As if its title doesn’t give it away, Britney Spears‘ new Britney Jean album is her most personal to date: an effort that ponders the price of fame, mourns the loss of personal relationships, and recounts a decade-plus spent beneath the spotlight. Kind of.
Because, with will.i.am serving as executive producer, and a dream team of collaborators that includes Dr. Luke, David Guetta and Diplo along for the ride, Britney Jean isn’t nearly as dour as it sounds … in fact, one listen to walloping first single “Work Bitch” — or bangers like “Body Ache” and “Til It’s Gone” — sums up the majority of the sentiments expressed on the disc. Still, there are moments (“Don’t Cry,” “Perfume,” etc.) when Spears and her team dare to bare, and they’re not only highlights of the album, but rank amongst the most revealing tracks of her 15-year career.
If anything, Britney Jean presents us with the clearest portrait of the reclusive superstar: it shows off her personal side, sure, but also her pop pedigree, too. As she’s proven time and time again, Spears remains an innovator in the genre, and with her latest album, she serves notice that she’s still unafraid to push boundaries, or shove the pretenders out of the way.
So, as she looks back on how far she’s come — and continues to move forward — MTV News is feeling a bit nostalgic, so we dig into the archives and unearthed a pair of never-before-seen clips originally cut from her 2001 “MTV Diary” special.
In the first, Spears takes us for a drive around Los Angeles (and takes out a Porta Potty) in her convertible. In the second, she opens up about (then) boyfriend Justin Timberlake — “I totally believe when you find the right person, you just know,” she says, “and it can last forever.” Like her Britney Jean album, they show both sides of her personality … and prove that though there are plenty of imitators, there’s only one Britney Spears.