[Blackout] gave us a refracted view of Spears’ life, a group art project about what other people thought being Britney Spears was like. And given that Spears herself had been decimated by her own media narrative, this seemed like the perfect artistic expression of Spears at the time. She had become more concept than person, Spears Inc. instead of Britney. Who better to express this than those watching it happen, rather than the one experiencing it? Now, as Blackout turns 10, it stands as a masterpiece of her extraordinarily resilient career, a perfect piece of pop art of its time as well as a trend-setting record that brought EDM elements into the mainstream, where they still permeate today. […] At the time Blackout dropped, it sounded like it came from the future—a dystopian and warped future, but nevertheless interesting. Pop radio had remained steeped in the pop-R&B influences that had also driven Spears’ music until then: The top songs of the year were Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” both beautifully sung grooves. Blackout offered crunchy beats that sounded like they were coming from a broken computer, classic dubstep wobbler effects, and Spears’ voice intentionally distorted in every way possible. Whether Spears could sing didn’t matter; her producers played her like an instrument. That’s one of the more practical reasons that the opening line of the first song, “Gimme More,” is brilliant: “It’s Britney, bitch.” Instantly quotable, yes, but also a mere disclaimer—yes, this is actually Britney Spears. She is present and accounted for before her recognizable breathiness morphs seamlessly into a bass-toned, male sounding gurgle, then into a chorus of Britneys and back again during the repetitive chorus of the song.