“Blackout” is Britney Spears’ fifth studio album. It was released on October 25, 2007 through Jive Records. Opting to re-establish her music career after her fourth studio album, “In the Zone” (2003), she began planning the project in 2006. Work continued into 2007, during which time Britney’s much-publicized personal struggles, including several instances of erratic behavior and her divorce from Kevin Federline overshadowed her professional endeavors.
“Blackout” represents a musical departure from Britney’s earlier work featuring a foreboding and atmospheric tone in terms of musical and lyrical direction. She collaborated with producers including Danja, Bloodshy & Avant, Sean Garrett, and The Neptunes in several recording studios around the United States, including Britney’s home in Los Angeles, with the intention of creating uptempo, high-energy music. Their efforts resulted in a primarily dance-pop and electropop record, which sees additional influences from Euro disco, dubstep and funk. The lyrical themes revolve around love, fame, media scrutiny, sex, and clubbing.
Upon its release, “Blackout” received generally favorable reviews from music critics; some complimented it as Britney’s most progressive and consistent album. The Times named it as the fifth best pop album of the decade. “Blackout” was originally scheduled to be released on November 13 in the United States, though it was ultimately rush-released after several unauthorized internet leaks. It was expected to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200, but debuted at number two with first-week sales of 290,000 copies after a last-minute rule change. Consequently, “Blackout” is distinguished as Britney’s first studio album not to debut at number one in the United States, although it was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for exceeding one million shipments. The album charted in within the top ten of several national charts internationally, and has attained several certifications worldwide.
Three singles were released from “Blackout.” Its lead single “Gimme More” peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. Follow-up singles “Piece of Me” and “Break the Ice” respectively peaked at numbers eighteen and forty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100. Unlike her previous albums, Britney did not heavily promote “Blackout;” her only televised appearance for “Blackout” was a universally panned performance of “Gimme More” at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2012, the album was added to the library and archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.