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  • Muzik First


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.

In The Zone (2003)

"In The Zone" is Britney Spears at her commercial peak which had "Toxic" in its tracklist. But let’s not beat around the bush. "In The Zone" is Britney’s sex album. This record is filth, and it’s oozing in confidence and style. It feels slick, polished, and untouchable. It floated above most other albums that were being released in 2003 with its star power and bluntly discussed sexual themes. "Breathe On Me" is arguably the best record to shag ever made, and you won’t find an ode to masturbation more sensual than the deftly penned "Touch Of My Hand." All this before we even get onto the obliterating pop force that is Toxic, Me Against The Music featuring MADONNA and Outrageous. Then we have "Everytime," a ballad that really delved into Britney’s vulnerability. It’s completely written by her, with music and lyrics, and is one of the most tear-jerking, fragile songs I’ve ever heard. "Everytime’s" pain only is amplified by listening to it knowing everything Britney will go through in her future. When ranked, it stands out among the other Britney Spears albums as a body of work that feels like a woman who’s fully grown and now absolutely understands who she is. It’s a masterpiece.

Blackout (2007)

In 2012, "Blackout" was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s archives due to its impact and legacy on the future of post-2007 pop music. It’s widely celebrated as the best of all of Britney Spear's albums, and that is both in critical consensus and fan opinion. Blackout was written and recorded during Britney’s darkest time; a time when she was ridiculed and scoffed at by the tabloids and when her mental health was treated as nothing more than fuel for the paparazzi. With that in mind, "Blackout’s" success as an album is a testament to Britney’s resilience as a person and her creativity as an artist. Her producers frequently praised her for being completely switched on, present and hands-on in the studio in Blackout’s recording sessions. Artists from Charli XCX to Lady Gaga have heralded "Blackout" as a significant influence on their careers. "Freakshow" was the first mainstream use of dubstep and is often credited with bringing its commercial breakthrough to the masses. From the singles to the album tracks, it’s all just a rollicking ride. There’s a ferocity to "Blackout." It’s the record of an artist unleashed. She started "Blackout" with a statement that never has gone out of style: It’s Britney, bitch.

Circus (2008)

Britney Spears albums can be split into two halves, before "Blackout" and after "Blackout." "Circus" is the first album to follow "Blackout," and it kicks off the second half of her career in a way that feels like a complete mainstream rebirth. One major pain I have with this record is that "Circus" isn’t the opening track despite it feeling like a complete tone-setter and an invite for the world to step into a Britney Spears album again after her widely publicized personal troubles. This is her comeback album. It is taught in textbooks at the Pop Star Comeback School. Huge singles, great album tracks, and big commercial success. I often find myself comparing "Circus" to albums like "X" by Kylie Minogue or "Rebel Heart" by Madonna – records that are great but not particularly cohesive. That’s "Circus’" biggest flaw: All of the songs just feel a bit pulled from anywhere and everywhere. Nearly all of them, though, is incredible. "Womanizer," "Circus," and If U Seek Amy is a triple threat of singles that left the industry quaking. Introspective moments like "Blur," "Shattered Glass," and "Out From Under" are stunning. Phonography is a sexting masterpiece that was ahead of its time.

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