Britney Spears career has followed a curious trajectory. For years, she’s been dismissed as nothing more than a cipher with a wisp of a voice, but from the moment her star burst into life, her albums have steered bubblegum into weirder, wilder territory; a mash up of Bollywood and spy-movie guitar here, a furious dubstep breakdown there. In a 21st century dominated by mix’n’match homogenised dross, she is pop’s stealth avant-gardist.

   Now whether that alien concept has got anything to do with the girl herself is debatable given her tendency to sound weirdly absent from the core of her own songs. It could be argued that any cutting edge innovation is down to Britney’s battery of contemporary producers using her personal woes and supposed lack of interest as an excuse to experiment. Of course, none of this matters. No-one buys Britney records to hear her skill at the mixing desk any more than they do to hear her wailing away like Janis Joplin. Ultimately, what sets Britney apart is her unrivalled ability to thrill and seduce us and that is 100% down to her.   

   In more recent years, apart from her continued trials and tribulations, the one time gymslip diva has also had to contend with the emergence of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna - a brash new wave of female performers who have made their mark while seemingly exercising far more creative control. Just where this leaves Britney remains to be seen. Her singles may no longer storm the charts, her voice may be shredded, processed and roboticised, and her rep as the poster girl for escapism may have faded, but, at the end of the day, I know that she still epitomises everything I love (and hate) about pop music.


01. Boys / Britney November 2001

02. (I Got That) Boom Boom / In The Zone November 2003

03. Breathe On Me / In The Zone November 2003

04. Early Mornin’ / In The Zone November 2003

05. Touch Of My Hand / In The Zone November 2003

06. Brave New Girl / In The Zone November 2003

07. Outrageous (Junkie XL’s Dancehall Mix) / Outrageous EP July 2004

08. Get Naked (I Got A Plan) / Blackout October 2007

09. Freakshow / Blackout October 2007

10. Toy Soldier / Blackout October 2007

11. Hot As Ice / Blackout October 2007

12. Unusual You / Blackout October 2007

13. Phonography / Blackout (Bonus Track) October 2007

14. Inside Out / Femme Fatale March 2011

15. How I Roll / Femme Fatale March 2011

16. Trip To Your Heart / Femme Fatale March 2011

17. Criminal / Femme Fatale March 2011

18. Alien / Britney Jean November 2013

19. Perfume / Britney Jean November 2013

20. Passenger / Britney Jean November 2013