HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY BRITNEY SPEARS
To celebrate the birth of one of the greatest pop stars ever, I have taken it upon myself to choose and rank the 30 Best Britney Spears Songs Of All Time. This is my opus to Brit-Brit and I hope you enjoy it, study it, debate it with friends or family, and leave your own opinions to her Greatest Songs in our comments section.
There’s a lot to get to, so let’s kick things off with #30:
30. “Lucky” (link)
“Lucky” is the Britney Spears version of telling your doctor about sexual questions you have: “So yeah, a friend of mine… um… Lucky… was wondering if you can get pregnant on a sex swing. My friend.” See, in this song, “Lucky” is the name of a world famous star, who has everything: Money and fame… but no love. I believe this phrasing in the chorus is the most revealing about Britney herself: “If there’s nothing missing in her life, Why do tears come at night?” Indeed, why do they
Britney Lucky? Despite the underlying sadness dressed up in catchy pop song garb, “Lucky” is one of those songs you’ll be “Lucky” to stop singing for the rest of the day. (Apologies in advance.)
29. “Piece Of Me” (link)
This song was written by Swedes Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, known in the music industry as Bloodshy & Avant, along with Klas Åhlund, making this the most Swedish thing I’ve ever typed since selling my Ikea furniture on Craigslist. This song is notable because, unlike “Lucky” (LOL), this song is about Britney’s personal life, the constant need for the paparazzi to feed off of her antics. “Piece Of Me” was released to the public after Britney’s notorious head-shaving meltdown, making it all the more “Wait, Should We Be Enjoying This?” The answer is YES.
On the song, Mrs. She’s Too Big Now She’s Too Thin told Ryan Seacrest:
Wherever you go, there’s a lot of people who ask questions, and sometimes you don’t know their intentions and stuff like that. So, it is kind of a cute way of putting it out there. You know, like, ‘You want a piece of me?’, you know, in a cool, cute and clever way. It is a cute song… I like it.
OK, so she’s not super educated. Are you? (You probably are.)
28. “Get Naked (I Got A Plan)” (link)
One of my favorite songs on Blackout. It’s what would be playing while walking through a Haunted House Of SEX. Wikipedia pretty much sums this song up the best with Schwarzenegger-like efficiency:
“Get Naked (I Got a Plan)” is an uptempo dance song about sex. It is constructed as a duet between Spears and Danja, who sings the chorus with his voice distorted to sound like a decaying moan. Spears contributes a series of gasps, sighs and chants and her voice is also distorted.
27. “Criminal” (link)
After Blackout, Femme Fatale is one of my favorite Britney albums, because not-so-secretly I’m a Romanian prostitute. (Just call me Mrs. Saxobeat.) And “Criminal” is one of those songs that I will secretly listen to while working out 3 times a year on the off chance I actually meet a hot criminal one day. To be fair, I did once makeout with a guy who had “just gotten out of Rikers,” but he was 19 and it was for spray painting. Pretty sure it doesn’t count. (I miss him.)
26. “Touch Of My Hand (Bill Hamel Remix)” (link)
Sorry “I Touch Myself”: This is by far the catchiest tune about masturbation ever written. I mean these lyrics, which were co-written by Britney herself:
Cause I just discovered
Imagination’s taking over
Another day without a lover
The more I come to understand
The touch of my hand
The original version of this song was on Britney’s “In The Zone” album, however I much prefer this remix from the “B In The Mix” album, and not because it works better with an iBod.
25. “Mona Lisa”
Never has one of the finest works of art been so marginalized as in Britney Spears’ “Mona Lisa,” a super rare, unreleased track from 2004 which you will hate yourself for just discovering. I’m not gonna lie: It’s not the best Britney song ever. But it’s Britney singing about the fall of Mona Lisa!! That has to earn this song a spot on the list for concept alone.
24. “I Wanna Go” (link)
When I first heard “I Wanna Go” this spring, I was like “Song Of The Summer!” And it’s almost as if Bravo’s Andy Cohen was Long Island Mediuming my sentiment, as “I Wanna Go” ended up becoming the station’s summer theme song, played ad actual nauseum every 10 minutes in between repeats of Millionaire Matchmaker etc.
But you know what? It’s winter now. And… you guys… I kind of miss it.
I’m so sorry.
23. “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” (link)
Here’s a fact that will blow your mind: This song was written by Dido. Yes. Dido. Moving on. The short of it is it’s Britney singing about going through puberty way back in 2001, and was intended to be the theme song to 2002 Oscar winner for Best Picture Crossroads. It’s kind of sweet listening to it now, knowing now that Brit-Brit is the proud mama of two. And yes, I plan on singing this one day to my daughter at her Bas Mitzvah.
22. “Phonography” (link)
“Phonography” was a bonus track on the Circus album, and frankly, I’m a little sorry it wasn’t given a bigger push by the studios. For starters, it’s about having cellular phone sex. I know what you’re thinking: SOLD. And yes, “Phonography” is already technology dated and 20 years from now when things like “Bluetooth” and “Ringtones” have been replaced by “Goldthumb” and “Inter Follicular Call Response Sensations,” it will sound like an Irish Tenor singing The Gettysburg Address. But that’s its charm!
21. “Selfish” (link)
Another bonus track off of Femme Fatale, and another song about Britney and her insatiable sexual needs. But it’s as catchy as Canine Madness! (That’s old-timey rabies, which was pretty catchy.)
20. “Gimme More” (link)
This is Britney, Bitch. New Britney. The Britney I love. Post-crazy Britney. This is the kind of song that could come over the loudspeaker at TJ Maxx and I would still have no choice but to rip off all of my clothes. Luckily, I have one of these in my purse at all times. And after “Baby One More Time,” I find “Gimme More” is the easiest song to sing at karaoke while sounding exactly like Britney. It’s just all heavy breathing and table crawling, trust me.
19. “Gasoline” (link)
I think she has sex with a gas canister in this one. It’s a classic.
18. “Breathe On Me (Jacques Lu Cont’s Thin White Duke Mix)” (link)
How the Virgin Diaries didn’t make this their theme song is beyond me. It’s like an Orthodox Jew sex dream! See, Britney doesn’t need to be touched to get worked up in this song. All you gotta do is breathe on the girl. Seriously that’s it. Pop a couple of Velamints and you’re good to go.
For the record, I much prefer this remix to the original, mainly because it was remixed by a Thin White Duke.
17. “If U Seek Amy” (link)
Leave it to Swedish Mastermind Max Martin* to work in the F word to a Britney title. Yup, “If U Seek Amy” is really just a sly way of Britney saying “F*ck Me,” also the message of 98 percent of her other songs. The lyrics suggest Britney is searching the club for a girl named “Amy” to go home with. But much like the movie Fight Club and it’s respective porn F*ck Club, Amy is actually Britney herself. Spoiledgirl Alert!
Also note the hook of this song, “Hahahehehahaho,” which is how I plan on playing “Schizophrenic Slutty Santa” this holiday season.
*Why are Swedish people so good at writing hit songs and making cheap furniture and small meatballs? Question of the day.
16. “Inside Out” (link)
Best song on Femme Fatale? Possibly. Even though the lyrics are the slightest big J-Lo in Enough:
Hit me one more time it’s so amazing
How you shook my world and flipped it upside down
You’re the only one who ever drove me crazy
’cause you know me inside out
In actuality, it’s a song about – wait, guess. Say it with me: Ha-ving Se-ex with an ex-boyfriend who you just can’t resist physically despite the fact that he is maybe fat Kevin Federline. Another thing that guy knows “Inside Out”? Arby’s Au Jus.
15. “Who I Am” (Ace Of Base Cover Of “All That She Wants”) (link)
Bet you didn’t know Britney kind of covered Ace of Base, right? NOW YOU DO. There’s some controversy that this cover isn’t actually Britney singing, but if you know the girl, you know she always wants another baby, which is proof enough for me.
14. “I’m A Slave 4 U” (link)
OK, now we’re getting into ~SERIOUS AMAZING BRITNEY~ territory. Yes, the song that made it super easy for BDSM folks to text one another their roles in the home is certainly one of Britney’s best. (It’s also the best PR for big snakes ever.) Which is funny, given that it’s a sort of out of tune, Middle Eastern talky song that defies any sort of logic. Then explain to me how it ended up on an album called “50 Best Gay Party Songs”? You can’t, can you? Neither can I. Somehow, it works. So lather yourself up in the best oil Johnson & Johnson’s makes, grab the nearest giant snake or garden hose, stop asking so many questions and just enjoy yourself.
13. “Me Against The Music (Justice Remix)” (link)
Britney Spears + Madonna = 2 MUCH 2 HANDLE. Britney explained the meaning behind the song by saying it’s “basically about just going to a club and letting yourself go and battling with whoever is around you and battling against the music as well.” Seriously, can someone get this girl to a Total Recall Director’s Commentary booth? There is gold to be mined.
12. “Sometimes” (link)
Oh Sweet Virginal Spears! “Sometimes” is so sweet and innocent, I can almost hear Jesus himself singing it. Listen closely to Spears’ voice here. It’s truly the essence of being, before Justin Timberlake swoops in and takes alllll that innocence away from you. (Which is the way to do it, let’s be honest.) And guess who wrote it???
Yup, this time it’s Jörgen Elofsson and Per Magnússon, who I’m hoping is related to my favorite World’s Strongest Man Magnús Ver Magnússon. (Magnússon is probably like the Swedish “Jones,” so probably no.) Crank this song up at Karaoke and you tell me that not every person in the room is crying by the end. You can then hold everyone tight, treat them right, be with them day and night… as long as you get the one thing you need: Time.
11. “Ooh Ooh Baby” (link)
I’d like to return to Super Slutty Britney songs, if that’s alright with you. Britney was pregnant when she wrote this song with former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. But clearly these hypersexual lyrics couldn’t be about Britney’s ACTUAL BABY, right? Wrong:
Kara DioGuardi said she was inspired by the relationship between Spears and her first son in the studio, saying, “I would look at the two of them, the way they looked at each other and the way she would hold the baby. It kind of struck me as interesting. At times it’d be about a kid at times about a lover.”
That’s why you got kicked off the show Kara. That’s why. Despite these brain bleachy things written above, “Ooh Ooh Baby” is still kind of the best.
10. “Till The World Ends” (link)
It’s a shame Armageddon was released 13 years before this song came out, because that soundtrack would have been “DA BOMB.” (I wrote that sentence in 1998.) And the good news is now you have the perfect song to grind to on December 21, 2012.
9. “Break The Ice” (link)
WE ABOUT TO GET CRUNK UP IN HERE. That’s because this song was influenced by crunk. This song is how I imagine the gospel choir I’ll one day sing in would sound like on Mars. The music video also answers the prayers of Britney fans who like her but wish she was more “Japanese looking.”
“Toxic” ranks as one of my favorite Britney songs of all time. It’s like a 4 minutes of Bollywood on Acid. An interesting fact about the song is it was originally offered to Kylie Minogue, who turned it down, probably because it wasn’t annoying enough.
Here is the VH1 Pop-Up Video for “Toxic,” featuring the famous Flight Attendant dress, and the unmaking of the fat man to reveal the hot man. Really, it’s worth a watch:
“Circus” is the title track on her 2008 album of the same name, and as I have learned many a time, it is officially the hardest song to sing at karaoke and should not be attempted unless you are SUPER DRUNK. You’ve been warned.
Now as a girl who hates the “Circus” (stemming from a horrible experience at the age of 5), you might be surprised that this song comes so highly ranked on this list. Well don’t be. There’s only two types of people in the world: The ones that aren’t Britney fans, and the ones that are and get so excited at her concert in Newark that they throw up the Cosmo they had before the started in a Jersey toilet. Now I’m not saying I’m the latter of this group, but what I am saying is that even though the entire thing was lip-synched and Britney herself barely moved, the Circus Tour was still one of the greatest concerts ever. It was my Frank Sinatra at Madison Square Garden. This being the title song, it has special meaning for me.
And let’s not forget the music video, which is what “Water For Elephants” wishes it had been:
I LOVE “RADAR.” One of my favorite Britney songs ever. (It’s #6 because I love all Britney songs.) Oh, Bloodshy & Avant, you’ve done it again!
The only thing better than the song is the video, which I beg you to watch. What should have been Britney playing a super slutty version of Battleship is actually Britney stalking a horse-riding polo player. Who I think loves his horse more than her. It plays like a poorly produced karaoke video but in the best possible way, please believe me:
5. “Stronger” (link)
CLASSIC BRITNEY. Now I’m not saying I respond well to inspiration songs, but I am saying that “Stronger” is my cat hanging from a branch “Hang In There” poster. This is my “Take Back The Night.” It’s a song about empowerment and Britney making it on her own. Also I think about Shake Weights? Anyway, be sure to watch the video to learn chair dance moves that The Real Housewives of New Jersey definitely never did when they weren’t exotic dancers.
4. “Oops!… I Did It Again”
I’m gonna go ahead and say it:
BETTER THAN TITANIC.
BETTER THAN TITANIC.
Now that that’s out of the way, can we talk about Oops!? This is Britney’s finest moment. At times, she’s singing through Burger King drive thru. At other times, she’s doing a convincing impression of someone impersonating Britney Sears. But the melody, beat and lyrics evoke the turn of the Millennium better than any other song out there. (I’m not sure if I entirely mean this last sentence, but I’m running with it.) It’s Britney’s second-most successful song after #1 on this list, and is a hit at karoake parties, mainly because you can REALLY Brit it up during the last 60 seconds of “Oops I… Baybayyy”s.
And the video…
IS A F*CKING WORK OF ART OK? THEY FOUND THE NECKLACE FROM TITANIC! THERE IS NOTHING SHE CANNOT DO:
3. “Unusual You” (link)
Kind of a random song, at least according to the deaf who can’t hear anyway. “Unusual You” was my ringtone for over a year, and as a testament to how good it is, I never got sick of it. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it my future wedding song, except that I would lose any prospective suitors by saying the first part of this sentence out loud. Even my best friend Annie, who is very well-educated and not the biggest Britney fan, could not help but like it. It’s a slow, melodic love song with an addictive base line and space-age hook. And for me, it’s one of the best Britney songs ever.
2. “(You Drive Me) Crazy (Stop Mix)”
Not sure why this is #2? Allow me to CLARISSA EXPLAIN IT ALL to you. Besides the fact that Melissa Joan Hart is in the video (along with Adrien Grenier), “Crazy” is classic Britney. Fun, poppy, danceable, and impossible to get out of your head.
1. “…Baby One More Time”
I’ve done a lot of rationalizing my picks on this list. And frankly, I’m done talking. Because if you can’t understand why Britney’s #1 1998 debut smash sensation “…Baby One More Time” is topping this list, you shouldn’t even be reading this. Get your knee-highs out, wash your sports bras, and watch the rest of the day tick away while you enjoy listening to one of the best songs of all time.
For more on Britney Spears’ 30th Birthday, head over to The Fab Life’s 30 Hottest Looks for Britney’s 30th Birthday!