Britney Spears is a legend, there’s no doubt about that. She’s released 9 studio albums over her 20 year career, and has broken records worldwide. Which era, however, is her very best? Our writers battle it out here!
Blackout era Britney Spears has often been cited as a career highlight. It redefined Spears from pop princess to independent woman. Blackout revolves around themes of love, fame, sex, dance and media scrutiny, Spears directly called out her critics whilst changing and redefining pop music of the decade. In ‘Piece of Me’, Spears responds to the sensationalism of her private life. In the chorus Spears proclaims, “I’m Mrs. ‘She’s Too Big, Now She’s Too Thin”. The media were never satisfied with how she looked and constantly found ways to demean Spears. However in this song she reclaims her body and herself by proving that they only want a piece of her but she owns her body.
Sex also plays a huge role in the Blackout era. In ‘Gimme More’, Spears reclaims her sexuality, openly talking about her desire for sex and love. It’s a powerful statement for the star who was sexualised by the media from a young age, but also made to feel guilty when she exerted her sexuality. ‘Gimme More’ is Spears showing she is in control. It has has a double meaning, Spears isn’t just offering her body to her lover but to the media who criticise her. Towards the end of the song Spears sings “They want more? Well, I’ll give them more”. Spears is directly pointing out the harassment of the paparazzi; they were constantly chasing her to get a story, so she gave in. Before this line is said she says “I just can’t control myself”, this may be a subtle hint to her mental health difficulties. She can’t help but give them the stories they are demanding and gives in.
Blackout is arguably Spears’ most progressive album. She’s reclaiming her status as a woman but also creating an album that is incredibly upbeat and inspired by euro disco and dubstep. It’s my favourite Britney Spears era because it’s an era that she seems to have the most control over.
Blackout is available to listen to now via Jive.
Femme Fatale (2011)
Although every Britney era is one to cherish, her Femme Fatale (2011) album is one of the most iconic. Hands down, ‘Til The World Ends’ is Britney’s most underrated song, not to mention the remix featuring Nicki Minaj and Kesha. Labelled a dance-pop and electropop album, this song certainly lives up to these genres and must’ve made the perfect club anthem back in the day. ‘Hold It Against Me’ is another banger from this album, combining classic Britney seduction paired with beats that’ll inject party into your veins. This party runs throughout the album, with ‘Inside Out’ being another favourite hit. You can imagine Britney doing some slow-mo street dance to this tune, which makes it even better. Femme Fatale may not feature Britney’s most popular hits, like ‘Toxic’ or ‘Oops I Did It Again’, but it’s still one of her most iconic eras.
Femme Fatale is available to listen to now via Jive.
Circus-era Britney Spears (2008) was a whole new vibe for the singer, coming after the much more experimental Blackout album (2007). Circus played on more pop-inspired styles yet still held the urban influence of her earlier work. As the sixth album from Spears, Circus was released just after she was placed under a conservatorship by her father, encouraging some of her more personal struggles to follow through to her music.
Circus hosts some of my ultimate favourite Britney tracks, such as the dance-influenced title track and the incredibly catchy ‘If U Seek Amy’. Its most notable track ‘Womanizer’ even overtook ‘…Baby One More Time’ (1998) as Spears’ best-selling single in the US, showing just how much power the album held in the artists’ discography.
Some more niche tracks of Spears’ career find themselves on Circus, like the slower-paced ‘My Baby’ and R’n’B style ‘Blur’. There’s something for everyone on the album, making it one of Britney’s best albums and subsequently best eras!
Circus is available to listen to now via Zomba Recording LLC.