Britney Spears is the global icon of our generation, a pop star who elevates her work beyond music to the level of a cultural phenomenon. Britney is that rare gem of a pop star where her albums as bodies of work are not just vehicles to stuff with filler and prop up chart-topping singles. Regarded as a pop icon, Spears has sold over 100 million records worldwide, including over 70 million in the United States, making her one of the world's best-selling music artists.
...Baby One More Time (1999)
A nostalgic album for the majority of the world’s population. "…Baby One More Time" is not a bad album by any means. In fact, it’s as perfect of a debut pop record as you could ask for circa the late 90s. Max Martin produced mega singles and sickly teen romance ballads – sung with the earnest charm of a 16-year-old girl from Louisiana who was just bursting with star quality. Everything Britney does that is great on this album, of which there are many, she will go on to do even better. The title track is one of the most iconic pop songs ever made. "Sometimes," "You Drive Me Crazy" and "Born To Make You Happy" are bonafide classics. But the album has got a childish sheen to it that makes it pale in comparison to her more mature work. A bloody good start to a career, though!
Oops!... I Did It Again (2000)
If "…Baby One More Time" is Shrek, then "Oops" is Shrek 2. It builds on everything her debut record did and betters it. Second album slump? Britney Spears quite literally doesn’t know her. It still has a lot of Disney kid cheese, but it takes bold steps into the mature direction her career was heading. Tracks like "Stronger" came out and slapped every Britney naysayer across the face. Oops was a second lead single like no other, "Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know" showed a softer and more grown-up Brit and it’s just a very solid sophomore record. It is plagued, however, by voice recordings at the end of a lot of the songs. They function as transitional interludes and feature some very of the time chats between Britney and her pals (“yo Brit, you’re a NERD xD”) and they make the whole album feel like a teen movie. If that’s your vibe, you’ll love it.
The world was shaking when it first got its glimpse of Britney Spears's third album. "I’m A Slave 4 U" is a juggernaut of a lead single. It’s a sexy, writhing orgy of a song that makes you feel sweaty just listening to it. Parents were outraged, but as Britney said, it isn’t (and never was!) her job to parent people’s children. In essence, Britney is a coming-of-age album. It’s about growing up. "I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" is a centerpiece – “I used to think I had the answers to everything” she sings, but soon learns nobody ever really does. There were expectations on "Britney" for her to know how to do everything right in her career the first time, but this album lets everyone know it’s okay to make mistakes. "Britney" has the best production we’ve heard from her up to this point; Pharrell assisted songs that sound like they could have been made today and still would sound cool and fresh. There’s an irresistible groove to Britney Spears here that’s not found on any of the other albums.