on 23 November 2004
Spears' career has had it's ups and downs. Her debut single "...Baby One More Time" was an instant classic, but the follow up, "Sometimes", was awful. Things didn't really pick up amazingly until her second album, with the fantastic title track "Oops!...I Did It Again". A better album, but the singles (with the exception of "Oops!" and "Stronger") weren't as good.
Then, without any real warning, things started to turn around greatly. Her third self titled offering was fantastically done, very little filler, and a whole lot of killer. Lead single "I'm A Slave 4 U" was the standout, definitely, but it was unwise to overlook "Overprotected", "Boys" or even her cover of "I Love Rock & Roll". Even the initially nauseating CrossRoads ballad "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" was a grower. Spears' credibility continued with her fourth album, In The Zone, which featured contributions from Madonna, the Ying Yang Twins, Moby and R. Kelly, among others.
It is telling that the real standout track on Greatest Hits: My Prerogative is from In The Zone. "Toxic", with it's orchestral strings and mid-tempo dance beat, is a playful joy of a track, and in my opinion, Spears' best yet. GH:MP really is a collection of practically perfect pop music. If duff tracks such as "Sometimes", "Lucky" and "Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know" had been cut, then the collection would be damn near pop's classic hits collection (Madonna's Immaculate Collection) in quality.
All the Britney hits we know and love are here - from the debut "...Baby" to the gorgeous "Everytime", with three 'new' tracks included for good measure. The first is a reworking of Bobby Brown's 1980s classic "My Prerogative". I myself believe that Brown's original lacked production, and the overproduced R&B/Dance sound of Britney's cover sounds fantastic. When Britney growls "I see nothing wrong in spreadin' myself around!" you really do believe her.
Second new track on the collection is "I've Just Begun", an outake from the In The Zone sessions. Some may recognise the track from Special Editions of In The Zone. It's funky and catchy, sounding at times vaguely like No Doubt's brilliant "Hella Good". Another potential hit for Britney, if she wasn't taking a break.
But for those with Britney's previous albums intact, there are two real bonuses with this collection. Firstly, closing track "Do Somethin'" and the extra disc. On "Do Somethin'", which follows "My Prerogative" brilliantly, Britney yells "I see you lookin' at me like I'm some kinda freak! Get up outta ya seat - why don'cha do somethin'?" with more attitude than she has in any previous song. If only she'd release "Do Somethin'" before her break, she could have a massive hit on her hands (especially with the right video), but that's quite unlikely.
As for the bonus disc, the remixes are all good, but a majority are too lengthy. The remixes of "Toxic", "Breathe On Me" and "I'm A Slave 4 U" spring particularly to mind. The real standouts here are the Hi-Bias Radio Edit of "Everytime", a nightclub love song to rival such club hits as Angel City's great "Do You Know", the JXL Remix of "Outrageous", in which Britney goes all reggae on us (reminiscent slightly of "The Hook Up" from In The Zone). Finally, the absolute stunner of the bonus disc comes right at the end. The "Chris Cox Megamix" is an incredible rush through "...Baby", "Crazy", "Slave", "Oops!", "Stronger", "Everytime", "Overprotected" and "Toxic". Sounds weird, I know, but listen to it. It's brilliant, and a good single choice (the video is currently being rotated on the music channels).
So, all in all, My Prerogative is a fabulous celebration of all things Britney. Oh, hell... all things pop. One little ommission - all the tracklistings suggest that the DarkChild remix of "Overprotected" is featured. It's not. It's the original version - but they're both as good as eachother, so who cares?