While Britney Spears' life has resembled something of a sideshow over the past couple of years, her newest release is a welcome return to her musical roots, writes Jim Farber in the New York Daily News. And for Glenn Gamboa, writing in Newsday, Circus can't just be called a comeback: "Not only is "Circus" (Jive) the best album of her career, but it could return her to the kind of massive, multiplatinum sales that she hadn't seen since the turn of the century."
"Britney may have left the psych ward, but on Circus, she proves she's still a freak," writes Caryn Ganz in Rolling Stone. The album, due on the pop tart's 27th birthday Tuesday, juxtaposes tracks in which Spears whines about pesky paparazzi with others focused on her love for her children and descriptions of herself as totally in control. Regardless, concludes Ganz, "Britney hasn't lost her talent: Her fans still can't look away." (Read more Britney Spears stories.)