‘Oops!… I Did It Again’ Turns 15

May 3, 2015 By Aaron

Celebrate Britney’s sophomore album turning 15 years old.

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Amidst all of the “Pretty Girls” excitement did you forget that Britney Spears’s second album was released 15 years ago today?

Today marks the 15th birthday of ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’, so we thought it’d only be appropriate to pay tribute to the album that transformed Britney from teen sensation into bonafide pop stardom.

After the enormous commercial success of ‘…Baby One More Time’, the pressure was well and truly on for Spears’ next studio endeavour. ‘Baby’ moved 10 million units in its first year on sale and went on to become the record that defined 1999, but it’s fair to say that the majority of critics didn’t have high hopes for Britney’s new album. Dismissing her as a one hit wonder or a flash in a pan, no one would have predicted that ‘Oops!’ would match the dizzy commercial heights of ‘…Baby One More Time’.

In a way the critics were right – ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’ didn’t perform as well as ‘…Baby One More Time’… it actually performed far better. The album sold 16.3 million copies in its first year alone, hit no. 1 in 15 countries and holds the record for the highest opening week sales of any solo artist in US chart history – a record which still goes unbroken.

On the title track of Spears’ sophomore album, Britney confidently declared, in what would end up being a recurring theme of her career, that she was “not that innocent” and the rest of the album went on to consummately prove exactly that. Although ‘Oops!’ certainly housed some of the same bubblegum pop that thrust Britney into global stardom, on tracks like “Stronger”, “Don’t Go Knockin’ on My Door” and “What U See (Is What U Get)”, Spears experimented with a harder sound than her fans had been treated to the first time around. It turned out to be a good move for Britney, her funkier, R&B-infused sound resonated with audiences everywhere and altered the way that pop and dance music interacted with each other.

On the other hand, ‘Oops!’ boasts some absolutely cracking ballads. The haunting Max Martin production “Where Are You Now” features some of Britney’s all time best vocals and the Diane Warren written “When Your Eyes Say It” didn’t just play on but improved the laid back style of the slower moments on ‘…Baby One More Time’. One of the most exceptional songs on ‘Oops!’ (and one of my all-time favorite singles from Brit) was “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know”. Penned by Shania Twain and Mutt Lange, the song may have under-performed on the Hot 100, but it’s gone to become a fan favorite, probably because it was the strongest ballad ‘Oops!’ had to offer.

‘Oops!’ also spawned an enormous 85 date, 6 month world tour, grossing $40.5 million ($55.46 in 2015 dollars). With Jamie King’s direction and her own natural charisma, Britney proved herself a formidable performer and the ‘Oops!… I Did It Again Tour’ cemented her status as one of the best live acts in the business.

Of ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’, Britney said, “It’s edgier – it has more of an attitude. It’s more me… in my opinion, [Oops!] is a lot better than the first album.”

I’d be inclined to agree. Although ‘…Baby One More Time’ is still a seminal record which altered the face of late ’90s pop music, ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’ has far better stood the test of time. The album still plays exceptionally well, filled with deliciously engaging dance/R&B tracks, killer ballads and some of the best music Max Martin has ever lent his hand to.

As we bop along to “Pretty Girls” and look forward to B9, let us take a moment to pray that Britney Spears can still produce an album as ferociously groundbreaking as ‘Oops… I Did It Again’, an album which defies convention and expectation, and holds the type of pop magic that only Britney can create.

Happy Birthday, ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’!