...Baby One More Time is Britney Spears' debut studio album which was released on January 12, 1999 through Jive Records.
- ...Baby One More Time (Max Martin)
- (You Drive Me) Crazy (Jorgen Elofsson, Per Magnusson, David Kruger, Martin)
- Sometimes (Elofsson)
- Soda Pop (Mikey Bassie, Eric Foster White)
- Born to Make You Happy (Kristain Lundin, Andreas Carlsson)
- From the Bottom of My Broken Heart (White)
- I Will Be There (Martin, Carlsson)
- I Will Still Love You (duet with Don Philip) (White)
- Thinkin' About It (Bassie, White)
- E-Mail My Heart (White)
- The Beat Goes On (Sonny Bono, White)
In June of 1997, Britney Spears was in talks with manager Lou Pearlman to join female pop group Innosense. Lynne asked family friend and entertainment lawyer Larry Rudolph for his opinion and submitted a tape of Spears singing over a Whitney Houston karaoke song along with some pictures.
Rudolph decided to pitch her to record labels, which required a professional demo. He sent Spears an unused song from Toni Braxton; she rehearsed for a week and recorded in a studio with a sound engineer.
Spears traveled to New York with the demo and met executives from four labels, returning to Kentwood the same day. Three of them rejected her, arguing audiences wanted pop bands such as the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls, and "there wasn't going to be another Madonna, another Debbie Gibson or another Tiffany."
Two weeks later, executives from Jive Records returned calls to Rudolph. Senior vice president of A&R Jeff Fenster stated, "It's very rare to hear someone that age who can deliver emotional content and commercial appeal. [...] For any artist, the motivation—the 'eye of the tiger'— is extremely important. And Britney had that."
They appointed her to work with producer Eric Foster White for a month, who reportedly shaped her voice from "lower and less poppy" delivery to "distinctively, unmistakably Britney."
Spears recorded thirteen songs with White, including "Autumn Goodbye", "E-Mail My Heart", "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart", "I'm So Curious", "I Will Still Love You", "Luv The Hurt Away", "Let Me Take You There", "Soda Pop", "Thinkin' About You", "Nothing Less Than Real", "Wishing on a Falling Star" and "You Got It All." She also recorded a cover of Sonny & Cher's 1967 single "The Beat Goes On."
White was responsible for the vocal recording and song production, while additional production was done by English electronic music group All Seeing I. After hearing the material, president Clive Calder ordered a full album.
Spears flew to Cheiron Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, where half of the album was recorded from March to April 1998, with producers Max Martin, Denniz Pop and Rami Yacoub, among others.
Martin showed Spears and her management a track titled "Hit Me Baby One More Time", which was originally written for American R&B group TLC; however, they rejected the song. Spears later claimed that she felt excited when she heard it and knew it was going to be a hit.
"We at Jive said, 'This is a fuckin' smash'," revealed the label's A&R executive, Steven Lunt; however, other executives were concerned that the line "Hit Me" would condone domestic violence, and later revised it to "...Baby One More Time".
Spears revealed that she "didn't do well at all the first day in the studio [recording the song], I was just too nervous. So I went out that night and had some fun. The next day I was completely relaxed and nailed it. You gotta be relaxed singing '... Baby One More Time'."
By June of 1998, the album was done, and Spears embarked on a promotional tour sponsored by L'Oréal.
Spears originally envisioned "Sheryl Crow music, but younger more adult contemporary", but felt alright with her label's producers, since "It made more sense to go pop, because I can dance to it—it's more me."
The album opens with the first single "...Baby One More Time", a teen pop and dance-pop song that begins with a three-note motif in the bass range of the piano.
The opening was compared to many other songs, such as "We Will Rock You" (1977), "Start Me Up" (1981), "These Words" (2004) and the theme song of the film Jaws due to the fact the track "makes its presence known in exactly one second".
According to magazine Blender, "...Baby One More Time" is composed by "wah-wah guitar lines and EKG-machine bass-slaps".
Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, authors of the 2008 book, "Girl Culture: Studying Girl culture: A Readers' Guide" observed that the lyrics of the song "gesture toward [Spears] longing for the return of an ex-boyfriend."
The next song and third single, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" runs through a moderately slow dance beat and has a rhythm and blues melody mixed with edgy synthesized instrumentals.
The third track and second single "Sometimes" is a ballad that Spears begins with "You tell me you're in love with me/That you can't take your pretty eyes away from me/It's not that I don't wanna stay/But every time you come too close I move away".
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic noted the song has "a catchy hook and endearing melody, with a reminiscent euro-dance rhythm."
The fourth track, "Soda Pop", a song that draws influences from bubblegum pop and dancehall and features background vocals from co-writer Mikey Bassie.
Spears' vocals on the fifth track, "Born to Make You Happy" (which was released as the album's fourth single in Europe), span more than an octave.
The song's lyrics allude to a relationship that a woman desires to repair, not quite understanding what went wrong, as she comes to realize that "I don't know how to live without your love/I was born to make you happy".
The sixth track and final single, "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart", is a sentimental slow-tempo teen pop ballad.
"I Will Be There" is a pop rock song that features a guitar riff similar to Natalie Imbruglia's 1997 song, "Torn" with a "rousing chorus about standing by your man (or a best friend or a house pet)", as noted by Kyle Anderson of MTV.
The eleventh track, "E-Mail My Heart", is a sensitive piano ballad where Spears sings, "E-mail me back/ And say our love will stay alive".
The cover of Sonny & Cher's 1967 single "The Beat Goes On" is influenced by bossa nova & trip hop, and features a similar sound to spy movies themes.
Among the bonus tracks included on some editions of the album is a cover of J'Son's 1996 song "I'll Never Stop Loving You."
"...Baby One More Time" debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 121,000 copies in its first week, replacing DMX's 1998 album, "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood." Spears broke several records by doing so.
The singer became the first new female artist to have a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one album on the Billboard 200 at the same time; the first new artist (male or female) to have a single go to the number one spot the same week that the album debuted at number one; and the first new female artist to have the first single and first album at number one the same week.
Spears is also the youngest female in Billboard history to have a simultaneous single and album at number one in the same week.
After four weeks since its release, the album had sold more than 500,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan sales data.
After dropping to the top five, the album went back to number one in its fourth week, with a total of 804,200 units sold. On its fifth week it reached its highest sales week with 229,000 copies sold.
"...Baby One More Time" spent a total of six non-consecutive weeks at number one and sold more than 1.8 million copies in its first two months of release in the country.
In its forty-seventh week on the Billboard 200, the album held strong at number three, and with sales of over of 10 million copies in the United States alone.
The album was later certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), making Spears the youngest artist to receive that award, breaking Alanis Morissette's record, who was 21 years old when she released Jagged Little Pill in 1995.
The album was the 14th album since 1991 to sell over 10 million copies in the United States and Spears became the best-selling female artist of 1999.
"...Baby One More Time" spent a total of 51 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. It was the second best-selling album in the US, only behind "Millennium" by the Backstreet Boys. It spent a total of one-hundred-and-three weeks on the chart.
The album landed at number three on BMG Music Club all-time best-sellers list, selling 1.6 million units, behind Shania Twain's 1997 album, "Come on Over."
The album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, totaling nine non-consecutive weeks at the top.
On December 12, 1999, the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) certified it diamond, for sales over one million units.
The album spent two weeks at number two on the European Top 100 Albums, selling over four million copies within the continent, being certified quadruple platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
The album reached number two on the UK Albums Chart, number four on French Albums Chart & was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), double platinum by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP), triple gold in Germany by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), and decuple platinum (diamond) by the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry (ZPAV).
"...Baby One More Time" debuted at number nine in May 1999 on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia, reaching number two nine weeks later, placing behind the Dawson's Creek soundtrack.
The album became the seventh highest-selling of 1999 in the country, and was certified quadruple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) the following year after shipping 280,000 copies to retailers.
"... Baby One More Time" debuted at number three on the RIANZ Albums Chart in New Zealand, placing behind Shania Twain's 1997 album, "Come on Over" and The Corrs' 1997 album, "Talk On Corners."
It was later certified triple platinum in the country by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).
"...Baby One More Time" received mixed reviews from critics.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic gave the album four out of five stars, Billboard's Paul Verna considered the album "a top 40-ready workout filled with hook-laden songs from the same bag as the title cut".
Kyle Anderson of MTV said he "was surprised in more ways than one "with his first listening of ...Baby One More Time, commenting he "expected there to be a lot of filler (there sort of is), though I didn't expect it to be as odd (at least sonically) as it ended up being. There has never been any mystery to why Spears became such a superstar, but these songs probably would have been huge even if Britney wore burlap sacks in all of her videos."
Barry Walters of Rolling Stone gave the album two stars out of five, comparing the album's sound to early hits of Debbie Gibson, Mariah Carey, and Samantha Fox.
Walters also said that "while several Cherion-crafted kiddie-funk jams serve up beefy hooks, shameless schlock slowies, like 'E-Mail My Heart', are pure spam."
A NME reviewer rated ...Baby One More Time 1 out of 10, saying that "we seem to have reached crisis point: pubescent pop is now so rife that 17-year-old Britney 'lizard-lounge' Spears is already halfway through her lucrative showbiz career".
He also found the album premature, commenting, "hopefully, if she starts to live the wretched life that we all eventually do, her voice will show the scars, she'll stop looking so fucking smug, she'll find solace in drugs and we'll be all the more happier for it. Now grow up, girl. Quick!"
Amanda Murray of Sputnikmusic felt that, "with the exception of the terrific title track, ...Baby One More Time is a collection of either competent pop songs underwhelmingly executed or underwhelmingly written pop songs competently executed."
The album has listed as the 16th best female album of all time on Billboard 200.
Promotion for the album began in 1998, when Spears did a small tour in malls and food courts that were located mostly in larger cities around the United States and Canada.
Each show lasted around thirty minutes, and she had two male dancers with her on the stage. The promo tour is also known as the L'Oréal Mall Tour, after its sponsor.
Spears made several promotional appearances including talk shows and live performances around the world.
In December of 1998, Spears' first showed up on MTV's and the Box's most-requested video charts. She also appeared on the Ricki Lake Show, the Howie Mandel Show, and was the presenter of the 1999 American Music Awards, prior to the release of the album.
She also appeared on MTV's Spring Break and on the hundredth episode of Nickelodeon's All That.
However, after injuring her knee, Spears had rescheduled appearances several shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. After recovering, Spears embarked on another promotional schedule.
She appeared on 12th Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on May 1, MTV's FANatic on May 12, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee on May 3, and The Rosie O'Donnell Show on May 25.
Outside the United States, Spears visited German talk show "Wetten, dass..?" and Top of the Pops on June 25, 1999.
She also went to the United Kingdom, making appearances on programmes such as This Morning, CD:UK and National Lottery. She visited a music variety show called Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ in Japan, and performed at the Festival Bar in Italy.
Spears was also featured on an episode of ABC television sitcom, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, where she played herself. She was returning a favor to actress Melissa Joan Hart, who played a cameo role in her' video for "(You Drive Me) Crazy," according to People. The episode aired on September 24, 1999.
During that same month, Spears performed on The Rosie O'Donnell Show on September 27, and visited Carson Daly on MTV's Total Request Live the following day.
She had a mini-Disney concert titled "Britney Spears & Joey McIntyre in Concert" where she and Joey McIntyre performed live in the taped concert event.
In November, Spears performed the album's first two singles at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Promotion for the album continued in early 2000, where Spears performed at the 2000 American Music Awards and also performed "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" in a medley with "...Baby One More Time" at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards.
Britney Spears was credited with leading the revival of teen pop. The Daily Yomiuri reported that "critics have hailed her as the most gifted teenage pop idol for many years, but Spears has set her sights a little higher-she is aiming for the level of superstardom that has been achieved by Madonna and Janet Jackson."
Rolling Stone wrote: "Britney Spears carries on the classic archetype of the rock & roll teen queen, the dungaree doll, the angel baby who just has to make a scene."
Rami Yacoub who co-produced Spears's debut album with lyricist Max Martin commented, "I know from Denniz Pop and Max's previous productions, when we do songs, there's kind of a nasal thing. With N' Sync and the Backstreet Boys, we had to push for that mid-nasal voice. When Britney did that, she got this kind of raspy, sexy voice."
Chuck Taylor of Billboard observed, "Spears has become a consummate performer, with snappy dance moves, a clearly real-albeit young-and funkdified voice ... "(You Drive Me) Crazy", her third single ... demonstrates Spears' own development, proving that the 17-year-old is finding her own vocal personality after so many months of steadfast practice."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic referred to her music as a "blend of infectious, rap-inflected dance-pop and smooth balladry."
Sputnikmusic writer Amanda Murray noted the album "offers a marker for Spears' progression as an artist, as a celebrity, and as a woman."
In 2010, the album was included in the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die."
Spears became an international pop culture icon immediately after launching her recording career.
Rolling Stone magazine wrote: "One of the most controversial and successful female vocalists of the 21st century," she "spearheaded the rise of post-millennial teen pop ... Spears early on cultivated a mixture of innocence and experience that broke the bank".
Spears is listed by the Guinness World Records as having the "best-selling album by a teenage solo artist".
Melissa Ruggieri of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, "She's also marked for being the best-selling teenage artist. Before she turned 20 in 2001, Spears sold more than 25 million albums worldwide."
Barbara Ellen of The Observer has reported: "Spears is famously one of the 'oldest' teenagers pop has ever produced, almost middle aged in terms of focus and determination. Many 19-year-olds haven't even started working by that age, whereas Britney, a former Mouseketeer, was that most unusual and volatile of American phenomena — a child with a full-time career. While other little girls were putting posters on their walls, Britney was wanting to be the poster on the wall. Whereas other children develop at their own pace, Britney was developing at a pace set by the ferociously competitive American entertainment industry".
"...Baby One More Time" is Britney Spears' most successful album to date, with worldwide sales of 25 million copies, and also the best-selling album by a teenage solo artist. It was ranked as the 41st best album of all time on the Billboard Top 200 Albums of All Time.