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This Day in Pop: Britney releases I'm a Slave 4 U in 2001 (September 24)


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On September 24, 2001, Britney Spears released I'm a Slave 4 U, the lead single off her third studio album Britney. Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams (The Neptunes) wrote and produced the track. The song had already been performed live at the VMA on September 6 of that same year.

Commercially, the song entered the Top 15 of almost every country it charted, but in the US, it only peaked at #27 on the BBH100. It is said that a radio boycott ensued Britney after she chose Concerts West to promote her tour, instead of Clear Channel Entertainment, which had promoted her previous tours up to this point, thus affecting the chart performance of all the singles from this era.

 

The song was originally intended to be recorded by Janet Jackson. Its R&B sounds were like nothing she had done before in her first two albums, and it marked a departure from her signature bubblegum pop sound to something more mature. In fact, it was the only song of hers that has ever charted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at #85.

 

Music Video

The same day the single was released, an accompanying music video premiered on MTV's Making the Video. It was directed by Francis Lawrence and it was filmed at the same studio, the same day that Shakira was shooting her video Whenever, Wherever, also directed by Lawrence.

The steamy video shows Britney and her dancers, dancing until the point of dehydration in what seems to be an Asian bath house. It was nominated for three categories at the VMA's 2002 (but didn't win any) and it landed at the yearly Top 100 countdown made by MTV Latin America in 2001 at #38 (North), #12 (Southeast) and #9 (Southwest).

 

 

Live performances

Besides its debut at the VMA's 2001, the song was performed at many tv shows, as well as other awards shows in order to promote it. Its choreography, especially the dance break, became a signature of Britney's career, and the song has been performed at every tour of hers since the Dream Within a Dream Tour, including the promotional performances of subsequent eras like In the Zone in 2003, or the series of festivals she did in 2016 to promote Glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Love 4
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apart of that "Great song, amazing video, fantastic choreography and even better live performances" and is one of my favorites but i think that as succes Overprotected or other more pop (Lonely, Cinderella...) and less R&B/"experiental" had been more succes in USA, even in Europe both where hits but Overprotected more.

But is only a comment, the artistry is more important that the succes at least from she, and she wanted that type of music.

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