A Personal Ranking of Britney Spears’ Albums

BS 001

Let me preface this write-up with the disclaimer that I am in no way a music expert, but I would like to think of myself as someone that could, in another lifetime, be best friends with Britney Spears. I mean, I have grown up with this girl. I went to Catholic school. I love Titanic and I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end too, B.

You’re so Lucky. It’s a rough life; sometimes you run, sometimes you hide, but you always make it back on top, Brit, and we love you for that. You and the dancers that always surround you in all your glory—those seducing arms, those shaking hips, those heavy pants—it’s all so timeless.

I listened to every Britney album in my local coffee shop, because research, duh, and I couldn’t help but shimmy my shoulders, tap my fingers, and hide my laughter as I remembered so many instances I had long buried away in my “Young and Stupid” file. But man was it fun, and Britney was there all along the way. So, in honor of my favorite pop star, I made a countdown of the Best of Britney.

8. Britney (2001)

BS 004My Experience:

Before you picket a boycott, I know this is a cult classic, but I’m going to go ahead and say it, this was my least favorite. I missed the boat on this gem, but Britney didn’t strike my diva dance cord. However, thanks to the sexy I’m a Slave for U and the always relatable Boys, which Barry Walters of Rolling Stone rightfully thinks “could be Britney’s most important,” I cannot completely sit still when this album plays through my earphones.

That said, this self-titled album represents a point where Brit started to catch her own stride while beginning to shed her good-girl image, and with that comes a few missteps like Bombastic Love and her remake of I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. Let’s leave the latter to Crossroads.

I’d Hit it One More Time:

Anticipating. When I revisited this song, I couldn’t stop imagining myself roller skating with a Farrah Fawcett hairdo! Doesn’t that sound like fun?!

 

7. Britney Jean (2013)

BS 007My Experience:

I feel like listening to this album is equivalent to going to a club inside a pinball machine— Sensory. Overload. We start off with a couple of my all-time favorites, Alien and Work Bitch, which I could dance to on repeat every Friday night f.o.r.e.v.e.r., but then we turn to Perfume. I like this song, but Work Bitch is such a tough act to follow, I can’t quite help but sigh a little and think, “Is he really that great that you need to mark your territory like a dog?” But that might just be the pessimistic lover in me.

Also, my God, what the heck happened with It Should be Easy? I am literally living in a virtual reality when I listen to that song.

I’d Hit it One More Time:

Body Ache. This song reminds me of going to step class with my mom while they played Jock Jams, and yet, it brings out my erotic dance moves. Warning: don’t listen to this song alone unless you want to give a private dance to an imaginary boyfriend.

 

6. Oops!…I Did It Again (2000)

BS 002My Experience:

Oops, Britney did it again. She sang about a girl named Lucky, which made a girl named Lillie learn every dance in her music videos. Stronger, though *makes stern face*. That’s my jam. That song gets me, to this day, through anything. My boyfriend wasn’t in love with me anymore: Stronger. I got a B on a paper in graduate school: Stronger. I lost my I.D. last weekend: Stronger. I cut my own bangs too short: Stronger. I feel like I can conquer the world when I listen to that song. Now where is my spinning chair?!

They weren’t all wins on this album, as Dear Diary and What U See (Is What U Get) show us, but it was a good game, Brit.

I’d Hit it One More Time:

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Britney’s rendition of The Rolling Stones classic will always be my second favorite. Shout-out: I love you, Mick Jagger.

 

5. …Baby One More Time (1999)

_Baby_One_More_Time_(album)My Experience:

Now, I know placing this at 5 will come as a shock to most, but let me explain. Nostalgia is a powerful thing and it got me with this one. Once upon a time I went to a Catholic school– where I got in trouble for rolling my skirt above the knee, so how the heck did Britney get away with dancing in a sports bra? That’s not fair, but I’ll move on.

(You Drive Me) Crazy was by far my favorite song from this album. My sister and I practiced that dance routine for endless hours in front of the mirror and our Leonardo DiCaprio posters. Those moves still come in handy when I’m feeling a little blue.

But it is Email My Heart that bumped this album to #5 because hahahaha, “Email me back;” excuse me: LOLs for hours. I can’t even get a guy to Snapchat me back, a form of communication so non-committal it self-destructs within 10 seconds; how am I going to ask him to email me back? That’s a sweet thought.

I’d Hit it One More Time:

Soda Pop. This is a wild card, but I really do enjoy this bubble gum pop Britney. It’s so outdated that it’s almost foreign, but it always brings back that giggling, boy-crazy tween.

 

4. In the Zone (2003)

downloadMy Experience:

Madonna, and airplanes, and Ying Yang Twins, oh my! Who in their right mind does not love Toxic? It was the anthem of all high school house parties during the early 2000s, and it was the music video that launched the careers of thousands of future flight attendants. Who wouldn’t want to join the mile-high club if there is a bedazzled, bodysuit-adorned Britney waiting for you? Ruth Mitchell of BBC sheds light on Britney’s then newly claimed title as a “nightclub siren,” a role she has since firmly established.

As her fourth of eight albums, Britney’s In the Zone is at the halfway mark for Britney and we can see her growing pains, but it’s one of those albums that grew alongside you. I have a million memories of dancing to Me Against the Music and Outrageous with my friends. High school was so weird. Thank you for getting me through it, Brit.

I’d Hit it One More Time:

Breathe on Me. It took me years to finally figure out what she was talking about here, but this hypnotic melody really does serve a purpose. Is it hot in here?

Brave New Girl. I’m going to offer two hits here because I really loved this song. It’s fun, strong, and it shows the electropop direction Britney was heading.

 

3. Circus (2008)

Circus-_AlbumMy Experience:

All eyes on Britney because this circus of an album is one of her best. I love the ringleader theme; it’s courageous and shows she was taking control of her career and moving past 2007, that nightmare of a year for everyone.

I didn’t jive with Out From Under, but I was quickly relieved with the following track, Kill the Lights. She killed the lights and totally killed it on this album.

I choreographed a dance to Mmm Papi for my college dance show – which hardly did my girl justice, but I tried, B! I really did.

I’d Hit it One More Time:

Lace and Leather. I have always loved this song and I don’t know why it didn’t get more atime by the radio stations at the time. What a missed opportunity if you ask me.

 

2. Blackout (2007)

Britney_Spears_-_BlackoutMy Experience:

Ok, I love almost everything about this album. I would have to say, Blackout marks my realization that all things glamorous are not always “perfect,” plus Britney has brown hair on that album cover just like me! Twins!

I love a good Gimme More shake. Also, who doesn’t love to shout a good and angry Piece of Me when you feel challenged by this world? Taken as a whole, this is one fierce album, and taken in bite-size chunks, we see its challenging nature, as Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times explains: “You want a piece of me” could be “an accusation or an invitation or a threat.” Oooh, Britney is bringing the heat, y’all. That’s hot.

I’d Hit it One More Time:

Freakshow. Who doesn’t love this song? I think we need a sit-down to talk about your life decisions. It’s dizzying, confusing, risqué, and everything I want to dance to in a corset, top hat, fishnets, and high heels during an electropop 1930s.

 

1. Femme Fatale (2011)

BS 001My Experience:

The ultimate of B. Spears, this is my all-time favorite because of Till the World Ends and every single song that follows. Seriously, though. Another

The weirder the better for me because it took every ounce of decency and restraint for the sake of social norms to stop myself from dancing on the coffee shop table to How I Roll. I kept turning up the volume; I was feelin’ it, I was gettin’ it in my mind, and I’m sure I was creepily smiling by myself because I was so there. That’s what Britney Spears does; she gets you to the fun, as you and your memories ride the waves of electric melodies and dance hits.

I also think this album gave Britney enough time and space from the onset of her career for Inside Out to call back with a “Hit me one more time, it’s so amazing.” BOOM. That’s her saying, “I’m so established that I can refer to my old self in my current music about my new self because I have that staying power to be here forever and ever.” Let’s face it, we will be dancing to our girl B. Spears until we are old, grey, and arthritic, but we will still bop our heads because “It’s Britney, Bitch.”

We all have our experiences with Britney Spears. She’s been there through all of our ups, downs, and turn-arounds. She has been a prominent part of popular culture for over fifteen years now, and it’s safe to say she is going to stick around for a long time to come. Rumor has it new music in the works, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming our way. What are your thoughts on our girl working on some new jams? How would your ranking of Britney Spears’ albums vary from my own? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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