It's Time For Us To Recognise 'In The Zone' As Britney's Best Era
A TED TALK BY ME!!!!!!!
Hello, Britney Spears fans and Britney Spears fans ONLY.
Welcome to my very important TED talk about how we, as a fandom, need to accept the In The Zone era as her best era to date.
Get yourself a Fanta (no coke!) and settle in, and over the next 187 minutes or so, I will break down my very persuasive argument.
Here's the thing. We can debate for hours about which album is our queen's best, we can debate over her best video, best performance, best whatever, but there's simply no denying that the In The Zone era was Miss Spears' most iconic.
Why? Let's break it down.
This feels like the most logical place to begin. In The Zone, Britney's fourth album was "kinda vibey, kinda trancey, the whole mood [was] not so song structured" according to Britney on the AMAs red carpet in 2003.
It's also an album jam packed full of bangers, so much so that Britney performed two album tracks -- "Breathe On Me" and "Touch Of My Hand" -- at the Billboard Music Awards in 2016, 13 years after the album's release, as a part of her Millennium Award megamix.
Honestly, I can't even get into "Toxic" because the locals have destroyed it for me with their memes, but like, obvs it's a classic track and a true hit that stands the test of time.
Aside from that, can we just talk about "(I Got That) Boom Boom" and "The Hook Up" and "Brave New Girl"? "Shadow"??? Look, let's be real for a second, there are no bad song on In The Zone, facts are facts.
The LOOKS served in this era are truly the best of the best. I mean, here's just four examples in a sea of flawless images:
The Performances And Specials
Here's where we're really going to start digging in.
The performances of the In The Zone era are all so good that it was hard for me to even begin to choose my favourites, except for this performance of "Boys" and "I'm A Slave 4 U", which is perhaps my favourite Britney performance of all time.
The outfit! The choreo! The medley! The FIRE. Ugh, her MIND! Sometimes I'll be on a bus, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I'll be overcome with a physical need to see this performance at that moment. I stop what I'm doing and just let it wash over me, watching Britney perform with such fluid ease that it looks like her physical form was created for the sole purpose of performing this medley.
Honestly, the entire ABC Special from start to finish is pure perfection.
Obviously, we can't talk about the ITZ era without discussing ~the kiss~. This is a great performance, Britney shines, and the only thing more satisfying than the performance as a whole is seeing her then-rival Christina's kiss get cut in order to show Britney's ex JT react to Britney and Madge's lip lock.
You know what that is, huns? IMPACT!
A COSTUME, an award show remix, some
prerecorded live vocals, a set, a theme, her "have a good night everyone, woo!" It's literally all perfect.
LIVE VOCALS HUNNIS! A hat! Dancing! The Ying Yang Twins! Pants so low it's an act of GODNEY HERSELF that they didn't come off. Wig!
There's literally 900 performances of "Toxic" to choose from, and they're all as iconic as one another. I like her outfit here, so I chose this one.
Before we move on, we also need to talk about the In The Zone And Out All Night special, where Britney spent a night doing surprise performances in clubs all over New York City, because THAT IS ICONIC PROMO and I would literally have dropped dead if I'd been at a club and suddenly Britney was onstage performing.
Queen of causing my death!
The truest blessing of the ITZ era is every single interview, where we got to see Britney at her funniest, at her most self-deprecating, at her least filtered, at a time when she gave zero f**ks.
Here are a few of my faves.
Britney talking about being excited to be away from all the attention and just going for a walk in the park: "Honestly, I'm not the kind of person that's a self-absorbed person that thinks everybody's lookin' at me, because that's not me, I know who I am, it's just... [laughs] sometimes they are!!! [laughs] It's the truth!"
This 2003 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel where she poked fun at the constant false rumours about her personal life -- they'd announced that she'd overdosed "again" that morning (she has never overdosed) -- by having them carry her onstage on a stretcher.
Shoutout to my babe @50sequels who had these gifs handy for me when I tweeted for assistance.
Britney may have created some of Pepsi's most iconic commercials, but 2003ney -- who was sick of everyone's s**t and sick of being the good girl -- was perhaps not the best brand spokesperson to ever exist. After showing that she literally could not have cared less about different types of Pepsi in the interview above, she was canned by Pepsi, reportedly for being snapped drinking Coke.
This interview is the epitome of everything good from the ITZ era, spilling tea on Christina ("Did she tell you that she tried to kiss me? ... Yeah, she came up to me in a club and tried to stick her tongue down my throat!"), refusing to say anything nasty about JT or his "Cry Me A River" video, which featured a Britney look-alike, and features Britney speaking candidly about her life and career.
RIP to my beloved Onyx Hotel Tour, gone too soon and before it could come to Australia.
This tour served COSTUMES, CHOREO, THEMES, and was sexy, sexy, sexy!
Set entirely within the world of a fictional hotel, Britney took us on a journey through the lobby into the garden, the bar, and eventually, the bedroom. She also restructured her hits "... Baby One More Time", "Oops! ... I Did It Again" and "(You Drive Me) Crazy" as cabaret numbers, an exciting and sensual twist on the bubblegum pop tracks we already knew and loved.
Also, she made out with this hella hot dancer every night on tour. Legends only!
Anyway, whether you agree with me or not, I don't care because the important thing here is that I stan a living legend. Thank you for attending my very important TED Talk!
Feature image: Getty Images