Britney Spears will release a new hits compilation called The Singles Collection this Tuesday, but on November 6, 2001, she dropped a key album in her musical evolution and the collection that marked her transition from teen starlet to international pop superstar. Britney was a true turning point for Spears, who had spent the end of the 20th century riding high on the success of ...Baby One More Time and Oops! ... I Did It Again. In the lead-up to her third album, there were rumors flying around that Britney would be a more evolved, more "adult"-sounding collection, and when the first single "I'm a Slave 4 U" dropped (assisted by a hypnotic Pharrell beat and a video that featured legions of sweaty, gyrating, half-naked dancers), the hype seemed to be legitimate.
But the real first blush with emancipation from her teen pop past came with "Overprotected," the album's second single. The song was Spears' most confessional lyric yet, stating that she's tired of being coddled and kept from the world. In the years that followed, Spears certainly managed to get out from under the thumbs of her oppressors (for better or for worse).
Britney debuted on top of the Billboard album charts, moving about 750,000 copies in its first week. Spears became the only female in history to have her first three albums debut in the top slot, and Britney has gone on to sell over nine million copies. In addition to "I'm a Slave 4 U" and "Overprotected," it contained the hits "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman," "I Love Rock and Roll" (her Joan Jett cover) and "Boys." Enjoy the video for "Overprotected" and consider how far Britney has come.