Review Summary: An album that had a lot of potential but the filler kills off any merit it may have
Pop music for the most part is heavily discredited today for the simple fact that much of what is heard on the radio tends to be overly auto-tuned nonsense that aims to swipe a few coins from the pockets of the average teenage girl. No matter where you look there is guaranteed to be a sign of an artist that orients their music this way, be it the latest One Direction album or a new poster of that Justin Bieber that anybody in their right mind and with any taste in music would happily tear down and burn. This was not always the case, however, and pop music throughout the 90's and early 2000's was not only listenable but was actually enjoyable, with Britney Spears standing out as one of the stars of the teen pop movement.
Before she caved into the pressures of her life and attacked her head with a razor when on a drugged up binge, Britney Spears was a fun artist to listen to for the early part of her career and she became a cultural icon. This was primarily due to the success of the lead singles for her first two albums, with her debut single Baby One More Time receiving seemingly constant radio airplay. The actual sound of her music was a simplistic, basic style of radio-oriented music that just involved a very simplistic drum and piano instrumental with some bass work thudding along and the occasional piece of guitar work, and Britney singing over the top of it all about heart breaks stemming from break ups. As history has gone on to tell with the thirty million copies of the "...Baby One More Time" album, this formula proved to be extremely successful but it was not ALL great material.
Some of the songs on this album are really enjoyable numbers that are great for a listen and make you just want to get up and throw yourself around in whatever crazy dance routine you can think up, and want to sing along to. Born To Make You Happy is a slightly less up-beat song that is actually really heart-felt and has a fantastic bridge to it that will stick in your head all day and shows off Britney's strong voice really well, and the title track is among the catchiest songs you are ever likely to hear. These two songs in particular are made all the more incredible by the fact that the artist recording them was still a teenager at the time. From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart is another good song but grows a little tedious towards the end, but has a great vocal performance from Britney, sticking primarily to her lower register which gives the album a little variation at least. This song also has one of the best instrumentals on the album with some cool acoustic work and the bass and drums anchor it down and keep a solid rhythm. As far as pop ballads go From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart could be considered one of the better ones out there.
It is a shame that the album is not more consistent otherwise it would still be a fantastic pop album today but there is too much filler material on it. Right from the start of the album we are forced to listen to boring songs such as Soda Pop and Sometimes which are uninspired and dull numbers that attempt to be catchy and memorable but instead sink down to being carbon copies of the other songs. This does not cease throughout the album either with songs like Thinkin' About You and the ridiculously titled E-Mail My Heart standing tall as some of the worst and most bland pop numbers out there. The album also goes out on one of the weakest notes known to man kind with The Beat Goes On that makes you wish that the beat really would not go on as it is too long and has not got enough interesting ideas going for it. Also the constant cymbal crashes throughout are really irritating and if you do not turn this off half way through then there is something not quite right.
Britney Spears' debut album is an interesting album in that it has some killer tracks that are still enjoyable now, fourteen years later, but it is a shame that it is plagued by filler. This was overshadowed by the album that followed it in terms of quality, as that album at least partially rectified the issue with all the filler on this album, but is still at least an average pop album. I recommend just looking at the aforementioned better tracks, as you will no doubt have heard them before a dozen times on the radio.