However, let it be said that while I'm glad I'm finally getting to compiling a list of her best songs, I have to admit this much beforehand. I'm up against 8 albums with some hits and whatever the hell Britney Jean was. I try my best to get every era/album involved in the top lists that I do, this is not gonna be easy (Or include Britney Jean material for that matter.)
That aside, when Britney songs are right, they're absolutely right. These are the best offerings The Holy SPEARit hath provided for the Britney Army [and for my casual ass, deal.]
25. "Sometimes" [from ...Baby One More Time] - The most saccharine of pop songs to the Holy SPEARit's name, "Sometimes" has a special place in history as the last acceptable mawkish pop song to have some level of earnest authenticity behind it. Then, we wanted to act like strippers, the music and chart gods delivered before telling this song, "You've done well enough."
24. "Before the Goodbye" [from Britney] - A virtually unknown track from the Asian release of Britney's 3rd album, "Before the Goodbye" is actually kind of subtle and just as cute as the other songs to her name. It isn't going to be much higher on this list due to the fact it's relatively obscure as fuck, but at least an album cut like this gets its due.
23. "You Drive Me Crazy" [from ...Baby One More Time] - You know it's the STOP! remix/video mix, right? The one that invented Adrien Grenier's relevance; had Melissa Joan Hart in it as well? Had Britney in the green tube top and ugly waitress outfit? Although just as infectious as other tracks, this one is actually kind of annoying in the gamut of Britney songs but when carefree, this song is a cute little bop.
22. "Lucky" [from Oops! I Did it Again] - The first time Britney tried a conceptual video was for a thinly veiled song about her struggles as normal girl turned pop diva sensation. There is footage with her isolated vocals that haunt me to this day, but at least "Lucky" is her most glittery song to date.
21. "Do You Wanna Come Over" [from Glory] - Yes, a song from Glory placed higher than the likes of "Lucky"; deal. While the song is prevented from higher placement due to that fucking awful male voice shouting, "Do You Wanna Come Over" is a nice, coquettish pop number which is proof that even on a mediocre album, Britney can still deliver something of high quality.
THE TOP 20
20. "Everytime" [from In the Zone] - The definitive Britney ballad, "Everytime" deserves credit for being Britney's deepest song. However, deep is something that should not prove fluke years later and that's the only thing the song has against it.
19. "Oops! I Did it Again" [title track of Britney's sophomore effort] - Hate me later, there are just 18 songs better than this. Granted this did give me life in the 3rd grade. However, really putting this up against the entirety of Britney's material...sorryboutit but this is how it ends up.
18. "Criminal" [from Femme Fatale] - The most upsetting flop in Britney's career is the 4th single released from her last commercially viable album (Put down your fucking pitchforks, you know I'm telling the truth.) The most storied of the songs to be released from the album, it at least lives on in VH1 Top 20 Countdown history.
17. "Breathe on Me" [from In the Zone] - OK, so when Britney performed at the Billboard Music Awards, I so thought this album cut from ITZ was gonna be the lead single for Glory. Once I discovered it wasn't, I put aside my embarrassment and checked the song out and what a surprise
Slinky, sensual and a beat that compliments Britney's disciplined studio vocals.
16. "I Love Rock 'n Roll" [from Britney] - Save your complaints for someone who gives a gift wrapped damn, lemon scented and/or remote controlled fuck. This cover of the song made famous by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts garnered tons of hate mainly because the critical consensus was "Eww, get your pop cooties off my hard rock." I think it's a pleasant and competent cover of that song. It's obviously not in the upper echelon of Britney songs, but again, the list has to be double digit, so I'll be stretching like I'm training for a marathon.
THE TOP 15
15. "Get Naked (I Got a Plan)" [from Blackout] - Britney's 5th album is regarded as her best and with a song like this, it's easy to see why. Stripper pop crafted by Danja, Britney's vocals on this add to an underappreciated jam that encourages many failed attempts at stripping.
14. "I Wanna Go" [from Femme Fatale]- Let's face facts; while Femme Fatale is the last commercially viable Britney album, it's only this 3rd single and aforementioned "Criminal" that are worth a damn at all. Music video aside, "I Wanna Go" is just a fun, summer number with the usual annoying choppy cadence actually working wonders here. As Britney's last Top 10 hit to date, at least she got to go-o-o out with a ba-a-ang.
13. "Piece of Me" [from Blackout] - While this gets heaps of criticisms for the video being...well...bad [it's only the choppy blonde Dida Ritz bob wig that's bad] and being the video that won Britney a moonman at the 2008 VMAs for Video of the Year for the first time. I don't get the hate though, it's a catchy number which is pretty much the precursor to Rihanna's "S&M" with less sex. While the video is proof that Britney's wigs and extensions need better maintenance, the song itself is just infectious and catchy stripper/lip sync pop.
12. "Break the Ice" [from Blackout] - An underrated song that despite its pathetic chart position, went on to rule in its own right on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. Getting an animated video treatment is tricky enough, but for whatever reason, the anime style video works well with Britney's most groovy and rhythmic track to date.
11. "If U Seek Amy" [from Circus] - FUCK ME if I can't tell you how many times I see this song paid dust or not get enough attention. The hook spells out F-U-C-K Me but is stylized in innuendo 101 and has Britney's most badass lyrics...
"Love me, hate me say what you want about me but all of the boys and all of the girls are beggin' to If U Seek Amy/F-U-C-K me."
- Matthew 135:16
THE TOP 10
10. "Gimme More" [from Blackout] - Yup, this is the highest ranking song from easily, Britney's best album and it isn't even in the Top 5. The lead single from the gloriously messy Blackoutney era proved that even in her worst moments in life, there are definitive jams made to the Spears name. The video is considered "bad", but honestly, it's Britney during a mental breakdown still putting out a hit. Let her live out some orchestrated stripper-pop fantasy while Nicky Hilton watches from afar for no reason.
9. "Make Me" ft. G-Eazy [from Glory] - Yes, a Glory song made a Top 10 somewhere; deal with it and understand why. Once #B9 was being speculated upon by the fairly decent sized Britney Army, things had to look up from the atrocity known as Britney Jean. The pleasant mid-tempo track made its wave enough to chart at #17 on the Hot 100 because of streaming (If you can name 5 stations in the U.S. that played this song on the radio not named custom iHeart playlists, go for it; I'll wait.)
Yes, it has G-Eazy on it, but he's actually semi-decent on the track. Yes, the music video pissed off the already suffering standom enough to garner a change.org petition for the David LaChappelle version to be officially released. Yes, her interpretive dance at the VMAs...I mean performance at the VMAs left much to be desired, but take what you can get; Britney studio vocals that haven't slayed this hard in years.
8. "Womanizer" [from Circus] - The 2nd #1 song to Britney's name. Spears easily has the weirdest chart history of any of the pop divas; most of her well known material either hits Top 10 but not #1 or flops miserably on the charts. Out of the 4 #1s she has, "Womanizer" is the most melodic. The fact the word "womanizer" was able to fit into a song this infectious is kind of remarkable. The video for the song, shitty secretary look and shitty red wig aside is...No T, No Shade but her most conceptual video.
7. "Circus" [title track of Britney's 6th album] - This catchy as fuck song and best track from the 6th album, essentially ruled on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown and is Britney's most ostentatious video to date. Kevin Aviance in half femme, half butch drags, Britney plugging 2 perfumes of hers, Bvlgari jewelry and running this...like, like a Circus.
6. "3" [from The Singles Collection] - The songs by Britney to go #1 that aren't named "...Baby One More Time", "3" is the best one. Deliciously tacky is Britney's calling card (It's not shade if it's true.) While the video does show that Britney's extensions could use better maintenance, it at least shows off...well let's call it "improved choreography" from the 2007 VMAs.
TOP 5/THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL PART OF THE LIST
5. "...Baby One More Time" [title track of her debut album] - The first Britney song ever released and was #1 in EVERY. SINGLE. THAT IT CHARTED IN. Against the gamut of Britney songs (At least the xx on this list, anyway), it's aged well enough to have people remember that this not only brought back the female pop star but invented the Swedish answer to Giorgio Moroder, Max Martin...and had crappy Halloween costumes and baby drag queens for years to come with the school girl ensemble.
4. "Overprotected" (Darkchild Remix) [from Britney...OK from the deluxe version of The Singles Collection] - And here you are having thought Taylor Swift invented a better publicity stunt remix for a song of hers that sucked in its original form. With a miraculous presence from producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, "Overprotected" is given a nice bratty, rebellious but still very groovy pop essence that holds up well especially considering it's early 00s pop.
Granted, it could also be another publicity stunt in song form as Madonna and Britney were looking to capitalize on the 2003 VMA "kiss heard 'round the world". No one cares as long as this high energy dance track is bumping.
2. "I'm a Slave 4 U" [from Britney] - The song that invented amateur strip nights. The video for it does outlive the song by itself...no, not just the sweat ridden music video which of course was "controversial"...the 2001 VMAs performance video of it. "Banana" the snake, deliciously tacky 2001 white girl fashion and exuding marketed sex flawlessly, this stripper-pop pioneer holds up remarkably well thanks in most part to The Neptunes' production complimenting Britney's limited but disciplined studio voice.
Normally, honorable mentions would go here, but remember; Britney's bench does not run deep. The fact I found this many should be considered a fucking miracle.
#1 AKA THE BEST BRITNEY SPEARS SONG EVER
1. "Toxic" [from In the Zone] - Even, I...an accused contrarian figure on The AV Club, /r/popheads and probably on Twitter as well, cannot and will not deny that Britney's greatest song is "Toxic". I still remember Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone on VH1 stating "Even Britney haters say 'alright I'll give you that one' about 'Toxic'." I'm not adding shit to this. "Toxic" is her greatest song.