96. ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears (2003)

Whee-wo-whee-wo. Those strings kick ass. You know it, I know it, Britney knows it. Well, maybe Britney doesn’t know it. Only God knows that. But Britney does know exactly the kind of airy, deceptively passive vocal this song requires. This really should have been a Bond theme, or at least the theme to a Bond spoof (anyone know what the theme tune to ‘Johnny English’ was? Well it should have been this.) Britney vacillates expertly (yes, expertly!) between “feminine” rapture with a probably-no-good man figure, frustration with his lack of forthcoming, and downright insistence that he satisfy her needs. And, man, those fucking strings.

Bonus points: Game-changer. Aside from reasserting Britney as a major player (nobody expected ‘Baby, One More Time’ to be rivalled as her “signature” number), this had a hand in remodelling pop music and its appeal for the 21st century. Well done, Britney! Now go have a lie down.



3 Responses to “96. ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears (2003)”

  1. Very surprised that this wasn’t higher to be honest. This is an absolute masterclass of pop music.

  2. Andrew Oakes Says:

    I thought this would be tonnes higher actually but then, I’ve not seen the rest yet have I? Still, it’s Britney at her peak before things turned bald and she forgot to care about her music (although for the record, Blackout is a great album and the only Britney album I really care for).

  3. Aha! Well, Andrew, I will argue quite passionately about the virtues of Blackout, which I maintain is a fucking kickass album. This song has actually been one of the hardest to rank, for several reasons.

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