Britney Spears - The Singles CollectionShe’s just turned 28, but already Britney Spears has already experienced a lifetime’s worth of success and controversy. Success began at 17, when her debut album, …Baby One More Time, and its title track topped the charts worldwide and made Britney became a celebrity whose sophomore album, Oops!...I Did It Again, only cemented her fame. But controversy has always dogged the former Mouseketeer, from her divorce and custody battles to rehab stints and troubles with the law. She even made headlines recently for miming during her Australian tour.

Proof that she remains a pop powerhouse can be found in The Singles Collection—the second greatest hits collection of Britney’s relatively short career. Like 2004’s My Prerogative, it traces her progression from teenage sensation to pop queen. But, since the new collection also includes the singles from Britney’s Blackout and Circus albums, including “Piece of Me” and “Womanizer,” it offers the more grown-up portrait of the singer, from ingénue to worldly, beleaguered woman.

Singles presents Britney’s 17 hits in chronological order, from 1999’s “…Baby One More Time” to 2008’s “Radar.” The emphasis has been placed squarely on upbeat material over slower ballads. The album includes one new song, “3,” about a ménage a trois relationship. Once again, Britney got in trouble and her record company forced her to change the lyrics from “Livin’ in sin is the new thing” to “Livin’ with this is the new thing.” No stranger to danger, Britney remains one of pop’s most colorful and perplexing figures.

December 2009