“Me Against the Music” by Britney Spears (ft. Madonna)
Fundamentally, “Me Against the Music” is one of those ‘get on the dance floor and boogie’ types of songs. That sentiment most-pointedly comes through in the chorus, where the vocalists explicitly put forth that they “want to see you” dance.
But more to the point, especially at least as far as Britney Spears is concerned, is the singers’ own disposition in approaching the dance at hand. For as indicated by the title, they are ready to attack the club, so to speak. Or put differently, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill ‘let your hair down and dance carefeely’ in the club kinda joint. The vocalists are willing to illustrate the point via their own actions.
Indeed Britney comes off as if she’s fully enraptured by the music. It’s ‘pulling at her waist’ and accordingly has her whipping her hair’, with ‘sweat dripping all over her face’.
Or as indicated elsewhere in the song, she has fully ‘lost control’. And in the process of doing so she knows that she’s making a spectacle of herself not only due to how vigorously she’s dancing also but the fact that no one else in the place is even bothering to get down.
But as far as she is concerned, “to hell with stares”. That basically means that she’s dedicated to completely letting loose and will not let the perceptions of others prevent her from doing so.
Meanwhile Madonna, as alluded to earlier, is more concerned with making sure all of the people in the place adopt a similar disposition to Britney’s. In other words, she and her co-star are not accepting any idle observers in the crowd tonight.
They want to see everyone on the dance floor. And if you’re more so comfortable dancing with a partner than alone, then “just grab somebody” and get to it.
A Song about Carefree Dancing
So overall, the underlying sentiment of this track is that Britney and Madonna perceive carefree dancing as a viable form of stress relief, if you will.
This is especially true if you’re able to let loose without being distracted by the people around you – or even the music playing at that. Or put more simply, if they’re in the mood to let go at a party then they’re going to do so, all other factors be damned.
So this is a very wild song, if you will. Not everyone will be able to truly set themselves free in a nightclub or communal-dance setting in such a fashion. But the vocalists are resolved to do their best to help you get that point nonetheless.
The music video to this song, which featured both singers playing sort of romantic interests, was directed by L.A. native Paul Hunter.
It was filmed in NYC, in an area known as Long Island City, during October of 2003. The clip featured a very-flashy vehicle known as the Mazda RX-8. And the one that was actually used in the visual was later signed by Britney Spears and auctioned off for charity.
Madonna and Britney Spears
This collaboration between Britney and Madonna came about as the two music legends interacted with each other in preparation for the 2003 MTV VMAs. According to Spears, while she was rehearsing for said event, she gave Madonna an earlier (solo) version of the song, and the Queen of Pop was “really” feeling it. So she asked her to jump on the track, and the rest is history.
And just to note it was during that selfsame MTV Video Music Awards, which was conducted on 28 August 2003, that Madonna and Britney Spears famously (or infamously, depending on one’s perspective) kissed.
Meanwhile fans of Madonna know that she isn’t really the collaborating type. In fact prior to this track she had an opportunity to team up with artists some would consider even bigger music legends than Britney Spears – Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) and Bono – but turned down both offers.
Success of “Me Against the Music”
Me Against the Music did prove to be a major success, though perhaps not as much as one would anticipate for artists of such caliber. For example, it barely broke the top 40 of Billboard Hot 100, though it did fare well across the pond, peaking at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.
But more importantly, it managed to reach number one in about 10 nations. And it did accomplish this feat stateside, as in topping Billboard’s Dance Club Songs listing. And along those same lines, it was named Hot Dance Single of the Year at the Billboard Music Awards of 2004.
Additionally the track has been certified platinum in Australia and Japan.
Writing Credits for “Me Against the Music”
Madonna and Britney both had a hand in writing this tune. They accomplished the task alongside the track’s producer, Tricky Stewart, as well as the following songwriters:
- Penelope Magnet
- Gary O’Brien
- Tab Nkhereanye
In the years since this track was released, The-Dream is a name we’ve become familiar with not only in terms of his own vocal skills but also primarily as a major songwriter. He has actually also written songs for the likes of Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey in addition to Britney and Madonna.
However, at the time he contributed to this song, he was a new face in the game. And he went on to recount that even though he more or less originated “Me Against the Music”, at the end of the day, due to his lack of notoriety, he was only credited “with like 2.2% of the song”.
Tricky Stewart and Penelope Magnet were both at the time members of a music production crew known as RedZone Entertainment. It was the two of them who reportedly originally came up with “Me Against the Music” and pitched it to Britney Spears. And at first Britney’s people were feeling it, but the singer herself wasn’t. So then Magnet actually made an effort to establish a personal relationship with Spears, and resultantly they began to rework the lyrics (along with the other participants) into what was eventually released.
Release Date of “Me Against the Music”
Eventually “Me Against the Music” went on to act as the lead single from Britney’s Spears’ fourth album, “In the Zone”. And this was at the insistence of Spears herself as the label behind the project, Jive Records, rather wanted “Outrageous” (which went on to be the fourth single) to serve that role.
The first time Britney performed this song live was actually at a football-related event called NFL Kickoff Live 2003 which was held on 4 September of the titular year. And the track itself was officially released about a month and-a-half later, on 14 October 2003.