Britney Spears' Debut Album "...Baby One More Time" turns 17... and we all feel old.

"I must confess, I still believe..."

Britney Spears' Debut Album "...Baby One More Time" turns 17... and we all feel old.

"I must confess, I still believe..."

Anyone that knows me, knows also that I love Britney Spears. I always have and I probably always will. It just comes with the territory. It's who I am. I've been there through thick and thin, weathered the storm that was 2005-2008 and come out the other side "stronger than yesterday"... see what I did there?

 

Yesterday, January 12th, marks the seventeenth anniversary of Britney's iconic debut album "...Baby One More Time", as well as the age Britney was when she released it. Since I often enjoy a trip down memory lane, I thought I'd give the album a re-listen and see how it holds up today.

 

1) "...Baby One More Time" - Still as iconic as ever. The song hits you with about three hooks straight off the bat. Incredible songwriting and production from Max Martin, and I adore Brit's vocal on this song. Her low runs on "shouldn't have let you go-o-o-o" slay me every time. This will always be a fave of mine!

 

2) "(You Drive Me) Crazy" - Ooh, time for the cowbells! Again, another funk-pop smash. This is like "...Baby" Part 2, complete with guitar solo. There is a fullness to her vocal on this album that is missing on later records, even as early as the (IMO) inferior Stop! Remix. I'd love to hear a studio version with the additional dance-break intro like at the Teen Choice Awards Performance. 

 

3) "Sometimes" - And breathe... Time to hit the beach and chill. "Sometimes" just screams 90's summer and is a song I still play to this day...only super low, with my headphones in *whispers* so no-one knows. It's so cheesy that even Brit doesn't like it anymore. But that music video though! All in white, with the long hair and the beach ball. Back in the day she went all out too. She could've just had a video of vanity shots, but not our Brit. She gave it full choreography for a ballad! Oooh, what about girl giving me vocals on the bridge and outro. Slay!

 

4) "Soda Pop" - "Uh oh, a here we go now-ooh-uh!" "Soda Pop" is a laid-back, mid-tempo with a dancehall flavour and some stellar vocals. She sounds a bit Christina [Aguilera] in places, particularly the breakdown ("So much time we're losing sitting watchin' the clock / turn the tempo baby let's go over the top.") This is a real fan favourite and I would literally die if she whacked this out in Vegas. Also, it segues perfecting into...

 

5) "Born To Make You Happy" - Not a single release in the US, but a No. 1 hit in the UK. "Born..." is a fantastic ballad with a Europop flavour. Once again, the futuristic video goes full out with the choreography as well as a choppy bob-cut from Brit. This is up there are one of my favourite Britney songs of all time. Take a listen to the Bonus Remix which is a little more stripped and features different vocals.

 

6) "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" - "From the Bottom..." was the album's fourth single (in the US), even being performed at the 1999 Grammy Awards, but arguably remains Brit's most forgotten release. Omitted from both "Greatest Hits: My Prerogative" (2004) and "The Singles Collection" (2009), it's a long, schmaltzy ballad that I was obsessed with as kid, but now feels like a bit of a slog to get through. A great vocal, but even the video is kinda boring.

 

7) "I Will Be There" - And we're back! "I Will Be There" is an ultimate fan fave; summery, bubblegum pop at it's finest... and a guitar intro that will make anyone smile. Love love love!

8) "I Will Still Love You" (Duet with Don Philip) - And suddenly we're back in 1989. This track is so dated, it was dated back in 1999. I'm literally sticking around for the nostalgia and Brit's A+mazing vocal. Probably wont listen to this for another seventeen years... still know all the words though! Not going to comment on Don Philip's X Factor appearance.

9) "Deep In My Heart" - I feel like this was a UK-only bonus track, I don't know the full facts here, but it was on the album (cassette!!!) I used to listen to, so I'm gonna include in my review. "Deep In My Heart" is pure 90's, dance-pop cheese... complete with key-change! Brit "ooohs" and "aawww-nneeehs" her way though the song and I love ever second of it.

10) "Thinkin' About You" - Okay, so Brit belts an "E" in chest on this track. That's the same "E" that got Christina Aguilera the job on Disney's 'Mulan' singing "Reflection". I mean, I'm not comparing and I like Christina, but I'm just saying... Brit sings the shit out of this album. You can literally hear that she put her heart and soul into every harmony and improv and riff. Hit the volume on the fade-out at the end. She's still going for gold. This kinda of vocal we don't hear from her anymore, so this stuff is to be cherished. The song itself is kinda mid-tempo filler, but I've always liked it.

11) "Email My Heart" - Oh dear. This song can stay with "I Will Still Love You" in the pile of songs I wont be listening to again for another seventeen years. It's rubbish and dated and cheesy as hell, but it does have place in my 'heart' purely for the nostalgia of being a kid. Her yodel-y vocals are on point here.

12) "The Beat Goes On" - Britney once said... "When I first heard this song, I knew I had to sing it..." Whereas I used to say... "When I first heard this song, I knew I'd probably skip it..." And I'm probably going to do the same in about fifteen sec... yep, skipped it. Repetitive and dull. Iconic, if only for black-wigged performance at the 1999 World Music Awards. 

      A few final thoughts:

      In the grand scheme of things, it really is only the title track of "...Baby" that is likely to stand the test of time. I asked a couple of late-teens a while back if they'd heard  "Sometimes" and they hadn't. Don't worry, I made their deaths look like an accident. For the fans, however, this album is chock-full of iconic (and I'm aware I've over-used that term in this review) moments that take them back to why they fell in love with Britney Spears in the first place.

     For me, "...Baby One More Time" reminds of being ten years old... when nothing else mattered... except for dancing to this album in my bedroom.