Britney Spears


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Britney Spears Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is an American recording artist and
entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears
began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage productions and television
shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released her debut album ...Baby One More
Time in 1999, which became the best-selling album by a teenage solo artist. During her
first decade in the music industry, she became a prominent figure in mainstream popular music
and popular culture, followed by a much-publicized personal life. Her first two albums established
her as a pop icon and broke sales records, while title tracks "...Baby One More Time"
and "Oops!... I Did It Again" became international number-one hits. Spears was credited with
influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s, and became the 'best-selling
teenaged artist of all time' before she turned 20, garnering her honorific titles such as
"Princess of Pop". In 2001, she released her third studio album Britney and expanded her
brand, playing the starring role in the film Crossroads. She assumed creative control of
her fourth studio album, In the Zone (2003), which yielded chart-topping singles "Me Against
the Music", "Toxic" and "Everytime". After the release of two compilation albums, Spears
experienced personal struggles and her career went into hiatus. Her fifth studio album,
Blackout, was released in 2007 and despite receiving little promotion, it spawned hits
"Gimme More" and "Piece of Me". In 2008, her erratic behavior and hospitalizations caused
her to be placed in a conservatorship. The same year, her sixth studio album Circus was
released, with the global chart-topping lead single "Womanizer", and hits such as "Circus"
and "If U Seek Amy". She embarked on her highest-grossing global concert tour, The Circus Starring Britney
Spears, in 2009. In October of the same year, she released a chart-topping single, "3",
which became her third single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Her seventh
studio album Femme Fatale, released in 2011, has become the first of her albums to yield
three top ten singles in the United States, "Hold It Against Me", "Till the World Ends"
and "I Wanna Go". The same year, she also gained her fifth number one single when she
featured on the remix of "S&M" alongside Rihanna. Spears's work has earned her numerous awards
and accolades, including a Grammy Award, 6 MTV Video Music Awards including the Lifetime
Achievement Award, 9 Billboard Music Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2009, Billboard ranked her as the 8th overall Artist of the Decade, and also recognized
her as the best-selling female artist of the first decade of the 21st century, as well
as the fifth overall. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also recognized
Spears as the seventh top-selling female artist in the United States, with 34 million certified
albums. Nielsen SoundScan ranked Spears the tenth best-selling digital artist of the country,
with more than 28.6 million digital singles as of January 2012. She has sold over 100
million albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Rolling Stone recognized her instant success as one of the Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments
of all time, while VH1 ranked her eleventh on their "100 Greatest Women in Music" list
in 2012, and Billboard named her the sexiest woman in music. Forbes also revealed that
Spears was the sixth most powerful celebrity, and the third best paid musician of 2011–12,
having topped the list back in 2002. Life and career Britney Jean Spears was born on
December 2, 1981, the second child of Lynne Irene (née Bridges) and James Parnell Spears.
Her maternal grandmother, Lillian Portell, was English (born in London), and one of Spears'
maternal great-great-grandfathers was Maltese. Her siblings are Bryan James and Jamie Lynn.
At age three, she started to attend dance lessons in her hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana,
and was selected to perform as a solo artist at the annual recital. During her childhood,
she also attended gymnastics and voice lessons, and won many state-level competitions and
children's talent shows. Spears made her local stage debut at age five, singing "What Child
Is This?" at her kindergarten graduation. She said about her ambition as a child, "I
was in my own world, [...] I found out what I'm supposed to do at an early age". At age
eight, Spears and her mother Lynne traveled to Atlanta for an audition in the 1990s revival
of The Mickey Mouse Club. Casting director Matt Casella rejected her for being too young
to join the series at the time, but introduced her to Nancy Carson, a New York City talent
agent. Carson was impressed with Spears's vocals and suggested enrolling her at the
Professional Performing Arts School; shortly after, Lynne and her daughters moved to a
sublet apartment in New York. Spears was hired for her first professional role as the understudy
for the lead role of Tina Denmark in the Off-Broadway musical Ruthless!. She also appeared as a
contestant on the popular television show Star Search, as well as being cast in a number
of commercials. In December 1992, she was finally cast in The Mickey Mouse Club, but
returned to Kentwood after the show was canceled. She enrolled at Parklane Academy in nearby
McComb, Mississippi. Although she made friends with most of her classmates, she compared
the school to "the opening scene in Clueless with all the cliques. [...] I was so bored.
I was the point guard on the basketball team. I had my boyfriend, and I went to homecoming
and Christmas formal. But I wanted more." In June 1997, Spears was in talks with manager
Lou Pearlman to join the female pop group Innosense. Lynne asked family friend and entertainment
lawyer Larry Rudolph for his opinion and submitted a tape of Spears singing over a Whitney Houston
karaoke song along with some pictures. Rudolph decided he wanted to pitch her to record labels,
therefore she needed a professional demo. He sent Spears an unused song of Toni Braxton;
she rehearsed for a week and recorded her vocals in a studio with a sound engineer.
Spears traveled to New York with the demo and met with executives from four labels,
returning to Kentwood the same day. Three of the labels rejected her, arguing that audiences
wanted pop bands such as the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls, and "there wasn't going
to be another Madonna, another Debbie Gibson, or another Tiffany." Two weeks later, executives
from Jive Records returned calls to Rudolph. Senior vice president of A&R Jeff Fenster
stated about Spears's audition that "It's very rare to hear someone that age who can
deliver emotional content and commercial appeal. [...] For any artist, the motivation—the
'eye of the tiger'—is extremely important. And Britney had that." She then sang Houston's
"I Have Nothing" (1992) for the executives, and got signed to the label. They appointed
her to work with producer Eric Foster White for a month, who reportedly shaped her voice
from "lower and less poppy" delivery to "distinctively, unmistakably Britney." After hearing the recorded
material, president Clive Calder ordered a full album. Spears had originally envisioned
"Sheryl Crow music, but younger more adult contemporary" but felt all right with her
label's appointment of producers, since "It made more sense to go pop, because I can dance
to it—it's more me." She flew to Cheiron Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, where half of
the album was recorded from March to April 1998, with producers Max Martin, Denniz Pop
and Rami Yacoub, among others. After Spears returned to the United States, she embarked
on a shopping mall promotional tour to promote her forthcoming album. Her show was a four
song set and she was accompanied by two back up dancers. Her first concert tour followed,
as an opening act for 'N Sync. Her debut album, ...Baby One More Time, was released on January
1999. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified two-times
platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America after a month. Worldwide, the album
topped the charts in fifteen countries and sold over ten million copies in a year. It
became the biggest selling album ever by a teenage artist. The title track was released
as the lead single from the album. Originally, Jive Records wanted its music video to be
animated; however, Spears rejected it, and suggested the final idea of a Catholic schoolgirl.
The single sold 500,000 copies on its first day, and peaked at number one on the Billboard
Hot 100, topping the chart for two consecutive weeks. "...Baby One More Time" later received
a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The title track also topped the
singles chart for two weeks in the United Kingdom, and became the fastest-selling single
ever by a female artist, shipping over 460,000 copies. It would later become the 25th most
successful song of all time in British chart history. Spears is also the youngest female
artist to have a million seller in the country. "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was released as the
third single from the album. It became a top-ten hit worldwide and propelled ...Baby One More
Time to sell 26 million copies. The April 1999 cover of Rolling Stone featured Spears
lying on her bed, clad with a bra, shorts and an open top. The American Family Association
(AFA) referred to the shoot as "a disturbing mix of childhood innocence and adult sexuality"
and called to "God-loving Americans to boycott stores selling Britney's albums." Spears responded
to the outcry commenting, "What's the big deal? I have strong morals. [...] I'd do it
again. I thought the pictures were fine. And I was tired of being compared to Debbie Gibson
and all of this bubblegum pop all the time." Shortly before, Spears had announced publicly
she would remain a virgin until marriage. On June 28, 1999, Spears began her first headlining
...Baby One More Time Tour in North America, which was positively received by critics,
but generated some controversy due to her racy outfits. An extension of the tour, titled
Crazy 2k, followed in March 2000. Spears premiered songs from her upcoming second album during
the show. Oops!... I Did It Again, her second studio album, was released in May 2000. It
debuted at number one in the US, selling 1,3 million copies, breaking the SoundScan record
for the highest debut sales by any solo artist. The album sold over 20 million copies worldwide.
Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone said that "the great thing about Oops! – under the cheese
surface, Britney's demand for satisfaction is complex, fierce and downright scary, making
her a true child of rock & roll tradition." The album's lead single, "Oops!... I Did It
Again", peaked at the top of the charts in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom
and many other European nations. The album as well as the title track received Grammy
nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, respectively.
The same year, Spears embarked on the Oops!... I Did It Again World Tour, which grossed $40.5 million;
she also released her first book, Britney Spears' Heart-to-Heart, co-written with her
mother. On September 7, 2000, Spears performed at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. Halfway
through the performance, she ripped off her black suit to reveal a sequined flesh-colored
bodysuit, followed by heavy dance routine. It is noted by critics as the moment that
Spears showed signs of becoming a more provocative performer. Amidst media speculation, Spears
confirmed she was dating 'N Sync member Justin Timberlake. In February 2001, Spears signed
a $7–8 million promotional deal with Pepsi, and released another book co-written with
her mother, entitled A Mother’s Gift. Her third studio album, Britney, was released
in November 2001. While on tour, she felt inspired by hip hop artists such as Jay-Z
and The Neptunes and wanted to create a record with a funkier sound. The album debuted at
number one in the Billboard 200 and reached top five positions in Australia, the United
Kingdom and mainland Europe and sold over 12 million copies worldwide. Stephen Thomas
Erlewine of Allmusic called Britney "the record where she strives to deepen her persona, making
it more adult while still recognizably Britney. [...] It does sound like the work of a star
who has now found and refined her voice, resulting in her best record yet." The album was honored
with two Grammy nominations—Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
for "Overprotected"— and was listed in 2008 as one of Entertainment Weekly's "100 Best
Albums from the Past 25 Years". The album's first single, "I'm a Slave 4 U", became a
top-ten hit worldwide. Spears's performance of the single at the 2001 MTV Video Music
Awards featured a caged tiger and a large albino python draped over her shoulders. It
was harshly received by animal rights organization PETA, who claimed the animals were mistreated
and scrapped plans for an anti-fur billboard that was to feature Spears. To support the
album, Spears embarked on the Dream Within a Dream Tour. The show was critically praised
for its technical innovations, the pièce de résistance being a water screen that pumped
two tons of water into the stage. The tour grossed $43.7 million, becoming the second
highest grossing tour of 2002 by a female artist, behind Cher's Farewell Tour. Her career
success was highlighted by Forbes in 2002, as Spears was ranked the world's most powerful
celebrity. Spears also landed her first starring role in Crossroads, released in February 2002.
Although the film was largely panned, most critics actually praised Spears's acting.
Crossroads, which had a $11 million budget, went on to gross over $57 million worldwide.
In June 2002, Spears opened her first restaurant, Nyla, in New York City, but terminated her
relationship in November, citing mismanagement and "management's failure to keep her fully
apprised". In July 2002, Spears announced she would take a six month break from her
career; however, she went back into the studio in November to record her new album. Spears'
relationship with Justin Timberlake ended after three years. In December 2002, Timberlake
released the song "Cry Me a River" as the second single from his solo debut album. The
music video featured a Spears look-alike and fueled the rumors that she had been unfaithful
to him. As a response, Spears wrote the ballad "Everytime" with her backing vocalist and
friend Annet Artani. The same year, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst said that he was in a
relationship with Spears. However, Spears denied Durst's claims. In a 2009 interview,
he explained that "I just guess at the time it was taboo for a guy like me to be associated
with a gal like her." Spears opened the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards with Christina Aguilera,
performing "Like a Virgin". Halfway through they were joined by Madonna, with whom they
both kissed. The incident was highly publicized. Spears released her fourth studio album, In
the Zone, in November 2003. She assumed more creative control by writing and co-producing
most of the material. Vibe called it "A supremely confident dance record that also illustrates
Spears's development as a songwriter." NPR listed the album as one of "The 50 Most Important
Recording of the Decade", adding that "the decade's history of impeccably crafted pop
is written on her body of work." In the Zone sold over 609,000 copies in the United States
and debuted at the top of the charts, making Spears the first female artist in the SoundScan
era to have her first four studio albums to debut at number one. It also debuted at the
top of the charts in France and the top ten in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.
In the Zone sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The album produced the hit singles: "Me Against
the Music", a collaboration with Madonna; "Toxic"—which won Spears her only Grammy
for Best Dance Recording; "Everytime" and "Outrageous". On January 3, 2004, Spears married
childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander at The Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.
The marriage was annulled 55 hours later, stating that Spears "lacked understanding
of her actions". She began The Onyx Hotel Tour in support of In the Zone in March 2004.
On June 8, 2004, Spears fell and injured her left knee during the music video shoot for
"Outrageous". She was taken immediately to a local hospital, where doctors performed
an MRI scan and found floating cartilage. The following day, Spears underwent arthroscopic
surgery. She was forced to remain six weeks with a thigh brace, followed by eight to twelve
weeks of rehabilitation, which caused The Onyx Hotel Tour to be canceled. During 2004,
Spears became involved in the Kabbalah Centre through her friendship with Madonna. In July
2004, she announced her engagement to American dancer Kevin Federline, whom she had met three
months before. The romance received intense attention from the media, since Federline
had recently broken up with actress Shar Jackson, who was still pregnant with their second child
at the time. The initial stages of their relationship were chronicled in Spears's first reality
show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. They held a wedding ceremony on September 18, 2004, but
were not legally married until three weeks later on October 6 due to a delay finalizing
the couple's prenuptial agreement. Shortly after, she released her first fragrance with
Elizabeth Arden, Curious, which broke the company's first-week gross for a perfume.
In October 2004, Spears announced she would be taking another career break to start a
family. Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, her first greatest hits compilation album, was
released in November 2004. Spears's cover version of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative"
was released as the lead single from the album, reaching the top of the charts in Finland,
Ireland, Italy and Norway. The second single, "Do Somethin'", was a top ten hit in Australia,
the United Kingdom and other countries of mainland Europe. Worldwide, Greatest Hits:
My Prerogative sold over 5 million copies. In late 2004, Spears went on KIIS-FM radio
in Los Angeles, CA to play a new demo titled "Mona Lisa." The demo was to be the first
single from an upcoming album called the "Original Doll." However, Spears' label later cancelled
the album for unknown reasons. Spears gave birth to her first child, Sean Preston Federline,
on September 14, 2005. In November 2005, she released her first remix compilation, B in
the Mix: The Remixes, which consists of eleven remixes. It has sold over 1 million copies
worldwide, making it one of the best selling remix albums of all time. In February 2006,
pictures surfaced of Spears driving with her son Sean, on her lap instead of in a car seat.
Child advocates were horrified by the photos of her holding the wheel with one hand and
Sean with the other. Spears claimed that the situation happened because of a frightening
encounter with paparazzi, and that it was a mistake on her part. The following month,
she guest-starred on the Will & Grace episode "Buy, Buy Baby" as closeted lesbian Amber
Louise. She publicly announced she no longer studied Kabbalah in June 2006, explaining,
"my baby is my religion." Two months later, Spears posed nude for the cover of Harper's
Bazaar. The picture was heavily compared to Demi Moore's August 1991 Vanity Fair cover.
She gave birth to her second child, Jayden James Federline, on September 12, 2006. On
November 7, 2006, Spears filed for divorce from Federline, citing irreconcilable differences.
Their divorce was finalized in July 2007, when the couple reached a global settlement
and agreed to share joint custody of their children. Spears's aunt Sandra Bridges Covington,
with whom she had been very close, died of ovarian cancer in January. On February 16,
2007, Spears stayed in a drug rehabilitation facility in Antigua for less than a day. The
following night, she shaved her head with electric clippers at a hair salon in Tarzana,
Los Angeles. She admitted herself to other treatment facilities during the following
weeks. After completing a month-long program at Promises, she wrote on her website, "I
truly hit rock bottom. Till this day I don't think that it was alcohol or depression. [...] was
like a bad kid running around with ADD." In May 2007, she produced a series of promotional
concerts at House of Blues venues, titled The M+M's Tour. Spears lost physical custody
of her children to Federline on October 1, 2007. The reasons of the court ruling were
not revealed to the public. Also, in 2007 Spears was sued by Louis Vuitton over her
2005 music video "Do Somethin'" for pimping out her Hummer interior in counterfeit Louis
Vuitton cherry blossom fabric, which resulted in her video being banned on European TV stations.
Her fifth studio album, Blackout, was released in October 2007. It debuted at the top of
charts in Canada and Ireland, number two in the U.S. Billboard 200,—held off from the
top spot by Eagles's Long Road out of Eden— France, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom
and the top ten in Australia, Korea, New Zealand and many European nations. In the United States,
Spears became the only female artist to have her first five studio albums debut at the
two top slots of the chart. Blackout sold over 3.1 million copies worldwide. Peter Robinson
of The Observer said that "Britney has delivered the best album of her career, raising the
bar for modern pop music with an incendiary mix of Timbaland's Shock Value and her own
back catalogue." Dennis Lim of Blender commented, "Spears’s fifth studio album is her most
consistent, a seamlessly entertaining collection of bright, brash electropop." Blackout won
Album of the Year at MTV Europe Music Awards 2008 and was listed as the fifth Best Pop
Album of the Decade by The Times. Spears performed the lead single "Gimme More" at the 2007 MTV
Video Music Awards. The performance was panned by many critics. David Willis of BBC stated
her performance would "go down in the history books as being one of the worst to grace the
MTV Awards". Despite the backlash, the single rocketed to worldwide success, peaking at
number one in Canada and the top ten in almost every country it charted. The second single
"Piece of Me" reached the top of the charts in Ireland and reached the top five in Australia,
Canada, Denmark, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The third single "Break the Ice"
was released the following year and had moderate success due to Spears not being able to promote
it properly. In December 2007, Spears began a relationship with paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.
On January 3, 2008, Spears refused to relinquish custody of her sons to Federline's representatives.
She was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, after police that arrived at her house
noted she appeared to be under the influence of an illicit substance. The following day,
Spears's visitation rights were suspended at an emergency court hearing, and Federline
was given sole physical and legal custody of the children. On January 31, 2008, Spears
was committed to the psychiatric ward of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and put on 5150
involuntary psychiatric hold. The court placed her under temporary conservatorship of her
father James Spears and attorney Andrew Wallet, giving them complete control of her assets.
Spears was released on February 6, 2008. Her parents expressed disappointment and concern
at the decision to release her. The following month, she guest-starred on the How I Met
Your Mother episode "Ten Sessions" as receptionist Abby. She received positive reviews for her
performance, as well as bringing the series its highest ratings ever. In July 2008, Spears
regained some visitation rights after coming to an agreement with Federline and his counsel.
On September 7, 2008, Spears opened the MTV Video Music Awards with a pre-taped comedy
sketch with Jonah Hill and an introduction speech. She won Best Female Video, Best Pop
Video and Video of the Year for "Piece of Me". A 60-minute introspective documentary,
Britney: For the Record, was produced to chronicle Spears' return to the recording industry.
Directed by Phil Griffin, For the Record was entirely shot in Beverly Hills, Hollywood,
and New York City during the third quarter of 2008. Main shooting began on September
5, 2008, two days before Spears' appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. For the Record
was broadcast on MTV on November 30, 2008 to 5.6 million viewers for the two airings
on the premiere night. MTV reported that Spears' documentary garnered on average, the highest
rating in its Sunday night timeslot, in the network's history. Her sixth studio album
Circus, was released in December 2008. It received positive reviews from critics; according
to the music review aggregation of Metacritic, it garnered an average score of 64/100. Circus
debuted at number one in Canada, Czech Republic and the United States, and inside the top
in many European nations. In the United States, Spears became the youngest female artist to
have five albums debut at number one, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
She also became the only act in the Soundscan era to have four albums debut with 500,000
or more copies sold. Circus became one of the fastest-selling albums of the year, and
has sold 4 million copies worldwide. Its lead single, "Womanizer", became her first number
one in the Billboard Hot 100 since "...Baby One More Time" and topped the charts in countries
such as Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway and Sweden. It was also nominated
for a Grammy in the category of Best Dance Recording. In January 2009, Spears and her
father James obtained a restraining order against her former manager Sam Lufti, ex-boyfriend
Adnan Ghalib and attorney Jon Eardley—all of whom, court documents claim, had been conspiring
to gain control of Spears's affairs. The restraining order forbids Lutfi and Ghalib from contacting
Spears or coming within 250 yards of her, her property or family members. Spears embarked
on The Circus Starring Britney Spears in March 2009. With a gross of U.S. $131.8 million,
it became the fifth highest grossing tour of the year. She released her second greatest
hits album, The Singles Collection in November 2009. "3" became her third number one single
in the US, and was the first song to debut at the top of the charts in three years. Later
that month, she released an application for iPhone and iPod Touch titled "It's Britney!".
In May 2010, Spears's representatives confirmed she was dating her agent Jason Trawick, and
that they had decided to end their professional relationship to focus on their personal relationship.
Spears designed a limited edition clothing line for Candie's, which was released in stores
in July 2010. On September 28, 2010, she made a cameo appearance on a Spears-themed tribute
episode of American TV show Glee, titled "Britney/Brittany". Spears approved of the episode, although her
appearances received mixed reviews from critics. The episode drew Glee's second largest audience,
as well as the show's highest ratings ever. In March 2011, Spears released her seventh
studio album Femme Fatale. Max Martin and Dr. Luke executive produced the album and
the album's first single "Hold It Against Me". The single debuted at number-one on the
Billboard Hot 100. This gave Spears her fourth number-one single on the chart, and made her
only the second artist in history to have two consecutive singles debut at number-one,
after Mariah Carey. The album peaked at number one in the United States (selling 276,000
copies in its first week), Canada, and Australia, and peaked inside the top ten on nearly every
other chart. The album's peak in the United States ties Britney with Mariah Carey and
Janet Jackson for the third-most number ones among women. As of March 9, 2012, Femme Fatale
has sold 883,000 copies in the United States and 2.2 million worldwide and has been certified
platinum by the RIAA. The album received positive critical reviews after its release, receiving
a score of 67 on Metacritic, her highest critical score since Oops!... I Did It Again, with
many critics naming the album one of Spears's best. In April 2011, Spears appeared in a
remix to the song "S&M" by Rihanna after Rihanna asked her fans via Twitter who they wanted
her to collaborate with. The song reached number one in the US in mid-April 2011, giving
Spears her fifth number one on the chart. In early May, Spears' second single from Femme
Fatale, "Till The World Ends", reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and had ninety-eight
million audience impressions on the Billboard chart, granting Spears the highest weekly
audience of her 13-year chart career. Femme Fatale's third single "I Wanna Go" reached
the top forty on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2011. Among females in the last thirteen
years, Spears now has the third-most top forty hits, with twenty-one. In August, the single
managed to reach the top-ten on the Billboard Hot 100, which is the first time for Spears
to have three songs from one album in the top-ten. On the week ending September 24,
2011, "I Wanna Go" moved 2–1 on the mainstream top 40, becoming her sixth number-one on that
chart (making her tied for third all-time) and her first number-one and third top-ten
pop song for Femme Fatale. Spears now has the longest span of number ones on the mainstream
top 40, with a length of twelve years, seven months, and four days. In October 2011, the
music video for Femme Fatale's fourth single "Criminal" caused controversy when British
politicians criticized Spears for using replica guns while filming the video in an area of
London that had been badly affected by the 2011 England riots. Members of the Hackney
London Borough Council felt Spears "promoted gun violence" and suggested that Spears apologize
and make a donation to a Hackney charity. Spears's management briefly responded, stating,
"The video is a fantasy story featuring Britney's boyfriend, Jason Trawick, which literally
plays out the lyrics of a song written three years before the riots ever happened." Later
that month, due to her continued popularity, Spears became the seventh artist to gain one
billion cumulative views on her Vevo account. On Billboard's 2011 Year-End list, Spears
was fourteen on the Artists of the Year, due to being 32 on Billboard 200 artists and 10
on Billboard Hot 100 artists. Additionally, many critics, including those at Rolling Stone,
named "Till the World Ends" one of the best songs of 2011. On March 2011, Spears announced
that she would tour throughout the United States during summer 2011. The Femme Fatale
Tour opened June 16 at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, California to positive reviews.
Many critics noted that Spears sang more of the concert live in response to lip-synching
accusations during The Circus Starring Britney Spears, and that the dancing is some of her
best in years. The first ten US dates of the tour grossed $6.2 million, landing the fifty-fifth
spot on Pollstar's Top 100 North American Tours list for the half-way point of the year.
The tour ended on December 10, 2011 in Puerto Rico after 79 performances. A concert special
of the tour was filmed in 2D and 3D in Canada on August 13 and 14. It premiered on November
12 on Epix, receiving mixed reviews. It was released to DVD on November 21 and sold 19,000
copies, debuting at no. 2 on the US Billboard DVD Chart behind Lady Gaga's The Monster Ball
Tour: At Madison Square Garden. Since its release, the DVD has been certified Platinum
by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and Gold by the Australian Recording
Industry Association (ARIA). On June 15, 2011, it was announced by Billboard that the RCA/Jive
Label Group would be splitting, with Jive Records being fully moved under RCA Records
staying intact. In August it was announced that Spears had officially joined the RCA's
roster. During the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2011, MTV played tribute to
Spears with a group of young female dancers that memorialised Britney's music videos,
performances, and style. Following which, Spears accepted the MTV Video Vanguard Award
from Lady Gaga, who said that "industry wouldn't be the same without [her]". On September 9,
2011, Spears announced her second remix album, B in the Mix: The Remixes Vol. 2, which was
released on October 7, along with the tracklist. On October 7, RCA Music Group announced it
was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. With the shutdown,
Spears (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release her future
material on the RCA Records brand. On December 16, Spears confirmed her engagement to her
long-time boyfriend Jason Trawick, her former agent. Spears revealed her three-carat diamond
ring at a party in Las Vegas on December 17. According to Joe Riccitelli, the executive
vice president of promotion for RCA Records, Spears would be taking time off during 2012.
However, on January 30, 2012, will.i.am confirmed that he recorded a track with Spears, set
to be included on his upcoming fourth studio album, #willpower (2012). It was also reported
that Simon Cowell was in talks with Spears for her to join the new season of the The
X-Factor. According to Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, Trawick negotiated Spears' contract
with the show, which was later approved by conservatorship judge Reva Goetz. Cowell and
the producers of the show agreed to pay the singer $15 million for season two, and also
added Trawick as one of the producers for the season. The rumor was later confirmed
to be true. Artistry Following her debut, Spears was credited with leading the revival
of teen pop in the late 1990s. The Daily Yomiuri reported that "[m]usic critics have hailed
her as the most gifted teenage pop idol for many years, but Spears has set her sights
a little higher-she is aiming for the level of superstardom that has been achieved by
Madonna and Janet Jackson." Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone wrote: "Britney Spears carries
on the classic archetype of the rock & roll teen queen, the dungaree doll, the angel baby
who just has to make a scene." Rami Yacoub who co-produced Spears's debut album with
lyricist Max Martin, commented, "I know from Denniz Pop and Max's previous productions,
when we do songs, there's kind of a nasal thing. With N' Sync and the Backstreet Boys,
we had to push for that mid-nasal voice. When Britney did that, she got this kind of raspy,
sexy voice." Following the release of her debut album, Chuck Taylor of Billboard observed,
"Spears has become a consummate performer, with snappy dance moves, a clearly real-albeit
young-and funkdified voice ... "(You Drive Me) Crazy", her third single ... demonstrates
Spears's own development, proving that the 17-year-old is finding her own vocal personality
after so many months of steadfast practice." Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic referred
to her music as a "blend of infectious, rap-inflected dance-pop and smooth balladry." Spears later
commented, "With ...Baby One More Time, I didn't get to show my voice off. The songs
were great, but they weren't very challenging". Oops!...I Did It Again and subsequent albums
saw Spears working with several contemporary R&B producers, leading to "a combination of
bubblegum, urban soul, and raga." Her third studio album, Britney derived from the teen
pop niche, "[r]hythmically and melodically ... sharper, tougher than what came before. What
used to be unabashedly frothy has some disco grit, underpinned by Spears' spunky self-determination
that helps sell hooks that are already catchier, by and large, than those that populated her
previous two albums." Guy Blackman of The Age wrote that while few would care to listen
to an entire Spears album, "[t]he thing about Spears, though, is that her biggest songs,
no matter how committee-created or impossibly polished, have always been convincing because
of her delivery, her commitment and her presence. For her mostly teenage fans, Spears expresses
perfectly the conflicting urges of adolescence, the tension between chastity and sexual experience,
between hedonism and responsibility, between confidence and vulnerability." Spears possesses
a soprano vocal range; her vocal ability however has been criticized, often drawing unfavorable
comparison to her pop rival, Christina Aguilera. Critic Allan Raible derides her overdependence
in Circus on digital effects and the robotic effect it creates. "She’s never been a strong
vocalist..." writes Raible, "Could she handle these songs with stripped down arrangements
and no vocal effects? More importantly, would anyone want to hear her attempt such a performance?
Does it matter? No. The focus is still image over substance." Her image and persona are
also often contrasted to Christina Aguilera. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly observed
"Christina Aguilera may flash skin and belly button, but in her music and manner, she's
too eager not to offend — she's a good girl pretending to be bad. Spears, however,
comes across as a bad girl acting good ... Spears' artificial-sweetener voice is much
less interesting than the settings, yet that blandness is actually a relief compared with
Aguilera's numbing vocal gymnastics. In contrast, Allmusic comments: "Like her peer Christina
Aguilera, Britney equates maturity with transparent sexuality and the pounding sounds of nightclubs ...
Where Christina comes across like a natural-born skank, Britney is the girl next door cutting
loose at college, drinking and smoking and dancing and sexing just a little too recklessly,
since this is the first time she can indulge herself. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine
notes, "The disparity between Aguilera and Spears can't be measured solely by the timbre
and octave range of their voices ... [Aguilera's] popularity has never reached the fever pitch
of Britney's." It has been widely reported that Spears lip-syncs in concert. Author Gary
Giddins wrote in his book Natural selection: Gary Giddins on comedy, film, music, and books
(2006) that "among many other performers accused of moving their lips while a machine does
the labor are Britney Spears, Luciano Pavarotti, Shania Twain, Beyoncé, and Madonna." Rashod
D. Ollison of The Baltimore Sun observes: "Many pop stars ... feel they have no choice
but to seek vocal enhancement. Since the advent of MTV and other video music channels, pop
audiences have been fed elaborate videos thick with jaw-dropping effects, awesome choreography,
fabulous clothes, marvelous bodies. And the same level of perfection is expected to extend
beyond the video set to the concert stage. So if Britney Spears, Janet Jackson or Madonna
sounds shrill and flat without a backing track, fans won't pay up to $300 for a concert ticket."
Giddins adds, "it was reported Britney Spears fans prefer her to lip-sync—despite her
denials of doing so (contradicted by her own director)—because they expect flawless digitalization
when they pay serious money for a concert." In Australia, NSW Fair Trading Minister Virginia
Judge has advised disclaimers be printed on any ticket for concerts which contain any
prerecorded vocals. She commented: "There could have been some instances where people
actually go and purchase a ticket thinking that they're going to have a live performance
... for some people that means that everything is live, it's fresh, it happens instantaneously,
it's not something that's been pre-recorded. You want to make sure that they're actually
paying for what they think they're getting." Noting on the prevalence of lip-syncing, Los
Angeles Daily News reported "in the context of a Britney Spears concert, does it really
matter? Like a Vegas revue show, you don't go to hear the music, you go for the somewhat-ridiculous
spectacle of it all". Similarly, Aline Mendelsohn of the Orlando Sentinel remarked: "Let's get
one thing straight: A Britney Spears concert is not about the music ... you have to remember
that it's about the sight, not the sound." Critic Glenn Gamboa comments her concert tours
are "like her life—a massive money-making venture designed to play up her talents and
distract from her shortcomings with a mix of techno-tinged sex appeal and disco-flavored
flash. And, like her life, it is, more or less, a success." Throughout her career, Spears
has drawn frequent comparisons to Madonna and Janet Jackson, in terms of vocals, choreography
and stage presence, citing both as influences in her work. She has also named Michael Jackson
and Whitney Houston as sources of inspiration. According to Spears: "I know when I was younger,
I looked up to people... like, you know, Janet Jackson and Madonna. And they were major inspirations
for me. But I also had my own identity and I knew who I was, you know." In the 2002 book
Madonnastyle by Carol Clerk, she is quoted saying: "I have been a huge fan of Madonna
since I was a little girl. She's the person that I've really looked up to. I would really,
really like to be a legend like Madonna." Many critics have argued that Spears should
not be considered in the same league of talent as Jackson or Madonna. Journalists Erika Montalvo
and Jackie Sheppard of the Rocky Mountain Collegian observed "[s]ome may argue that
Spears is not only a good recording artist but also an important cultural icon." However,
in examining her level of skill as an artist, it is questioned that "[a]lthough she has
been classified among female elites such as Janet Jackson and Madonna, what does Ms. Spears
really have in common with these divas of rock?" Joan Anderman of The Boston Globe remarked
that "[t]hirteen costume changes in 90 minutes won't bless her with Madonna's intelligence
or cultural barometer. An army of cutting-edge R&B producers won't supply her with Janet
Jackson's sense of humor or sincere smile ... Britney's heroes aren't great singers. But
they're real singers. Spears sounds robotic, nearly inhuman, on her records, so processed
is her voice by digital pitch-shifters and synthesizers." Reporter Ed Bumgardner commented
her transition from teen pop start to adult sex symbol with her third studio album Britney
"takes its cues from two other successful performers—Madonna and Janet Jackson—both
of whom she brazenly rips off and both of whom, like Spears, are passable singers, at
best." Critic Shane Harrison wrote: "From the minimalist thump and "Nasty" feel of "I'm
a Slave 4 U" to the scattered quotes in "Boys", [Britney] feels like [Spears's] attempt at
'Control'." Citing Jackson's resolve to incorporate personal and social issues into her work and
Madonna's ability to constantly redefine the boundaries of socially acceptable material
in the industry, Spears's catalog ultimately pales in comparison, because "[w]hile Jackson
and Madonna wrote their own music about subjects of importance, [Spears's] music sounds like
an upbeat version of either, 'I want to grow up but the media won't let me,' or 'Here kitty,
kitty, I'm wearing my underwear outside of my leather pants'-type ballads." In contrast,
Guy Blackman argues that although "no one would argue that Spears is some kind of pioneering
pop auteur, there’s still a lot to like about her back catalogue. During her world-conquering
peak, she was just about as cutting edge as you could get in the world of global pop superstardom.
Spears didn’t just work with big names, she gave big names their names, and maintained
her high currency in the world’s most fickle industry for years, when most aspiring starlets
are lucky to manage months." After meeting Spears face to face, Janet Jackson stated:
"she said to me, 'I'm such a big fan; I really admire you.' That's so flattering. Everyone
gets inspiration from some place. And it's awesome to see someone else coming up who's
dancing and singing, and seeing how all these kids relate to her. A lot of people put it
down, but what she does is a positive thing." Madonna's respect for Spears has also been
a subject of observation. Santiago Fouz-Hernández and Freya Jarman-Ivens, authors of Madonna's
drowned worlds: new approaches to her cultural transformations, 1983–2003 (2004) note that
the most well known cross-generational relationship exists between Spears and Madonna in which
"the entertainment newsmedia almost became obsessed with their relationship of mutual
admiration." The biographers also report "[s]ome observers of popular culture, however, feel
that the comparisons between the two artist are meaningless and fail to recognize Madonna's
unique contribution: Madonna was never 'just another pop star' whereas Britney can more
easily be seen as a standard manufactured pop act." Legacy
Spears became an international pop culture icon immediately after launching her recording
career. Rolling Stone magazine wrote: "One of the most controversial and successful female
vocalists of the 21st century," she "spearheaded the rise of post-millennial teen pop ...
Spears early on cultivated a mixture of innocence and experience that broke the bank". She is
listed by the Guinness World Records as having the "Best-selling album by a teenage solo
artist" for her debut album ...Baby One More Time which sold over thirteen million copies
in the United States. Melissa Ruggieri of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, "She's
also marked for being the best-selling teenage artist. Before she turned 20 in 2001, Spears
sold more than 37 million albums worldwide". As of 2011, she has sold over 100 million
albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She was also ranked
as the fourth VH1's "50 Greatest Women of the Video Era" show list, ahead of most of
her contemporaries and only behind veterans like Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Whitney Houston.
Spears is also recognized as the best-selling female artist of the first decade of the 21st
century, as well as the fifth overall. In December 2009, Billboard magazine ranked Spears
the 8th Artist of the 2000s decade in the United States. Spears is also known for her
iconic performances and music videos. The music video for her debut single, "...Baby
One More Time", was ranked number one on TRL's Final Countdown of the most iconic music videos.
On the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, before performing "Oops!... I Did It Again", the
singer appeared behind a backlit screen, and descended a spiral staircase and started performing
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", while wearing a tuxedo. After performing a shortened version
of the track, she tore the tuxedo off, revealing a skin-tight flesh-coloured outfit. The following
year, Spears performed her single "I'm a Slave 4 U". Jocelyn Vena of MTV summarized the performance,
saying, "draping herself in a white python and slithering around a steamy garden setting
– surrounded by dancers in zebra and tiger outfits – Spears created one of the most
striking visuals in the 27-year history of the show." She also duetted "The Way You Make
Me Feel" with pop singer Michael Jackson on his 30th anniversary concert a few days earlier.
During the opening of the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards on August 27, 2003, Spears joined Madonna,
Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliott. Halfway through the performance, Madonna kissed Spears
and Aguilera on the lips. The kiss between Spears and Madonna generated strong reaction
from the media. This performance was listed by Blender magazine as one of the twenty-five
sexiest music moments on television history. MTV listed the performance as the number-one
opening moments in the history of MTV Video Music Awards. In 2011, Spears was honored
with the MTV Video Vanguard Award, for having made a profound effect on the MTV culture.
Barbara Ellen of The Observer has reported: "Spears is famously one of the 'oldest' teenagers
pop has ever produced, almost middle aged in terms of focus and determination. Many
19-year-olds haven't even started working by that age, whereas Britney, a former Mouseketeer,
was that most unusual and volatile of American phenomena — a child with a full-time career.
While other little girls were putting posters on their walls, Britney was wanting to be
the poster on the wall. Whereas other children develop at their own pace, Britney was developing
at a pace set by the ferociously competitive American entertainment industry". In 2011,
Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly commented on the cultural significance of Spears' voice
and music. "We don't ask a whole lot from Britney Spears as an entertainer...we'll still
send her straight up the charts simply because she's Britney. She's an American institution,
as deeply sacred and messed up as pro wrestling or the filibuster. Musically, though, Spears
will always have to measure up to her own gold standards of pop euphony: the operatic
slither of 2004's 'Toxic' and the candied funk of 2000's 'Oops!...I Did It Again.' Spears
is no technical singer, that's for sure. But backed by Martin and Dr. Luke's wall of pound,
her vocals melt into a mix of babytalk coo and coital panting that is, in its own overprocessed
way, just as iconic and propulsive as Michael Jackson's yips or Eminem's snarls." 'Britney
Spears' was Yahoo!'s most popular search term between 2005 and 2008, and has been in a total
of seven different years. Spears was named as Most Searched Person in the Guinness World
Records book edition 2007 and 2009. She was later named as the most searched person of
the decade 2000 – 2009. Spears is the most followed person on Google's social network,
Google+. Reaching 100,000 in under two months of the sites launch, quadrupling the amount
within 10 days. By November she had over 760,000 followers, and by the end of December 2011,
Spears became the first person to reach over 1 million followers. Spears has been cited
as a musical inspiration by contemporary artists. Gwyneth Paltrow's character on 2010 drama
film Country Strong was inspired on the singer's public meltdown. According to film director
Shana Fest, "that's where this movie came from. I mean, I was seeing what was happening
in the media to Britney Spears. I think it's tragic how we treat people who give us so
much, and we love to see them knocked down to build them back up again, to knock them
down again." Nicki Minaj has cited Spears as a major influence on her career, and commented,
"the fact that she came back out with just so much fire inspires me, and it inspires
young women and people all over the world. It just inspires you. A lot of my fans feel
like they are the underdog and feel like they are the people who aren’t ever accepted
for themselves, or who are laughed at or poked fun at forever. It just goes to show that
once you keep at whatever it is you’re doing, people may not like you, people may not love
you, but they will have to respect you at the end of the day. And that respect is all
that matters." Lana Del Rey revealed that she is compelled by Spears in an interview
with MTV, saying, "I'm not really interested in a ton of female musicians but there is
something about Britney that compelled me – the way she sings and just the way she
looks." Del Rey also said that the "Toxic" music video is a main inspiration of her work.
During the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga said that Spears "taught us all how to
be fearless, and the industry wouldn't be the same without her." Miley Cyrus credits
Spears as her biggest inspiration, and has referenced the singer in her hit song "Party
in the U.S.A." (2009). Spears' personal breakdown was also cited as an inspiration for Barry
Manilow's album "15 Minutes". Spears has also become a major influence among many new artists,
including Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Kristinia DeBarge, Little Boots, Marina and the Diamonds,
Pixie Lott, Girls' Generation and Selena Gomez & the Scene. In 2007, R&B singer Beyoncé
Knowles also expressed her love for Spears in an interview with TRL Italy, saying, "I
love Britney, I'm a fan of hers. I like her new album." Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas
revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that she was happy with Spears' return to the music
industry, and continued, "It's amazing. For this many years being in the business, and
everything she's been through, it's wonderful to see her make this huge of a comeback. Really,
it's a beautiful thing." Simon Cowell explained that he is "fascinated by [Britney]. The fact
that she’s one of the most talked about – not just pop stars – but people in the
world today, means that you’ve got this star power. [...] She’s still hot, she’s
still having hit records and she’s still controversial, there’s a reason for that."
Spears has had a direct influence on singer Porcelain Black's work after growing up around
her music as a child. Black describes her music as a "love child between" Marilyn Manson
and Spears, with Spears' work being one of the main inspirations for Black's debut album.
She also stated that Spears inspired her deep love for choreography.Bebo Norman wrote a
song about Spears, called "Britney", which was released as a single. Boy band Busted
also wrote a song about Spears called "Britney", which was on their debut album. South Korean
singer, BoA has also spoken of love and Spears' influence on her. First meeting in 2003 while
Spears was promoting "In The Zone" – Britney would later provide a writing credit to the
song, Look Who's Talking, on BoA's eponymous debut English album. Spears' version of the
song leaked in 2012. Richard Cheese called Britney Spears "a remarkable recording artist"
and also went on to say that she was "versatile" and what the industry calls an "artist". People
magazine and MTV reported that October 1, 2008, the Bronx's John Philip Sousa Middle
School, named their music studio in honor of Britney Spears. Spears herself was present
during the ceremony and donated $10,000 to the school's music program. Other ventures
In 2000 the singer released a limited edition of glasses titled Shades of Britney. In 2001,
Spears signed a deal with shoe company Skechers, and a $7–8 million promotional deal with
Pepsi, their biggest entertainment deal at the time. Aside from numerous commercials
with the latter during that year, she also appeared in a 2004 Pepsi television commercial
in the theme of "Gladiators" with singers Beyoncé Knowles, Pink, and Enrique Iglesias.
On June 19, 2002, she released her first multi-platform video game, Britney's Dance Beat, which received
positive reviews. In March 2009, Spears was announced as the new face of clothing brand
Candie's. Dari Marder, chief marketing officer for the brand, explained why they choose the
singer, saying, "everybody loves a comeback and nobody's doing it better than Britney.
She's just poised for even greater success." In 2010, Spears designed a limited edition
line for the brand, which was released in stores in July 2010. In 2011, she teamed up
with Sony, Make Up For Ever and PlentyofFish to release her music video for "Hold It Against
Me", earning her $500,000 for the product placement. Spears also teamed up with Hasbro
in 2012 to release an exclusive version of Twister Dance, which includes a remix of "Till
the World Ends". The singer was also featured on a commercial, which was directed by Ray
Kay, to promote the game. Spears range of commercial deals and products also includes
beauty care products and perfumes. She released her first fragrance with Elizabeth Arden,
Curious in 2004, which broke the company's first-week gross for a perfume. By 2009, she
had released seven more fragrances, which earned her the recognition of the best-selling
celebrity fragrance line on the market. The singer's Elizabeth Arden scents make up 34%
of celebrity fragrance sales. In 2010, Spears released her eighth fragrance, Radiance. In
March 2011, company Brand Sense filed a lawsuit against Spears and Elizabeth Arden seeking
$10 million in damages, claiming that the singer and her father, Jamie, allegedly stopped
paying their thity-five percent commission that was agreed as part of the contract terms.
In July 2011, a Los Angeles judge denied the request by the company lawyers, claiming the
fact that Spears is still under conservatorship. Brand Sense, however, stated that they would
appeal the decision. In 2011, Radiance was re-issued in a new fragrance titled Cosmic
Radiance. Worldwide, Spears has sold over one billion bottles in only five years, which
earned her an estimated $1.5 billion. By the time of Mother's Day in 2012, Fantasy, her
second fragrance released back in 2006, was among the top three best selling fragrances
of the year's first quarter. The singer founded The Britney Spears Foundation, a charitable
entity set up to help children in need. The philosophy behind the Foundation was that
music and entertainment has a healing quality that can truly benefit these kids. The Foundation
also supported the annual Britney Spears Camp for the Performing Arts, where campers had
the opportunity to explore and develop their talents. In April 2002, through the efforts
of Spears and The Britney Spears Foundation, a grant of $1 million was made to the Twin
Towers Fund to support the children of uniformed service heroes affected by the disaster of
September 11, 2001, including New York City Fire Department and its Emergency Medical
Services Command, the New York City Police Department, the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey, the New York State Office of court Administration and other government
offices. However, it was reported in 2008 that the Foundation had a deficit of $200,000.
After the singer went through conservatorship, her father and lawyer Andrew Wallet zeroed
out the effort, leading to its closure in 2011. On October 30, 2001 Spears, alongside
Bono and other popular recording artists under the name "Artists Against AIDS Worldwide",
released a single titled "What's Going On", with the intention to benefit AIDS programs
in Africa and other impoverished regions. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2006,
Spears donated $350,000 to Music Rising. Later in 2011, the singer raised $200,000 during
An Evening of Southern Style at a private residence in Beverly Hills to benefit the
St. Bernard Project, with the help of several celebrities, including Hilary Duff, Selena
Gomez, Kelly Osbourne, Kellan Lutz and Kim Kardashian. Spears has also helped several
charities during her career, including Madonna's Kabbalah-based Spirituality for Kids, cancer
charity Gilda's Club Worldwide, Promises Foundation, and United Way, with the latter two focused
on giving families from various disadvantaged situations new hope and stable foundations
for the future. Discography Main articles: Britney Spears discography and Britney Spears
videography ...Baby One More Time (1999) Oops!... I Did It Again (2000) Britney (2001) In the
Zone (2003) Blackout (2007) Circus (2008) Femme Fatale (2011)