Trainwreck revival?

It’s easy to hate on Britney. Here are seven reasons why staying mad at her will be hard.

Britney Spears—not quite the MILF we hoped she’d be.

Britney Spears—not quite the MILF we hoped she’d be.

“It’s Britney bitch,” she declares—like any self-respecting baby mama would—on the new single “Gimme More.” Despite a pitiable performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, the song definitely got the attention of fans and critics alike. Produced by Timbaland protégé Nate “Danjahandz” Hills, “Gimme More” gets the job done with sultry vocals and a sea of dance beats and electric bleeps. Plus, it signals a pop-culture milestone: Much to the delight of die-hard fans and gay men around the globe, the new Britney Spears album, Blackout, has finally dropped.

Some speculated that the album would never see the light of day, while others only hoped they’d be so lucky. Now everybody—yeah, even you—wonders whether Brit’s latest effort will be the reputation-rescuing comeback she so desperately needs.

As with most teen stars who grow up before our eyes, Britney’s life has been a rollercoaster. Or maybe a bullet train flying off its rails. How swiftly she seemed to veer from media darling to media piñata. Something about the going all wacko, the shaving of the head, the stealing designer clothes, marrying a pariah and letting him impregnate her. Twice.

OK, so she’s suffered a few minor setbacks. But it’s not like Britney’s the first chart-topping vocalist to experience a public meltdown. Hello? Mariah Carey? Whitney Houston?

Whether or not Blackout becomes Brit’s fifth-consecutive chart-topper is anyone’s guess. But it is an opportunity for all of us: To stop kicking the girl while she’s down. To reflect, for a moment, on why we fell in love with her to begin with. To admit that we did. Here are some reasons worth remembering.

1. “ … Baby One More Time” (from … Baby One More Time, 1999)

Brit’s debut single peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, effectively launching the doe-eyed teen into international stardom. We figure her naughty Catholic-school outfit in the accompanying video didn’t hurt, either.

2. “(You Drive Me) Crazy” (from … Baby One More Time, 1999)

The video for this single featured some impressive choreographed dance routines. Ah, remember the good ol’ days when Brit could actually dance?

3. “Oops! … I did it Again” (from Oops! … I did it Again, 2000)

“You think I’m in love / that I’m sent from above / I’m not that innocent,” Britney proclaims on this infectious pop track. No longer the squeaky-clean Mouseketeer, eh? Well, she proved it by performing the song at the 2000 MTV VMAs in a memorable nude-colored outfit adorned with strategically placed crystals. Say it with us: yowzas!

4. “I’m a Slave 4 U” (from Britney, 2001)

But it was with this Neptunes-written number that Britney made the leap from little girl to steamy vixen. Breathy vocals and catchy beats gave club-goers another reason to get nasty on the dance floor—and gave eager dads a reason to purchase the album “for their daughters.”

5. “Toxic” (from In the Zone, 2003)

Britney won herself a Grammy with this intoxicating dance track. The video features our gal as a sexy stewardess, a deadly spy and a diamond-clad seductress writhing around on the floor. ’Nuff said.

6. “Me Against the Music” (from In the Zone, 2003)

This musical collaboration between Madonna and her protégé left something to be desired, but what really matters is that it led to the duo’s infamous lip lock on national TV. Naturally, because 2003 was such a slow news year, the smooch dominated national headlines, shocking fans and Christian mommies alike.

7. “Everytime” (from In the Zone, 2003)

Let’s pause to shed a tear for this touching piano ballad about lost love. OK, moving on. This song, co-written by Annette Artani (yeah, we’ve never heard of her, either), marked the last hit Brit would have for four years. Luckily for fans, her emotional instability kept the entertainment from ending, making her a permanent fixture in hard-hitting news publications such as People, Us Weekly and In Touch. She belongs to all of us now, and to the ages.