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Sunday, January 31, 1999

Britney Spears topped the U.S. album and singles charts: January 30, 1999

Originally posted January 30, 2012.

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The late ‘80s and early ‘90s saw the quick rise and fall of teen acts like Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and New Kids on the Block. Genres like grunge and alternative rock dominated for most of the decade, but by the end of the ‘90s, teen pop made a comeback – and no one was bigger than Britney Spears.

Max Martin, who also produced the Backstreet Boys, was “the mastermind behind Spears’ debut. He has a knack for catchy hooks, endearing melodies, and engaging Euro-dance rhythms” STE which powered hits like Sometimes, You Drive Me Crazy, Born to Make You Happy, and From the Bottom of My Broken Heart. Of course, nothing was bigger than the “white-funk smoker ...Baby One More Time.” RW

That dance-pop hit topped the charts in more than a dozen countries, AB40 sold more than 9 million copies worldwide, and established her as “the most iconic popular music star of the turn of the century.” TB The song owed a large chunk of its success to an iconic video directed by Nigel Dick in which Spears is portrayed as Catholic high school student in a “bare-midriff package.” CR The “decidedly sexual tone” AB40 of the video raised eyebrows with the contradiction of a former star of The New Mickey Mouse Club strutting about like “a modern-day Lolita.” TB

Critics tended to dismiss the album as “silly and premature.” WK Jane Stevenson of the Toronto Sun said it “threatens to turn your brain into mush” WK while The Hamilton Spectator’s Craig McDennis said the album “offers a glib compendium of soul/pop clich├ęs.” WK In the end, though, “the singles, combined with Britney’s burgeoning charisma, make this a pretty great piece of fluff.” STE Regardless of what critics thought of the music, the album launched Spears’ career selling 14 million in the U.S. and another 14 million around the world.




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