One of Britney Spears' most turbulent albums is hitting the decade mark in 2017. Blackout was the pop star's fifth studio album, but found itself overshadowed by Spears' myriad of personal troubles and an Internet leak before it finally arrived on Oct. 25, 2007. The record's lead single was "Gimme More", which you can revisit by using the media player included with this article.
The history of Blackout goes all the way back to 2003, when Spears told Entertainment Weekly that she was already crafting songs for another record while promoting her fourth effort In The Zone. But between 2004 and 2007 she married and divorced dancer Kevin Federline, gave birth to her first son Sean Preston and announced her second pregnancy, and had two separate stints in rehabilitation. Spears was getting plenty of attention, but it wasn't for her music, and it was no surprise when she later described Blackout as a darker and edgier album.
But the record's problems didn't end there. Blackout was originally scheduled to be released in November but JIVE Records pushed it up a month after revealing that portions of the album had been leaked on the Internet and promptly sued famous gossip blogger Perez Hilton for releasing leaked material on his website; the lawsuit was settled out of court. Blackout also came under fire from the Catholic League for its artwork, which saw Spears depicted in suggestive poses with a Catholic priest.
After all of the controversy had blown over, the record actually fared reasonably well both commercially and critically. It still holds a score of 61 on the cumulative review site Metacritic, which indicates generally positive reviews including a positive mark from Entertainment Weekly and a favorable nod from The New York Times. It peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, one of five countries in which Blackout went at least Platinum. And Rolling Stone still named it one of their best albums of 2007.
With a different sound and a different look for Britney Spears, Blackout weathered the storm of her personal problems and perhaps captured all that turbulence in a musical form. It may not have been her most successful or most well-known record but it stands as a marker of a prominent period in her life and career. And while she's gone on to better things, most recently including a Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood, Spears' Blackout is still worth shining a light on.
Blackout is available for download on iTunes.
For more on Britney Spears, visit her artist page at AXS.