Over the course of Britney Spears’ illustrious career, her track record with Max Martin specifically has proven to be quite fruitful. Not only was the entertainer’s debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” helmed by the Swedish musician, he also had a hand in crafting her latest and first effort of the new decade, “Hold It Against Me” (from the upcoming Femme Fatale). Whether it’s the teen pop of the late nineties or today’s prominence of electro-dance pop, Martin and his team of collaborators help to keep Spears’ sound current and fresh. Giving props to the evolution of the Spears/Martin partnership, below is a top five list of what I believe to be their best collaborations so far:
5. “(You Drive Me) Crazy [The Stop Remix!]” (from 1999’s Drive Me Crazy soundtrack)
Writer(s): Max Martin, Jörgen Elofsson, Per Magnusson & David Kreuger
Producer: Max Martin, Jörgen Elofsson, Per Magnusson & David Kreuger
While the album version of this track is good, this particular mix owns the original and rightfully earns its spot on this list. Serving as the third single from Spears’ monstrously successful debut album, …Baby One More Time, the track was also featured on the soundtrack to the 1999 film Drive Me Crazy (starring Melissa Joan Hart). After going the mid-tempo route with the LP’s first two singles (“…Baby One More Time” and “Sometimes”), “(You Drive Me) Crazy” proved Spears could pull off an up-tempo number just as effortlessly. Further cementing the song’s status as a classic teen pop record is the energetically memorable music video directed by Nigel Dick.
4. “3” (from 2009’s The Singles Collection)
Writer(s): Max Martin, Karl Schuster & Tiffany Amber
Producer: Max Martin & Shellback
For one that is not fancied by the idea of being in a threesome, this record makes me think twice about my own limits. Has there ever been a song written about this sexual endeavor more cleverly than this one? Is it safe to say Martin and Shellback outdid themselves after “If You Seek Amy” (another track dabbling in sexual innuendo which appears on 2008’s Circus)? The answer to this last question is a resounding yes! Everything about this record, from the driving, synth-heavy production to Britney’s playful yet seductive vocals, works and leaves you wanting more (or “four-on-the floor” to be exact :-)).
3. “…Baby One More Time” (from 1999’s …Baby One More Time)
Writer(s): Max Martin
Producer: Max Martin, Denniz PoP & Rami
It’s not surprising to me that there have been several high profile mentions of “…Baby One More Time” being one of the greatest pop songs in music history. While the production, lyrics and vocals may be very simple, Britney’s swag on the track makes it more addictive with repeated listens. In hindsight, it was a pretty wise decision to make this the premiere single for Spears back in late 1998. In addition to going to number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart, it garnered her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
2. “Hold It Against Me” (from 2011’s Femme Fatale)
Producer: Dr. Luke, Max Martin & Billboard
More than ten years after their initial splash, Spears and Martin continue to up the ante with “Hold it Against Me”. Keeping with the current electro- dance pop craze, the record contains elements of industrial music as well as trance, grime, dub step and rave. The breakdown alone brings this track to new heights in that it feels familiar yet fresh all at once. It wouldn’t surprise me if Britney collected her second Grammy award for Best Dance Recording at next year’s show to go with the one received for “Toxic” (from 2003’s In the Zone).
1. “Stronger” (from 2000’s Oops!… I Did It Again)
Producer: Max Martin & Rami
As the third single from 2000’s Oops!… I Did It Again, I equate this song to a modern day “I Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor). The same energy and fierceness that can be heard on “(You Drive Me) Crazy” is amplified here and listener’s get a glimpse of Martin’s ability to craft edgy and harder soundscapes that still have a pop sensibility. The Joseph Khan-directed music video is a great companion piece to the record that enhances its epic quality and showcases a tougher side of Spears that I don’t think had been seen before. What’s all the more great about “Stronger” is its nod to “…BOMT” with the pun “…my loneliness ain’t killing me no more.” All of these components make it, for me, the best Spears/Martin collabo so far.
As always, we welcome our readers to post in the comments section any likes or dislikes they have about this list. Also, we would love to hear what your fave Britney Spears/Max Martin records are or review any list you may have compiled on the subject.
Posted by Brian Buchana
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The Hit Music Academy | 2011