Top 20 Britney Spears Songs

Portrait of Britney Spears
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Britney Spears is one of the top female pop artists of all time. Since her career took off in 1998, she has consistently been creating chart-topping, memorable music. These are 20 of her best songs, listed in chronological order.

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"...Baby One More Time" (1998)

Album art for Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time


This single introduced Britney Spears to pop music fans around the world. Written and co-produced by pop mastermind Max Martin, the song is full of hooks and a big mainstream pop sound. The accompanying schoolgirl video caused a sensation, and, when the single hit #1, Britney was assured of stardom. It also earned her Grammy Award nominations for Best Female Pop Vocal and Best New Artist. The single kicked the pop career of Max Martin into high gear.

"...Baby One More Time" was first written with the Backstreet Boys or TLC in mind. Both turned it down. Britney Spears claims that she was excited about the song from the first time she heard it. She was 16 years old when the single was released.

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"(You Drive Me) Crazy" (1999)

Album art for Britney Spears - (You Drive Me) Crazy


Continuing Britney Spears' rise to pop stardom, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" hit the pop top 10 around the world and added a bit of rock guitar and cowbell to the mix. It was all remixed for the soundtrack to the teen romantic comedy Drive Me Crazy

Nigel Dick, director of the "...Baby One More Time" clip put together the accompanying music video for "(You Drive Me) Crazy." It featured Britney Spears dressed as a waitress in a dance club. The dance-oriented video was well received and earned an MTV Video Music Awards nomination for Best Dance Video. The chair dance sequence in the clip echoed Janet Jackson's celebrated "Miss You Much" music video.

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"Oops! I Did It Again" (2000)

Album art for Britney Spears - Oops! I Did It Again


After the phenomenal success of her first album, millions of Britney Spears' fans wondered what she would do for an encore. "Oops!.. I Did It Again" is catchy, a triumphant return to formula, and deliriously witty. The spoken word allusions to the Titanic near the end of the song cap a triumphant second act for Britney Spears. It earned her a second Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal and the album of the same name was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Director Nigel Dick took Britney Spears to Mars in the music video. An astronaut gives her the gift of the Heart of the Ocean diamond from Titanic. The "Oops!.. I Did It Again" earned four MTV Video Music Awards nominations.

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"Stronger" (2000)

Album art for Britney Spears - Stronger


Utilizing lyrics of self-empowerment, Britney Spears' "Stronger" has a big open dance production. The accompanying music video directed by Joseph Kahn received a nomination for Best Pop Video at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. It was a top 10 hit in the UK and climbed to #11 in the US.

"Stronger" received some of Britney Spears' best critical reviews in her career thus far. She referenced the lyrics of her breakthrough hit "...Baby One More Time" with the reply, "My loneliness ain't killin' me no more" to the original song's line, "My loneliness is killing me."

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"I'm a Slave 4 U" (2001)

Album art for Britney Spears - I'm a Slave 4 U


Britney Spears worked with the Neptunes, a production duo of Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, to put together "I'm a Slave 4 U." Reportedly the song was originally intended for Janet Jackson. It digs deeper into R&B than previous Britney Spears singles. She made headlines with the steamy music video and when she performed the song at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards with a live python on her shoulders. The album Britney included "I'm a Slave 4 U" and earned Britney Spears her second Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Although "I'm a Slave 4 U" met some resistance at mainstream pop radio only peaking at #15, it made major inroads with dance audiences climbing all the way to #4. It also became her only song to make an appearance on the R&B chart peaking at #85.

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"Me Against the Music" featuring Madonna (2003)

Album art for Britney Spears - Me Against the Music feat. Madonna


While they were rehearsing a performance for the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears played a finished track of "Me Against the Music" for Madonna. The latter liked what she heard, and Britney Spears asked her to appear on the record. It was released as the first single from the album In the Zone. "Me Against the Music" topped the dance club chart and hit #1 in many countries around the world.

The two pop icons collaborated in the accompanying music video as well. It was directed by Paul Hunter, who notably directed the "Lady Marmalade" video from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. The clip depicts a type of power sharing between the two performers. Some interpreted it as showing a "passing of the baton" from one generation to the next.

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"Everytime" (2004)

Album art for Britney Spears - Everytime


The song "Everytime" originated out of the ashes of Britney Spears' relationship with Justin Timberlake. She co-wrote the ballad that amounts to a plea for forgiveness. She received acclaim for her vocals and the maturity of the sound. The song hit the top 5 at mainstream pop radio in the US and was a top 10 pop hit around the world.

Many critics considered "Everytime" to be Britney Spears' first truly mature ballad. The song was featured in a creative, interpretive music video and has been covered by a wide range of other artists including Glen Hansard and Kelly Clarkson.

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"Toxic" (2004)

Album art for Britney Spears - Toxic


This hit helped prove Britney Spears could still put together stirring and original music six years after her first appearance. The song is a killer dance track with a James Bond-style music video. "Toxic" deservedly brought Britney Spears back to the pop top 10 for the first time in four years. It has become one of her most covered songs with live versions by bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, and Selena Gomez and the Scene among others. "Toxic" earned Britney Spears her first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording.

The innovative production work on "Toxic" was by the Swedish duo Bloodshy & Avant. It includes a wide range of instruments from surf guitar to violins as well as influences from Bollywood and Bhangra. The song was originally offered to Kylie Minogue, but she turned it down.

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"Gimme More" (2007)

Album art for Britney Spears - Gimme More


"It's Britney, bitch." The big comeback of Britney Spears began here. Aided by the production of Timbaland associate Danja, she roared back to the top of the charts older, wiser, and amazingly sexy. Her widely panned performance of the song at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards failed to deter the star and "Gimme More" peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming her biggest chart hit since her 1998 debut with "...Baby One More Time." It also topped the dance chart. 

R&B singer-songwriter Keri Hilson worked on "Gimme More" and she says that the lyrics were written specifically with Britney Spears in mind. The album Blackout was released a month after the "Gimme More" single and it reached #2 on the album chart. The song and its accompanying video received strong critical acclaim for its fearlessness in addressing the impact of fame and intense media attention.

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"Piece of Me" (2007)

Album art for Britney Spears - Piece of Me


For the second single from the album, Britney Spears took on the press that dogged her for much of her career. She worked with the production duo Bloodshy & Avant, architects of "Toxic." The aggressive, defiant song became another #1 dance club hit. It went to #2 on the UK pop singles chart, and critics praised the fiery attitude.

The Wayne Isham-directed music video directly addresses her battles with the press. It won Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, and Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.

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"Womanizer" (2008)

Album art for Britney Spears - Womanizer


Britney Spears worked with the rising production team The Outsyders on "Womanizer." She described it as a "girl anthem." It went straight to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its second week on the chart becoming her first #1 since her debut. The song earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording. Joseph Kahn who previously worked on well-received music videos for "Toxic" and Stronger" directed the "Womanizer" music video. It was nominated for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The song "Womanizer" kicked off the most commercially successful period of Britney Spears' career thus far. It topped the mainstream pop radio chart and even broke into the top 40 at adult pop radio, unfamiliar territory for Britney Spears. The song cracked the top 10 on the dance club chart. It was also the lead single for the album Circus. The album debuted at the top of the album chart selling over 500,000 copies in its first week. It spent more time in the top 10 of any Britney Spears album since 2000's "Oops!... I Did It Again."

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"Circus" (2008)

Album art for Britney Spears - Circus


"Circus" is a single built around public perceptions of Britney Spears' personal life. It was co-produced and co-written by Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco. The music video depicting the star as a circus ringmaster received strong positive notices. The song debuted at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 with initial sales over 200,000 units. Ultimately, it topped both the dance club chart and mainstream pop radio.

The accompanying music video was directed by Francis Lawrence who previously worked on Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" music video. The clip includes extensive circus imagery. It received four MTV Video Music Awards nominations.

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"If U Seek Amy" (2009)

Album art for Britney Spears - If U Seek Amy


Britney Spears courted controversy with "If U Seek Amy" as it was pointed out what the title could spell out if spoken in a particular fashion. A radio edit titled "If U See Amy" was eventually released. The music video references many of her past clips and takes on tabloid journalism once again. The song was produced by Max Martin and climbed to the top 10 on mainstream pop radio.

Despite the controversy, critics praised the song and said that it represents both Max Martin and Britney Spears at their pop best. In addition to mainstream pop success, the song broke into the top 40 at adult pop radio and the top 20 on the dance club chart.

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"3" (2009)

Album art for Britney Spears - 3


"3" is another clever and ultra-catchy pop confection from Britney Spears and Max Martin. Helped along by the titillation of lyrics about sexual threesomes, the song debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and continued the hottest streak of hits in Britney Spears' career thus far. Surprisingly, compared with the uproar around "If U Seek Amy," the song "3" aroused little controversy at all.

"3" was released as a new track on Britney Spears' second greatest hits album The Singles Collection. The music video was directed by Diane Martel, known for her work on Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop." It is a simple, straightforward clip capturing Britney Spears' performance personality.

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"Hold It Against Me" (2011)

Album art for Britney Spears - Hold It Against Me


Britney Spears pulled her music into the present with this roaring electronic dance music hit that incorporates elements of dubstep into the mix. She worked once again with Max Martin and Dr. Luke, but this is no retread. It is smart, sexy, and raw contemporary pop. The song debuted at #1 making Britney Spears the only artist other than Mariah Carey to have more than one song debut at the top.

The Bellamy Brothers sued for defamation because of their 1979 hit "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me," but the case was dismissed. The accompanying music video was directed by Jonas Akerlund, who worked on Lady Gaga's earlier videos. It is a science fiction themed video designed to represent Britney Spears' own flashy arrival, then fall, and then her comeback.

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"Till the World Ends" (2011)

Album art for Britney Spears - Till the World Ends


The second single from Britney Spears' album Femme Fatale is another dance floor classic. A remix featuring both Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha was released. "Till the World Ends" peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was lauded by many critics as one of the top singles of the year. Rolling Stone ranked it as the third best song of 2011.

"Till the World Ends" received some of the best critical reviews of Britney Spears' career. The accompanying music video was directed by Ray Kay. It was filmed in a basement in Los Angeles, California, and some saw similarities to the classic "I'm a Slave 4 U" clip. It received two MTV Video Music Awards nominations and won Best Pop Video.

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"I Wanna Go" (2011)

Album art for Britney Spears - I Wanna Go


Britney Spears worked with Max Martin once again on the single "I Wanna Go." It is a light, playful dance song. The accompanying music video directed by Chris Marrs Piliero was acclaimed for depicting the humorous side of Britney Spears as it poked fun at tabloid media while referencing such films as Terminator 2, Crossroads, and Michael Jackson's Thriller music video.

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"Scream and Shout" (2012) with

Album art for and Britney Spears - Scream and Shout


Britney Spears collaborated with to create a catchy dance-floor hit with a fun music video. The song features her adopting a vocal alter ego while delivers Black Eyed Peas style electronic pop. "Scream and Shout" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #12, Britney Spears' fourth-highest opening. It eventually peaked at #3 while heading to #1 in most other countries around the world including the UK. "Scream and Shout" was also a top 5 hit on the dance club chart.

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"Work B**ch" (2013)

Album art for Britney Spears - Work B**ch


This song is a searing slice of dance pop that has the impact of a powerfully inspirational coach both shouting in your ear and sending you ethereal words of inspiration. Britney collaborated with to push boundaries of both electronic dance music and mainstream pop. The song did not have the same success of "Scream and Shout" climbing only to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it was a #2 dance hit and had its own music video.

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"Make Me..." featuring G-Eazy (2016)

Album art for Britney Spears - Make Me


"Make Me..." was released as the first single from Britney Spears' ninth studio album Glory. Rising pop producer Burns worked on "Make Me..." Critics praised the futuristic, slow-burning funk sound of the record. The song peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went all the way to #1 on the dance chart. Famed photographer David LaChapelle was first hired to create the music video for "Make Me..." but it was ultimately shelved reportedly due to concerns about intense sexuality. Instead, a much more tame clip directed by Randee St. Nicholas was released. Fans demanded the release of the original video, but it has yet to be shown.