mason]] of The Underdogs. Spears commented, "I wanted to experiment with producers I haven't worked with much before, like the Underdogs, who have a Timbaland kind of sound." According to the Los Angeles Times, Guy Sigsworth - who previously produced the singles "Everytime" and "Someday (I Will Understand)" - spent time in the studio with Spears. Max Martin, who wrote Spears's first hit, "...Baby One More Time", has produced, what he calls, his "best work ever". Dr. Luke (who actually often collaborates with Martin) has produced songs for the album, including the title track, with up-and-comer Benny Blanco. Nicole Morier, who co-wrote Blackout's "Heaven on Earth", wrote several songs with Britney in spring 2008, including "Mmm Papi" and "Rock Me In". Another notable collaborator is The Outsyders, an Atlanta-based production team, who produced the album's first single.
Reviews were generally favorable. According to Metacritic, which combines reviews from the nations top critics, the album has a 64% approval rating from critics.
The Sun newspaper in the U.K. had an exclusive preview of the album and were the first ones to post the world's first reviews of Circus. Of the track, "If U Seek Amy", "It’s a great track. A stomping robo pop number with clattering kettle drums and Brit being quite frank about the opinion she holds of herself". "Kill the Lights" was described as "a brilliant disco banger". The reviewer expressed the opinion that the album had similarities to Madonna's Hard Candy. According to Nick Levine of Digital Spy, it has many similarities to her last studio album, although she sounds more confident and there is less reliance on the vocoder. "Out From Under" was described as "a teary eyed ballad...that's really quite lovely".  Billboard Magazine gave a positive review of "Circus." It states "From the synthy open of "Womanizer" to the regretful ache spurring "Blur," "Circus" gives Brit pop a whole new meaning" and goes on to say "she is in a class of her own." Rolling Stone's Caryn Ganz says he was blown away with Britney's new work and that Toxic producers Bloodshy & Avant hit pay dirt again with the melodic, glowing "Unusual You." The Max Martin-produced "If U Seek Amy" is a saucy, swinging standout, and the photographer-taunting stomper "Kill the Lights" recalls the synth crush of 2007's Blackout and then he went on to credit songs "Blur", "My Baby", "Mmm Papi", and "Out From Under," calling it Spears best ballad since I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.
However, The Hartford Courant did not feel that it was her best performance, writing "It's too bad the best songs here don't really match up with her best performances, but that's nothing new for Spears." Slant Magazine gave an unfavorable review as well, writing that Circus "doesn't quite feel like a comeback", while The Guardian felt that the album was "substantially less edgy and exciting than its predecessor." Allmusic was in a similar agreement with The Guardian, writing that the album "never feels as sleek or addictive as its predecessor."
Circus debut at number-one on the the US Billboard 200, moving over 505,000 units in its first week, after moving 219,000 units in its first day of release, making it the sixth fastest-selling album of 2008. Circus fell to number two in its second week with 200,000 copies sold, a 60% decrease from the previous week, bringing the albums total sales to 705,000 copies sold. Circus first appeared on the European Top 100 Albums chart, where the album had its earliest release. The album debuted at number one on the chart.
In Mexico the album debuted at number one in both the national and international chart, making Spears the only artist to have all of her albums debut at number one in the International chart. Circus became Spears' first number one on the national chart since In The Zone back in 2003. The album became the highest sales in that country for any international artist selling more than 21,000 copies on its first day and 46,000 copies in its debut week.
In France the album sold 18,319 copies in its two first days of release, debuting at number five in the French Weekly Album Charts. and it moved two space up to a new position #3 on the following week. In Ireland, it debuted at number two. The album debuted at #4 on the UK Albums Chart, moving over 76,000 in its first week.
For the second year in a row Britney Spears was awarded the Billboard Readers' Choice Album of the Year]]. According to Billboard magazine, more than 16,000 votes were cast in the poll. This marks Spears as the first artist to have an album named Album of the Year two years in a row.
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Billboard United States Billboard Readers' Choice Album of the Year 2008 1
TV Azteca Mexico 44 Greatest Albums of 2008 2008 1
Univision Latin America The 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 1
In order to promote the album Jive Records set up a hotline where fans could leave a message for Spears, with some of the callers receiving a return phone call from Spears. Some tracks off the album were previewed via the website of the New York radio station WKTU and Amazon.com.
MTV aired a 90-minute documentary titled Britney: For the Record November 30, 2008. The show was about her return to the pop music spotlight. Spears's official website will be releasing a series of posters to promote Circus.
A pre-taped holiday greeting from Spears was shown during the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on December 3, 2008.
Spears's live comeback began on November 6, 2008 with a cameo appearance at the Dodger Stadium show of Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour. Midway through "Human Nature", Spears joined Madonna on stage.
The week before the release of the album saw a string of performances in several different countries. On November 27, 2008 Spears performed "Womanizer" live at the Bambi Awards in Offenburg, Germany, where she received an award for "Best Pop International Artist". The following day, Spears again performed the song live on French show Star Academy. In addition, she performed "Womanizer" on The X Factor, in the United Kingdom, on November 29, finishing the European pre-release promotional tour. Her performance on The X Factor was watched by 12.8 million UK citizens, becoming the most viewed episode in the show's history.
It was reported by Daily Mirror on September 13, 2008 that Spears will be performing at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve to promote her new album.
Main article: The Circus Starring: Britney Spears
Shortly after the New York radio station Z100 played her new song, "Womanizer", Spears made a surprise appearance on the show and announced she would be going on a worldwide tour in spring of 2009 to support the album, and that rehearsals would begin in January for a March start.Spears signed a deal with live entertainment company AEG Live to produce the tour. Wade Robson will be directing the tour and choreographing a third of it. Spears announced on Good Morning America that her concert tour would begin in New Orleans on March 3, 2009.
"Womanizer": On September 15, Jive released a statement announcing the title of her sixth studio album, Circus as well as the first single, "Womanizer". The single was released to radio stations on September 26, and the release date for the album is December 2, Spears's 27th birthday. On October 15, the song made a record-breaking jump to number one on the Billboard' Hot 100, breaking the record set the week before by T.I.'s "Live Your Life". It also garnered first-week download sales of 286,000, the biggest opening-week tally by a female artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking digital downloads in 2003. It marked Spears's first number one single on the Hot 100 since her debut, "...Baby One More Time".
"Circus": On October 31, 2008, it was announced on Spears's official website that "Circus" would be released as the album's second single. The song debuted at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was Spears's highest debuting single on the Billboard Hot 100 to date.