Saturday, October 31, 2009

Top 30 Britney Spears Songs

Fine. Okay. I admit it. I’m going through a bit of a Britney Spears phase. It all started with this choreography class I’m taking. For our final, we have to choreograph a dance piece and as I was going through my music, I discovered that Britney has a hell of a lot of great dance songs. But I realized that when I listen to Britney, it’s impossible for me to think of anything but her. So for my piece, I decided to portray her life and the evolution of her public image through her songs.

Thusly, I did my listen-to-every -song-of-hers-I-can-find-on-you tube thing and quickly found some hidden treasures and singles I had missed while being preoccupied with older music. So, in honor of my latest musical phase and the release of her newest compilation album, The Singles Collection, here are my Top 30 Britney Spears Songs.

Rank: 30
Title: “Lace and Leather”
Original Appearance: Circus (2008)
Interpretation: A woman becomes the ultimate fantasy for a man…or several men.

Comments: I have a friend of a friend who loves Britney Spears. So when her newest album, Circus, came out, my friend immediately ran to him to get a illegal burned copy. And then she gave it to me. “Lace and Leather” is an album track, one that I think will become a favorite among fans with repeated listening.

Rank: 29
Title: “Email My Heart”
Original Appearance: …Baby One More Time (1999)
Interpretation: A woman wants her ex-boyfriend to contact her and accept her apologies for the hurt she put him through.

Comments: With a shitty, laughable late 90’s title like “Email My Heart” it’s no wonder this song wasn’t released as single. And yes, the lyrics are just as shitty and laughable as the title. Lyrics aside, I think the melody is very beautiful and slightly more complex than others made at this time.

Rank: 28
Title: “Shattered Glass”
Original Appearance: Circus (2008)
Interpretation: A woman taunts her unfaithful lover with the fact that their relationship can never be rebuilt.

Comments:“Shattered Glass” is an album track, sure to be listened to but not appreciated or noted. Mostly, I like it for the melody and they way Britney stylistically turns the word “glass” into a three syllable word.

Rank: 27
Title: “Gimme More”
Original Appearance: Blackout (2007)
Interpretation: A woman dances with her partner while paparazzi watches, secretly enjoying the attention.

Comments: It’s Britney, bitch. Ha! What a great narcissistic opening line. And one that could never be executed in her Baby One More Time days. “Gimme More” is sort of mindless. I can totally picture this song being played at one of those mid-90’s raves where everyone has a Day Glo pacifier and hasn’t slept for 36 hours.

Rank: 26
Title: “Mona Lisa”
Original Appearance: Chaotic (EP) (2005)
Interpretation: Britney claims that she is the reincarnation of Mona Lisa, a public figure that everyone wants to see become a “legend of her fall.”

Comments: Like Britney’s super single “Lucky” from 5 years earlier, this song begins with the line “This is a story about…” only this one is about the Mona Lisa, instead of a lonely teen star. However, the songs have essentially the same meaning: fame is a bitch. While “Lucky” is self-pitying and sweet, “Mona Lisa” is confident and cocky. It’s slightly foreshadowing in the same way “Lucky” is. It’s almost as if Britney knows she’s going to have a meltdown, mostly because the public expects it. And when she does, she knows she will rise again because that’s part of the gig. This is a forgotten song because of its awkward release on the 4 track EP. Check it out on Youtube, it’s worth it.

Rank: 25
Title: “3”
Original Appearance: The Singles Collection (2009)
Interpretation: A woman seduces two men into a threesome.

Comments: “3” is Britney Spears’ latest single. In fact, last week it, was the number one single in United States. It’s off of her latest “greatest hits” album which celebrates her tenth year in the business. The song is very infectious, repetitive and like a dirty playground chant. I warn you, dear reader, if you listen once, you’ll be hooked and find this song among your top Britney songs despite it only being out for about a month.

Rank: 24
Title: “Born to Make You Happy”
Original Appearance: …Baby One More Time (1998)
Interpretation: Your basic “poor me, I’m hopelessly devoted to you” song.

Comments: It’s like the co-dependent anthem of 1999. Despite being overly dramatic and self-pitying, it’s catchy.

Rank: 23
Title: “I’m a Slave 4 U”
Original Appearance: Britney (2001)
Interpretation: A woman expresses her independence while being a slave to dance.

Comments: As a preteen, I never got the feeling that Britney was “too sexual” during the phases of her first two albums. Yeah, so she showed her belly button…so do a million other girls younger than her at the beach, big whoop. Then came “I’m a Slave 4 U” and my opinion entirely changed. Since I was in my Maury/Lifetime phase, I finally saw the negative aspects of Britney’s super sexual persona. But since I’m past that age, I don’t really give a shit anymore.

Rank: 22
Title: “Stronger”
Original Appearance: Oops!…I Did it Again (2000)
Interpretation: A woman finally recovers from a nasty break up.

Comments: This is great work out song. Or a great empowerment song. Or a great driving while crying song. Most importantly, it’s a song that reminds you that tomorrow is another day in a kick ass way. P.S. I love Britney’s last “I’m” of the song.

Rank: 21
Title: “Out From Under”
Original Appearance: Circus (2008)
Interpretation: A woman mourns the loss of the one that “could have been.”

Comments: I said in my Top 25 Reba Songs blog that I preferred her ballads to her faster songs. It’s the opposite with Britney. She definitely has a better bubblegum pop voice then a majestic arena blasting voice. However, I have several slow songs on this list. “Out from Under” is actually a cover of a song I recently heard in the Bratz Movie (don’t ask) and was one of my favorites on Circus the first time I heard it. It’s just a very pretty, simplistic ballad.

Rank: 20
Title: “Radar”
Original Appearance: Blackout (2007)
Interpretation: A woman notices the man of the evening and plans to seduce him later.

Comments: This is one of those songs that’s great to listen to while you’re getting ready for a party or a night on the town. It has a driving beat and anticipatory lyrics perfect for building your confidence as you walk into some dance club. (I’m not really the clubbin’ type, but if I were, this fun and slightly dirty song would be on my play list).

Title: “Womanizer”
Original Appearance: Circus (2008)
Interpretation: A woman refuses to fall for the tricks of a Don Juan even if she’s tempted by him.

Comments: I have no explanation for putting “Womanizer” at #19 other than it being catchy as hell and fresh in my mind. :-)

Rank: 18
“(You Drive Me) Crazy [Stop! Remix]”
Original Appearance:
…Baby One More Time (1999)
A girl is driven crazy by her new infatuation.

It’s always bothered me that there are two versions of “Crazy.” A crappy album track with cowbell up the ying and this one which is superior and used in the music video. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just put this one on the freakin’ album!

Rank: 17
Title: “Heart”
Original Appearance: Oops!…I Did it Again (2000) (Europe and Latin America Bonus Track)
Interpretation: A girl has chat with her heart, telling it to keep holding on even though times are rough.

Comments: “Heart” is one of those hidden treasures I found thanks to the good editors of Wikipedia and faithful Britney Youtubers. Yes, it is a very, very cheesy song and so sickly sweet you need a filling after you listen to it. This is definitely one of Britney’s most innocent songs right up there with the too saccharine “Sometimes.” I’m really glad I found this song.

Rank: 16
Title: “One Kiss From You”
Original Appearance: Oops!…I Did it Again (2000)
Interpretation: Even though she is young, a girl knows it’s true love and one kiss will get her through the days.

Comments: Another early innocent Britney song. For anyone who has ever felt “too young for love” (a.k.a. every junior high girl in America) can empathize with this one. Sure, Britney has lots of “stop treating me like a little girl” songs by her third album, but this one puts a more romantic spin on it.

Title: “Break the Ice”
Original Appearance: Blackout (2007)
Interpretation: A long dormant relationship is reawakened even though awkward at first.

Comments: Do you remember when Blackout came out? I don’t. I remember Britney marrying her high school friend. Then she was married to K Fed. Then she popped out two kids. Then she shaved her head and went into rehab. Suddenly, Circus was out. When the fuck did she make Blackout? And more importantly, how the fuck did she find time to make Blackout? I missed every single off of her 5th album, including this awesome heart racing, beat driven song.

Rank: 14
Title: “The Joy of Pepsi”
Original Appearance: TV commercial.
Interpretation: Britney talks about how she enjoys Pepsi.

Comments: Yeah, it’s a commercial jingle. So what? A good catchy pop song is a good catchy pop song. This jingle will be to the 2000’s what “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” was to the 70’s.

Rank: 13
Title: “Shadow”
Original Appearance: In the Zone (2003)
Interpretation: A woman mourns the emotional distance of her lover.

Comments: Another ballad. Another forgotten album track. This is actually a fairly deep song with a powerful chorus. It’s a shame I didn’t discover it until recently and that it wasn’t picked as a single in place of “Me Against the Music”. Ugh.

Rank: 12
Title: “Can’t Make You Love Me”
Original Appearance: Oops!…I Did it Again (2000)
Interpretation: Even though she has fame and fortune, a girl still cannot win the love of the man she wants.

Comments: Britney doesn’t have that many songs about unrequited love. Off the top of my head, this is the only one I can think of. It may be shallow, but I love how this song shows that love is at the top of everyone’s personal needs. (You know it is). Even a superstar like Britney who has hundreds of men vying for her affections (or at least a tumble) has to know what it’s like to want someone who does not want her. She may be Miss American Dream, but to this guy, she’s just a girl with a crush on him.

Rank: 11
Title: “Everytime”
Original Appearance: In the Zone (2003)
Interpretation: A woman is haunted by a love she destroyed.

Comments: “Everytime” was the reason why “Shadow” was not released as a single. Both being ballads off of In the Zone, it really is a tough choice on which is more marketable. That’s why they rank at #13 and #11 respectively on my list. This is thought to be the answer song to Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” a song detailing Britney’s infidelity. Thus, since it was topical, it was chosen as the single.

P.S. I love, love, love the music video.

Rank: 10
Title: “If U Seek Amy”
Original Appearance: Circus (2008)
Interpretation: A woman searches for a woman named Amy who is quite popular with men and women.

Comments: This is another one of those “pump up” songs. In fact, I’ve actually used this while getting ready for important events. Lyrically, it really doesn’t make sense. The writers figured spelling out “fuck” would make it an instant hit, but the line “all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy” is confusing and silly. If it weren’t for the awesome melody, I think this song would rank among other shitty lyric songs like “MacArthur Park.”

Rank: 9
Title: “Circus”
Original Appearance: Circus (2008)
Interpretation: A woman turns a dance floor into a circus and enjoys being the center of attention…yeah.

Comments: This was actually the first song I heard off of Britney’s latest album. I always think the strongest song on an album should the be the title, specifically if you’re going to choose one of the tracks to be the title. Like all of her songs after 2001’s Britney, “Circus” narcissistically portrays Britney as a badass entertainer which would cause and uproar except she’s got the goods to back it up.

Rank: 8
Title: “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know”
Original Appearance: Oops!…I Did it Again (2000)
Interpretation: A girl begs her boyfriend to tell her he loves her since he’s seemed to have told everyone else.

Comments: Despite all of her racy lyrics found in songs like “3” and “If U Seek Amy”, I think “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” is Britney’s sexiest song. It’s slow and moans just like “love making” . Ironically, the lyrics are not that sexual, it’s the delivery and Britney’s inflection. Of course, the video forces you to see it as sexual. It just shows that behind innocent words are possibly, some not so innocent motives.

Rank: 7
Title: “Bombastic Love”
Original Appearance: Britney (2001)
Interpretation: A woman must keep her love a secret but knows that it would be perfect if allowed to come to fruition.

Comments: According to, the word bombastic means “high-sounding; high-flown; inflated; pretentious.” But I don’t think whoever wrote this song knew that. It rhymes with “fantastic” so it must mean the same thing, right? Whatever. This is not one of those songs I love for the lyrics. It’s mindless and represents a 13 year old girl’s vision of love.

Rank: 6
Title: "Baby One More Time”
Original Appearance: ...Baby One More Time (1999)
Interpretation: A girl wants one last fling with a guy she regrets breaking up with.

Comments: I was a closeted Britney fan. Deep in my oldies phase, I would never admit to liking any of the late 90’s teen pop. But I did. Mostly Britney. I really wasn’t a fan of boy bands. This, of course, was her first hit and its catchiness even caught me. Again, this one has always lyrically confused me. But the lyrics don’t matter it’s the melody and its place in pop culture.

Rank: 5
Title: “Overprotected”
Original Appearance: Britney (2001)
Interpretation: A girl feels she’s been overprotected and therefore wants to be her own person.

Comments: How did I miss this single? It came out right between “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” both of which I remember vividly. But I honestly can’t say I heard this song until this last summer. It’s shame because it has quickly become one of my favorites.

Rank: 4
Title: “Piece of Me”
Original Appearance: Blackout (2007)
Interpretation: Britney personally addresses the public on how she will always attract media attention, regardless if it’s positive or negative.

Comments: Another great missed single. This one even swept the MTV Video Music Awards and it still slipped under my radar. I love Britney’s songs that address her fame and this one does it in a snarky, fuck you kind of way. Instead of being ashamed of her less than ideal public life, she’s proud and flaunts her trashiness. I love it.

Rank: 3
Title: “Oops!…I Did it Again”
Original Appearance: Oops!…I Did it Again (2000)
Interpretation: A girl is unashamed of her flirtatious ways and blames her admirer for being easily enchanted.

Comments: I remember being 13 and in Ireland with my parents. We were in a pub in the early evening and without the ability to yet drink (and lacking the desire to do so), I hovered around the jukebox. Because I wasn’t surrounded by the peers I desperately hid my Britney fandom from, I played “Oops!…I Did it Again” and performed the song for my parents. I had seen the music video on the Disney Channel a million times and sloppily copied the dance steps. How can anyone not like this song? It’s so stupid, I mean, there’s a fucking Titanic reference, but it so perfectly represents the moment in time it came out. I have never met a girl from my generation that disliked this song.

Rank: 2
Title: “Amnesia”
Original Appearance: Circus (2008) (UK Deluxe Edition)
Interpretation: A woman forgets about her boyfriend when she’s in the presence of a new guy.

Comments: I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard “Amnesia.” Not unless you have the UK Deluxe Edition of Circus, are a devoted fan of, or have been living with me for the past 4 months. I cannot get enough of this song. It’s addictive. It’s like crack. And I play it all the time. I pity my roommates, truly. My recent obsession is probably why this song ranks so damn high. In time, it may fall, but until then, I suggest you check it out via Youtube. It angers me that “Amnesia” wasn’t good enough for the album. WTF?

Rank: 1
Title: “Lucky”
Original Appearance: Oops!…I Did it Again (2000)
Interpretation: The story of Lucky, a Hollywood actress disenchanted with her lonely life.

Comments: For many, many, many years, “Lucky” has been my favorite Britney Spears song. By the time it came out, I stopped hiding the fact that I liked Britney. I love the irony of the song. It’s like Britney’s producers thought “Hey, everyone thinks she’s got the perfect life but I bet she cries herself to sleep every night. Let’s write a song about it!” Of course, in 2000, it was simply a prediction if anything. It wasn’t until many years later when the song rang as true. Britney is technically the omniscient narrator telling us the story and she’s supposed to be unaware the story she’s telling is actually about her. But she’s not. It’s almost as if Britney knows this is her fate. Unlike “Mona Lisa” and “Piece of Me”, “Lucky” shows the sad side of life in the public eye. The desperate and naïve side. I wonder if Britney knew it was just the beginning, or if she thought she would overcome her loneliness in time. This is also one of my favorite music videos. But I’ll save that for another blog.


Andrew said...

Woah! I totally thought Amnesia would be the top. Never really seen your Lucky fandom before, but then again there's so much Britney that goes on in 312...

I notice that like half of Circus is on here; good album, then?

Pump Up Songs said...

This is an awesome list! Personally, I thought If You Seek Amy was kind of clever, but I don't think Brit wrote it herself.