Greetings, Britney Army! In celebration of Britney's new found freedom, and her upcoming 40th birthday, it's time to honor the princess of pop's career highlights with THE ultimate ranking of her official singles! Now that we've learned so much about Britney's personal horror with her family of leeches, it's easy to look back on her musical journey and feel sadness, but that ends today. So, put on your catholic school uniform, dust of your hit clips, and don't forget to feed Banana, because we've got 40 pop hits (and misses?) to satisfy every Britney craving you've ever dreamed of! Let's go.
[40 - 31]40. Someday (I Will Understand) - Britney & Kevin: Chaotic (2005) - 10 million views
It stings to put a song that Britney loves so much in last place, but this track never spoke to me, and the music video leaves a lot to be desired. Coincidentally, she wrote the song two weeks before knowing she was pregnant with Sean! She explained the song came "like a prophecy... when you're pregnant, you're empowered". Come through, Psychicney!
39. Ohh La La - The Smurfs 2 (2013) - 119 million views
With backing vocals from Kety Perry, the music video features sons Sean and Jayden. Britney says she's "always loved the Smurfs as a kid and now my boys are the biggest Smurfs fans EVER. I wanted to surprise them with a song in the movie. I know they'll think it's Smurftastic!" What a good mama! This song never tickled my fancy, and the video feels lazy, but, hey, it's for 10-year-olds.
38. Kill The Lights - Circus (2008) - 8 million views
In 2009 a fan fiction contest was launched, and the winner got to see their story become a plot for the official KTL music video! It pains me to put a song from the legendary 'Circus' so low on this list, but compared to the other iconic singles, KTL just doesn't slap hard enough. Mix that with the sub-par western animation style of the video, it's a bit of a dud. Sorry to this fan.
37. Perfume - Britney Jean (2013) - 41 million
Sia song alert! Even though this was probably a secret ad for her perfume, and it being from her weakest album, this actually isn't bad. However, some later accused Britney of not being the one signing the track. Britney Reps responded, "Myah Marie didn't do any background vocals on the song and doesn't have credit. The only backing vocals are from Sia." Quite the scandal, really.
36. Make Me... (feat. G-Eazy) - Glory (2016) - 71 million
Ok, so we were all very excited to see Britney back in action in 2016, but this track, especially as a lead single, just didn't hold up well over time. It also doesn't feel much like a Britney song to me. And G-Eazy of all people? No. The music video was cute, but not great, and it was later revealed that the original LaChapelle version was rejected by Spears for being "too sexy". Next!
35. I Love Rock 'n' Roll - Britney (2001) - 37 million
Used in her 2002 film 'Crossroads', this 1970's hit was Britney's second cover, her first being 'The Beat Goes On' originally by Sonny & Cher. Britney looks like a rockstar in the music video, but it's all a little one-note for me. Fun fact: When promoting the single's release, Spears mistakenly attributed the hit version of the song to Pat Benatar instead of Joan Jett. Oops!
34. I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman - Britney (2001) - 137 million
Written and produced by Max Martin & Dido, Britney considers "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" inspirational, and one of her favorite songs to perform. While it did not chart well in the US, it did reach the top ten in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the UK. The video is gorgeous, but there's no story to compliment the uplifting writing. Just mountains. Gowns, beautiful gowns.
33. My Prerogative - Greatest Hits: My Prerogative (2004) - 42 million
A single released during her "Chaotic" era, this is yet another cover from Britney, originally from Bobby Brown in 1988. The production is Toxic-esque, and the lyrics were changed to fit a woman's perspective. The music video, unfortunately, features K-Fed, but is otherwise decent enough. However, the track failed to chart on the Hot 100. I guess the public just couldn't handle her truth!
32. Overprotected (The Darkchild Remix) - Britney (2001) - 3 million views
Usually, remix versions of singles don't seem to add much, but leave it Darkchild to come through with a nice upgrade! This remix was heavily played in dance clubs, and Darkchild wasn't surprised, stating "Everybody thought she was gonna come back with another 'Oops!', but she went left." The music video also got more intense choreo this time around, complete with pink chaps!
31. Pretty Girls (with Iggy Azalea) - Pretty Girls (2015) - 187 million views
In 2014, Britney revealed that she was working on another album, and when asked who she would like to collaborate with, she name-dropped Katy Perry and Iggy Azalea. Unfortunately, the latter was chosen. 'Pretty Girls' is another song that doesn't feel like a Britney track to me, but the music video is really well done (minus the horrible acting). It's camp!
[30 - 21]30. Do Somethin' - Greatest Hits: My Prerogative (2004) - 12 million views
Of all the new releases to come out of Britney's 'Greatest Hits' album, this one was my favorite! It's the perfect precursor to 'Blackout', and how can you go wrong with a flying pink hummer?? The music video was also choreographed and styled entirely by Britney, with clothing from Juicy Couture. Got a problem with that? Why don't ya do somethin'?!
29. Radar - Circus (2008) - 92 million views
Consistently voted one of the most underrated Britney singles, 'Radar' was originally planned to be released as the third single from 'Blackout', but was then included as a bonus track on 'Circus' and released as the fourth single. The music video also pays tribute to Madonna's 1994 "Take a Bow". Whew! She really kept this song on her radar. Take a bow, Brit.
28. Don't Let Me Be the Last To Know - Oops!... I Did It Again (2000) - 49 million views
In my humble opinion, this is the best Britney has looked in a music video ever! This was peak transition from 90's girl to 2000's woman. Produced by Mutt Lange (Shania's ex husband and musical partner), additional lyrics were written by Shania Twain herself. You can definitely hear the classic Twain production in this! That do impress me much.
27. Criminal - Femme Fatale (2011) - 178 million views
There's just something about Max Martin that can bring out the most "Britney" that Britney can be, and 'Criminal' is no different! Combine this with a recent resurgence on TikTok thanks to the "Mugshot Challenge", the song has reached a new peak of 128,000 daily Spotify streams, and has now become Britney's fourth most liked music video on YouTube. TikTokney is born!
26. Overprotected - Britney (2001) - 123 million views
I just love this song. It's classic Brit and Max in perfect harmony! The music video has great production, choreo, and superbly incapsulates what Britney was feeling at the time with being a pop star and a young woman. The song also received a nomination for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2003. She needs time, love, joy, space, and Grammys!
25. From the Bottom of My Broken Heart - ...Baby One More Time (1999) - 40 million views
This music video is pure WB33! We've got sunflowers, we've got bucket hats, and we've got... a porn director? The video was the subject of controversy among the press, who gave Britney flack for hiring an adult filmmaker to direct. Either way, this song hits me right in the feels and carries that classic Britney vocal growl we don't get to hear anymore. You're breaking my heart, Brit!
24. Boys (The Co-Ed Remix) - Britney (2001) - 54 million views
This video is extremely early 2000's - Austin Powers, Evanescence vibe, and DJ Qualls?! Seems like another life, honestly. 'Boys' was originally recorded by Janet Jackson, and now that I think about it, I'm kind of annoyed this song featured a male artist when a female feature would have driven the song's message home. Janet, where you at? Get nasty.
23. Till the World Ends - Femme Fatale (2011) - 203 million views
A Ke$ha penned track, TTWE was named third best song of 2011 by Rolling Stone. I genuinely can't believe it's over 10 years old! The music video is fine enough, but the choreo/editing is a little choppy. So much so that some critics accused Britney of having a stand in during the video, which lead to director Ray Kay releasing a "choreography cut". Keep on dancin', Brit!
22. 3 - The Singles Collection (2009) - 100 million views
One of Britney's best songs, but one of her worst videos. I genuinely think I could have directed it better, but nevertheless! This song slaps and it's about threesomes, so what's not to love? '3' became her third US number-one single, and was the fifteenth song in the history of the Hot 100 to debut at number-one. All this from a "best of" album?? Wow! Her mind.
21. If U Seek Amy - Circus (2008) - 116 million views
Britney and Max really outdid themselves with this one! Leonie, a not-fan from Sydney says, "I was astonished and totally taken aback when I heard my 5 and 7-year-old kids walking around the house singing 'F-U-C-K'. When I asked them what it was, they told me it was Britney Spears. I was horrified!" That's a really good point Leonie thank you for bringing that up. Ha ha he he ha ha ho!
[20 - 11]20. I Wanna Go - Femme Fatale (2011) - 270 million views
Britney's Avril era has arrived! This was Femme Fatale's third top 10 single, became her fifth top 10 single in a row, and her twelfth top 10 entry overall. It also placed Britney as the third-highest top 10 total, behind Rihanna with 18 and Beyoncé with 15. Legends only! The video is well made and the song's message eerily represents her mentality after being freed. Come through
19. Hold It Against Me - Femme Fatale (2011) - 134 million views
Queen of dubstep! The choreo, the costumes, the giant room of tv's showing her videos, the rainbow paint, the two Britney's fighting, the clip-clop of the high heels - perfection! HIAM set the record for most radio plays during a first day, debuted at number one on the Hot 100, and was voted the best song to reach the top position over the past two years. But don't hold that against her!
18. Born To Make You Happy - ...Baby One More Time (1999) - 61 million views
Britney's most underrated music video and mid-tempo bop imo. It's very Y2K-light mixed with vaporwave/tumblr chique. Ahead of her time as always! Anna, from 'Time Out' magazine, says, "We don't know why Brit is dreaming of making someone happy by dancing on a stage in space, but we don't care, bc that choreography is dope!" Hear that Wade Robson? Don't quit your day job!
17. Me Against The Music (feat. Madonna) - In the Zone (2003) - 46 million views
Ok, I know a lot of you probably think I've ranked this way too high, but hear me out! The choreo? Her best since Slave 4 U! The costumes? Smart! The two queens of pop collaborating? ICONIC. And maybe a little gay? For me, this is one of Britney's most underappreciated singles and music videos, and shows her at her peak before things started to get a bit dark in her life. Get in the zone!
16. Break the Ice - Blackout (2007) - 84 million views
Can you believe Britney invented anime?! But in all seriousness, I would love to rank this higher on the list, because I think BTI is one of her best songs, but an animated video just doesn't have the same impact as Britney herself. The original music video was going to be 'Stronger' Part 2 with more chair dancing, but she needed a mental health break. We understand, Brit!
15. Everytime - In the Zone (2003) - 143 million views
One of her best ballads from one of her best albums, the music video shows Britney fighting with her boyfriend (allegedly representing Timberfake) as she is hounded by paparazzi. She drowns in her bathtub after bleeding from a head wound from a camera. Doctors fail to resuscitate her, while a child is born in the next room, implying she has been reincarnated. Whew! This gets me in the feels everytime.
14. Lucky - ...Baby One More Time (1999) - 148 million views
One of Brit's quintessential singles, this was one of her first with Max Martin. The music video tells the story of a famous actress who has fame, wealth, beauty, but is truly lonely and unhappy on the inside. The song topped the charts in Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, and reaching the top 10 in several other regions. Luck(y) has nothing to do with it! All talent, baby.
13. Sometimes - ...Baby One More Time (1999) - 226 million views
This song made me gay and changed my life forever. The music video is pure Dawson's Creek if Dawson was also gay. During dance rehearsals, Britney injured her knee (horrible foreshadowing?) and delayed the music video a few months while she went through physical therapy. Sometimes we
12. Piece of Me - Blackout (2007) - 136 million views
The last song recorded for 'Blackout', this was a response to the media scrutiny and sensationalism of the Britney's private life, and has since become her manifesto. Background vocals were also provided by euro pop queen Robyn. The music video shows Brit and her friends disguising themselves in order to confuse the paparazzi. She's such a little minx! I mean please.
11. Circus - Circus (2008) - 199 million views
I truly feel this song doesn't get enough love! It's the perfect drag song and the music video is pure drag itself. "Circus" is a metaphor for the public's perception of Britney's life, and after she listened to the track for the first time, she felt inspired to create an album and a tour with a circus theme. Queen of art and inspiration!
[10 - 01]10. Slumber Party (feat. Tinashe) - Glory (2016) - 98 million
Y'all ready for the top 10?? Let's do this - starting with 'Slumber Party'! Another track that I feel doesn't get enough recognition, I am absolutely addicted to this song and video. The production is timeless, the choreo is whimsical, and the music video is directed beautifully. And did someone say Tinasha?? Pure iconiqué. (And Sam's there too.)
09. Gimme More - Blackout (2007) - 249 million views
It's Britney, bitch! Dark Hairney has arrived, and she is... well she's definitely giving something! According to Mikal Sky who worked as the makeup artist for the video, Britney "sabotaged the director by refusing to perform and follow the script" for unknown reasons. Rebelney! Bet you didn't see that one coming. The legendary Miss. Britney Spears. Haha! Ow!
08. Womanizer - Circus (2008) - 326 million views
Superstar, where ya from? How's it going? One of Britney's most recognizable songs ever, the track received critical acclaim and praise for its hook, melody and empowering lyrics. The song reached the top ten in every country it charted in, broke the record for largest jump to number one in the US, and largest jump to any position in Billboard history. Your favs could never!
07. Stronger - Oops!... I Did It Again (2000) - 131 million views
Britney's best personal anthem, and another Max Martin smash, it received acclaim from music critics, who described the song as both musically and lyrically innovative, with some deeming it the best track on Oops!. And did someone say chairography?? Nothing has compared since and nothing ever will! She don't need nobody, not anybody! Whatever.
06. Work Bitch - Britney Jean (2013) - 367 million views
Quick question: You wanta hot body? You wanta Bugatti? You wanta Maserati? You betta work bitch. Pantney is back in what some claim is the second most expensive music video of all time! The song garnered critical acclaim, with praise drawn towards its production and female empowerment lyrics. It also received several certifications from multiple countries. She got to work bitch!
05. (You Drive Me) Crazy - ...Baby One More Time (1999) - 157 million views
Pop in your Darrin's Dance Grooves, ya'll, because this is one of Britney's best! Featured on the soundtrack of the 1999 teen romantic comedy film 'Drive Me Crazy', it became Britney's third consecutive. single to peak inside the top five. Directed by the legendary Nigel Dick, and music video featured Melissa Joan Fart and Adrian Grenier. Stop!
04. Oops!... I Did It Again - Oops!... I Did It Again (2000) - 347 million views
Probably Britney's most recognizable choreo, and once again directed by Nigel Dick, Oops! features the iconic red catsuit, an expedition to mars, and a Titanic reference. Can it get any more year 2000 than that?? The song was also nominated at the 2001 Grammys for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. I guess the old lady threw her Grammy into the ocean in the end. Oops!
03. Slave 4 U - Britney (2001) - 154 million views
Probably Britney's most important lead single ever, this song transitioned her from girl to woman. Receiving a mixed critical reception, some didn't agree with her girl next door image being thrown away for something sexier. The track also lead to her iconic "snake" dance at the VMA's that has become one of MTV's most legendary live performances. Like that?
02. Toxic - In the Zone (2002) - 537 million views
One of Britney's best songs from one of her best albums hands down point blank period! The track was initially offered to Kylie Minogue, but she turned it down. 'Toxic' won Best Dance Recording at the 2005 Grammy Awards, marking the first Grammy win of Britney's career. The song was a worldwide success, topping the charts in ten countries, and reached the top five in 15 countries. The music video features Brit as a super spy in search of a "toxic" poison. She then uses it to poison her boyfriend. We love women! The video also features her now iconic "naked" diamond catsuit.
"Toxic" has been included in lists by Pitchfork, NME and Rolling Stone as one of the best songs of the 2000s. The song was also ranked at number 114 on the list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This is definitely the single that defies all generational divides within the Britney fandom. Even straight people love it! We need a hit. So gimme it.
01. ...Baby One More Time - ...Baby One More Time (1999) - 669 million views
One of the most legendary pop songs and music videos of all time, this is the song that placed Britney on the map. This album is the best-selling debut album by a female artist ever, and the single is one of the best-selling singles of all time, with over ten million copies sold.
The music video for was voted the third most influential video in the history of pop music. The original plan was to have the video in a cartoon-like environment, but Britney argued that the video should be set in a school environment that reflected the lives of her fans and have multiple dance scenes. The original setting was scrapped and replaced with her now iconic concept. It was also filmed in the same school used to shoot the 1978 film 'Grease'.
Rolling Stone has ranked the song at number one on a list of the 100 Greatest Debut Singles of All Time, and 205 on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Whew! I must confess, I'm exhausted from all the legend.
Well, there you have it, ONTD! An official ranking of all 40 of Britney's singles for her 40th! I'm pooped, but also feeling energized of what's to come in Miss. Spears' bright future. What are your thoughts on this list? How would you have ranked them differently? Are there any missing? (Don't yell at me!)
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