Readers' Poll: The Best Britney Spears Songs of All Time - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The Best Britney Spears Songs of All Time

Your selections include ‘Toxic,’ “I’m a Slave 4 U’ and ‘…Baby One More Time’

Britney Spears

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Britney Spears turned 30 last week, so it seemed like a good time to ask our readers about your favorite songs by the pop icon. Your picks aren't exactly surprising – aside from skipping over her most recent singles, your favorites are, for the most part, her biggest chart hits. Click through to see your selections and watch videos of the winning songs, but be warned – to listen to several Britney tunes in a row is to hear a young woman begging you over and over and over to accept that she is an adult who needs privacy, space and sexual freedom. The music may be upbeat, but the themes are surprisingly heavy.

By Matthew Perpetua

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10. ‘Stronger’

Britney has been pushing back against controlling influences ever since her second album, Oops!…I Did It Again. "Stronger," that set's third single, is a dance pop anthem of self-empowerment that is both obviously autobiographical and highly relatable to anyone eager to define themselves as a young adult.

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9. ‘Sometimes’

Britney's second single wasn't nearly as huge as her debut hit "…Baby One More Time," but it's still beloved by many of the singer's hardcore fans. After years of increasingly aggressive and sexy dance music, it's sort of refreshing to revisit a time when Spears came off as innocent and squeaky-clean.

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8. ‘Everytime’

"Everytime" is widely speculated to be Britney's answer to Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River," his breakout solo hit about the end of their romantic relationship. While Timberlake expressed his sorrow with electro-pop quasi-symphonic grandeur, Spears went in the opposite direction, offering her side of the story in a simple, piano-led ballad that showcases a vulnerability that rarely comes out in her other tunes.

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7. ‘Lucky’

Britney's second hit from Oops…I Did It Again is one of her most bubbly tunes, but the lyrics about a miserable starlet suggest that Spears identified with the dark side of fame very early on in her career.

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6. ‘Gimme More’

It's hard to imagine now, but Spears was actually around for nearly a decade before "Gimme More" came along and gave her the "It's Britney, bitch!" catchphrase. The hook is pretty sexual, but her mind is elsewhere on the verses, which are more focused on the media's obsession with her personal life.

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5. ‘Piece of Me’

"I'm Miss American Dream since I was 17," Spears sings at the start of "Piece of Me," her most aggressive and memorable single focused on her relationship with her fans and the media. She sounds tough and defiant through the tune, but when declares "you wanna piece of me," she sounds at least somewhat grateful for the attention.

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4. ‘Oops!…I Did It Again’

"Oops…I Did It Again" is the song that confirmed Spears to be a superstar and not just a one-hit wonder. It's still one of her best tunes – glorious late Nineties teen pop full of slick hooks and glossy funk.

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3. ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’

Britney's collaboration with the Neptunes on "I'm A Slave 4 U" is a funky, sleazy strip club anthem that boasts some of the singer's slinkiest hooks. Still, it's weird to hear her sing "I may come off as shy." Has anyone ever actually thought of Britney Spears as a wallflower?

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2. ‘…Baby One More Time’

Britney's breakthrough hit still sounds remarkably fresh well over a decade after it first reached Number One on the pop charts. Most of the credit goes to writer/producer Max Martin, who was at the absolute peak of his powers when he penned the tune, and to this music video, which created an instantly iconic image for its young star.

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1. ‘Toxic’

Spears' mid-2000s smash "Toxic" won this poll by a landslide, and with good reason: She may have a lot of strong hits, but none of them match the sexy, boundary-pushing thrills of this high-tech pop masterpiece. Nine years later, it still sounds a decade ahead of its time, and the lyrics about dangerous relationships and questionable lust serves as the perfect metaphor for both the action in Britney's personal life over the years, and her audience's relationship with her.

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