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Single by Britney Spears
from the album Britney
B-side "I'm a Slave 4 U"
Released December 12, 2001 (2001-12-12)
Recorded 2001; Maratone Studios (Stockholm)
Length 3:18 (Album version)
3:20 (The Darkchild Remix)
Label Jive
  • Max Martin
  • Rami
Britney Spears singles chronology
"I'm a Slave 4 U"
"I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"

"Overprotected" is a song recorded by American singer Britney Spears for her third studio album, Britney (2001). It was written and produced by Max Martin and Rami. The song was released on December 12, 2001 by Jive Records, as the second single from Britney. "Overprotected" is a dance-pop and teen pop song that is about a girl who is tired of being overprotected and just wants to be herself. The song received mixed reviews from contemporary critics, as some reviewers noticed "Overprotected" as a way for Spears to "break free", despite coming from a singer that is known worldwide since childhood. A version of the song, "The Darkchild Remix", was released in the United States and Canada in April 2002.[citation needed]

While it did not perform well on the Billboard charts in the United States, "Overprotected" peaked at number 22 in Canada, while reaching the top five in Italy, Romania, Sweden and United Kingdom. An accompanying music video, directed by Billie Woodruff, portrays Spears dancing inside an abandoned factory, while singing about being overprotected; the music video for "The Darkchild Remix", directed by Chris Applebaum, portrays Spears dancing and having fun with her friends. Spears has performed "Overprotected" a number of times including at the Dream Within a Dream Tour (2001) and The Onyx Hotel Tour (2004). In 2003, the song received a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.


During the Oops!... I Did It Again Tour (2000), Spears revealed she felt inspired by hip hop artists such as Jay-Z and The Neptunes and wanted to create a record with a funkier sound.[1] In February 2001, Spears signed a $7–8 million promotional deal with Pepsi, and released another book co-written with her mother, entitled A Mother's Gift.[2] On the same month, Spears started to record material for her third studio album,[3] with "Overprotected" being recorded at Maratone Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. Additional recording was done in April 2001 at Maratone in Sweden, in which the song's vocals were completed. Background vocals were provided by Spears and Bosslady, with the track being mixed by Martin and Rami at Maratone Studios.[3] Her third studio album, Britney, was released in November 2001.[1] In an interview with the Daily Record, Spears concluded she can relate to "Overprotected" "on a personal basis, because I feel kind of overprotected. When I want to go out, everything has to be organized in advance. I think that other kids of my age can relate to it to a certain extent."[4]


A 19-second sample of the song's chorus, featuring Spears singing over a teen pop and dance-pop background with Europop influences.[5][6]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Oveprotected" is a teen pop and dance-pop song that lasts for three minutes and 18 seconds.[5] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly noticed Europop influences on the song,[6] while other critics compared it to previous songs released by Spears.[7] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Group, "Overprotected" is composed in the key of E major and is set in time signature of common time, with a moderate tempo of 96 beats per minute. Spears vocal range spans from A3 to C5.[5]

Lyrically, the track is about a girl who is tired of being manipulated by people around her and doesn't need to be told what to do,[6] which is perceived in lines such as "You're gonna have to see through my perspective/ I need to make mistakes just to learn who I am/ And I don't want to be so damn protected".[8] Dana Alice Heller, author of Makeover television: realities remodelled (2007), said that, with "Overprotected", "Spears addresses the problem of being a teen star whose personal and professional are handled by others."[9] She also compared "Overprotected" with the singer's first reality show, Britney & Kevin: Chaotic (2005), saying that "Britney frames her makeover as a move toward to independence, a rebellion against overly controlling parents and their stand-ins."[9]


After being hired by Jive Records to create a remix for "Oveprotected", Rodney Jerkins revealed that the label "needed a remix that's crazy." Jerkins said the remix has "an old-school-type rhythm, which I think is kinda cool because it's an element [that Spears] never had, but I still gave it her edge. I was up all night rocking that joint. [It has the] same lyrics, I just reproduced the track."[10] "The Darkchild Remix" was initially being sent to radio stations on mid-March 2002;[10] however, the remix was only released on April 1, 2002.[11] The remix was heavily played in dance clubs,[10] and Jerkins said he wasn't surprise with the popularity of it,[10] since "[Britney] reinvented herself. Everybody thought she was gonna come back with another 'Oops!... I Did It Again', but she went left and came with the 'I'm a Slave 4 U' joint, which is basically a club banger. You gotta big up people who reinvent themselves. I always said she was gonna be one of the people that's gonna be around for a minute, because I see that in her."[10] Finnish musician and record producer Jaakko Salovaara also created two remixes for the track, titled "JS16 Dub" and "JS16 Remix".[12] The latter was included on the promotional soundtrack of Spears' debut movie, Crossroads (2002).[13]


Critical response[edit]

"Everything that's contradictory and frustrating about Britney Spears' Britney is laid out in its second song. 'I need to make mistakes just to learn who I am/And I don't wanna be so damn overprotected', our proud midriff queen snarls in "Overprotected", her voice hovering between testiness and aggression. Good for her, you think, until you realize the Max Martin-produced track is pretty much the same stentorian Europop of her past records. Spears may proclaim she's not afraid to make a 'mistake', but the song is a study in risk management."

—David Browne of Entertainment Weekly review on the song and album.[6]

"Overprotected" received mixed reviews from music critics. Jocelyn Vena of MTV said that "with songs like "Overprotected" and "Let Me Be," Spears seemed to be letting out her adolescent angst,"[14] while Kyle Anderson of MTV Newsroom said, "the real first blush with emancipation from [the singer] teen pop past came with ['Overprotected']".[15] While reviewing Spears' third studio album Britney (2001), Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said the track, along with "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" and "What It's Like to Be Me", "are pivotal moments on Britney Spears' third album, the record where she strives to deepen her persona (not the same thing as her character, of course), making it more adult while still recognizably Britney".[16]

Critic Robert Christgau also considered "Overprotected" and "Cinderella" as the highlights of Britney, while saying, "hardly the first not-terribly-bright teenager to approach self-knowledge via the words of others".[17] Nikki Tranker of PopMatters said the song "is an absolute belter reminiscent of Britney’s previous big-bang singles, 'Oops! I Did It Again' and 'You Drive Me Crazy' [sic]", while commenting that Spears "sings about ridding herself of the girlie chains around her, gripes about her need for space in the whirlwind that is her life, and lets us know she don’t need nobody telling her what to do."[7] In 2003, the song received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[18]

Chart performance[edit]

"Overprotected" attained commercial success in Europe. In France, it peaked at number 15, and was later certified Silver by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP), for selling over 125,000 units of the single.[19] In Sweden, the song reached number two, and was later certified Gold by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), for selling over 15,000 units.[20] "Overprotected" also reached the top five in Italy,[21] Romania,[22] and United Kingdom,[23] while reaching the top ten in Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Ireland, and Norway.[21] In the United States, on the week of May 4, 2002, "The Darkchild Remix" peaked at number 86 on Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed on the chart for five weeks. It also entered on the Pop Songs chart, where it peaked at number 37 on the week of May 25, 2002, before dropping the chart in the following chart issue.[24] In Canada, the song peaked at number 22 on the Canadian Hot 100.[25]

Music videos[edit]

Original version[edit]

The music video for "Overprotected" was directed by Billie Woodruff and produced under Geneva Films,[26] while choreographed by Brian Friedman.[26] In an interview with Harper's Bazaar in 2011, Spears recalled the music video, saying, "I just think it says a lot. It was directed so well, it was really colorful and the dancing was amazing".[27] It begins with Spears driving away from the intrusive media, with a part of the instrumental version of the song "Bombastic Love", featured on the album Britney, playing. She makes her way into an alleyway and decides to enter an abandoned factory, hoping her pursuers will be thrown off course. When she enters the building she begins to dance her way around the warehouse. Britney's dancers, having spotted her walking into the factory, follow her inside. They find Britney dancing around and joke about it, before heading into a heavy dance routine. Towards the end of the video, segments of Spears in a room with walls covered in pictures and articles about herself are also shown. These walls move in and out before the video ends, signifying that she is "overprotected". At the end of the video, Britney walks to a wall, and exits the building.

The Darkchild Remix[edit]

The music video for "The Darkchild Remix" was directed by Chris Applebaum and filmed in the first weekend of March 2002 in Los Angeles, California.[28] It was produced under A Band Apart Productions,[26] while the choreography for this version was also created by Brian Friedman.[26] The full shooting took 23 hours,[28] and Applebaum was said to be impressed with Spears' "stamina and patience through the marathon shoot, which wrapped 5 a.m."[28] According to Joe D'Angelo of MTV, "the clip furthers her 'I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman' crusade to shirk her adolescent image, as she and five friends outsmart her bodyguard with the old 'you're wanted elsewhere' trick and sneak out of a hotel and into an underground dance club."[28] It was released on March 26, 2002.[29]

Spears directly referenced Janet Jackson's "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)" music video in the "Overprotected (Darkchild Remix)" video during the elevator scenes and scenes of her and her dancers walking down the hotel lobby. Both videos also use the same hotel setting, filmed at Los Angeles' Millennium Biltmore Hotel.[30] Spears also references and draws inspiration from Janet Jackson in several other music videos, including "Stronger", "Circus", and "Womanizer", which she mentioned in her "For the Record" documentary.[31]

The video opens with Spears and her friends in a hotel room, where a tabloid reporter on television criticizes her for the sexy, revealing outfits she's often seen wearing publicly.[28] Spears and her friends express their disagreement with the report. Spears, determined to be self-sufficient and unaffected by media comments,[28] then makes a phone call to her bodyguard, and using a cloth to disguise the sound of her voice, coaxes him to leave the area so that her group may sneak out of the hotel and enjoy the day. They run into an elevator and fool around briefly with the security cameras before going up to the main lobby. A strut down the lobby of the hotel and a short dance sequence follows. As they leave the hotel, they follow towards the dance club. However, before they arrive, they're caught in an alley by several paparazzi,[28] and start to perform a dance routine in the middle of the rain. As they make their entrance, they're dripping wet, an image which makes for more sensationalist fodder for the tabloid reporter.

Live performances[edit]

"Overprotected" was performed for the first time on 2001's Dream Within a Dream Tour. During the performance, Spears was dancing to the song surrounded by laser lights. The video backdrop showed images of a bald Spears, with her hair growing as the song went along. However, the backdrop was later removed for unknown reasons.[32] After the announcement of the 2002 extension of the tour, some changes were made to the setlist, replacing the original mix of the song by "The Darkchild Remix".[32] The remix was later performed on The Onyx Hotel Tour (2004), during the opening act, right after the performance of "Toxic" (2003).[33] Spears' debut film, Crossroads (2002), features a performance of the song during the credits.[34] Britney also performed the song twice on British TV programme Top of the Pops, on the German television Viva Interaktiv and in Euro Disney. This latest performance was included on the Special Limited Edition DVD of the album Britney under the name "Lights, Camera, Action".

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits for "Overprotected" are adapted from Britney liner notes.[3]


Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Japan[55] December 12, 2001 CD single Sony
United States[56] December 18, 2001 Jive
France[57] January 7, 2002 Sony
Germany[58] January 21, 2002
United Kingdom[59] RCA
United States April 1, 2002 Contemporary hit radio (Darkchild Remix)[60] Jive
April 2, 2002 12"[61]


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  2. ^ Reporter, Staff (July 31, 2008). "Britney Spears' Biography". Fox News. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Britney liner notes. Jive Records (2001)
  4. ^ Dingwall, John (November 5, 2001). "OTR..Off the Record: Your Time Is Up, Jacko; Britney Wants Album Top Slot". Daily Record (Scotland). p. 19. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
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  13. ^ Music From The Major Motion Picture Crossroads (Soundtrack liner notes). Various Artists. Jive Records. 2002. 01241-40015-2. 
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  55. ^ http://www.amazon.co.jp/Overprotected-%E3%83%96%E3%83%AA%E3%83%88%E3%83%8B%E3%83%BC%E3%83%BB%E3%82%B9%E3%83%94%E3%82%A2%E3%83%BC%E3%82%BA/dp/B00005R6C8
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  59. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Overprotected-Britney-Spears/dp/B00005U5EZ
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  61. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Overprotected-Vinyl-Britney-Spears/dp/B0000647MM


External links[edit]