- …Baby One More Time
- (You Drive Me) Crazy
- Soda Pop (featuring Mikey Bassie)
- Born to Make You Happy
- From the Bottom of My Broken Heart
- I Will Be There
- I Will Still Love You (with Don Philip)
- Thinkin’ About You
- E-Mail My Heart
- The Beat Goes On
It’s Britney, bitch. That’s right. It is time to talk about the ultimate 2000s pop icon, Britney Spears. I was inspired by her in second grade, and I am even more inspired by her now. This performer has so many classics in her repertoire; songs people have grown up with, cried with, and danced with. There’s “Oops…I Did It Again”, “Toxic”, and we can’t forget the song that started it all, “…Baby One More Time”.
I am so glad we are starting Britney’s discography just in time for spring. Her album cuts are breezy, dancey, and have the 90s smoothness where you know all will be ok. …Baby One More Time is Britney Spears’ first studio album. It was a juggernaut. Released on January 12, 1999, the album was preceded by the single of the same name, which was released on September 15, 1998. And it reached the stratosphere, reaching number one on every chart it entered. By the time the album was released, people were ready for Britney’s debut. It topped the Billboard charts in the U.S. and Canada, and was certified 14x platinum and ended up selling 25 million copies worldwide. Pretty good for a debut album.
This album transported me back to childhood. It is so wonderfully teenage and pop. Producer Eric Foster White really brings the fun vibes to this record, as well as all the teenage angst and moodiness. The first half of the album is definitely the superior side, with the hits all hanging out together. The second half of this album features the more obscure tracks, but there are still some lovely tunes to be found. What surprised me about this album was the diversity of sounds. There was funky guitar, disco, latin guitar, and of course traditional pop synthesizers. The centerpiece is of course Britney’s unmistakable voice. Right from the start she has such a distinct tone. It’s no wonder she would become the pop queen of a generation.
- …Baby One More Time*
The song that truly started it all. This ferocious pop tune, which was written by pop guru Max Martin, and the iconic video that went along with it, was an instant classic all the way back in 1998 when the single was released. The first notes are instantly recognizable, the chorus is criminally catchy, and the bridge is melodramatic in pure Britney fashion. Utter pop perfection.
2. (You Drive Me) Crazy*
Max Martin also had a hand in writing this incredibly infectious pop rock track. It features a surprisingly raucous beginning for a late ’90s pop album. This is also the track for me that cemented Britney’s vocal prowess. It’s so distinct and blends well with the saucy guitar that is showcased throughout this song.
So relatable! This song about being afraid of commitment (“sometimes I run, sometimes I hide, sometimes I’m scared of you. But all I really want is to hold you tight, treat you right, be with you day and night. Baby all I need is time.”) is arguably the star ballad on this album. It is a perfectly constructed pop song. The instrumentation is gentle but with a beat, the lyrics are simple and honest, and the latin guitar part at the end is the perfect capper to close out this tune. And honestly? Props to Brit for being able to be upfront about her commitment issues!
4. Soda Pop (featuring Mikey Bassie)*
While I was unsure about the beginning of this song (it came on strong!) but what took me back was Britney’s soulful, surprisingly deep vocal. Her voice here sounds much like it did when she was on talent shows when she was little – way more Whitney Houston than Madonna, and I was a little taken aback to hear it being used here. Really nice reggae flavored tune.
5. Born to Make You Happy*
The latin guitar returns for this extremely ~moody~ and ~dramatic~ number. This lyric alone “I don’t know how to live without your love, I was born to make you happy.” Melodrama alert! The brooding soundscape creates the perfect setting for this passionate expression of teenage angst.
6. From the Bottom of My Broken Heart*
Written by producer Eric Foster White, this is my personal favorite ballad on the album. The verses have a “More Than Words” feeling to it, which lends to the acoustic flavor really well. The delicate instrumentation shimmers around the fragile vocal, bringing out the honest, vulnerable sentiment of this song. Like the previous song, this is such a perfect expression of teendom, just done ten times better here.
7. I Will Be There
This song almost sounds like it could have been a Celine Dion song from this time period. It is very adult contemporary and does not jibe well with the rest of the tracks. It’s perfectly lovely, it just doesn’t fit here.
8. I Will Still Love You (with Don Philip)
With beautiful vocals at the beginning, this one sounds like a dreamy spring day frolicking in the fields with your love. The voices blend well together, in fact, sometimes a little too well, as either Britney or Don keeps getting lost in the sonic fray. Favorite lyric: “if the stars are falling, I’ll keep calling”. Nice, but along with the vocal issues, this one goes on a little long.
9. Deep in My Heart*
Disco! It’s like a perfectly fitted musical glove to Britney’s voice, and I wish she would explore the genre more. This song was so disco, in fact, that it made me want to learn how to do the hustle. A fun, groovy tune.
10. Thinkin’ About You*
A very Motown-esque beginning to start off track 10. It also features a scrumptiously sweet chorus about being infatuated with somebody. Delightfully light fluff.
11. E-Mail My Heart*
Omg the title. If I didn’t already know this came out in the ’90s I definitely would after hearing this song. The premise is literally Britney asking a guy to forgive her via e-mail, and begging for him to e-mail her back. There’s some good vocals, backing vocals, and a great acoustic guitar loop, but I just can’t get over e-mail being the focal point of this song. #90s4eva
12. The Beat Goes On
I wish this album had ended with the previous track because I’m not sure what they were trying to do by making a club mix of this Sonny & Cher classic. The vocals sound like they are being funneled in and the track sounds like it is meant to eventually be an 8 minutes (or longer…eek!) club remix. Again, this is a Sonny & Cher song and it really does not fit the vibe here. A meh ending to a pretty fantastic album.