The Britney Spears music videos that defined our teenhood
If you can believe it, Britney Spears is 34 years young today, and honestly she doesn’t look a day over The Mickey Mouse Club. That’s around the time her career as a performer and singer began, though back in 1993 none of us probably ever imagined one day she’d completely dominate the pop music scene (and our collective hearts). Even today, she still dominates it. She’s got her residency in Las Vegas with her show Piece of Me, “Toxic,” is still in constant rotation on our iPods, and Brit Brit does wonderful, amazing things on a daily basis. It’s not a stretch to say everything she does still gives us a lot of life.
But what gives us the most life, always and forever, are her music videos. Spears has some FIERCE music video game. Name one video that you’re not completely head over heels in love with, because the answer is probably “all of them.” These videos were especially important during our teen years, as Spears turned out hit after hit off all her albums. Out of all her videos from way back when, these are still the most important to us today.
There are a lot of things to love about this video, but the most important part is that in 2000, we were still riding high off of Titanic. And Britney’s astronaut went down to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve the blue sapphire “Heart of the Ocean” necklace for her! Aw, he shouldn’t have — because it set the bar like, ridiculously high for all future significant others.
Maybe I’m a little biased because Drive Me Crazy is my favorite teen movie of all time, but this video is amazing. It made working as a waitress and going to school seem like a blast. I believed this is what high school would be like.
Ah, something else that wasn’t factual for when I got to high school. I can’t be the only one who tried to make knee high socks, a tied white blouse and a cardigan work. I’m still trying to make those pink puffy things for hair work. This is something only Britney can pull off.
“Lucky” is in a league of its own. It was a mini-movie music video before that was a thing. And the story of lucky resonated SO MUCH during those turbulent teen years. Because Lucky is, like, so lucky, but she’s still sad on the inside, and Lucky was basically telling us that it’s OK to be sad and happy at the same time. Also, that bedroom, Lucky. Made of Tumblr dreams before Tumblr even existed.
Maybe not the easiest song title to get out, but oh man, “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman,” became the anthem for growing up for everyone, everywhere. Did sometimes we feel like we were Spears, standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the vast ravine below, aka our future? That still happens from time to time. I know I personally said, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman,” roughly 500 times to my parents growing up.
Let’s ignore the fact that Spears appears to be wearing her underwear/bathing suit bottom over her jeans. That’s not what’s important. What’s important here is the ridiculously catchy beat, and the fact that she made dancing in extreme heat look fun, and thanks to an appearance at the 2001 MTV VMAs, she made us try as hard as we could to get over our fear of snakes. If Spears can dance with a snake, we can at least look at them from a distance.
Bad break up? Spears has your back. She also manages to show off some impressive dance moves with just her, the floor, and a metal chair (which I think you can buy at Ikea, actually). Don’t try this at home, but all the empowering post-break up anthem is still one we need in our everyday lives, or at least on the gym playlist.
Images via Vevo