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Britney (album)

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Britney
Britney Spears - Britney.png
Studio album by Britney Spears
Released November 6, 2001 (2001-11-06)
Recorded February – July 2001
Studio
Genre
Length 39:36
Label Jive
Producer
Britney Spears chronology
Oops!... I Did It Again
(2000)Oops!... I Did It Again2000
Britney
(2001)
In the Zone
(2003)In the Zone2003
Singles from Britney
  1. "I'm a Slave 4 U"
    Released: September 24, 2001
  2. "Overprotected"
    Released: December 10, 2001
  3. "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"
    Released: February 18, 2002
  4. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
    Released: May 27, 2002
  5. "Anticipating"
    Released: June 24, 2002
  6. "Boys"
    Released: July 29, 2002

Britney is the third studio album by American singer Britney Spears. It was released on November 6, 2001 in the United States through Jive Records. Looking to transition from the teen pop styles of her earlier albums ...Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!... I Did It Again (2000), Spears began to embrace a more mature sound with Britney. Its music incorporates genres of pop and dance-pop with influences of R&B and occasionally dips into elements of disco, hip hop and rock; its lyrics address the subjects of reaching adulthood and sexuality.[1] Contributions to its production came from a variety of collaborators, including Max Martin and Rami Yacoub.[2] Spears herself assumed a more prominent role in the album's development, co-writing five of its tracks.

Upon its release, Britney received generally mixed reviews from music critics, who complimented the progression from Spears's earlier works, but criticized her increasingly provocative image. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 745,000 copies. Its success made Spears the first female artist to have her first three studio albums debut atop the chart, a record she would later break again with her fourth studio album In the Zone (2003). To promote the album, Spears embarked on the Dream Within a Dream Tour, which began in November 2001 and continued until July 2002. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards (2003).[3]

Six singles were released from the album. "I'm a Slave 4 U" reached the top ten in several countries but reached only number twenty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Spears' first lead single not to peak within the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. "Overprotected" and "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" had alternated as the second and third single of the album, respectively, both of which performed similarly internationally by reaching top ten in several countries, while the Darkchild remix of the former peaked at number eighty-six on the US Billboard Hot 100. "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman", as well as the following singles "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", "Anticipating" (which was released exclusively in France) and "Boys" didn't chart on the US Billboard Hot 100; however all of them except for "Anticipating" reached the top ten in several countries albeit in less than its preceding singles.

Background[edit]

"This is the first album I have every really written and taken my time on, so when I actually listen to the whole album, it's just that much more special. I don't know if I'm the best songwriter in the world, but I had a lot of fun doing it and hopefully I will get better and grow."
Spears talks about her songwriting experience for Britney[4]

In May 2000, Spears released her second studio album Oops!... I Did It Again.[5] Spears collaborated with producers including Rodney Jerkins, David Kreuger, and Max Martin.[6] Following its release, Oops!... I Did It Again became an international success and peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200.[7]

While recording her follow-up record, Spears wanted an "older generation to pick up on it", adding that she "had to change it up and pray people think that's cool". She stated that she chose to self-title the album because the majority of its content describes who she is. Spears recorded twenty-three tracks for the release, several of which she co-wrote with the assistance of Brian Kierulf and Josh Schwartz. She added that personally writing the album and developing its concept made the project "that much more special", elaborating of her intentions to "get better and grow" as a songwriter.[4]

Spears worked with a variety of collaborators, including pop colleagues Martin and her then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake.[4] She commented that she initially felt "awkward" and "nervous" working with Timberlake, saying that she was accustomed to the process being "like work".[8] Spears also worked with hip hop producers Rodney Jerkins and The Neptunes, who made the record "nastier and funkier". She additionally recorded songs with Missy Elliott and Timbaland, but their tracks never made the final track listing due to scheduling conflicts.[9]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Spears performing ′′Love Rock ′n′ Roll′′ in Mexico City, Mexico during the Dream Within a Dream Tour.

Britney incorporates pop styles with elements of dance-pop and R&B.[1] The album opens with its lead single "I'm a Slave 4 U". The song features an urban influence and Middle Eastern flavor,[10] amid breathy, emotive noises,[11] and it has been compared to "Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6.[12] Spears commented that its lyrics are "about me just wanting to go out and forget who I am and dance and have a good time".[13] "Overprotected" was noted for having Europop styles, and addresses a girl who is tired of being manipulated.[14] Lyrically, "Lonely" sees a girl moving on from a troublesome romance after being lied to and manipulated.[15] It was considered "a teenage version of Janet's "What About?".[11] The soft rock piano ballad[11] "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman", co-penned by English singer-songwriter Dido, Max Martin and Rami, details the emotional struggles that teenage girls experience during puberty.[16] "Boys" incorporates R&B and hip hop styles,[17] and was criticized by David Browne of Entertainment Weekly as "cut-rate '80s Janet Jackson".[14] The disco-inspired[18] track "Anticipating" discusses the friendship and camaraderie between women,[19] and it's reminiscent of [Madonna's] 'Holiday' or Kylie in disco mood."[20]

Spears's cover of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", made famous by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, infuses pop rock styles into the original hard rock rendition.[21] "Cinderella" reflects on a girl who left her boyfriend after he failed to appreciate her efforts in the relationship.[22] "Let Me Be" sees Spears ask to be trusted as an adult and be afforded her own opinions.[23] "Bombastic Love" discusses a love where Spears feels that the romance will happen "exactly like in a movie".[24] Similarly, the penultimate track "That's Where You Take Me" details the joy she gets from an emotionally fulfilling relationship,[25] amid Middle Eastern chimes and a collage of electronic beats and drum programming.[10] In some editions, "When I Found You" is the penultimate track.[26][27][28] On the track, Britney tells she has found her "deepest love" in her soul mate who is essentially a reflection of herself.[11] The album closes with "What It's Like to Be Me", which was co-written and co-produced by Spears's then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake; Spears sings that a guy must "figure [her] out" to "be [her] man".[29]

Release and promotion[edit]

Britney was first released in Japan on October 31, 2001,[30] followed by a release in Europe[31] and Oceania on November 5, 2001 and in North America the following day. The bonus edition of the album was released on April 9, 2002 in North America and included a bonus VCD. The special limited edition was released in June, featuring a new cover artwork (featuring a different image of Spears), four bonus tracks and a bonus DVD, with the Japanese and Australian edition featuring the track "Before the Goodbye".[32] Brazilian special limited edition's cover artwork is different from the others, featuring a black background and the Britney typeface in white; however, the track listing remained the same.[33] In Japan, Britney was re-released on November 7, 2002 in a special Christmas package under the title Gift from Britney, which had the same track listing and similar cover artwork as the Australian and Japanese special limited edition, and was packaged with a bonus charmbracelet.[34]

On January 28, 2001, Spears performed at Super Bowl XXXV.[35] Shortly after, she appeared on Total Request Live to premiere new material from Britney.[36] On September 6, Spears premiered "I'm a Slave 4 U" at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards; the performance was criticized for her use of a yellow python as a stage prop.[37] Four days later, she performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" on The Rosie O'Donnell Show.[38] Spears was scheduled to perform and hold a press conference in Australia on September 13; however, she cancelled the event in light of the September 11 attacks two days prior, saying that holding the conference would have been inappropriate.[39] The following month, Spears performed at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[40] In November, she performed in her first HBO concert special from the MGM Grand Garden Arena; Cher was supposed to join Spears onstage for the song "The Beat Goes On", which Spears covered on ...Baby One More Time, though Cher was unable to do so due to scheduling conflicts.[41]

Spears performing "Overprotected" at Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico during the Dream Within a Dream Tour on July 27, 2002.

In December, Spears performed at the 2001 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.[42] The following January, she sang "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" at the 2002 American Music Awards.[43] Later in the month, Spears gave interviews to The Frank Skinner Show in the United Kingdom and The Saturday Show in Australia.[44] Crossroads premiered in February 2002, allowing Spears to simultaneously promote both the film and her album.[45] On February 2, she was featured as both the host and performer of Saturday Night Live.[46] A week later, she sang "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" at the NBA All-Star Game and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[43] Spears also appeared on Live with Regis & Kelly, The View,[46] and the 44th Annual Grammy Awards in the United States, and Wetten, dass..? in Germany.[47]

In November 2001, Spears began her Dream Within a Dream Tour in Columbus, Ohio;[48] it ended in July 2002 in Dallas, Texas.[49] An accompanying video album was released, titled Britney: The Videos, on November 20, 2001 through Jive Records. Made available less than three weeks after Britney, Britney: The Videos included a selection of her earlier music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, commercials, and notable live performances.[50] It peaked at number one on the US Top Music Videos on December 8, 2001.[51]

Singles[edit]

"I'm a Slave 4 U" was released as the album's lead single on September 24, 2001.[52] Its accompanying music video was directed by Francis Lawrence,[53] and received three nominations at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.[54] The song peaked at number twenty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100,[55] and debuted at number four on the UK Singles Chart.[56]

"Overprotected" was released as the album's second single internationally in November 2001 and the third single in the United States in April 2002. Its "Darkchild Remix" peaked at number eighty-six on the Billboard Hot 100,[55] while the original version reached number four in the United Kingdom.[56] The song was nominated for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2003 Grammy Awards.[3] Two variations of the music video were released, one for the original and the other for the Darkchild Remix.[57]

Staggered to fit the varying release dates of Crossroads internationally, "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" was released as the theme song of the film and the second single for Britney in the United States. The song charted at number two on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, an extension of the twenty-five songs that failed to make the Billboard Hot 100.[55] It was met with more success internationally, peaking at number two in the United Kingdom.[56]

Spears's cover of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was released as the fourth European single. Consequentially, the song did not chart in the United States, but reached number thirteen on the UK Singles Chart.[56]

"Anticipating" was released as the fourth single exclusively in France; it reached number thirty-eight on the French Singles Chart.[58]

"Boys" served as the sixth single from Britney internationally, and it peaked at number twenty-two on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles,[55] and reached number seven in the United Kingdom.[56]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 58/100[59]
Review scores
Source Rating
The A.V. Club unfavorable[60]
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Billboard favorable[61]
Dotmusic 6/10[20]
Entertainment Weekly C[14]
NME 7/10 stars[62]
PopMatters mixed[11]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[63]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[10]
Spin mixed[64]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Britney received an average score of 58, which indicates "mixed or average reviews", based on 13 reviews.[65] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly found Spears's increasingly provocative image to be unnatural, noting "virginal vamping in an awkward adolescence" and "a few tentative new moves".[14] PopMatters' Nikki Tranton complimented the production of the songs, but questioned if Spears was ready to establish herself as a grown woman in the music industry.[11] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine agreed, writing that although "Britney, [the album], fills her role of guilty pleasure (the disc certainly satiates more than the stunted growth of last year's Oops!...I Did It Again), it's time for Spears to quit being such a cock-tease and cook something up that will satisfy the ever-vacillating hype-machine."[10]

AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave a positive review, feeling that the album "strives to deepen [Spears's] persona" and proves she "will know what to do when the teen-pop phenomenon of 1999–2001 passes for good".[1] Similarly, a reviewer from Billboard commented that the project was "a nicely varied, wholly satisfying collection".[61] Chris Heat of Dotmusic praised Britney for "us[ing] this opportunity to take the odd risk and adds a welcome edge to her sound."[20] NME's Ted Kessler recognized the release as a "coming of age album" and joked that it "works best when making a good pop cheese and dance sandwich".[62] By contrast, Stephen Thompson of The A.V. Club panned the album, opining that the music "just [isn't] catchy" and that "though neither a girl nor a woman, Spears inspires grown-up anger on her own".[60] Craig Seymore of Spin recognized that she "sound[s] almost human," but criticized that "the rest of the record is as coldly anthemic as ever."[64]

Accolades[edit]

Year Nominee/work Category Award Result Ref
2001 Britney Spears Best Pop MTV Europe Music Award Nominated [66]
2001 Female Albums Artist of the Year Billboard Music Award Nominated [67]
2001 Best Female Artist Radio Disney Music Award Nominated [68]
2002 Favorite Female Artist MTV Asia Award Won [69]
2002 World's Best Selling Female Pop Artist World Music Award Nominated [70]
"I'm a Slave 4 U" Best R&B Dance Track International Dance Music Award Nominated [71]
2002 Britney Spears Favorite Female Singer Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award Nominated [72]
2002 Choice Music – Female Artist Teen Choice Award Won [73]
Choice Hottie – Female Won
2002 "I'm a Slave 4 U" Best Female Video MTV Video Music Award Nominated [74]
Best Dance Video Nominated
Best Choreography Nominated
2002 Britney Spears Best Pop Artist — International MTV Video Music Award Latinoamérica Nominated [75]
2002 Best International Artist Mnet Asian Music Award Nominated [76]
2003 "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" Favorite Video MTV Asia Award Nominated [77]
2003 Britney Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy Award Nominated [78]
"Overprotected" Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
2003 "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" International Music Video of the Year, Short-Form Japan Gold Disc Award Won [79]
2003 "Boys" Best Video from a Film MTV Video Music Award Nominated [80]

Commercial performance[edit]

Britney debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 745,000 copies.[81] In doing so, Spears became the first female to have her first three studio albums debut atop that chart.[37] She also held the second-highest debut album sales of 2001, behind Celebrity by NSYNC with 1.88 million units moved, though maintained the highest debut-week sales among female artists.[81] After fluctuating within the top twenty of the chart in the following weeks, Britney sold 3.3 million copies by 2002.[82] As of March 2015, Britney has sold 4.4 million units in the United States alone and was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[83]

Internationally, Britney debuted atop the Canadian Albums Chart with first-week sales of 44,550 copies.[84] It later sold 316,944 copies in the country, a significant decline in relation to the sales of ...Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!... I Did It Again (2000).[85] The album peaked at number four on both the Oricon Albums Chart in Japan and the UK Albums Chart.[56] In the latter, it was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 300,000 copies to retailers.[86] Across the rest of Europe, Britney debuted at number one in Austria,[87] Germany,[88] and Switzerland.[89] In 2002, it was certified double platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for shipments of two million copies throughout Europe.[90] The album also peaked at number four in Australia, and was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[91]

Track listing[edit]

Britney – North American edition[92]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "I'm a Slave 4 U" The Neptunes 3:23
2. "Overprotected"
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
3:18
3. "Lonely"
  • Darkchild
  • Kierulf[a]
  • Schwartz[a]
3:19
4. "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
3:51
5. "Boys"
  • Hugo
  • Williams
The Neptunes 3:26
6. "Anticipating"
  • Spears
  • Schwartz
  • Kierulf
  • Kierulf
  • Schwartz
3:16
7. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" Jerkins 3:06
8. "Cinderella"
  • Spears
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
3:39
9. "Let Me Be"
  • Spears
  • Schwartz
  • Kierulf
  • Darkchild
  • Kierulf[a]
  • Schwartz[a]
2:51
10. "Bombastic Love"
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
3:05
11. "That's Where You Take Me"
  • Spears
  • Schwartz
  • Kierulf
  • Kierulf
  • Schwartz
3:32
12. "What It's Like to Be Me"
  • Robson
  • Timberlake
2:50
Total length: 39:36

Notes

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from AllMusic.[2]

  • Max Martin – producer, engineer, mixing, guitar, background vocals
  • Rodney Jerkins – producer
  • The Neptunes – producer
  • Rami Yacoub – producer, engineer, mixing
  • Wade Robson – producer
  • Justin Timberlake – producer, vocal arrangements, background vocals
  • Andrew Coleman – engineer
  • Brian Garten – engineer
  • Brad Gilderman – engineer
  • Pablo Munguia – engineer
  • Michael Tucker – engineer
  • Yasu – engineer
  • Jaime Duncan – assistant engineer
  • Richard G. Johnson – assistant engineer
  • Marc Stephen Lee – assistant engineer
  • Charles McCrorey – assistant engineer
  • Daniel Milazzo – assistant engineer
  • Tim Roberts – assistant engineer
  • Ryan Smith – assistant engineer
  • Rich Tapper – assistant engineer
  • Jill Tengan – assistant engineer
  • Tom Coyne – mastering
  • Stephen George – mixing
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Jean-Marie Horvat – mixing
  • James Biondolillo – string arrangements
  • Mark Suozzo – string arrangements
  • Britney Spears – vocals, background vocals, concept, writer
  • Sue Ann Carwell – background vocals
  • Tyler Collins – background vocals
  • Albert Hall – background vocals
  • Damion Hall – background vocals
  • Nana Hedin – background vocals
  • Jennifer Karr – background vocals
  • Maxayne Moriguchi – background vocals
  • Jeff Pescetto – background vocals
  • Jason Scheff – background vocals
  • Chris Thompson – background vocals
  • Jeanette Olsson – background vocals
  • Chad Hugo – featured musician
  • Pharrell – featured musician
  • Thomas Lindberg – bass
  • Esbjörn Öhrwall – guitar
  • Nile Rodgers – guitar
  • Steven Klein – photography

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[149] Platinum 40,000^
Australia (ARIA)[150] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[151] Platinum 30,000*
Belgium (BEA)[152] Platinum 50,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[153] Gold 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[154] 3× Platinum 316,944[85]
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[155] Platinum 50,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[156] Gold 16,551[156]
France (SNEP)[157] Platinum 300,000*
Germany (BVMI)[158] Platinum 300,000^
Hungary (MAHASZ)[159] Gold 25,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[160] Platinum 200,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[161] Platinum 150,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[162] Platinum 80,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[163] Gold 7,500^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[164] Gold 20,000*
South Africa (RiSA)[165] Platinum 50,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[166] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[167] 2× Platinum 80,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[168] Platinum 459,000[86]
United States (RIAA)[169] 4× Platinum 4,400,000[170]
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[171] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Notes

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing region, edition(s), format(s), record label(s) and reference(s).
Region Date Edition(s) Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Japan October 31, 2001 Standard CD BMG [176]
Australia November 5, 2001 [177]
Austria [178]
Germany
Switzerland
Canada November 6, 2001 [179]
United States Jive [180]
April 9, 2002 The Bonus CD+DVD [181]
France June 1, 2002 Special Limited CD+VCD BMG [182]
Germany June 3, 2002 [183]
Japan June 5, 2002 [184]
United States July 8, 2002 Jive [185]
France June 30, 2003 Reissue CD BMG [186]
Germany
United Kingdom RCA [187]
Japan December 17, 2003 BMG [188]
United States December 25, 2007 Deluxe Digital download Jive [189]

References[edit]

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