Top 11 Britney Spears Tracks

For obvious reasons. #FreeBritney

  1. Baby One More Time

The single that started the sensation that is Britney Spears. While she had been in front of the camera as part of the Mickey Mouse Club, this was her first turn in the spotlight. She was part of a huge wave in the late 1990s of pop music and she was often lumped in with NSync and the Backstreet Boys. While this song earned her tons of fans, it also created a wave of detractors. I was one of them. As a metal, rock, and rap fan, I lashed out at pop music in general. I was wrong. I was a hater because I bought into a bogus culture war instead of just enjoying the music. This song is upbeat and catchy as hell.

  1. Crazy

This is the song where Britney started to develop her signature style and voice. She gave her voice a unique twang and sustain that definitely set her apart from her peers. This song also illustrates how powerful the instrumentals always were. The driving chords are impossible to miss but if you listen closer, you can hear a pretty funky bass guitar riff under everything. On top of that is the poppy drumbeat that keeps everything moving. Music purists would cast derision on the synthesized instruments but they were old hat by this point. Music is music.

  1. Oops!… I Did It Again

This song feels like an improved version of Spears’ debut single. It is regrettably kind of a jailbait anthem but it is still a really catchy song. It is also not like there aren’t plenty of rock songs about jailbait. Once again we’re blessed with a driving beat with a signature riff that hits really hard. This is right about the time that I noticed (even mired in negativity) that Britney could dance. Everybody noticed it. Britney was permeating the cultural landscape and definitely overexposing her. People were starting to overdose on Britney Spears after two short years. But that was not Britney’s fault. That was marketing’s fault.

  1. Circus

Coming off of her comeback album (more on that later), Britney wanted to go back to being lighter but she had tasted the dark side and now even her lighter songs had an edge to them. This song comes off as fierce and challenging. In this song, Britney is taking control of her sex life and daring guys to step up if they aren’t scared. She really pulls off a hook that sounds like she is in the center ring of a circus calling out to the crowd. There is a rising energy to the song that definitely gets me pumped.

  1. If You Seek Amy

This song is unhinged and definitely shows off Britney’s sense of humor that had only come out in glimpses before this. This is from the same album as Circus so it is very light with a dark undercurrent to it. The song is very sing-songy, reminiscent of childhood songs a bit. It obviously uses a very playful double entendre. It was at this point that Spears was doubling down on her obvious sexual reputation and the rumors flying around about her. Of all people, Britney was always aware of how she was seen and it feels like she tried to reclaim that.

  1. Till the World Ends (Remix) Ft. Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj

I was actually first attracted to this song because I was playing Portal 2 at the time and the instrumentation reminded me somewhat of the composed music in that game. This song was a bit of a revelation for me because I did not realize that pop songs could have such rich instrumentation. It also felt way trippier than what I was used to hearing from Britney or any other pop star. The original song was actually co-written by Ke$ha (another tortured artist) imagining that feeling when you hit that high of performing and you never want it to end. I prefer the remix because it not only has Britney’s excellent vocals but some great bits by Ke$ha and the excellent rapping of Minaj.

  1. Radar

Another from the Circus album, this song feels more hypnotic. The simple tones and the droning static-y noise back up some very measured and drawled lyrics. Britney almost uses two voices in this one. There is a higher-pitched voice she uses for the hook, saying the word “radar” until it almost loses meaning. The other voice is a more taunting voice as she sings the verses with determination. I love how all of it mixes together and kind of feels like ripples crisscrossing each other.

  1. Toxic

If you are not moved by the opening riffs of this song, I don’t know what to do with you. This song has a pulsating energy to it and speaks of the dangers of wanting somebody who is bad for you. This was released in a time when pop culture was turning against Britney Spears. Her one starring role in a movie had fallen through and she had become a joke. She appeared in the third Austin Powers movie just before this was released. Still, this song is really good and it is this high up on the list for a reason. This was right before Britney went away for a few years and was a great parting shot.

  1. Piece of Me

This was the comeback album that I was talking about earlier. It was called Blackout and it rocked the pop landscape and proved that Britney was far from done. It was more creative than anything she had done before. This song was Britney’s angry song lashing out at everybody who ridiculed her and drove her crazy in the media. It was written by two producers who felt for her and witnessed her torment firsthand. The song showed that Britney was not done fighting and wanted to let the world know what she thought of her treatment. This is the treatment that continues to this day and only recently has begun to change.

  1. Work B**ch

The latest song on this list and a hell of a contender. I argued in my head whether this was number 2 or number 1 for a while but I am satisfied with my decision. This is definitely a song I keep coming back to me. The song is probably her most hard-driving song and I love the almost acidic edge to the vocals. The guitar riff is so much fun. It does not hurt that the song feels like a shot at capitalism even if that is not the way it was intended.

  1. Womanizer

Another song from Blackout, this is the song that finally got through to me and convinced me to give pop music another chance. Better late than never. I actually heard it as a cover done by cartoonist Kris Straub when he and fellow cartoonist Scott Kurtz revealed that they unironically loved the song and the music video. (It is a really good music video). I finally had somebody that I admired who unashamedly liked something that was “not cool” to like. That sort of thing opened doorways inside of me that allowed me to be more accepting of music in general. I also feel like this is her best song to date for what it’s worth.

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