Because you’re legally required to mention Justin Timberlake every time you write about Britney Spears: It’s interesting to compare the legacies of FutureSex/Lovesounds and Blackout. The former was considered the height of aughties pop. The latter a minor miracle, because, you know. Justin Timberlake was hailed as a genius pop savant. Britney Spears was… not. FutureSex/Lovesounds made nearly every big end-of-decade wrap-up. Blackout was nodded at politely. And that’s not, like, totally unfair. But here’s the thing: when you listen to popular music in 2019, you hear much (much, much, muuuuuuuch) more of Danja and Britney’s narcotic nihilism than Timbaland and Timberlake’s baroque omni-pop.
Post Malone? Blackout. Billie Eilish? Blackout. Ariana Grande? …depends on the song.
Britney didn’t invent depressed hedonism, but she made it pop.