Britney Spears
...Baby One More Time


2.0
poor

Review

by Amanda Murray STAFF
March 26th, 2006 | 134 replies | 23,382 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


Britney Spears must be embarrassed. No, not about her crumbling marriage to an American icon. Nor about the driving lessons she offered to her newborn son. Nor, believe it or not, about her descent from pop superstardom into an iced frappucino-chugging, cheetos-gorging, Kabbalah-trending laughing stock that even Anna Nicole Smith pities. Sure, those are discomforting incidents she'll want to leave off her C.V. But perhaps more cringe-inducing is having ...Baby One More Time in her discography. Pop albums are notorious for aging worse than Marlon Brando. Similar to the ill-fated actor, over time it becomes clear the album coated a slim amount of quality in greasy, disposable layers of trash. To be sure, there are trim, capable pop songs hidden underneath it all, but their value becomes less and less an excuse for the worthlessness of the remaining songs. Think her recent escapades are worse than this? Check out the song 'E-mail My Heart' and think again.

When Britney Spears exploded onto the pop scene in 1999, she was bringing an American female presence into a pop resurgency that so far had been dominated by British girl groups trumpeting 'Girl Power!' and boy bands exuding puerility and foppish charm. Not satisfied with selling records of artists teenaged girls wanted to be with, record executives set out to find an artists they would want to be like. Britney Spears was the perfect candidate. An All-American girl with an engaging personality, passable singing and dancing skills, and as much sex appeal as a 16-year old could muster. Her debut single '...Baby One More Time' was unveiled in late 1998 and catapulted her to world-wide superstardom thanks to a hypnotic pop song and a buzz-worthy, 'racy' music video. And thus the next great musical star was born.

...Baby One More Time is inexorably linked with image. It is challenging to listen to any of her songs without picturing the corresponding video, or her Rolling Stone cover, or her 2000 MTV Video Music Awards appearance, or her 2003 VMA kiss with Madonna. But Britney has adopted (or has had forced upon her, depending upon your interpretation) a series of contradicting images throughout her career, and especially during her ...Baby One More Time phase. She was being marketed as an icon of innocence alwhile being not-so-subtly promoted as a sexual being. She sang of sex and lust while championing her professed virginity in interviews. The cover of the very album at question features Spears in a wholesome getup with an angelic smile on her face - but her pose is hardly a marker of chastity with the focal point being quite inappropriate for 16-year old artist being sold to 12-year old girls.

The lead single is undoubtedly the high point of this album. It is well-composed, tightly arranged, and even with Spears' vocal limitations it goes straight for the proverbial pop jugular. Even without consideration for the highly effective video that spurred the massive success of this song, and even taken out of the pop-friendly context of the late 90s, it is a highlight of the genre. There is little doubt that '...Baby One More Time' will be long remembered as one of the cornerstones of pop music in general, and it is a strong front-runner as the prototype for the late 90s pop resurgence. But after the first song ends, the album sinks beyond repair. Second song and future single '(You Drive Me) Crazy' sounds like an alternate version of '...Baby One More Time' that somehow got picked up off the cutting room floor and was accidentally added to this album. It is unnecessary and redundant. The other singles 'Sometimes' and 'From the Bottom of My Broken Heart' are competent but unremarkable. Considering the follow-up singles Spears released after her stunning debut song, it is a baffling anomaly that she was able to even keep her head above the water in a sea of similar artists with much more distinguished albums. 'Born to Make You Happy' was a UK-only single and another proficient but entirely unrememberable song. Each of these singles had some brief moments of promise and short flashes of above-average melodies but they fade all too quickly. 'I Will Be There' and mid-tempo duet with no-name pop singer Don Philip 'I Will Still Love You' fall into this category as well - flashes of interesting passages, semi-palpable melodies, but by the time the songs are over they underwhelm and seem to have squandered a chance at adequacy.

And there the 'positives' end. The remainder of the album rests in undistinguished mediocrity or painfully embarrassing misfires of songs Steps or the A*Teens would have rejected. Would I were a more capable writer, I could attempt to do some justice to the unequivocal disaster that is 'Soda Pop'. A reggae-cum-pop train wreck, this abortion of a song reaches indescribable levels of absurdity and cheesiness. And not endearing cheesiness either. This is just really, really bad. Even without regard for the musical ridiculousness, the lyrics are excessively inane. 'Open the soda pop/watch it fizz and pop/the clock is ticking and we can't stop' - God Almighty. Then there is the absurd lyric of 'Email My Heart', which actually features a competent song base but the lyrics destroy any chance of credibility. [/i]'All I do is check the screen to see if you're ok/[...]E-mail me back and say our love will stay alive/Forever, e-mail my heart[/i]'. Deep. I know e-mail was edgy and hip back in 1999, but come on. Album closer and Sonny/Cher cover 'The Beat Goes On' is unnecessary and unimpressive. Competently recorded, but that's about its only positive feature.

With the exception of the terrific title track, ...Baby One More Time is a collection of either competent pop songs underwhelmingly executed or underwhelmingly written pop songs competently executed. Attractive pop gloss coats even the most absurd of the tracks, making them, at the very least, well recorded, produced, and arranged. But I can't picture Spears looking back on this album with any sense of pride or accomplishment. Is it any wonder that she won't be performing 'E-mail My Heart' or 'Soda Pop' on the next tour? They're downright embarrassing. But ...Baby One More Time is an interesting album in that it offers a marker for Spears' progression as an artist, as a celebrity, and as a woman. Seven years ago, I never would have pegged Spears as capable of recording a pop song as infectious and accomplished as 'Toxic'. I never would have pictured her a married mother who Kabbalahed it up in her spare time. Seven years ago this album was pop perfection. Looking back, it isn't. Not even close. One great song, a handful of middle-of-the-road ones, and a couple disastrously idiotic tracks. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd imagine Britney to be more embarrassed about songs like 'Soda Pop' than any of her more recent escapades. At least those incidents keep her in the spotlight. ...Baby One More Time's missteps seem more like a reason why Britney never should have been in the spotlight in the first place.



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user ratings (247)
Chart.
2.3
average
other reviews of this album
DirtBagDan (2.5)
An album that had a lot of potential but the filler kills off any merit it may have...

Joseph Bush (3.5)
Where would we be without the magic of Britney? This album will show you what it's like to have it ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
March 26th 2006



4827 Comments


Wonderful Review for a less-than-wonderful album, full of detail and humor (the review not the album). I have never heard any of Spears' songs that weren't singles and I guess I never should.

pulseczar
March 26th 2006



2385 Comments


2 reviews in a month? Come on, morris, you don't have to push yourself this much. Great review. My mom bought this and I listened to it a lot... :upset: 1999 and 2000 should be stricken from my listening record.

morrissey
Moderator
March 26th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

2 reviews in a month? Come on, morris, you don't have to push yourself this much.

March is the month when all my dissertations are due so I do an incalculable number of reviews (2) instead of research!

I fully expect to see the next one in 2013.

next one due Novemer 43rd wait for itThis Message Edited On 03.26.06

Storm In A Teacup
March 26th 2006



12687 Comments


:upset: I guess we're in the middle of taking each others spots. You review everyday, and I'll do one every few years.
Wondeful job with the review, I really like it. You're easily a top reviewer here.

morrissey
Moderator
March 26th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I guess we're in the middle of taking each others spots. You review everyday, and I'll do one every few years.

haha I don't think you could handle it.

ForWhatItsWorth
March 26th 2006



97 Comments


haha!....ohhhhh... the 90s....what can i say?...

NEDM
March 26th 2006



1113 Comments


Morrissey has done it again. I dig this review.
Can you believe I actaully own this? I only bought it for the single, I swear.

Killtacular
March 26th 2006



1314 Comments


Suuure, buddy. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

mx
Moderator
March 26th 2006



733 Comments


I remember I thought she was so cute when this album came out... I also looked at the cover in cd stores. But 'cute' isn't the word to describe her anymore.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
March 27th 2006



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review again Moz. However I still personally enjoy this album, I'll always be a Britney fan through the good times and the bad.

pattern_recognition
March 27th 2006



950 Comments


Heheheheheheh
I remember when this came out, she played up the fact that she supposedly wrote or co-wrote Email My Heart.
I guess it's kinda obvious
*laughs so hard has to call hospital*

Cain
March 27th 2006



155 Comments


Britney Spears is a perfect example of my long suspicion that the more tarted up very pretty people make themselves in order to capture the male sexual ideal, the more their flesh inexplicably begins to sag and their good taste in all manners of public social relationship including dress, speech, behavior, and actions dies gurgling on the floor. I saw fifty high school girls become what Britney Spears has become in far less time due to far too many trips to the tanning salon and the sexual attentions of their constantly interchanging jock boyfriends, and all I can do now is weep for another piece of American culture that has gone down the tubes thanks to pop dreck.

This review was hilarious BTW. It's sad that fame can simply be spawned through a toxic mix of image and more image in this day and age.

MyRamona
March 27th 2006



1074 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Jubber the Slut

morrissey
Moderator
March 27th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

BTMYH is actually really catchy, I guess it can count as a highlight.
Housemartins review will come as soon as I decide which album to review. London 0 Hull 4 or The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death?

JohnXDoesn't
April 5th 2006



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Great review, Moz. Terrible artist.

I swear I knew you were the reviewer before I even clicked on. I just knew it.....

E-Mail My Heart, lolThis Message Edited On 04.05.06

morrissey
Moderator
April 17th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm starting to love Born to Make You Happy, it figures.

Neoteric
April 17th 2006



3243 Comments


More like "pregnant and slobby" amirite?


:lol:

metallicaman8
April 18th 2006



4677 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Brittany spears has no talent. She's a medioker singer, and her songs are repetitive and annoying. The only reason she's still around is because she's hot

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 18th 2006



15727 Comments


^Hi-yooo.

And it's mediocre, that attempt was pitiful, metallica man, I think the noise is affecting your spelling.

Cheap Metallica shot, sorry...

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

KoRnfrk
May 15th 2006



11 Comments


u fucking suck dick KORN OWNSSSSSSSSSSSS



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