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Introduction
Six years since her number one debut single and she’s been married twice, graced the cover of every glossy magazine known to man, woman or child, and occasionally found the time to release a bit more music. Love her or hate her, you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the world who hasn’t heard of Britney Spears.

Blonde or brunette? Britney mulls it over.
Following her recent wedding, Britney has decided to take a “career break”, allowing her record company to seize upon the opportunity to release a Greatest Hits package. Sharing the name “My Prerogative” with her new single, this is more than just a CD release. Yes, it’s on DVD too. God save us all.

The Feature
Taking the form of a timeline, albeit one that goes chronologically backwards, we're invited to peruse Britney's videos year by year. Whether you'd want to is really a question of taste, but it's still interesting viewing to the non-fan to observe Britney flit from one style to another.

There are twenty videos in all, showcasing her first foray into the charts to her very latest. With the possible exception of the schoolgirl skit in Baby...One More Time, it's unlikely that any of these would ever pop up in a top ten of music videos as they're less than groundbreaking.  The regular formula is to film Britney in the guise of two different personas, edit them together with lots of lingering close-ups, throw in a dance-routine and then pause occasionally to allow some redundant dialogue.  Britney is not unattractive and she's good to watch, but her constant urge to act instead of just, well, sing, is an irritation that makes some of the videos (Lucky, Oops I Did it Again and Everytime) hard to watch, regardless of whether the music is your type of thing.

Which brings us to the music itself. Back in the glory days when she could do no wrong, Brit would warble out a tune about teenage love and wait for the plaudits. Sure; it was bubblegum pop - but she did it well because it was largely undemanding.  Nowadays, she's constantly singing about her life, her struggles...yadda, yadda, yadda. Overprotected, I'm Not a Girl..., and My Prerogative all carry this angle and, to be blunt it's getting rather dull. Attempting to break new ground, Britney occasionally strays into hip-hop territory but Boys, Slave 4 U and Outrageous fail to work simply because Miss Spears is trying too hard to change our preconceptions.

The cloning experiment was a complete success.
To the casual listener, some of the tracks on here aren't too bad but you'd have to be a pretty big fan to enjoy the laughably bad Me Against The Music with Madonna, the ridiculous I Love Rock and Roll, and the dreadful dirge that is Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know.

Britney’s problem is that, to many people, she’s still that young schoolgirl with a penchant for dancing around corridors. No matter how many music styles she attempts, the indelible image of bubblegum pop never goes away. And this package, combining 4 very different albums only reminds us of that.  

Okay, enough negatives. When Britney’s just prepared to have fun, the results are actually pretty good. Baby...One More Time, Oops...I Did it Again and Crazy (all from the first two albums) are distinctly brainless, kid-friendly… and all the better for it. However, if you’ve truly got a hankering for watching those videos then you should just stick on a music channel and wait for them to appear. Leave this release for the big fans, because they're the people who will find this pretty indispensable.

This is, after all, for whom this project was designed; those fans with blind enough devotion to spend cash on products they already have…in slightly different packaging. If you fit into that category, then pop to your local retailer and grab a copy.

Don't jump, Britney - Crossroads wasn't THAT bad...
Video
Predictably, the picture quality varies from video to video. While the transfer is generally good, there’s a fair bit or grain visible on some of the older entries (Oops…I Did it Again being the chief culprit). Over-saturation is present on I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman and I Love Rock and Roll and there’s a lack of definition and sharpness on Crazy. I’m assuming that both the soft-focus in Don’t Let me be the Last to Know and the grain in Me Against the Music is deliberate.

Audio
Perhaps the most pleasing thing about this disc is that the music is well presented through a 2.0 mix. While you may need to readjust your surround settings to get the most out of the tunes, a good effect can be accomplished. The exception to this rule is Oops…I Did it Again where the synthesised bass-line sounds a little tame.

Austin is captured by a fembot.
Extras
Although the menus look pretty good, they’re not the easiest thing to navigate through - especially where extras are concerned. An alternate text menu would have been welcome, as selecting certain items can become overly time-consuming.  The extras aren’t particularly exciting and only stretch to 10 of the 20 videos. However, there are the occasional hidden extras that pop up “white rabbit” style, while you watch certain videos.

Fancy watching an alternate cut of Baby…One More Time? No, oh please yourself. But it’s here anyway with a tad more break-dancing and not much else. An alternate mix of Crazy is offered, but this is pretty short and only constitutes Britney harmonising with earlier footage.

If you wish the video of Oops, I Did It Again had featured more footage of Britney in that red PVC catsuit, then, look, your prayers have been answered! The use of alternate angles are similarly utilised for Everytime.

The acapella mix of Slave 4 U, is interesting in that it’s preferable to the original version - even if the video, featuring Britney in front of a green screen, is largely dull.  Fortunately, you can switch to the proper video, via the angle selection, if you so wish.

The sauciest extra on the disc is probably the Karaoke mix of Toxic where Britney, clad in a diamond studded, see-through leotard, dances to one of her better hits, as subtitles cover her modesty.

Extra-footage is spliced into the video for My Prerogative - but it only serves to make the song unnecessarily longer. Out-takes are also present for Stronger, Don’t Let Me Be The Last to Know and Outrageous.

Britney's mum just couldn't resist a cameo appearance.
Overall
Britney gets a lot of abuse thrown in her general direction, but the truth is she's the dictionary definition of a superstar; captivating more column inches than the rest of the popworld put together. While her music ranges from ‘okay’ to ‘embarrassing‘, one suspects that the reason she has so many admirers is because she’s 'more than just a singer’. Her numerous fans, who stick loyally by her, will already have this DVD headlining their Christmas wish lists. The rest of the population will just shake their heads in confusion and walk quickly away.


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