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25 Years of ‘Baby One More Time’

This thing between Britney Spears and I could be considered love at first sight. One minute I’m walking down the entertainment section at Target, stopping mid-step as soon as I catch a glimpse of her music video on one of the televisions, and the next my bedroom walls are full of Britney Spears posters from floor to ceiling. All she had were pigtails and a dream, but I’m certain that Britney did not foresee the impact she would have in the world.

As the world panicked about Y2K Britney Spears released … Baby One More Time which was, and remains, the best-selling debut album by a female artist. In its first week, 121,000 copies were sold in the U.S. and eventually it sold a total of over 30 million copies worldwide. Look, I’m not saying that there’s any correlation but clearly the computers didn’t bring down worldwide infrastructures for computer reliant industries. Therefore, I think we should all collectively say, “thank you Britney”.

I’d like to go on record and say that I contributed to those sales twice. Of course I needed a CD for my room and my CD player that I carried everywhere. I was fully on board the Britney Spears train from the moment those CD’s hit the shelves and I have the music video choreography memorized to prove it. It got so bad that my parents basically begged me to listen to anybody else, of course I didn’t oblige until I discovered *NSYNC, but that’s a story for another time.

… Baby One More Time was full of cheesy pop songs that got stuck in your head long after you had turned them off. More than the catchy pop songs though, this album helped Britney stand out amongst the rest of the girls trying to be the next Princess of Pop. The songs and music videos clearly showed that Britney was a student and she had been taking classes from two of the greatest to ever do it. Madonna and Janet Jackson bled through the album in ways that felt respectful, while still allowing Britney to stand out all on her own. Little did she know that eventually artists would be using this very album to be inspired.

With an industry that is often oversaturated, Britney stood out with her debut album and it kicked off her career in a phenomenal way. The impact of the album can be heard in the music that we listen to today. Though her story has been complicated and often unfair to her, she deserves respect for the impact her entire career has had in the music industry. Britney Spears remains our Princess of Pop. Here’s to the next 25 years of Britney Spears music, even if that just means replaying the many amazing albums she’s already gifted us.