On January 12, 1999, Britney Spears hit the music scene with …Baby One More Time. Boy bands, Britney Spears, and company ruled the late 90s and early 2000s with their music. The title track dropped in October 1998, which gave fans a taste of what to expect. It also helped blast Britney into her celebrity status. It’s the only track I can imagine having such a big impact from the get-go. Wouldn’t it have been odd for them to have the lead single be literally any other song on the album? That’s sure how it feels now, anyway.
I was six years old when this album came out, so I don’t remember the details of when or how I even heard the album. What I do recall was getting a CD that was a compilation from Britney Spears and *NSYNC that had some of their biggest songs on them. Your #1 Requests… And More came out in 2000, but with …Baby One More Time having singles release through the end of 1999, it felt like a seamless transition. Of course, Britney would have more songs right after the success of that album.
I won’t claim that Britney’s debut album is her best work, but it was the start of something that would last for decades. Her career is still going even if she isn’t releasing albums as quickly as she did at the beginning of her career. Hearing the title track now is such a nostalgia trip back to a time when things were much simpler than they are now. Britney herself was 17 when the album came out. She then became one of the biggest teen pop stars.
It isn’t until we have time to reflect that we can see that maybe things weren’t as great as they seemed. Britney struggled years later, and I imagine that the demands of being a huge pop act while you’re still a teenager can get pretty intense. Touring for any artist can be difficult. …Baby One More Time was absolutely the start of something great for her career, but fame can come at quite the cost, too.
Aside from the title track, “(You Drive Me) Crazy” was another one of the bigs hits off of the album. Those two tend to be the ones I revisit from this album the most. While I wouldn’t say that the rest of the album is filler, it has some oddities that make it feel a little less cohesive. There’s still an innocence that surrounds this album that goes out the window a little more once Oops!… I Did It Again came out the following year.
There’s no denying that Britney hitting the scene this way after her days on the Mickey Mouse Club changed not only her life but pop music in a sense. That period boomed because of her, *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, and more young stars. I don’t know how many people would consider this their favorite Britney album, but you can’t understate its importance.