Om Britney Spears
Britney. Over the past decade the name has dominated pop charts and tabloids. Uttered with a mix of adoration and repulsion, the first name of Britney Spears exists as shorthand for the magnificent mess of contemporary pop culture. It's been quite a ride for the former Mouseketeer, who first appeared in pearly smile and short skirt on the cover of 1999's ...Baby One More Time, with a glut of sugary singles. By 2000's Oops! I Did It Again, she was a household name and a pop-music icon, and not yet 20 years old. Two more LPs -- Britney and In the Zone -- were increasingly inflected with RnB and hip-hop, though flagging chart performances and record sales soon made her as much media sensation as music maker. Fueled by a messy breakup with Justin Timberlake, two sensational marriages (one commenced in Vegas and ended only 55 hours later; the other was to former backup dancer Kevin Federline) and rumors of drug and alcohol abuse, Britney's public image was in nonstop tailspin through much of the mid '00s. By 2007, the 'tween audience that squealed about her debut was engorged by tales of panty-less partying, drug-treatment programs and a custody battle over her two children with Federline. But Britney's a pro: she pulled life and career together, and by 2011, had released three massively popular albums (including two, 2007's Blackout and 2011's Femme Fatale, that many critics considered the best of her career).