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Sunday, January 17, 1999
Britney Spears' debut rather lackluster
By JANE STEVENSON -- Toronto Sun
...BABY ONE MORE TIME
(Jive/BMG 74321 41651)
It is somehow appropriate that the first new teen queen of 1999 is a former Mousketeer.
Although she's traded in her rah-rah mouse ears for a more sophisticated tiara --judging from her brief appearance as a presenter at the American Music Awards last week.
And given that she currently has a No. 1 hit in Canada with the title track off her slick, polished debut album of dance songs and yearning ballads, it should also not come as a surprise that Spears' producers are none other than Eric Foster White (Whitney Houston) and Max Martin (Robyn, Backstreet Boys, Ace Of Base).
Unfortunately, the sweet-voiced 17-year-old from Kentwood, Louisiana, rarely comes across as anything more than the latest pre-fab teen idol to be sprung on the masses. (Check out her special pull-out poster inside, not to mention the inclusion of snippets of three songs off the Backstreet Boys new album at the very end of the record.)
For the most part, this 11-song collection threatens to turn your brain into mush.
It's only when the material slightly elevates itself, that Spears -- who counts her favourite singers as Houston, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson -- is not half bad.
She injects some life into the catchy title track and Sometimes, gets funky on Soda Pop and I Will Be There and puts some rather grownup heartfelt soul into Thinkin' About You.
Also worth checking out is her jazzy, bossa nova cover of Sonny and Cher's The Beat Goes On.
Let's see what she's got to say for herself.
1 ...Baby One More Time (3:30)
2. (you Drive Me) Crazy (3:17)
3. Sometimes (4:05)
4. Soda Pop (3:20)
5. Born To Make You Happy (4:03)
6. From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart (5:11)
7. I Will Be There (3:53)
8. I Will Still Love You (4:02)
9. Thinkin' About You (3:35)
10. E-mail My Heart (3:41)
11. The Beat Goes On (3:43)