“I’m So Curious”
This track is one of Brit’s earliest B-sides and one of her best infusions of bubblegum 1999 Britney with the slight forboding of dark pop that would follow. It’s also one of the rare times you can actually hear Britney SING. Like, actually sing. Like, not the same note or autotune or back-up singers sing. It’s also the earliest track I remember belting in my room while recording myself on — wait for it — sound recorder. I also remember playing it back and just being like, “Nope, not Britney enough. Must get nasally-er.” Except no matter how many times I tried, this song just begs for Britney behind it. I can’t do it justice. Britney is curious. That’s just who she is. Have you not worn her ‘Curious’ perfume before?… No? Just me? Great! Moving on.
“Before the Goodbye”
Off of Britney’s self-titled 2001 album, “Before the Goodbye” is half power-ballad, half fierce silver-tongued lyrical venom. You still get the quick, sexy bass behind the chorus but you know Britney is lamenting here — she’s obviously missing someone (BEFORE SHE EVEN SAYS GOODBYE). How is that possible? Britney defies both musical and lyrical expectations in this glorious B-side by tugging on our heartstrings while also ensuring we still wanna grind up on each other while listening to it. Brava, Britney. Brava.
“Am I a Sinner?”
First, yes. You are. Second, this track is one of Britney’s unreleased songs that made its way to my ears via a diehard fan friend and it’s come to be one of my favorites. It starts slow and sultry, with Britney growling something sexual about dreams and truth and heat and ramps up to a powerful chorus where Britney essentially tells us it’s not her fault for wanting to have masturbatory dreams about a dude. This song is raw, breathy, weirdly sacrilegious and catchy — all things B does best.
“Intimidated” is another bonus track off of Britney’s 2001 self-titled masterpiece (and admittedly my favorite Britney album, since you asked). It’s kind of like a weird, intense, metallic, military-esque sex anthem. She can’t hit the low notes, but it’s before her world-famous breakdown, so you still can envision a super-hot, midriff-bearing Britney sweating and dancing around to this in some abandoned warehouse sporting multi-colored extensions (but not the shitty kind where it kind of looks like a mullet because at that point her hair was still REAL) and 87 pounds of black glitter eyeliner. It’s also before her music went entirely into the auto-tuned, electro-pop genre, so we still get to experience that delicious, hard-hitting late 90s-style pop for which we all secretly love her.
“The Joy of Pepsi”
Because obviously. This song defined me in high school (*cue sad head pats*). This was PRIME Britney. She was around, sponsoring soft drinks, dancing like a sex machine, wearing NASCAR driver suits, flipping her hair, being perfect Americana-style slutty while at the same time making adorable Pepsi commercials. This was the Britney America fell in love with. This was the Britney we all still desperately want her to be.
“When I Say So”
This song is kind of everything. It’s old school Britney with an amazing, melodic chorus, and a rap interlude. When was the last time you heard a Britney song with a legit rap interlude? This was when people actually wanted to collaborate with her. “When I Say So” is an unexpected, commanding B-side in which she tells some guy that this party ain’t gettin’ started til Britney says go. (But don’t worry, guys, Britney always says go.)
“She’ll Never Be Me”
This is back when Taylor Swift was a fetus and real pop icons had already started the trend of writing back-stabbing songs about each other. This gem was written shortly after Brit and Justin broke up and is very clearly directed at the frosted tipped pop icon. Britney sings, “You know I’m one of a kind / Boy what’s this I see / Your girl / she looks just like me / blond hair and dressed to a T”. I like to tell myself she’s talking about Cameron Diaz but I actually have zero idea if that’s chronologically accurate in any way. Either way, this track is like the original of every one of Taylor Swift’s current songs where she talks shit on her boyfriends except Britney’s version is actually good (what? who said that?)
“Right Now (Taste the Victory)”
This is another one of Britney’s promotional songs for her Pepsi sponsorship but is, in my opinion, one of her best B-sides ever. Its anthemic, warrior-like melody makes me feel like I need to get to an Olympic stadium in Athens and win some kind of medal for jousting. One of the best aspects of Britney is that her songs make you want to work out, and this track does that exceptionally. In fact, listening to this right now just made me put down my cheddar tater tot and look at my sneakers longingly. At any rate, “Right Now” is a forgotten masterpiece that deserves the top space of accolades among the other epic Britney B-sides.
Since I know not everyone will agree with my scientific analysis of Britney’s best unreleased/bonus titles, please feel free to scream at me/ add your own below.
“I’ve Got The Urge (to Herbal)”
“I Run Away”