We're starting to get some horny weather so I figured I'd run back a critical conversation from Chicago radio this week in blog format.
The headline really needs to introduction but I'll give it anyways. We're power ranking Britney Spears music videos because that's where our conversation went the other day and I need to get my thoughts organized on the matter.
It started with us coming out of break to Gangster's Paradise by Coolio. I then asked the group if anyone went through a Weird Al phase because "Amish Paradise" was a big hit. Next up we're talking Weird Al music videos. Then we're talking MTV and the evolution of the music video. Then we get to "Making The Music Video" which was a pretty awesome series IMO, which ultimately lead to a discussion of Britney's red suit in Oops I Did It Again. We debated her vs. Christina. We talked Jessica Simpson's qualifications to join the GOAT discussion of late 90's/early 2000's teen pop stars. Somewhere along the line we even talked LFO and that one shitty made-for-TV movie that had the song: "You + Me = Us (Calculus)"
Free Ball Don't Lie shirt for anyone who gets that reference and another free BDL shirt for anyone who gets a BDL reference.
Point is we went back in time to appreciate some of the great moments of our adolescence and I'd be a sucker not to revive it here for everyone else and establish some official canon on the matter. So without further adieu, here are the Britney Spears music video power rankings directly from my brain.
Sometimes was released as a single shortly after after "Baby One More Time" and you imagine it's the studio execs not knowing if they want to play the Soft and Sweet or Strong and Sexy card with Britney's career. It's a real marketing dilemma (Who can blame them?) so they give us a little of both here and let the audience decide. It's a sneaky brilliant move while they let the rest of the market catch up to the teeny bopper explosion.
At the same time, you hardly remember this one for a reason and that's because there's no real commitment. The reasons it's great are the same reasons it's last on the list. Reminds me of the scene in Walk The Line when Johnny Cash auditions at the Memphis recording studio.
It doesn't matter if you believe in God. It matters if you believe in yourself.
Or something like that.
Regardless of interpretaion, Walk The Line is a great movie and Sometimes is a forgettable music video.
7. (You Drive Me) Crazy
Before you guys start complaining, I'm admittedly leaving several videos on the editing room floor. When we talk Britney we talk Prime Britney. We'll take it pretty close to the fringes of her powerhouse stardom, but if you think we're getting anything within the last 10 years well then boy do I have a bridge to sell you.
Classics Only - wooden sign hanging in my kitchen
(You Drive Me) Crazy was released in conjunction with the 1999 teen comedy flop, Drive Me Crazy. The only redeeming qualities about that movie in retrospect are (1) it stars Adrian Grenier (2) Melissa Joan Hart's timeless beauty and (3) this banger on the soundtrack.
My only criticism is that it's too authentic to the late 90's. The dance-off is too much. Even having lived through that phase, I still can't come to comprehend it. There's classic rocket Britney here - Yes. But it comes at the cost of some hard cringes.
This is the closest I'll fly to the Britney Went Crazy Sun and I'll take the risk every single time provided I'm allowed to hit the confessional booth at Old St. Mary's on the way home. And while I catch my breath, you imagine this is exactly what God had in mind when He told Eve to avoid the apple. Can't have her walking around Eden ripping Adam's dick off and twirling it around like a stage prop.
At the same time, I don't know if this is My Britney if that makes sense. Like I feel like my high school girlfriend went to Arizona State for a semester and came back with a tramp stamp and sex drive. I don't hate it - I'm just a little confused where this is going.
If Britney were a Major League Baseball player, this video would be her age 27 season. She's putting up monster numbers on the strengths of all 5-tools: chart-topping songs, plus-plus dance moves, generational sex appeal, millions of dollars and a power relationship with Justin Timberlake. It's the kinda well-rounded performance that keeps one-dimensional Instagram Models awake at night. You needed a lot more than a 97mph fastball to compete back then and Britney most certainly had the stuff.
That said, I can't put Stronger any higher than #5 on the list. I know it sucks but this is the evolution of artists. Britney had gotten so big, any and all appeal of her being The Girl Next Door had been lost. Like when someone loves a band but then that band gets huge and you're left feeling like some people don't deserve to like the music. That's how I feel about Britney but instead of talking music, we're talking about horny videos. Subtle but notable difference.
In this case, Stronger was the tipping point where Britney had to go full on Sex Symbol and I'm still jealous of all the attention she brought herself. Don't file a restraining order over this Britney but it was supposed to just be you and me, a 15 year-old Barstool Carl.
I know a lot of you are familiar with breakup songs via Taylor Swift's arsenal of Grammy-award-winning bangers and that's all fine and dandy. But you gotta trust me when I say the world was a much better place when nasty breakups generated this kind of content.
That's Roger Clemens commanding 3 hall of fame pitches for strikes. You're either born with it or you're not - and again - Britney has it.
Granted, we're starting to inch pretty close to shaving our heads and holding babies outside windows, but not enough to run for the hills. We still have a few more years until that settles in so for now keep being horny. You guys are safe.
3. … Baby One More Time
Arguably the greatest music video debut in recorded human history. Britney instantly skyrocketed to the top of hearts everywhere. Within weeks, over 57% of male teenage bedrooms had a Britney Spears 36 x 24 pinned to the wall. Like when Ichiro won MVP and Rookie Of The Year in the same season but not really because he was already a seasoned veteran with almost 1,000 professional games to his name in Japan.
Same time, Baby One More Time is EXACTLY like Ichiro's first year in the big leagues because he absolutely fucked the league up. People heard the rumblings when he was in spring training, much like the music scene did when Britney got to Los Angeles. But no one really knew the depth of their star power until opening day when the music video dropped and the Mariners won 116 games.
It's just like that.
2. Oops I did It Again
BRITNEY STOP IT I'M TRYING TO WRITE A BLOG
I didn't miss a TRL for months because of the red latex. Call me a creep but that's how you got your content at the turn of the millennium. You put on one channel and sat patiently for your boner to arrive. I was a stronger man back then.
Honestly I have no criticisms for this video. It's as iconic as any music video from her time and well worth the increase in insurance premiums to incorporate blowtorches into the dance routine.
Risk Management aside, I want to take a brief and direct moment to thank Britney for this one. Don't need to get too descriptive here just a simple Thank You For Your service kind of moment.
Thank you, Britney - Carl
1. I'm A Slave 4 U
I understand I share this at the risk of criminal charges for arousing the entire internet, but I simply can't help myself. I'm a bad boy and I'll do the time. That's the kind of Ride Or Die guy I am, Britney.
Even as a 32 year-old blogger fresh off his honeymoon hobbling around on a bad knee with an insatiable & unquenchable thirst for great tasting less filling domestics. Even as a rapidly aging, seemingly deteriorating, Italian beef enthusiast. Even as a simple guy with extremely complicated needs.
Whatever you need, Brittney, you earned in this music video. Now and forever.