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500 Greatest Albums Podcast: How Britney Spears Defied Critics and Reshaped Pop on ‘Blackout’

In the mid-2000s, few people were more famous than Britney Spears. But as she began to stumble in her personal life, the price of the public’s fascination was more than just a few nasty late-night jokes. Paparazzi swarmed Spears’ home and her family, turning the singer into a tabloid punching bag. But when you’re a platinum-selling pop princess, the show goes on even when you desperately need an intermission. In the midst of madness, Spears began recording an album that would become her defining statement, 2007’s Blackout.

The latest episode of our Amazon Original podcast Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums revisits Blackout at a time when Spears’ music — and the raw treatment she received from the public and the press — is being revisited and rethought in a major way. Collaborators and friends — from Teresa LaBarbera, the A&R rep who was one of Spears’ closest allies, to the producers like Danja and Bloodshy & Avant who crafted visceral hits like “Piece of Me” and “Gimme More” — join Rolling Stone Senior Writer Brittany Spanos to tell the story of how Spears made classic songs in the eye of a hurricane. The result was an album that stood as a middle finger to Spears’ critics and established a dark, danceable sound that influenced pop for years to come.

In 2003, Rolling Stone published its definitive countdown of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, the most popular and most argued-over list in the magazine’s history. In 2020, we completely remade the list, adding more than 150 new titles. With the Amazon Original podcast Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums, we’re delving further into the making and meaning of many of the records that made the cut, with exclusive insights from the artists who created them — and those who know them and their music best.

Hosted by Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums appears exclusively on Amazon Music, with a new episode appearing each week. Check out the Blackout episode above.

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