"I'm a Slave 4 U," the lead single from 2001's Britney, was Britney Spears' most overt attempt at shaking free of the squeaky clean image of her early career. The Neptunes took the opportunity to genuflect to Britney's dance-pop predecessors: The song's drum programming bears a faint resemblance to "Nasty Girl" by Prince proteges Vanity 6, and there's a synth progression in there that sounds like a nod to '90s house band Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam." "I'm a Slave 4 U" was a risk and a minor scandal, but it paid off. Never again would we think of Britney Spears as the high school cheerleader from the "...Baby One More Time" days.
21. Britney Spears "I'm a Slave 4 U" (2001)