Dance Dance Revolution: Britney and Millennial Pop

The ‘90s were an unstable moment for female-driven pop music. Coming out of new wave and post-punk, the decade’s mainstream pop struggled to find its true identity within the context of the grunge of Hole, the coffee-house croonings of Sarah McLachlan, and the hip-hop stylings of Lauryn Hill and the Fugees. Then came the divine intervention of Britney Spears and producer Max Martin, two of the musicians responsible for infusing bubblegum pop with the vitality and sugary veneer of pounding Swedish house and electropop. With their provocative and skirt-shakin’ single “…Baby One More Time,” which featured clean dance rhythms, driving piano chords, and cresting synths, they transformed the game. The next few years saw the infiltration of the new style into the music of both established and rising pop stars such as Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Brandy, Monica, and more, ushering in a new era of pop history.