It’s Britney, bitch! Since Britney Spears kicked off her megasuccessful career at age 16, in 1998, she has continued to amaze fans with one iconic music video after another.
The singer, now 34, has been dominating music charts since the release of her first single, “… Baby One More Time,” to her latest sexy tune. “Make Me …,” which sets the tone for her ninth studio album, Glory (out Friday, August 26).
Following a highly publicized downfall in the mid-2000s, a triumphant Spears has reclaimed her throne as America’s pop princess. Her smash Las Vegas residency, Britney: Piece of Me, paved the way for fellow Sin City headliners Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey.
This weekend, on Sunday, August 28, the “Gimme More” entertainer will remind skeptics that she is, indeed, pop music royalty when she returns to the VMA stage for her first performance at the star-studded MTV ceremony in nearly a decade.
In honor of Spears’ all-conquering, nearly 18-year career (and the release of Glory), Us Weekly ranks the pop icon’s 12 most Glory-ous music video moments below.
Spears unveiled the music video for “Toxic,” her Grammy-winning second single off 2003’s In the Zone, on MTV’s Making the Video in January 2004. “Toxic” solidified the singer as one of music’s most innovative visionaries. In the video, Spears tried her hand at several different personas, from a sexy stewardess to a motorcycle-riding, red wig–wearing badass. She also famously writhed around on the floor in a bedazzled nude bodysuit, showing off her enviable figure.
2. “I’m a Slave 4 U”
Shedding her girl next door image, the risqué — and insanely sweaty — “I’m a Slave 4 U” music video gave viewers their first glimpse of Spears’ newly mature look in September 2001. The clip featured the toned and tanned singer grinding against her backup dancers in a sauna. “I’m a Slave 4 U” also allowed her to showcase her killer dance moves in a pink bra and faded jeans.
3. “Oops! … I Did It Again”
“Oops! … I Did It Again” was a turn-of-the-millennium moment for music. Clad in a red leather jumpsuit, Spears traveled to Mars to deliver some of her most memorable choreographed moves in the futuristic 2000 music video. At age 18, the pop star famously teased her goofy side in the hit single as she referenced Titanic‘s Heart of the Ocean blue diamond, quipping, “But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end.”
4. “… Baby One More Time”
The one that started it all. Spears burst onto the music scene with her teenybopper debut single in 1998. The Nigel Dick-directed “… Baby One More Time” video almost instantaneously made the entertainer a star as she danced around a Catholic high school in a not-so-innocent schoolgirl outfit.
5. “Overprotected (The Darkchild Remix)”
Spears released two music videos for her 2001 single “Overprotected” — one for the album version and another (more memorable) version for the Darkchild remix. The second video, like “I’m a Slave 4 U,” further shed Spears’ adolescent image as she and five girlfriends snuck out of their hotel and into an underground club. The fan favorite Darkchild “Overprotected” music video is arguably one of the entertainer’s most underrated, despite the incredible hotel lobby dance breakdown.
The word comeback has been used countless times to describe Spears’ post-2007 career, but “Circus” marked her official return to the music scene. Throughout the video, which was led by “Slave” director Francis Lawrence, the mom of two shines in a circus ring as she dons a ringmaster jacket and a feathered top hat. Surrounded by lions, an elephant and a bunch of flames, Spears runs the circus in the clip, taken from her 2008 album of the same name.
In a nod to her idol Janet Jackson‘s “The Pleasure Principle” and “Miss You Much” music videos, Spears performed the anthemic “Stronger” from her 2000 sophomore album with an unforgettable chair dance routine. The Joseph Kahn–directed visual was a much darker route for Spears, who was previously known for her poppy, colorful music videos such as “Sometimes” and “Lucky.”
8. “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know”
Like “Overprotected,” 2001’s “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” is one of the pop superstar’s most underappreciated videos. Set on a Miami beach, the four-minute clip was a refreshingly simplistic change for Spears. The video, which included only one outfit and no dance scenes, focused entirely on the bikini-clad singer and her hunky onscreen boyfriend Brice Durand‘s steamy romance. “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” was criticized for being too racy, but allowed Spears to show off a different side — and flaunt her six-pack abs.
9. “Me Against the Music”
And then there’s Madonna. When the “Me Against the Music” music video premiered in October 2003, it immediately became a smash success on MTV and AOL Music. In the video, Spears slays one of her most legendary dance breaks in a New York nightclub. Later, she and Madonna squirm around a metal bed frame while wearing androgynous suits. In the final seconds, Spears pushes the Queen of Pop against a wall and leans in for a kiss, a nod to their controversial 2003 MTV Video Music Awards performance, which went down about a month earlier.
10. “(You Drive Me) Crazy”
Remember when Brit teamed up with Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier in July 1999? Yeah, that happened. The fun-filled music video for “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” which was also used as promotion for Hart and Grenier’s 1999 movie Drive Me Crazy, kicked off with the Kentwood, Louisiana, native working as a waitress in a club. Moments later, Spears transforms into a dance-floor superstar as she performs an intensely choreographed routine in a green sparkly outfit.
11. “Till the World Ends”
A decade after wowing fans across the globe with her sweaty “Slave” music video, Spears returned to another “grimy and gross” (her actual words) video set to shoot the 2011 “Till the World Ends” visual. The EDM-inspired track (cowritten by Kesha!) spawned two videos, the original and a dance-only director’s cut, both of which featured an orange sequined bodysuit-clad Spears dancing amid an apocalyptic scenario.
12. “Make Me …”
Just weeks before the release of her latest album, Glory, Spears dropped the G-Eazy featured “Make Me …” music video following a series of delays. The video was initially directed by David LaChapelle, but Spears’ record label apparently scrapped the first take for being too sexual. A tamer version, directed by Randee St. Nicholas, was released in August 2016, but was immediately criticized by some fans as being a lesser version of the original. Despite the initial disapproval, Spears looks better than ever in the final “Make Me …” video as she shows off her svelte frame in a sheer black top, a black bra and denim cutoffs.
Spears’ ninth studio album, Glory, drops Friday, August 26. The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards air on MTV Sunday, August 28, at 9 p.m. ET.
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