#40 “Kill the Lights” – Circus (2008)
From the radio broadcast opening declaring Britney Spears “Our very own Pop Princess now Queen of Pop” to the way she sings I KILLED the lights, there’s lots to love here. Circus is underrated for my money.
#39 “Breathe on Me” – In the Zone (2003)
Hard to rank one of Britney’s sexiest songs so highly at a time when I am equally terrified by and longing for someone to breathe on me. Also, she goes from “monogamy is the way to go” lyric here to a song titled 3 within six years, which is canonically gay.
#38 “If U Seek Amy” – Circus (2008)
A deserved Top 20 hit for Ms. Spears, the song’s maybe not as clever as it thinks. But you definitely do the Happy Endings Alex-Penny faux laugh when you figure out the double-entendre.
#37 “What You Need” – Glory (2016)
A deep-cut off Britney’s new album, some of the most fun she’s had vocally in a while. The sonic equivalent of your third margarita.
#36 “I Got That (Boom Boom)” – In the Zone (2003)
An artist Britney gets compared to often is Madonna, for various reasons that are mostly sexist. However, she’s not compared to Madge enough for being an artist who is constantly reinventing her sound, either in response to or in advance of a changing musical landscape. Of all the album openers announcing a “new Britney,” this Ying-Yang collaboration is one of the most striking (if a bit dated).
#35 “Out from Under” – Circus (2008)
Post-Blackout, it seemed if Britney were going to do a ballad (not about her kids or sister), it would be on the darker, more tortured side. Luckily, that suits her incredibly well.
#34 “S&M (Remix)” – S&M (Remix) – Single (2010)
Hard to rank this one, as it’s so wholly a Rihanna song. Unlike some of the other remixes on the list (Boys, Crazy), this isn’t necessarily the definitive version, either. However, this Esther Dean-penned banger went to #1, giving us the power of RiRi and Brit together on a track. A high ranking was inevitable.
#33 “Private Show” – Glory (2016)
This promotional single for Glory had people worried. I like it despite, or maybe because of its very, very, very, very goofy nature. But yes, thank God, it’s not indicative of the overall vibe of Britney’s last release, an album I quite like.
#32 “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” – Britney (2001)
Is this song good? I don’t know! But can I immediately conjure up the image of Britney Spears singing on a mountain top, confronting Kim Cattrall in the climax of the Shonda Rhimes-penned film Crossroads and the American Music Awards performance anyone who questions Britney vocals needs to revisit? Hell yes.
#31 “Just Like Me” – Glory (2016)
From the opening guitar strums to the exaggerated vocals, Britney sells the incredulity of finding out a lover has taken a lover who looks identical to her. How this hasn’t become an anthem for white gay men who date their doppelgangers, I’ll never know.