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This Day in Pop: Britney releases 'Toxic' in 2004 (January 12)


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Toxic

by: Britney Jean Spears 

Released: January 13th 2004 

 

 

Over 500 million streams on Spotify, nearly 500 million views on YouTube, Grammy award winning, renowned signature single of Britney’s, incredibly impressive recurring stats, the STANDARD for Pop music videos, the ultimate definition of aging like fine wine. :badgirl_britney_flirt_sexy_pom_piece_of_me_lips:

Happy 17th birthday legendary! 


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2 hours ago, PokemonSpears said:

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On January 13, 2004, Britney Spears released Toxic, the second single off her fourth studio album In the Zone. The dance-pop anthem with Bollywood influences was produced by Bloodshy & Avant and it went on to become one of the most recognizable tracks by Britney Spears among the general public. The same day it came out, the music video for the song, directed by Joseph Kahn, premiered on MTV's episode of Making the Video.

 

Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg (aka Bloodshy & Avant) co-wrote the track along with Cathy Dennis and Henrik Jonback. The techno-pop song with elements of bhangra music incorporates instrumentation such as drums, synthesizers, violins and surf guitar, as well as the iconic strings that were sampled from the Hindi song Tere Mere Beech Mein from the Bollywood film Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981).

Cathy Dennis revealed in 2020 that the song was originally created with Janet Jackson in mind, but she couldn't finish it in time during their time together:

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The song was later offered to Kylie Minogue, which had already recorded other songs made by Dennis, such as Come into My World, and most notably, Can't Get You Out of My Head. However, the Australian diva passed on the song.

Side note: Can't Get You Out of My Head was also rejected by S Club 7 and Sophie Ellis-Bextor before it went to Kylie.

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But before Britney could take the song for her, Sarah Whatmore almost got away with Toxic, as she revealed in 2017:

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Britney recorded the song in Sweden in 2003. In December of that year, MTV reported that Toxic would be released as the follow-up single to Me Against the Music, after trying to choose between (I Got That) Boom Boom and Outrageous:

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Britney has stated in numerous occasions that Toxic is one of her favorite songs. It won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it went #1 on the Dance Club Songs, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Digital Tracks charts. It was also #1 on many international charts, such as European Hot 100, UK, Australia, Canada among others, and it was Top 10 in almost every other country it charted. It's been recognized as one of the best songs of the 2000's by different publications like Rolling Stone and NME.

In 2021, Toxic surpassed the 500 million streams on Spotify.

Britney has performed Toxic on many tv shows during the promotion of the single, as well as in the 2016 performances. She's also performed the song on every tour/residency she's had ever since The Onyx Hotel Tour in 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Music Video

The music video for Toxic was directed by Joseph Kahn, who had previously worked with her for the Stronger video in 2000. Toxic was the most expensive video of hers at the time, at the cost of $1 million.

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In the video Britney plays a secret agent that starts disguised as a flight attendant. She takes a passenger to the bathroom and kisses him, peels off his mask and takes from him a pass that helps her later to steal a bottle of green poison (she's a red-head by this point of the video). After escaping the vault where the poison was, she has to evade a laser trap with a series of complicated moves, including a back handspring. She then climbs up a building, now as a brunette, to enter the room of her cheating boyfriend. She throws him to the floor, kisses him and pours the poison in his mouth. She escapes through the balcony, and we see her again in the airplane with her flight attendant outfit, as she winks to the camera. Throughout the video, we also see scenes of her where she's naked, and only covered in diamonds.

Britney told MTV

 

Joseph Kahn also talked to MTV in 2009:

 

In 2021 the choreographer of the video and long-time collaborator of Britney, Brian Friedman, confessed he was the one that came up with the concept of the video, despite Britney and Joseph Kahn saying otherwise all these years:

 

Joseph Kahn only tweeted

 

After the premiere of Toxic on Making the Video, the video debuted on TRL the following day.

 

In 2004 it was nominated at the VMA's for Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video, but didn't win any of the awards :icant_toxic_britney_window_jump_fall:

The video is her second most watched solo video on YouTube, where it's about to hit the 500M mark, and the iconic flight attendant outfit is set to receive its own Funko figure.

 

Great post! A big success for Britney and I’m happy for her.  But personally I don’t like “Toxic” very much.... “In The Zone” album is an urban/pop and electronic music album, while this song is a retro dance track. Also the video is not my favorite, but I know they did a great job. In few words, I can’t connect with it and I think I’m not the only one. Sorry.

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2 hours ago, Blackout2006 said:

It really gave her career the punch it desperately needed in 2004 since she was missing the "mega-hit", Britney (the era) failed to have and truly revitalized her career.

Whilst the Britney era didn't have a hit akin to Toxic, what the Britney era did have was the performances that cemented Britney as a performer. The Britney era with performances such as the "Slave 4 U" elevated Britney from teeny pop star to a real pop star.

Thanks to her performances and career moves in that era she was started to be taking more seriously.

Without the Britney era she wouldn't of had the ITZ era. What the Britney era started enabled her to progress in the ITZ era without alienating her long term fans.

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2 hours ago, Alestaos said:

Whilst the Britney era didn't have a hit akin to Toxic, what the Britney era did have was the performances that cemented Britney as a performer. The Britney era with performances such as the "Slave 4 U" elevated Britney from teeny pop star to a real pop star.

Thanks to her performances and career moves in that era she was started to be taking more seriously.

Without the Britney era she wouldn't of had the ITZ era. What the Britney era started enabled her to progress in the ITZ era without alienating her long term fans.

Yeah but thats an another discussion. I just said that Toxic gave her career the "mega-hit" it was missing since 2001. S4U was a huge hit but it wasnt a "mega-hit"

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Does anyone have more hit songs than Britney?  :demi_lipstick_flirt_red_pink_makeup: I don't think so. Not even Madonna or Gaga. 

...Baby One More Time, Oops!...I Did It Again, I'm a Slave 4 U, Toxic, Gimme More, Piece of Me, Radar (in Europe), Womanizer, Circus, If U Seek Amy, 3, Hold It Against Me, Till the World Ends, I Wanna Go, Scream & Shout, Work ***** 

Literally almost everyone heard or know the beat of these songs, probably not even realizing it's Britney.   

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I loved that this song was the first time since Slave that I heard Britney back on the radio again in high rotation. MATM kind of fizzled out on my station and Toxic became the hit she needed since the Oops era. Slave 4 U was so in the public consciousness cause of the VMA performance, but I think it only got to number 15 on the Billboard Pop chart. Toxic is iconic and deserves every good recognition it gets.

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22 minutes ago, Frankie8 said:

I loved that this song was the first time since Slave that I heard Britney back on the radio again in high rotation. MATM kind of fizzled out on my station and Toxic became the hit she needed since the Oops era. Slave 4 U was so in the public consciousness cause of the VMA performance, but I think it only got to number 15 on the Billboard Pop chart. Toxic is iconic and deserves every good recognition it gets.

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I remember even in the Britney Jean era when we used to do those massive radio requests, Toxic was always the Britney song all radio stations had by default 

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