"Perfume" is a song by American recording artist Britney Spears. It severed as the second single from her eighth full length studio album, Britney Jean. Written by Spears, Chris Braide and Sia Furler, "Perfume" was released on November 4, 2013 by RCA Records.
In July of 2013, Britney acknowledged through Twitter that she "wrote such a special song" with Sia Furler (which was later revealed to be her favorite track on "Britney Jean") the ballad "Perfume".
In October, it was announced that the song would serve as the second single for the album.
RCA Records' CEO Peter Edge said he felt "fairly strong" that the song would be the second single after hearing it and that it could be "a big career song."
He continued to praise her vocals, commenting that "she sings it beautifully and it has a real sincerity to it. And it's outstanding -- I think people are not only gonna be surprised but also see another side of Britney."
Britney's manager Larry Rudolph described "Perfume" as being "a breakup song that's about wanting the next girl to smell your perfume on the guy afterwards. The lyric is really unique and she sings the shit out of it."
On November 1, 2013, Britney tweeted that she would reveal previews of "Perfume" through her Snapchat account.
Along with the lyrics: "So I wait for you to call and I try to act natural / Have you been thinking 'bout her or me / And while I put on my perfume / Yeah I want it all over you," she also shared the artwork for the single.
The song was originally scheduled for release on November 5, 2013 along with the pre-order of "Britney Jean," however, Britney made the song available for streaming via Facebook on November 3, 2013 and made it available for purchase at midnight on November 4, 2013 (one day ahead of the scheduled date).
Following the release of "Perfume", she tweeted:
"Thank u all SO much for the kind words!! I'm so happy u guys are loving the song as much as I do! #PerfumePremiere."
Record producer Dr. Luke revealed that the single release of the song is a "radio-friendly" edit while the "rawer" and "less produced" original version will be included as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of "Britney Jean."
Upon release, "Perfume" received generally positive reviews from music critics, who noted the musical departure from its EDM-influenced predecessor, "Work Bitch" and praised Britney's vocal performance.
Marc Hogan of Spin gave a generally positive review of "Perfume," complimenting Britney for conveying "the type of emotional vulnerability" that is not evident on most of her hit singles.
Melinda Newman of HitFix lauded the song, stating Britney's vocal ability "is as strong as it has ever been" on the song and also stated it was her "best song in years."
Robbie Daw of Idolator praised the song's lyrical content, however stated it "wouldn't exactly reshape Top 40 radio."
Jason Lipshutz of Billboard thought the song allowed Spears to momentarily discard the confident exterior of ‘Work Bitch’ and express vulnerability over "paranoid’ feelings about her romantic interest" while Katie Atkinson of Entertainment Weekly deemed the song "in the vein" of Britney's early ballads "Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know" and "Everytime."
Los Angeles Times journalist Mikael Wood noted that "Spears goes unexpectedly soft" on the song, adding that "she's pleading, not commanding. And that returns the star to the appealingly complicated zone of such tough/not-tough classics as 'Everytime' and 'Piece of Me'."
Tarun Mazumdar of International Business Times said "Perfume" is like "like breathing fresh air" for not including "annoying electro beats and overly done dubstep."
Mazudmar also wrote the song would be "memorable" as she hasn't released a ballad as a single in a long time.
A reviewer for Popjustice rated "Perfume" an 8 out of 10 and explained why he gave the song such rate:
"1. The melody - it's a cracker. 2. The tempo - it's mid, but it's not boring. 3. The lyrics - they are quite touching if you've had a drink or two. And also well done Britney for: 4. The singing, which is very much on the right side of competent."
Bill Lamb of About.com rated the song 3.5 out of 5 stars, praising the "drama in the lyrics" and "pulsating, intense production," however, he criticized her "weak vocals form."
Despite writing that the song "stands out from current pop hits both in being a ballad and in conveying dramatic feelings in a more complex, thoughtful manner than usual," Lamb thought that Britney "sounds like she is so careful in sculpting her performance that she doesn't really feel the song."
New York Daily News contributor Jim Farber gave the song a mixed review, commenting that the song's production is "careful" and describing Spears as "pale" as she "overly ambitious [emotes]."
Alexa Camp of Slant Magazine cited the lyrics "I put on my perfume/Yeah, I want it all over you/I'm gonna mark my territory" and commented that Britney "equates lingering fragrances to territorial pissings and [the song] effectively reveals Brit to be a water sports enthusiast."