DA-dun-dun! Twenty years ago this October, a Louisiana-bred, not-quite 17-year-old Mickey Mouse Club vet named Britney Spears released her Swedish fireball of a debut single, “…Baby One More Time” – and the Nineties as we knew them were instantly over. On the latest episode of the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, Rob Sheffield and Brittany Spanos join host Brian Hiatt to discuss all things Britney. To hear the episode, press play below or download and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.
Topics include the making of the song, Spears’ initial singer-songwriter ambitions, the rise of Max Martin, rock bands’ infatuation with covering the song, the greatness of “Sometimes,” the glories of the TRL era, Spears’ initial image as what Sheffield describes as a “sex cyborg from Sweden” and much more. Our panel also traces the influence of TLC and Soft Cell on Spears’ vocal style, reminisces about Sheffield’s 2000 interview with Spears (she hated her second album and was desperate for a vacation) and breaks down some all-but-forgotten tracks on her 1999 debut album, from the baffling, dancehall-inflected “Soda Pop” to the prescient dial-up anthem “E-Mail My Heart.”