Music review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
Circus Music Poster Image
Popular with kids
Pop princess sings mainly about -- surprise! -- sex.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 24 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Some songs celebrate clubbing and partying, as well as the idea of acting in certain ways to get attention. On some tracks Spears shows off a strong character and talks about not being victimized or fooled.


On "Mmm Papi" Spears moans and sings seductively ("Lil' miss fast car, I can really get far, and don't break my heart, let's make out (Let's make out! Let's make out!)." "Lace and Leather" is a sort of vocal strip tease that talks about lingerie and high heels.


"Hell" is said once and "b-tch" is sung on the song "Lace and Leather." "Blur" includes the line, "This sh-t is way too f--king bright." But the expletives are edited out. The song "If You Seek Amy" contains a play on words you wouldn't want your tweens and teens to repeat.


A few songs include references to Spears buying what she wants. Having money is equated with power: "I get things, everything I wanted / My own way, your time, goldmines."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"If U Seek Amy" makes references to smoking and drinking cocktails. "Blur" is about someone who can't remember what she did the night before, as if she in a drunken blackout.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a steamy album with lots of seductive lyrics -- as well as moaning and purring. While many of the songs are catchy and danceable, the words and messages don't waiver much from the central theme: sex.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 12-year-old Written bydochnwillow January 14, 2011

Typical Spears

I am surprised no one has brought up the Song "If You Seek Amy"... A CLEAR homophonic name that can be interpreted as “[email protected] me”. Even the video le... Continue reading
Adult Written bycaitlin414 December 19, 2009
Kid, 12 years old July 17, 2020

Stop hating If U Seek Amy!

I like some of Britney Spears' songs, but If U Seek Amy is my favorite by a long shot. Now that that's been said, I'd like to make a point.

Some... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycanadiangurl72 March 27, 2011
It's a good album. There's the few swears, which I think 12 year olds probably hear every day and probably is in their vocabulary. If U Seek Amy, unle... Continue reading

What's the story?

The follow-up to her less-than impressive CD Blackout, CIRCUS finds Spears back in familiar territory. The dozen tracks are a collection primarily about no-good, two-timing, deceptive guys, while the rest range from seductive celebrations of sexy men ("Mmm Papi" and "Lace and Leather") to a tribute to her children ("My Baby").

Is it any good?

With Circus, Spears addresses her critics and attempts to prove that she's still got it. The album resurrects the pouty-faced pop singing of the star's youth -- with mixed results. You'll hear some "Baby One More Time"-type vocals as well as an ultra-sugary sweet ballad ("My Baby"). There are some addictive beats and hooks on the album, most notably on the successful "Womanizer" and "Radar."


But sex in all its variations reigns. The song "If You Seek Amy" has a sly double entendre (say it slowly and you'll get it). And her try at Latin rhythms on "Mmm Papi," finds her using an older man. Kids will probably just want to download the hot singles, not the entire album. And that's probably a good thing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Britney Spears the singer and Britney Spears the media object. How does Spears' music differ from her public image? How does she treat the media on this album -- including the title's allusion to a "media circus?" Do you think she is hurt or helped by all the tabloid attention she has received? Why do you think that many of her songs refer to her publicized scandals?

Music details

  • Artist: Britney Spears
  • Release date: December 2, 2008
  • Label: Jive Records
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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