It’s hard to believe that Britney Spears turns 35 today. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday that she was dancing around in a classroom in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform, pink pom-poms in her hair? Since then, there have been plenty of highs and lows in the pop star’s life—those unforgettable VMA performances, those very forgettable marriages—but through it all, one constant remained: Britney Spears plays by her own set of rules. (“It’s Britney, bitch,” take it or leave it.)
16 years down and a lifetime to go, there are few musical honors the Louisiana girl hasn’t received. Her first album, 1999’s …Baby One More Time, remains the best-selling album by a teen solo artist. She was the best-selling female artist of the 2000s, and the star has sold over 100 million albums universally. In honor of her 35th birthday, here is the time to celebrate Britney Spears birthday with her most iconic and hit songs ever.
Celebrate Britney Spears Birthday with her Most Iconic and Hit Songs
Remember when this song came out and overly concerned mothers across nations gathered in hordes, plucking and picketing, their singular goal to ensure kids didn’t take its “violent” lyrics seriously? Whatever the case, the single’s controversial schoolgirl-themed music video likely only contributed to its massive chart success. The song was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for two weeks straight, making it her most popular song of all time.
The track that transformed Spears from a cutesy teen dream into an artist in her own zone. Producers Bloodshy & Avant dumped out their whole bag of tricks on this 2003 song ” keening strings, surf guitar, a melody that twists from major to minor¬” and Spears held it all together with a curiously alluring vocal. The best pop stars know how to let themselves become artistic playthings; here Britney hits her marks perfectly without losing her natural charm. We’re hooked as badly as she is.
The third single from her comeback album, “Circus,” captures Britney playing the bad girl. (Say the title fast). The 2009 track finds Spears singing of society’s perception of her life over electro-pop synthesized beats.
When a song begins with “It’s Britney, bitch,” you just know you’re in for a treat. The fact that “Gimme More,” Spears’ lead single off 2007’s “Blackout,” wasn’t very appetizing to critics didn’t matter to fans, who helped send the breathy, stripper-ready dance track to No. 3 on the Hot 100 in October of that year.
“SCREAM & SHOUT”
Are you a bit surprised to find this one sneaking in all the way up here? You shouldn’t be! Despite being one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, Britney isn’t known for her collaborations. But when pop’s man-of-the-moment will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas came a-knocking, Britney was sure as heck going to answer the door. Scream & Shout sees Britney trying out that kinda British accent that she loves doing almost as much as we love listening to it. “All eyes on us” was right – it was Britney’s first chart-topper in eight years.
If Britney’s life was a song, ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman’ is that awkward key change halfway through. At least Britters is admitting that she’s on the path to shaking off her innocent schoolgirl image!
Britney was SO busy in 2001 that she didn’t even have time to write the word ‘for’ in her song title. SUCH a diva!
Forget airline hostess, Britney red PVC catsuit has to be one of her most iconic looks. Throw in a random Titanic reference, and you’ve got a video that nobody will EVER forget!
Lead single ‘Womanizer’ was clearly a mission statement, with whirring sirens, simple beats, the catchiest of hooks and purposefully nonchalant vocals hinting towards a Britney back on track, taking charge of her narrative. Luckily, it delivered on that mission. ‘Womanizer’ cracked the top ten in every country it charted in.
‘Overprotected’ is an anthem that deals with the complexities of growing up and being held back by other people’s perceptions. It’s classic Britney and Max Martin, full of distinctive chord progressions and more hooks than it seems possible to include in one song. It also features one of the greatest breakdowns in the history of pop music, allowing Britney to really showcase her skills as a dancer.
Britney’s never been one for self-help bangers; usually, her music centers around sex and relationships. While ‘Stronger’ is most certainly about a breakup, there’s a deeper element of defiance embedded both within the lyrics and the epic chord progressions. Whether Spears is stronger without her teen image or free from a relationship is never quite clear, but what’s abundantly obvious is that Max Martin and Britney are an unstoppable pop force.
“I’m Miss American Dream since I was 17,” Spears sings at the start of “Piece of Me,”. Her most aggressive and memorable single focused on her relationship with her fans and the media. She sounds tough and defiant to the tune, but when declares “you wanna piece of me,” she sounds at least somewhat grateful for the attention.
Britney’s second hit from Oops…I Did It Again is one of her most bubbly tunes, but the lyrics about a miserable starlet suggest that Spears identified with the dark side of fame very early on in her career.
“Work B**ch” is a surprisingly motivating song, and provides the normals of the world an elusive peek into Spears’ mentality. 16 years of hardcore workouts, performances, and unquantifiable criticism could only be weathered by someone with a work ethic unlike any other.