Britney Spears might not have been at her personal peak when she released Blackout in 2007, but she also wasn't afraid to show the world that she was in on the joke.

On her single "Piece of Me," Britney sings about how every move she makes is reported by the media. And what better place to film a video for the song than in a nightclub with reporters and paparazzi trying to capture Brit's every move?

"On 'Piece of Me,' I really just wanted to put the mirror back onto the whole experience," director Wayne Isham told MTV News about the video's concept, which finds Britney flirting with boys and dancing around the club. "You can see that she had that kind of confidence. And, literally, every take became a more and more confident take, so that she could have fun with what was going on. Not being over-the-top sarcastic, but ... having a laugh at everything that was going on around her, with confidence."

At the time, Britney had become a tabloid staple. And, even when she was trying to get her career back on track, it seems the paparazzi were there to mess with any comeback plans. "She was late," Isham recalled. "People made a big thing about it, [but] how could she not be late, when you have 50, 65, 75 people running down the street chasing her car? That was a long day for the crew. It was literally a 20-hour day for the crew. She was there for the last six hours of it. She got there late, showed up and just kicked ass."

Isham encouraged the pop star to get loose for the video and (literally) let her hair down.

"The very last dance of the piece, she had her hair up, and I go, 'Can you just do one for me with your hair down?' She dropped her hair down," Isham recalled. "You'll see we intercut with her hair up and her hair down. That was the last piece. She just rocked it from her heart. She choreographed that last dance at the very end. She did that on her own and said, 'Let's go for it.' "

The video, which earned the singer three VMAs in 2008, would prove that no matter what was happening in her life, she could bring it. "When she goes for it, she goes for it," Isham said. "You know, it's about the story line, it's about her dance, it's about her appearance," he said. "I just love that she's one of the few that are still left that step up to what music videos are about."

With the release of Britney Spears: The Singles Collection, MTV News is looking back on the pop star's career through interviews with video directors, music-industry insiders and Spears herself, as she reflects on some of her greatest hits. Keep coming back for all things Britney, and let us know your favorite Brit songs, videos, memories and more in the comments below — and if you think you're Britney's biggest fan, enter our contest to win a free copy of the album!