by JONATHAN BROWN
Truth be told, as inarguably iconic as Britney Spears’ debut single, “… Baby One More Time” was, is, and always will be, I actually wasn’t that into it when the signature tune made its debut on pop radio 18 years ago on this day.
Granted, I didn’t outright dislike it, either. I mean, how could anyone? That bombastic piano opening, those come hither vocals of the soon-to-be and forever undisputed princess of pop, and that unforgettable chorus that made you truly believe that she might lose her mind if she ever lost the grasp of her one true love — which she sadly kind of did, for a while — are just some of the reasons why the song ultimately led our Brit-Brit to worldwide success. But still, it wasn’t an instant favorite of mine.
As time went on, however, I eventually came to adore the melodic offering just as strongly as the rest that she and her former minders at the now-defunct Jive Records presented to the public on that first disc, which came about three months later in January 1999. It just so happened that it wouldn’t occur until midway into the promotional period for her second album, Oops!… I Did It Again, in 2000.
While on tour to push the follow-up, Britney, along with legendary choreographer Wade Robson, came up with a slightly remixed version of “… Baby One More Time” that allowed for a bit more instrumentation and a lot more fierceness that not only slayed the house down, but proved in no uncertain terms just why it was such a perfect offering to mark her leap from Mouseketeer to musician.
And oh, my, that breakdown, that strenuously sexy breakdown. To answer the question posed during it by Robson (who loans his vocals to the mix), no, I was not ready for that!
To say my opinion of “… Baby One More Time” changed after that live take is quite the understatement, and it also shows you just how special Britney is in an environment that is ever-changing. Pop artists come and go, and if one who stays releases something somewhat subpar, then they can always do better next time. But how many artists can you actually say make you go back to something you didn’t once much care for, and make you realize just what a mistake it was to try to brush it off?
I learned a serious lesson that day and it’s one that I still believe more than 18 years later: “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Jean Spears was, is, and always will be iconic. Happy anniversary!
Pop-culture obsessed, opinionated and not afraid of either aspect, Jonathan Brown tends to have a lot to say about everything and anything — especially when it pertains to the world of entertainment. Check out more of what he has to say on his Facebook page and his Twitter profile. Be warned, though: he’s not afraid to respond when necessary.