Two more of pop’s biggest female artists are keen to get their mitts on your Yuletide dosh, and when you line them up, it is Britney who comes out on top. It is bizarre to recall that Shania Twain was originally billed as a country artist, since most of the 21 tracks on her Greatest Hits are merely bright, craftily constructed and fairly conventional mainstream pop (though there is a fiddle on Don’t Be Stupid). Shania’s finest moments usually occur when she adds a bit of sass and cheek to the mix, like That Don’t Impress Me Much or the critique of retail madness in Ka-Ching! Occasionally she squares up to a ballad or rocks it up a little, but there is a haze of forgetability hovering over much of this material.

Mind you, Shania and husband Mutt Lange did write Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know for Britney, which must have helped prop up the family finances.

It is one of the 20 tracks on the new Spearsathon, a collection which illustrates how many changes of sound, look and attitude the singer has whizzed through since the revolving door of her career started spinning with 1998’s Baby One More Time.

There’s the bright-eyed baby-Britney of Lucky or Oops!, the mid-period Britney vexed at being Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman, and the temperature-raising ***-bomb of Toxic. And there’s her feline and funky new version of Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative – though you don’t get the car-crash-and-lingerie video unless you buy the matching DVD collection of her video clips (BMG/Jive), which is probably the best way to survey Britney’s telegenic career.

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