9. Baby One More Time
Britney Spears
Her first and greatest single can still make a grown man blush.
by Brian Raftery

Just like We Will Rock You,Start Me Up and the theme from Jaws, Spears’ career-baptizing Baby One More Timemakes its presence known in exactly one second, opening with an unmistakable three-note door-knock of a piano line. From there, its one big whirlpool of wah-wah guitar lines and EKG-machine bass-slaps a perfectly fine, slickly conceived pop tune.

Then Britney opens her mouth, and all hell breaks loose: Oh baby, baby Half-cooing, half-begging, she stuffs the song with so much sexual force, even a seemingly innocuous line like The reason I breathe is you becomes a plea.

And she was just 16, a fact not lost upon the outraged moms (and slightly embarrassed dads) whose ears reddened when they heard the songs suggestive chorus (nor was it lost upon her video director Nigel ****, who shot her sashaying down high school halls). At the time, teen-pop was still a boys club, but while the guys were crooning about crushes, Spears was already planning the sleep-over party. Perhaps not surprisingly, even Spears herself had problems dealing with tracks intensity.

I didn’t do well at all the first day in the studio, she says of her 1998 recording sessions with Swedish producer Max Martin. I was just too nervous. So I went out that night and had some fun. The next day I was completely relaxed and nailed it. You gotta be relaxed singing Baby One More Time.

A healthy attitude to keep in mind, seeing how shed have to sing it a lot throughout the fall of 1998, when Spears went on a nationwide mall tour to help the tune gather steam; by the time Baby the album was released, Spears was already a star on MTV, and TRL was playing her navel-wagging, schoolgirl-skirted clip non-stop.

But for all of Spears’ scorching innuendo, a song as dramatic and dynamic as Baby could have been a hit no matter who sang it and in fact, its been covered by power-poppers Fountains of Wayne and Scottish mope-rockers Travis, both of whom played up the tunes underlying desperation. We did it for a laugh the first time, Traviss Fran Healy has said. And as we played it, the irony slipped from my smile. Its a very well-crafted song. It [has] that magic thing.
Available on: Baby One More Time (Jive)

Taken from Blender’s 500 greatest songs since you were born (Starting 80’s to 2005)

Britney is the only pop-star other than the King and Queen (M.J and Madge) to make into the top ten. (unless you count eminem).

Source: Blender magazine

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