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The 15 Best Britney Spears Singles

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The 15 Best Britney Spears Singles

RCA

The 15 Best Britney Spears Singles

Britney Spears rode the late-’90s teen-pop wave to superstardom, setting records and defying the odds by making the transition from child celebrity to bona-fide pop star to gay icon—all in the first 10 years of her career. She kicked off her second decade, which came on the heels of a very public personal and professional near-implosion, with a string of smash singles that rivaled her initial run of iconic hits. The singer’s 2013 album, Britney Jean, was met with a lukewarm reception from critics and audiences, but even if her ninth album, Glory, out this Friday, fails to reignite the charts, she’s already cemented her status as America’s premier pop princess. To prove it, we’ve compiled a list of Britney’s 15 best singles.

Single Review: Britney Spears, “Perfume”

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Single Review: Britney Spears, “Perfume”
Single Review: Britney Spears, “Perfume”

A bona fide brand, Britney Jean Spears has released 13 different fragrances in the last nine years, reportedly raking in $1.5 billion internationally, so an attempt at some cross-promotional synchronicity was, perhaps, inevitable. “Perfume” is the second single from Spears’s eighth studio album, Britney Jean, following the disappointing “Work Bitch.” Co-written by Spears and the usually reliable Sia and co-produced by will.i.am, the song is a midtempo ballad that likens perfume to urine: “I put on my perfume/Yeah, I want it all over you/I’m gonna mark my territory,” Spear sings, her occasionally pitchy vocals veering close to parody. It’s a ballsy choice for a single, given that the pop star hasn’t scored a hit with a non-dance track since her first fragrance, “Curious,” hit the market back in 2004 (and, it should be noted, the success of that song, “Everytime,” was largely due to its club mixes), to say nothing of the fact that “Perfume” equates lingering fragrances to territorial pissings and effectively reveals Brit to be a water sports enthusiast.

Music Video: Britney Spears, “Work Bitch”

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Music Video: Britney Spears, “Work Bitch”
Music Video: Britney Spears, “Work Bitch”

“I think it sets the bar high,” director Ben Mor boldly declared to MTV about Britney Spears’s new music video for “Work Bitch,” the lead single from the pop singer’s forthcoming eighth studio album. Mor, who directed will.i.am and Spears’s “Scream & Shout” last year, claims the clip features a “more mature” Britney, and if you consider cracking a bullwhip a sign of maturity, then his assessment is spot-on. Shot in the Nevada desert, the video finds Spears flanked by eight female backup dancers in knee-high patent leather boots and black one-pieces, and features CGI sharks and a Lamborghini, natch. With Spears gearing up for her residency at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, it makes sense that the singer is striking a Showgirls pose, but the hottest scenes in “Work Bitch,” in which she writhes in a neon-lit champagne room, are, tellingly, more Cheetah Club than Stardust Casino. Watch the video below:

Single Review: Britney Spears, “Work Bitch”

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Single Review: Britney Spears, “Work Bitch”
Single Review: Britney Spears, “Work Bitch”

Britney Spears has dropped her new single, “Work Bitch,” a day early after the track leaked online over the weekend. Co-written and produced by will.i.am, the song finds the singer vamping in the same faux-continental accent she dubiously employed on the pair’s recent Top 5 hit “Scream & Shout”—or is it just a ghastly attempt at British? “Work Bitch” follows the current EDM model of painfully aggressive, treble-heavy beats, harsh synths, and tuneless hooks, but makes even “Scream & Shout” sound like a melodic feast. At its best, that song plays like an homage to dance music’s recent past, with nods to Underworld’s “Born Slippy” and even Spears’s own “Gimme More”; “Work Bitch,” on the other hand, seems to aspire to classic bitch-queen anthems, but Spears’s repeated instructions to “work, work, work” (to reach, if the cover art is any indication, the desired Nomi Malone levels of success) feel mechanical and forced. But that’s no surprise coming from a pop icon whose longevity is largely due to her unwavering dedication to churning out maddeningly mindless and infectious tripe like “Work Bitch.”