Retro GIF Booth: Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” Turns 15

Fifteen years ago today, a former Disney actress turned pop singer released her debut single. By the time she sang ’hit me baby,’ our lives changed for ever. For (at least) the next five years, we were at the mercy of Britney Spears. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a stroll down memory lane back to where it all began: “…Baby One More Time.”

While Spears was still figuring out her plan for world domination, Swedish pop writer Max Martin was shopping around a song called “…Baby One More Time.” Initially passed up by the Backstreet Boys and TLC, who was recording FanMail at the time, the song made its way to the singer, who opted to move away from her Sheryl Crow/pre-Taylor Swift sound to something with a pop feel. Spears made a wise choice. The song was smart, a little bit sexy, it mixed together her raw talent with that squeaky charm and there was (seemingly) no auto-tune in sight. We have Cher to thank for that!

On September 30, 1998, “…Baby One More Time” was officially released but it wasn’t until a few months later that it started making an impact on the radio, eventually climbing to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s success was, in large part, thanks to the music video: a virginal Spears clad in a midriff-revealing private school girl’s outfit, dancing in the hallway. (Click to the next page for all the GIFs.) On December 12th, Spears’ now-iconic video debuted at number 10 on a little show called Total Request Live. Within weeks, the video and Spears herself became mainstays on the countdown alongside the other men in our lives, Backstreet Boys and N ’SYNC.

And since we are on the topic of her video, let’s revisit every amazing moment, shall we?

Being bored never looked more fabulous than it did when Ms. Spears twiddled her thumbs in class.

Finally, the bell rang. Britney and her friends could dance and the world changed forever!

“There’s a Britney Spears dancing in the hallway, say what? I want to go to there!”

But seriously, back to the dancing. And the midriff. And that shimmy. Werq, bitch!

“Did some girl just shake her boobs in the hallway? Oh, it’s Britney – it’s okay.”

“I love that Britney bitch!” —Seriously, did we ever figure out who these chicks were?

Oh wait, now I remember.

But whatever, forget those girls. Back to the dancing, back flips and come-hither stares!

Then Britney gave us the most epic eye roll in history. So much emotion. So much attitude. (Saving this to my .GIF reaction folder.)

We made it pass the bridge. The energy of the song is so intense. Everyone’s dancing now: the teacher, you, me, and your little sister.

“Crushed it.”

Thank you, Godney. TLC and BSB really must be kicking themselves right now…