"(You Drive Me) Crazy" was a commercial success, and peaked inside the top ten on the singles charts of seventeen countries. In the United Kingdom, it became Spears' third consecutive single to peak inside the top five, while it reached number 10 in the United States' Hot 100, and peaked at number one in Belgium (Wallonia). An accompanying music video, directed by Nigel Dick, and portrayed Spears as a waitress of a dance club, and performed a highly choreographed dance routine with the other waitresses. The video premiered on MTV's Making the Video special, and featured cameo appearances of actors Melissa Joan Hart and Adrien Grenier. As part of promotion for the song, Spears performed the song at the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards and 1999 Billboard Music Awards. It has also been included on five of her concert tours.
Before recording her debut album, Spears had originally envisioned it in style of "Sheryl Crow music, but younger [and] more adult contemporary". However, the singer agreed with her label's appointment of producers, who had the objective to target a teenage audience at the time. She flew to Cheiron Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, where half of the album was recorded from March to April 1998, with producers Max Martin, Denniz Pop and Rami Yacoub, among others. "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was written byJörgen Elofsson, while song production and additional songwriting was done by Martin, Per Magnusson and David Kreuger. Spears recorded the vocals for the song in March 1998, at Cheiron Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. It was also mixed at Cheiron Studios by Martin. Esbjörn Öhrwall and Johan Carlberg played the guitar, while bass guitar was done by Thomas Lindberg.Keyboards and programming was done by Kreuger, and additional keyboards by Magnusson.Background vocals were provided by Jeanette Söderholm, Martin, Yacoub and THE FANCHOIR, formed by Chatrin Nyström, Jeanette Stenhammar, Johanna Stenhammar, Charlotte Björkman and Therese Ancker. In May 1999, Martin and Spears went to the Battery Studios in New York City, New York to re-record the vocals of the track, due to the fact that a remixed version called "The Stop! Remix" was going to be included on the original motion picture soundtrack of the film Drive Me Crazy (1999). "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was released as a remix package as the third single from ...Baby One More Time on August 23, 1999.
"(You Drive Me) Crazy" is a teen pop song that draws influences from R&B and rock. The song's composition follows a simple formula and infuses edgy synthesized instruments, including a recurring cowbell, and having a roughly similar sound to Spears' debut single "...Baby One More Time" (1999). According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Group, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" is composed in the key of C minor and runs through a moderately slowdancebeat infused metronome of 92 beats per minute. Spears' vocals were deemed as heavily processed when compared to the ones of her previous single, "Sometimes". Her vocal range spans over an octave, from the low-key of G3 to the high-note of D♭5. The song's primary chord progression is Cm–A♭-G (vi-IV-III), with a few deviations.
The song garnered positive reviews from music critics. Kyle Anderson for MTV considered "(You Drive Me) Crazy" as "a similar-sounding anthem [to '...Baby One More Time'] with some streamlined rock guitar taking center stage (there's even a solo). It's catchy enough." Bill Lamb of About.com considered the track as one of Spears' best songs, and said that it "is nearly as catchy" as the singer's 2009 single "3". Lamb further stated that "by the end of the first time you hear it, or possibly the second, you are bound to be singing along to the 'cra-a-a-azy' chorus." Spence D. of IGN considered "(You Drive Me) Crazy" a "[Max] Martin's glossy grown-up pop" song, while Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone called "(You Drive Me) Crazy" a "further hit" from ...Baby One More Time, along with "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" and "Sometimes". Music critic Walt Mueller wrote "When Spears starts to sing on this one, she sounds a lot like Janet Jackson." Christy Lemire of the Associated Press noted that the song and "Stronger" are "so lamely feel-good" tracks that they "could have been the theme song to a 'Karate Kid' sequel." Evan Sawdey of PopMatters called it a "lightly dorky" song, and Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic deemed it as a "fluffy dance-pop at its best." In a list compiled by Sara Anderson of AOL Radio, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was ranked ninth in a list of Spears' best songs. During the 2001 BMI Pop Awards, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was honored with the award of Most Performed BMI Song.
"(You Drive Me) Crazy" was a commercial success. The song peaked at number two on the European Hot 100 Singles, being held off the top spot by R. Kelly's "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time". In the United Kingdom, it was Spears' third consecutive single to reach a top five position. The track debuted and peaked at number five on the chart issue dated October 2, 1999, and stayed on the chart for a total of eleven weeks. It was eventually certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), for shipments over 200,000 units. According to The Official Charts Company, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" is Spears' seventh best-selling single in the United Kingdom, with sales over 275,000 physical units. The song peaked at number two in France and number four in Germany, being certified Gold in both countries for shipping over 250,000 units. It also peaked at number one in Belgium (Wallonia), finishing the year of 1999 as the 17th best-selling single. "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was also able to peak inside the top five in Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, while reaching top ten positions in Denmark and Italy. Later in 2012, the song managed to peak at number 65 in Czech Republic due to high airplay.
In the United States, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" peaked at number ten on Billboard Hot 100 on the chart issue dated November 13, 1999, and became Spears' second single to peak inside the top ten in the country. On the same week, it peaked at number four on the Pop Songs component chart. On the chart compiled by RPM magazine, the song peaked at number three in Canada. However, on the Canadian Hot 100 compiled by Nielsen Soundscan, it peaked at number 13. The latter revealed that "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was the 44th best-selling single of 1999 in the country. The track peaked at number five in New Zealand, but failed to reach the top ten in Australia, where it peaked at number 12 on the chart issue dated November 12, 1999. However, the single was later certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), and was one of the best-selling singles of 2000 in the country. "(You Drive Me) Crazy" performed poorly in Japan, where it peaked at number 80, and stayed on the chart for two weeks only. Despite the low sales, it is Spears' 12th best-selling CD release in the country.
Spears portraying a waitress of a dance club in the music video.
The song's accompanying music video was directed by Nigel Dick. Spears conceptualized the video's treatment, and explained during an interview with MTV in 1999 that "it would be cool to be in a club, and we're dorky waitresses, and we break out and start dancing." At the time, Spears expected that the video would take her "to the next level". To promote the film Drive Me Crazy, actors Adrian Grenier and Melissa Joan Hart were invited to make cameo appearances in the video, since the song had been included on the film's soundtrack, however, Grenier did not want to participate. Dick commented on the issue, saying, "I was given instructions to ring him up and make sure he appeared in the video. I said, 'You know what, Adrian, I just think it would be great for your career, and Britney's a great girl and she's fun to work with.' Eventually he came around." Dick also revealed that he was impressed by the singer's work ethic, adding that she "came to the set completely rehearsed." The music video premiered on MTV's Making the Video special that aired on July 18, 1999.
The video opens with Spears as a waitress of a dance club. She then goes with other waitresses to their dressing room, where they finish their make-up and change costumes. Spears, now wearing a green sparkly outfit, goes through the corridor to the dance floor with her friends, and starts to perform a high profile choreography, including a chair dance sequence referencing Janet Jackson's "Miss You Much" video, which Spears also referenced in live performances of the song on the "Crazy 2K Tour". Scenes of Spears singing in front of a shining orange sign with the word "CRAZY" are also seen throughout the video. On August 24, 1999, the music video debuted at number four on Total Request Live. It is the longest running by a female artist on TRL, staying on the top ten for seventy-three days. The video was nominated on the category of Best Dance Video on the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards; it lost, however, to Jennifer Lopez's "Waiting for Tonight" (1999). An alternate footage of the video can be found on the DVD of Spears first compilation album Greatest Hits: My Prerogative (2004). Jennifer Vineyard of MTV commented, "the alternate audio gives the feel of Spears singing the song as a round, where the beat is in sync but one layer of her vocals is just slightly ahead of the other."
As part of promotion for "(You Drive Me) Crazy" 's release as a single, Spears performed it at the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards and at the 1999 Billboard Music Awards. It was also performed on five concert tours, the first being the ...Baby One More Time Tour (1999). The show began with a dance introduction by Spears' dancers among smoke effects. She appeared shortly after at the top of the staircase wearing a hot pink vinyl tube top and white vinyl pants with pink knee patches. During the 2000 leg of the tour, entitled Crazy 2k Tour, Spears changed the opening sequence of the show; the show started with a skit in which the dancers came out of lockers and stayed in the stage until a bell rang. They all sat until a female teacher voice started calling their names. After the teacher called Spears, she emerged at the top of the staircase in a cloud of smoke, wearing a top and white stretch pants, to perform a short dance mix of "...Baby One More Time". She then entered one of the lockers and appeared in another one on the opposite side of the stage to perform "(You Drive Me) Crazy", which included a chair dance sequence referencing Janet Jackson's "Miss You Much" music video that ended with Spears saying "Is that the end?", quoting Jackson's phrase from the video. The song was once again performed in a dance-oriented form on the Oops!... I Did It Again World Tour (2000), while in 2001's Dream Within a Dream Tour, the performance featured Spears being captured by her dancers. "(You Drive Me) Crazy" was also performed on The Onyx Hotel Tour (2004). For the tour, the song was remixed with elements of latin percussion. "Crazy" would not be performed by Spears for another nine years until it was included on the setlist of her Las Vegas residency show Britney: Piece of Me.