Britney Spears has been steadily making music since her debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” was released in 1998. She’s had eight studio albums and countless iconic music video moments, and she’s racked up her fair share of accolades in the industry. Of course, she’s also gone through quite a lot as a person in that time, and there’s never been a shortage of stories about Spears’ personal highs and lows.
Die-hard Spears fans (like me!) want nothing more than to see our girl succeed, and every time she releases new music, it feels like a triumph… mainly because pop music feels so empty without her signature purr and infectious sound. But people who haven’t followed Spears’ career as closely tend to pin her to her most well-known tracks, like “…Baby” and “Oops!… I Did It Again,” which are two of the best bubblegum pop songs ever made. Even Spears skeptics will agree to that. But what those listeners fail to realize is that Spears has a tremendous catalog of songs and she’s explored different genres many times, often with stunning results.
So, as I patiently waited for news about Spears’ ninth album, Spears herself promised that fans would get an amazing collection of music. She told V magazine in March, “I just know that the direction I’m going in is so good. It’s the best thing I’ve done in a long time. I’m proud of the work, and it’s very different; it’s not what you would think at all. But I’m not rushing anything. I just want it to be done right so that my fans will truly appreciate it.”
And now, the album’s lead single, “Make Me,” has finally dropped, and it’s definitely different than previous first singles, like “Hold It Against Me” and “Work Bitch.” It’s a sexy, mid-tempo R&B burner, which is not what casual Spears listeners are used to, but she has explored this style before.
“Make Me” feels more mature and soulful, which is something Spears has always been good at. It’s fresh and new, but it also reminds me of some of Spears’ less well-known but awesome work from the past. If you’re lovin’ “Make Me” and need some more Britney Spears in your life, these are the songs you need to add to your library ASAP.
1. “Trip to Your Heart”
This one came from Spears’ 2011 album Femme Fatale and didn’t get too much love, but it’s got the slower pace of “Make Me” paired with her signature “Toxic” synthesized vocals. It’s a sweet yet melancholy song.
Most people consider 2007’s Blackout to be Spears’ best album to date, which is especially impressive given all that was going on in her life at the time. It’s super sexy and… the bass. It’s everything.
3. “(I Got That) Boom Boom”
Spears has always dabbled a bit in hip-hop, even back in 2003, and her collaboration with the Ying Yang Twins is honestly the musical equivalent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The Atlanta rappers sound so smooth paired with Spears’ sweetness, and the result is pure deliciousness.
4. “Early Mornin'”
This song sounds nothing like Spears’ other songs — in the absolute best way. It was produced by Moby, which may explain the moody vibe, and was the only collaboration the two have had to date. This song is gritty, sexy and earthy. Flawless.
5. “Tik Tik Boom”
Spears collaborated with rapper T.I. on this 2013 song, and she sounds commanding and confident while he gives the song a nice little edge.
“Outrageous” was supposed to be released as a single in 2004, but Spears injured her knee during the video shoot and the song just sort of evaporated into the abyss, which is sad because it’s a great little jam. It has a Middle Eastern beat and, honestly, if this were played in a club in 2016, people would go nuts for it. It’s that hot.
The same sexual tension that Spears puts on display in “Make Me” is also in this mid-tempo club banger, with similarly sizzling results.
8. “Breathe on Me”
“Breathe on Me” is, hands down, Spears’ sexiest song ever. I know that’s saying a lot because her brand is synonymous with sexy, but this one takes the cake. It’s super breathy and features her signature “baby” and purr to boot. Spears recently added this song to her revamped Las Vegas show set list, so it’s having a bit of a renaissance, and I live for it.