There are so many unique artists I have loved at first hearing, musicians who excite me at every album drop, every new song played secretly at a concert—but none of these eclectic performers have recorded my favorite album.
I’m very neurotic, particular, methodical, and nostalgic, so it’s no surprise that my favorite album was also the first CD given to me. I’m in first grade, and my parents come home from a trip to Target with a little extra something for me. It is gold and purple and everything my little 6-year-old heart wanted: Britney Spear’s 2nd album, Oops!…I Did It Again.
These were the days when you had to catch music videos at just the right time on TV to see them, there was no re-wind button at our fingertips via keyboards. I remember obsessing over the album’s title song, as well as Stronger, where Britney whips around in a silver mustang, leaving a cheating ex in the dust.
I remember playing the CD on my family’s stereo system (bigger than a boom box, but not like huge amps hanging from a ceiling) out loud in our living room and watching my mom cringe and wonder if this album had themes that were too mature for me as I sang along, “I’M…NOT…THAT…INNOCENT!”
The album also had great tracks like a cover of The Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, and other original [and surprisingly empowering for the 2000’s] tracks such as, Don’t Go Knockin’ On My Door, and What U See (Is What U Get). Who doesn’t love the abbreviation of “you” to “U”?! Of course there was also the iconic single, Lucky that I took as a personal cry for help from Britney that only I could hear as she sang, “She’s so lucky, She’s a star, But she cry, cry, cry, in her lonely heart…” I constantly wondered why more people weren’t concerned for her like I was—and this was very much before the shaving of the head.
And of course, what makes this album even more perfect are the small interactions with friends or boys she has between songs to lead into the next. Picture Britney gushing on her landline phone with her best friend and getting to hear a snipet of what you assume is the real her. Those magical moments then lead you into the next song?! Amazing. And unlike music files today, the small skits were actually put at the end of the previous song, rather than at the top of the track. Genius editing move when listening to this on a CD player, a little awkward to hear if you put the songs on shuffle.
I’m always rooting for Britney because she holds a special place in molding me as not a girl, not yet a woman (sorry I had to), and while I don’t follow her as heavily anymore, I can still attest that this beautiful album, that has unfortunately been squished in my car to the point of cracking the plastic case, is my absolute favorite.