The album is as calorific as the KFC burgers dished up at her chav-style wedding;...
Annabel Leathes 2003
It's hard to imagine that five years have passed since a pert and pouty 16 year old Britney skipped onto the scene. Now, with four albums, a film, a divorce, another husband and a faux-Sapphic snog stashed under her belt-cum-miniskirt, she's established herself as quite the grande-dame of pop.
Not surprising then that a Greatest Hits album has found its way onto the pre-Christmas shelves, waiting to be snapped up by a fan base ranging from tweenies to gay men still quivering to "Toxic".
They will not feel short-changed. The album is as calorific as the KFC burgers dished up at her chav-style wedding; twenty finger lickin' tracks that mirror her trajectory from pretty pop puff to lusty strumpet.
"...Baby One More Time", "Stronger", "Oops! I Did It Again" and "Sometimes" are all there to represent the innocent years when Britney annoyed and titillated in equal measure.
As the declarations of innocence began to wear a little thin -she was dating the highly shaggable Justin Timberlake after all -"Overprotected" and "I'm Not A Girl", Not Yet A Woman" served to alloy her critics' barbs. "I'm A Slave 4 U" was the turning point. Complete with sweaty python and the song-writing skills of Pharrell Williams, Britney dropped the veil of probity and writhed into wanton self-publicity.
The services of other song-writers make a significant appearance on the album, with Pharrell Williams delivering again for "Boys", R. Kelly transforming Britney into a grubby Beyonce on "Outrageous" and pop alchemist, Cathy Dennis, waving her magic wand for "Toxic".
As with most Greatest Hits albums, you'll find a couple of covers lurking amongst the goodies. The gloopy re-working of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" and a lame stab at Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" make up Britney's quota.
Despite the shiny, taut Britney on the cover, in real life the singer seems to be plumping up nicely into her wifely duties, declaring motherhood as the next thing on the agenda. Two robust, unreleased tracks, "I've Just Begun (Having My Fun)" and "Do Somethin'" suggest, however, that she may still be churning out a few more No.1s before taking time out to sing lullabies to her brood.