Britney Spears was unquestionably a central figure of the ’90s (and 2000s) pop music universe — and she’s still killing it today. But though she continues to produce singles, the glory days of music videos have faded.
Most of Britney’s iconic work in the music video sector took place during the era of TRL and morning marathons of videos on VH1. We’ve gone back and rewatched each of her most popular videos, and ranked them on a pure basis of awesomeness and nostalgia.
Scroll down for a look at Britney Spears’ 17 most iconic music videos.
The quiet beach scene, Britney's tousled locks, a perfect crochet bikini top -- this video is sensual and sweet and pretty darn great. The hunky love interest plays his role perfectly, from sweet noses kisses right down to the mysterious bullhorn tattoo on his shoulder.
'Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know' is an essential starting point for any Britney throwback video marathon.
Britney's cover of Bobby Brown's 'My Prerogative' is perceived to be one of the most personal music videos she's released to date.
Her now-ex-husband Kevin Federline (aka 'K-Fed') is featured prominently in the video, which begins with Britney crashing a Porsche into a pool and concludes with her marrying K-Fed wearing a (now incredibly ironic) black gown.
Taking the metaphorical term 'media circus' and making it the literal stage of her 2008 comeback is one of Britney's best career moves, in this author's opinion.
With stellar choreography and amazing costume design, the video speaks for itself -- Britney is an entertainer, and all we have to do is sit back and watch.
'Perfume' is arguably one of Britney's most underrated singles. Yes, the lyrics and melody are clunky from time to time, but it's a captivating ballad about being on the losing end of a love triangle.
The video itself is minimalist by Britney-standards, but perhaps it's the rumoured director's cut (featuring Britney as a trained assassin who falls in love with her target) that keeps us coming back.
The CGI in this music video may not hold up, but Britney's chair choreography sure as heck does. The anthem for moving on from a deadbeat dude opens with Britney delivering a perfectly blasé 'whatever,' and things only go up from there.
The highlight? When Britney's chair turns into a cane and then back into a chair and we zoom out to see her on a mysterious floating platform. #deep
OK, I'll elaborate. But the cameo appearance by Mike Meyers as Austin Powers is the cherry on top of this music video (the single was featured in 'Goldmember'). Pharrell Williams co-wrote the tune, and also is featured throughout the video in all his glorious perfection.
The song was allegedly recorded by Janet Jackson first, which makes Britney's Jackson-esque choreography throughout the perfect homage to pop royalty.
The subplot of this video is that 17-year-old Britney is using a viewfinder to watch a grown man play with his pooch on the beach. Adorable (yet creepy). Add the choreographed running dance move during the line 'sometimes I run,' and we've got a great snapshot of the late '90s.
Plus, who could forget the white, short-sleeved turtleneck outfit Britney rocked.
Knowing her coming struggles with relationships and fame and media, 'Everytime' is the most haunting and unforgettable video for most Britney fans. Her video-self encounters aggressive paparazzi and argues with her boyfriend, all before discovering a wound on her head and committing suicide in a bathtub.
Though the video implies Britney is resurrected (a baby is born in the hospital as she dies), and then ends with her emerging from the tub alive and smiling, the darker emotional message never goes unheard.
The majestic simplicity of Britney standing at the edge of an Arizona canyon is gorgeous. Though other versions of the video have scenes from 'Crossroads' spliced in, we prefer Britney alone and in her element.
This was also the peak time for low-cut jeans and crop tops, so go ahead and soak in Britney's flawless torso.
As Britney's debut, '...Baby One More Time' will of course live in the pop Hall of Fame forever and ever. But this was truly just the beginning -- Britney's choreography and storytelling in her music videos would explode over the next decade.
We will never forget schoolgirl Britney, but let's be real, in retrospect it's not her best.
Madonna has the power to elevate any music video iconic, and 'Me Against the Music' is no exception. The meeting of two pop powerhouses -- both of whom dance phenomenally in pant suits -- makes this video a time capsule of entertainment perfection.
Plus it has that teasey Britney/Madonna almost-making-out scene at the end. Their real kiss at the VMAs that same year is forever immortalised in this diva dance-off video.
Ah, the tale of two Britneys. I'm pretty sure I wore a dress over pants for six months after seeing glammed-up Britney in that pink gown with bell bottoms.
'Lucky' does a stellar job of capturing the fun, dress-up side of Britney while also selling a deeper message about the price of fame.
The most amazing thing about the 'I'm A Slave 4 U' music video in retrospect is the complete absence of snakes. That's right -- the iconic snake was a live stage-only element. The real star of this video was actually Britney's pink thong worn OVER HER JEANS.
'Slave 4 U' is a masterpiece of sexual expression via low-cut pants and sweaty dance moves. Anyone who can watch this and remain un-attracted to Britney is officially an alien.
The Titantic reference. The high-pony up-do Britney rocked literal decades before Ariana Grande. The red jumpsuit. The reach of this video was so wide that no fewer than seven of my 5th grade classmates signed up for the talent show with all of the choreography memorized.
If people thought Britney was a one- or two-hit wonder of the '90s, this video proved them horrifically wrong. We will never forget 'Oops!...I Did It Again.'
There is something about Britney's shining green tank top -- the left strap of which is always sliding down in a strangely sensual way -- that just stays with you. '(You Drive Me) Crazy' has amazing choreography. And Melissa Joan Hart. What more could you want from a Britney vid?
Oh, Adrian Grenier you say? Done.
'Toxic' is a masterpiece of confusing narrative trumped by incredible costuming and CGI that doesn't quite hold up, but is so fun that it doesn't matter. From the memorable 'naked' jewel suit to a cameo appearance by Tyson Beckford, Britney manages to make every scene from 'Toxic' memorable.
What really seals the deal for 'Toxic' is its timelessness -- the song is a must-have on any 'best of' pop collection from the last two decades, which means people will return again and again to this music video. Cheers to Britney -- our everlasting Princess of Pop.
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