Break the Ice (Britney Spears song)

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"Break the Ice"
Upper bust of a brunette woman. She is looking into the camera with a serious face. She is wearing a sparkly transparent dress, a jeweled bracelet in her right hand and a white hat in her head. Her right hand is holding her hat. Her head is slightly tilted to the right. Her hair is falling over her left shoulder. The picture is colored in a washed-up flavescent yellow, with the background mixed with maroon stripes. In the left of the picture in vertical style, the words "Britney Spears" are written in a mix of flavescent yellow capital and small letters. In the lower center of the picture, the words "Break the Ice" are written in a similar style.
Single by Britney Spears
from the album Blackout
B-side "Everybody"
Released March 4, 2008 (2008-03-04)
Format
Recorded August – October 2006
Genre ElectroR&B
Length 3:16
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Britney Spears singles chronology
"Piece of Me"
(2007)
"Break the Ice"
(2008)
"Womanizer"
(2008)

"Break the Ice" is a song recorded by American singer Britney Spears for her fifth studio album, Blackout (2007). It was released on February 21, 2008 by Jive Records as the third single from the album. The song was written by Nate "Danja" Hills, James "Jim Beanz" Washington, Keri Hilson and Marcella Araica, while production was handled by Hills and vocal production was handled by Washington. "Radar" was originally planned to be released as the third single from Blackout, but "Break the Ice" was released after it was chosen by a poll on Spears's official website. Musically, "Break the Ice" is an electro-R&B song with influences of rave and crunk. The song opens with a choir and features synthesizers. Its lyrics deal with an attraction between two people. "Break the Ice" received positive reviews from music critics, who deemed it as a strong electronic track from the album.

The song was a moderate success, reaching the top ten in Belgium, Canada, Finland and Sweden and charting within the top forty in Australia, New Zealand and many European countries. In the United States, the song reached number forty-three on Billboard Hot 100, while peaking at number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. An accompanying music video, directed by Robert Hales, was released on March 12, 2008. The anime-influenced animation video was based on the superheroine character of Spears's "Toxic" music video, and portrays her destroying a highly secured laboratory with several clones, including one of herself. A remix version of "Break the Ice" was used as a video interlude during The Circus Starring Britney Spears (2009) and was performed for the first time during her Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Britney: Piece of Me.

Background[edit]

"Break the Ice" was written by Nate "Danja" Hills, Marcella "Ms. Lago" Araica, Keri Hilson, James Washington and produced by Danja.[1] Spears started working with Danja in July 2006. He explained that the creative process was not difficult at first since he was "left to do pretty much whatever I wanted to", and "if she felt it, she was gonna ride with it. If she didn't, you’d see it in her face."[2] Spears began recording the track in Las Vegas in August 2006, while she was seven months pregnant with her second child, Jayden James. Recording continued at Spears' house in Los Angeles, California, three weeks after she gave birth. Hilson commented that "She gave 150 percent. [...] I don’t know any other mother that would do that."[3] "Radar" was originally planned to be released as the third single from Blackout, according to Ezekiel Lewis of The Clutch.[4] "Break the Ice" was chosen as a single by a poll on Spears' official Jive Records website. On February 11, 2008, it was announced that the song had won, receiving a 39% of the total votes.[5]

Composition[edit]

This clip features the electro chorus accompanied by synthesizers.[6] After the chorus, the bridge begins with Spears saying "I like this part" mimicking Janet Jackson in "Nasty" (1986).[7]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Break the Ice" is an electro-R&B song with influences of rave and crunk.[6][8][9] It is performed in a moderate pop groove.[10] The song is composed in the key of F minor and is set in time signature of common time with a tempo of 120 beats per minute.[10] According to Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly, "Break the Ice" sounds similar to Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right" (2006).[11] It opens with Spears singing the lines "It's been a while / I know I shouldn't keep you waiting / But I'm here now", which serve as an apology for being gone so long from the music industry as well as away from her love interest in the song.[7] After the first line, Spears sings over a choir. According to Chuck Arnold of People, Spears delivers her "trademark breathy vocals".[12] In the first verse, synthesizers kick in and run until the end of the second chorus.[13] After it, Spears stops the song and sings "I like this part / It feels kind of good", mimicking Janet Jackson in "Nasty" (1986).[7] The music changes, as described by Tom Ewing of Pitchfork Media, to "[something that] sounds like spacehoppers [are] bouncing in slow motion round a padded cell".[14] The song is constructed in the common verse-chorus form. Lyrically, the song is about two people, in which one of them asks the other to get to know each other and break the ice.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Eric R. Danton of The Hartford Courant deemed it as a "crunk-style thumper", while calling it one of the "killer tracks" off the album along with "Radar" and "Hot as Ice".[9] Nick Levine of Digital Spy called it "a booming slice of multi-layered electro R&B" and said that along with "Radar", "are as avant-garde as pop gets in 2007".[6] A reviewer from Popjustice said "[it] is a really brilliant track",[15] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said some of the songs of Blackout, "really show off the skills of the producers", exemplifying "Gimme More", "Radar", "Break the Ice", "Heaven on Earth" and "Hot as Ice". He also referred to the song as a "stuttering electro-clip".[16]

Jennifer Vineyard of MTV said the song "might have been a stronger album leadoff track than 'Gimme More', [...] since [Spears] re-introduces herself at the top and apologizes for being gone for so long."[7] Kelefe Sanneh of The New York Times said the song was "nearly as good" as previous singles "Gimme More" and "Piece of Me", and described it as a "rave-inspired flirtation".[8] A reviewer from the Ottawa Citizen said that "[t]here's also a lot to like about Break The Ice, Why Should I Be Sad and Perfect Love[r]".[17] Jim Abbott of the Orlando Sentinel said that "Musically, songs such as 'Piece of Me,' 'Radar' and 'Break the Ice' are one-dimensional, robotic exercises."[18] Joan Anderman of The Boston Globe called it "numbing club filler."[19]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, "Break the Ice" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number one hundred on the issue dated March 15, 2008.[20] It peaked at number forty-three on May 24, 2008. Two weeks later, it peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs, becoming the third consecutive single from the album to reach the top position of the chart.[21] As of July 2010, "Break the Ice" has sold 688,000 paid digital downloads in the United States.[22] In Canada, the song entered the Canadian Hot 100 at number ninety-seven on March 1, 2008.[23] On April 26, 2008, it reached its peak position of number nine.[21] On May 5, 2008, the track debuted at number forty-one on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart.[24] It peaked at number twenty-three on the issue dated May 19, 2008.[25] In New Zealand, the single debuted at number thirty-seven on April 7, 2008.[26] It peaked at number twenty-four three weeks later.[27] "Break the Ice" entered the UK Singles Chart at number thirty-six on March 31, 2008.[28] On April 20, 2008, it peaked at number fifteen.[29] The song also had moderate success through Europe, reaching the top ten in Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia) and Finland, and the top twenty in Denmark and Sweden.[27] In Denmark, it was certified gold by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for sales over 15,000 copies.[30]

Music video[edit]

Anime of the upper bust of a young blond woman. She is wearing a body suit and gloves. Her hair is long and seems to be moving to the left.
The anime influenced version of Spears in the music video.

The music video for "Break the Ice" was made in an anime-influenced animation style in South Korea and was directed by Robert Hales. The concept was reportedly Spears's idea, who asked Jive Records to come up with an animated music video based on the superheroine character of the "Toxic" music video.[31] It premiered on March 12, 2008 at BlackoutBall.com, a website created exclusively for the premiere, in which fans could access a chat room.[32]

The video begins with Spears wearing a short black bodysuit and knee-high black boots, standing in the roofs of a futuristic city. As the first verse begins, she breaks into a research facility and battles with suited henchmen. Spears ends up gaining access to a highly secured laboratory and walks through aisles of clones held in liquid cocoons. She sees that one is a clone of her, kisses her and plants a bomb on the tank. After this, Spears infiltrates the base of the apparent villain, kissing him, and then destroying him, revealing him to be a robot also. From there, she dodges a bullet and sets off a panic among the newly arrived henchmen, meanwhile the bomb's timer runs lower and lower. Next, there is a wide shot of the building exploding, while Spears is jumping and "Victory" is depicted on the side of the structure. The video ends with the phrase "To be continued...".[33] Originally, the remix with Fabolous was initially to be released as the album's third single and have a music video, before the animated video was used.[34]

Live performances[edit]

A remix version of "Break the Ice" was used as a video interlude during The Circus Starring Britney Spears (2009).[35] The song was performed for the first time in 2013 during Spears' Las Vegas Residency at PH Live, Britney: Piece of Me. Halfway through the performance of "Gimme More" Spears and her dancers, wearing cowboy-inspired plaid and denim outfits, performed a fragment of "Break the Ice", which was then followed by a dance routine which pays tribute to Michael Jackson and then "Piece of Me".[36]

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits for "Break the Ice" are taken from Blackout '​s liner notes.[1]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Pocketful of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield
Billboard Dance Club Play number-one single
May 31-June 6, 2008
Succeeded by
"Leavin'" by Jesse McCartney

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States March 4, 2008 Mainstream radio[53]
Rhythmic radio[54]
Italy[55] March 21, 2008 Digital download Sony
Spain[56]
United Kingdom[57] RCA
Ireland[58] April 4, 2008 Digital download (EP) Sony
Netherlands[59]
Finland[60] April 7, 2008
Norway[61]
Spain[62]
United Kingdom[63] RCA
United Kingdom[64] April 14, 2008 CD single
Germany May 2, 2008 CD single[65] Sony
Maxi single[66]
New Zealand[67] May 10, 2008 Digital download
Luxembourg[68] May 30, 2008

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Blackout liner notes. Jive Records (2007)
  2. ^ Kondo, Toshitaka (2008-02-13). "Q&A: Danja". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on 2008-11-04. 
  3. ^ Reporter, OK! (2007-10-02). "Keri Hilson: ‘Gimme More’ is My Song!". OK! (Northern & Shell). Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  4. ^ "The Clutch Talks How To Write a Hit Song". Allternatives. AllHipHop.com. 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  5. ^ Staff, BRITannica (2008-02-11). "Third Single: Inside Scoop!". Britney.com. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  6. ^ a b c Levine, Nick (2007-10-29). "Britney Spears: 'Blackout'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Vineyard, Jennifer (2007-10-12). "Britney Spears' New Album, Blackout: A Track-By-Track Report". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  8. ^ a b Sanneh, Kelefe (2007-11-29). "'Miss Bad Media Karma' Sings, Too". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  9. ^ a b Danton, Eric R. (2007-10-30). "CD Review: 'Blackout' by Britney Spears". The Hartford Courant (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  10. ^ a b "Britney Spears Break the Ice - Digital Sheet Music". MusicNotes.com. Alfred Publishing Company. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  11. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (2007-09-11). "New Britney Song: 'I'm Bad Media Karma'". Entertainment Weekly (Time Warner). Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  12. ^ Arnold, Chuck (2007-09-11). "Sneak Preview: Britney Spears's New Album Details". People (Time Warner). Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  13. ^ Sterdan, Darryl (2007-10-26). "Britney's back with a thud". Jam!. Quebecor Inc. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  14. ^ Ewing, Tom (2007-11-20). "Britney in the Black Lodge (Damn Fine Album)". Pitchfork Media. Ryan Schreiber. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  15. ^ Staff, Popjustice (2008-04-01). "The nine best bits of the new Britney single". Popjustice. Peter Robinson. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
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  22. ^ Grein, Paul (2010-07-30). "Chart Watch Extra: 40 Digital Song Milestones - Chart Watch". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
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  30. ^ "Gold and Platinum Certifications". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
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  56. ^ "Break The Ice de Britney Spears". Spain: 7digital. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
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  58. ^ "Break The Ice by Britney Spears". Ireland: 7digital. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  59. ^ "Break The Ice van Britney Spears". Netherlands: 7digital. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
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  61. ^ "Break The Ice by Britney Spears". Norway: 7digital. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
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  63. ^ "Break The Ice by Britney Spears". 7digital. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
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  65. ^ "Break the Ice/Basic [Single]". Germany: Amazon.de. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  66. ^ "Break the Ice/Premium [Single, Maxi]". Germany: Amazon.de. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
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External links[edit]