Miss Britney Jean Spears is my most favorite pop star in the entire world. I’ve listened to Britney more consistently than any other artist since the mid-2000s and I don’t plan on stopping. I will even defend her worst singles – yes, even that one from the Smurf movie.
Everyone knows Brit’s huge, massive hits – the “Toxic”s, the “ … Baby One More Time”s. But Britney’s catalog is full of little treasures you might not have heard, and you should. Here’s a Spotify playlist to get you going. (NOTE: Spotify does not have any of the unreleased/bonus tracks, many of which are really, truly great.)
“Britney Jean” was not a great album (I see you, Will.I.Am, and I don’t like you!), but it did have a few standout classic Britney dance songs, like this one. It really grows on you.
I wish with all my heart that Britney had worked exclusively with producer William Orbit (“Ray of Light”) on “Britney Jean” and not Will.I.Am. “Alien” is such an interesting song, with Britney’s hiccupy vocals and a starry, otherworldly backdrop.
“Overprotected” is a classic Britney song from the “TRL” era. Britney is a hot young girl and she wants to get out and have fun and figure out who she is! This idea is repeated many, many times in the Britney oeuvre, though I think “Overprotected” is the best example.
“Piece of Me”
“Blackout” is almost ten years old, but the magic of it is that it still feels fresh and modern. “Piece of Me” is Britney’s autobiography in a song. Oh, and the title of her Vegas show.
“Radar” was so criminally good and underrated that it made it onto TWO albums, “Blackout” and “Circus.” Disregard the weird, horse-centric video, though.
“Gimme More” was lauded as a comeback single and did get radio play, but not enough. I revisit it every few months, forgetting how slick and sexy and delicious it is.
“How I Roll”
Throughout her career, Britney has lent her voice to some truly weird songs. “How I Roll” from the mostly-forgettable “Femme Fatale” is one. There are those cool hiccup vocals again!
“Lace and Leather”
I’ve always thought this one, off “Circus,” sounded like Brit getting in the studio with Prince.
“Why Should I Be Sad”
Another “Blackout”-era gem, this time a farewell to K. Fed with help from a great Britney collaborator, Pharrell.
“Break the Ice”
I have to include this because it will always be my eternal tanning bed jam. And we can’t forget its anime-style video, which was churned out because Brit-Brit was in the throes of her Adnan and British-accented breakdown.
“And Then We Kiss”
So lush, so lovely. This should’ve been a single, not the background to a perfume commercial.
This may be my favorite Britney video of all time, which is really saying something. She looks insanely hot (peak hotness, I think) and her cover of this Bobby Brown song was perfectly timed during her wild-child phase pre-K. Fed wedding.
Produced by Moby, “Early Mornin’” is a sexy little track off of “In the Zone,” a Brit album that deserves waaaaaaay more attention.
“I Got That Boom Boom”
This one has a cameo by the Ying Yang Twins, so it gets a spot. HELLO, 2000s.
“The Hook Up”
Another perfect “going out with your girls” jam from “In the Zone.” I don’t like reggae, but I love it in this context.
Have you ever heard a happier, sunnier summer song than “Anticipating,” from “Britney?” No. You haven’t. I dare you not to smile when you hear it.
Apparently there’s a lost Britney album called “The Original Doll,” and this was supposed to be on it. I will mourn this mystery album forever, because “Mona Lisa” is classic.
“Someday (I Will Understand)”
Remember when this video was unveiled after “Britney + Kevin = Chaotic?” It really is a lovely, Britney-penned song. Take us to church, B.
“Perfume (Dreaming Mix)”
“Perfume” was released as a single, but it didn’t get enough love. I think it was a nice departure from the regular Britney “Til the World Ends” dance song, which can get kind of boring after awhile. “Perfume” was pretty and vulnerable, like Britney.
“What U See (Is What U Get)”
Does any song sound more like 1999 than this? No.
“Do Somethin’” is a weird song, made even better by its equally weird video. God, I love you Britney. You’re such an odd little pop princess bird.