Britney Spears’ “If U Seek Amy” Lyrics Meaning
This is a song which relies heavily on a shtick, if you will. Yes, it is in fact named “If U Seek Amy”. And as with other conventional pop songs, the title makes an appearance in the chorus. But when Britney says it she does so really fast, in a way in which “if you seek Amy” actually comes out sounding like is ‘F-*-*-K me’.
Yes, it is in fact a moderately-clever gimmick, however one that didn’t get by critics at all. For instance, the Parents Television Council tried to shut the track down. Indeed for whatever unknown reason many parents at the time were still under the impression that Britney Spears was a family-friendly musician, even though this track is featured all the way on her sixth album, and she was a controversial artist from day one.
But in their defense, “If U Seek Amy” has been called the raunchiest song the Princess of Pop had released up until that point. For instance, on top of the above wordplay, it would appear that her romantic interest in this song, the titular “Amy”, is a fellow female.
That is to say that on the surface, the lyrics can be interpreted as alluding to lesbianism. Indeed concerning the afore-referenced line in the chorus, what it actually reads in its entirety is “all of the boys and girls are begging to, if you seek Amy”.
So homonym-wise, it comes off as if Brit is saying ‘all the boys and girls are begging to F-*-*-K me’. Or more to the point, she is acknowledging that both males and females tend to be sexually attracted to her. In fact said line, as taken literally, i.e. as the lyrics actually read, doesn’t even make sense.
Who is Amy?
And on that note, it should also be pointed out that “Amy” also obviously isn’t a real person. For example, no one portrays said character Amy on the music video. Rather, she is the representation of some other idea. And all things considered (i.e. the music video and all), what it is she’s representing would apparently be sex.
So as far as double entendres go, when the vocalist is out ‘seeking Amy’, that’s another way of saying that she’s ‘looking for sex’. Or at least that seems to be the simplest way to try to describe the lyrics in their entirety.
So at the end of the day, Britney knows that some people ‘love her’, while others ‘hate her’. But she’s cool either way, being able to revel in her sexual attractiveness, which is so strong that it appeals to both sexes.
The music video to this track was filmed in a California seaside community known as Pacific Palisades. It was directed by British filmographer Jake Nava. This filmographer previously held down the same role for Britney Spears’ 2004 cover of “My Prerogative”.
The storyline of the clip climaxes on the idea of the signer leading a double life. She appears as a traditional housewife on the outside but she’s sort of a sex feen on the inside. And it features references to two of Britney’s prior music videos, “…Baby One More Time” (1998) and “Piece of Me” (2007).
Facts about “If U Seek Amy”
This is the third single from Britney Spears’ hit album “Circus” (2008). And it was released by Jive Records and Zomba Records to serve that purpose on 10 March 2009.
But it wasn’t the labels themselves who made the decision to do so. Rather a poll was held on Britney Spears’ website in early-December of 2008, where fans were tasked with choosing the album’s third single (“Circus” had already come out about a week prior to that). And this is the track that they chose (with 26% of the votes).
This song was produced by the ubiquitous Max Martin. And Martin, a regular Britney collaborator, also co-wrote the tune with the following:
- Savan Kotecha
- Alexander Kronlund
Additionally Martin provides background vocals to “If U Seek Amy”, alongside another Swedish artist who goes by the name of Kinnda.
It has been noted that the “if you see kay” shtick, as it is called, was not invented by the writers of this song. Rather musicians have been using it for decades. It even dates all the way back to a track the late Memphis Slim (1915-1988) dropped in 1963 that is actually entitled “If You See Kay”.
Concerning the aforementioned controversy that surrounded this song, what it ultimately led to was Britney and co. coming out with an edited, radio-friendly version of “If U Seek Amy”, which is instead entitled “If U See Amy”.
And while we’re on the subject of this track offending people, co-writer Savan Kotecha, despite growing up in Texas, comes from a traditional Indian background family-wise. And when his parents heard “If U Seek Amy”, they were upset that he participated in such a thing.
Chart Performance of “If U Seek Amy”
“If U Seek Amy” was only a moderate success as far as Britney Spears’ singles go. What that means is that yes, it was a global hit, charting in countries as diverse as Israel and Russia and in over 20 nations overall.
But it didn’t sell like a gazillion copies, having moved slightly under 1,300,000 units stateside.
But ultimately third singles like these are usually released to buttress the sale of the album in general. And “Circus” itself did sell like a gazillion copies – or more specifically 4,000,000 of them as of 2012.
Also it put Britney back on top of the Billboard 200 after her previous album, “Blackout” (2008, which peaked at number 2) failed to do so.