10. Work Bitch
will.I.am and Britney Spears are frequent collaborators, and their work can either be really good, or just awkward. Work Bitch, the lead single from Britney Jean, is arguably the best song they’ve created. It has Britney returning to her somewhat British accent (that has been dubbed ‘Britishney’), combined with EDM elements that make it club ready. After listening to Work Bitch, you feel exhilarated and ready to take on the world. The beat is pulsating, fast, and ear tingling. Spears asks several questions such as “You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti? You want a Maserati?” she then yells “Now get to work bitch!” It is a perfect club song, but it is not as radio friendly as some of Spears’ other songs, which explains why it wasn’t a bigger commercial success. It is edgy though, and Britney’s fans went wild after its release.
Work Bitch’s music video received acclaim because of its cinematography and visuals.
One of the standout tracks from Spears’ discography is the ballad Everytime. Its simple piano and string production set it apart from her other singles. At the time of release Britney had just had a very public breakup from fellow pop star Justin Timberlake, and he is rumored to have inspired it. Spears co-wrote this song and sings “Everytime I try to fly. I fall without my wings. I feel so small. I guess I need you baby,” her voice is restrained and haunting all at the same time. She further explains about how she inadvertently hurt a former lover, and the regret she feels. Everytime was a commercial success in the US and in Europe, peaking at #1 in the UK, and remains Britney’s most noteworthy ballad to this day.
Blackout is widely regarded as Britney Spears’ best album, and it has even been called one of the most influential albums in modern pop. One of the best tracks on this LP, is the euphoric Heaven On Earth. Spears’ vocals are breathy, sexy, and edgy. Her voice is layered, and it has a bouncy vibe but also a smooth electronic one too. Her voice oozes this sexiness while she compares a night with her lover to being in heaven. “Your touch, your taste, your breath, your face… you’re heaven on earth,” Britney whispers. Heaven On Earth is fast too, and it is the perfect ‘grinding’ song in the club. This song really showed a more mature side to Britney’s sound, and proved that she hadn’t lost her touch after her stuggles with fame in the years leading up to Blackout.
Spears achieved success early in her career because she played up this not so innocent teenage girl persona. Oops!… I Did It Again latched onto this idea from her previous album and helped her achieved an enormous amount of success with this song, and subsequent album. A collaboration between Max Martin and Britney Spears never fails, and they say lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice but that is not the case for these two. The lyrics talk about a woman who views love as a game, and loves to toy with her partner’s emotions, and this just made us fall even more in love with Britney. The chorus of this song is probably the most recognizable in her entire catalog, “Oops! I did it again. I played with your heart, got lost in the game. Ooh baby, baby. Oops! You think I’m in love. That I’m sent from above. I’m not that innocent!” It gives us goose bumps every time and makes us say “Wow!”
The lead single from the Femme Fatale era, Hold It Against Me, is a mix of house, pop and grime music. A new style for Spears, but it proved to be a success because this song debuted at #1 on the Hot 100. The beat is pulsating, and mixes with her voice beautifully. “If I said my heart was beating loud. If we could escape the crowd somehow. If I said I want your body now. Would you hold it against me?” The best thing about this song is that it is fast and slow at the same time, and it builds to a dubstep breakdown that was easily the most aggressive beat on the radio at the time. There is a refined quality to this song that makes it a standout among other dance tracks. It is clean, ethereal, and expertly crafted, so it is no surprise that it was a success. Britney is playful and sexy on this track which is a hard thing to do but hey, we aren’t holding it against her.
Hold It Against Me was retrospective of Spears’ career because she dangled in the air with images from her previous music videos on display.
Britney Spears named her sixth studio album Circus because she loved the edge of your seat aesthetic she sometimes cultivated, and she wanted this for new fans with new music. The title track does exactly this because it grabs hold of you and refuses to let go. Britney does sound like the ringmaster of a club on this song cause of her confidence, and the electronic beats. It is hard to decide which part of this song is best whether it be the dance breakdown of the bridge or when she sings “Everybody let’s go we make a dancefloor just like a circus!” It is madhouse on this track and Britney is the leader of this aggressive dance absurdity.
Hundreds of tiny lights were used to help set the mood for this crazy big top themed video.
It is the song that started it all. The song that shot Britney into instant stardom and made her a household name. …Baby One Time was one of the most successful tracks of the 90’s and helped her debut album be one of the most successful albums of all time. It is a teen/bubblegum pop number that played with the now iconic school girl look Spears rocked at the time. The opening three note piano riff is memorable and when we still hear it today we get excited, and are ready to sing along. This is the song that immortalized Max Martin in the pop music hall of fame too, and showed us that he knew how to write a fantastic pop song. We all must confess that without Britney we would all lose our minds, so it is always great when she hits us with some new music.
3. Piece of Me
Britney Spears’ struggles with fame and the media was one of the most documented news stories in the mid-2000s. Spears eventually rose above these struggles and documented this dark time on Blackout. This album was her best because it had a consistent and mature sound that was a progression from her earlier work. Lyrical content was inspired by fame, sex, and media scrutiny. This was most clearly displayed on Piece of Me. This song has a downtempo dance/electronic beat and tongue-in-cheek lyrics like “I’m Mrs. Lifestyles of the rich and famous… I’m Mrs. Oh my God that Britney’s shameless,” and the addition of muffled backing vocals singing “You want a piece of me?” make this song even more dynamic. Piece of Me was scene a comeback for Britney because it received critical acclaim and won the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year.
One of Britney’s most beloved songs and perhaps her most ambitious single ever.Toxic remains a dance floor favorite today and looking back, it is obvious that it was way ahead of its time. It combines surf guitar, Bollywood strings, drums, and sythsethizers all for an unforgettable electropop sound. The lyrical content and hook was much darker than anything Spears had done at the time. “With a taste of your lips, I’m on a ride. You’re toxic, I’m slippin’ under… I’m addicted to you, don’t you know that you’re toxic?” was Spears’ metaphor for comparing her lover to a dangerous drug. Toxic silenced critics in 2005 when she won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording, and proved that she was not just a novelty act.
Britney Spears and producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin have a special relationship, and when they are in the studio together something special happens. Magic was definitely made when Till The World Ends was created. This is Spears most club ready and anthemic song ever. The chorus really creates this atmosphere of dance music, and Britney is your queen. Till The World Ends was the standout track in Spears’ Femme Fatale era, and it became one of the most successful singles of the era. If you want to party, this is the song that you play. It is every bit amazing as it is sleek and sexy. Towards the end when the energy builds and Spears sings “See the sunlight, we ain’t stopping. Keep on dancing till the world ends. If you feel it let it happen. Keep on dancing till the world ends,” it is a rollercoaster that can’t be stopped. Till The World Ends just isn’t Britney Spears’ best song. It is one of the best songs of the decade.