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This Day in Pop: 'Britney' album is released in 2001 (November 06)

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On November 06, 2001 Britney Spears released her third studio album, titled Britney. It had already been released in Japan on October 31, and in Europe on November 05.


The album, although still pop, incorporates more influences of R&B and hip-hop and even electronica than its predecessors. It counted with the collaboration of several producers such as Max Martin, Darkchild, The Neptunes and even her boyfriend at the time, Justin Timberlake for the track What It's Like to Be Me. Britney herself co-wrote 6 of the tracks.

Britney was interviewed by MTV at the time:


Writing, which Spears first attempted on "Diary" from last year's Oops! ... I Did It Again, came more easily to the singer this time, due partially to the assistance she received from writing team Josh and Ryan.

While Spears simply came up with the concepts they developed on some of the tracks, she wrote both melody and words for others.

"This is the first album I have every really written and taken my time on," Spears said. "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."

Aside from Jerkins, who produced Spears' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction)" cover and other tracks on her prior album, Spears also worked with the Neptunes on Britney.

"I was inspired by a lot of hip-hop and R&B while I was on my last tour," Spears said. "I was inspired by Jay-Z and the Neptunes. I told Jive I really wanted to work with [the Neptunes]. I wanted to make [Britney] nastier and funkier."

The hip-hop duo produced "I'm a Slave 4 U" and "Boys." Spears said the first song she recorded with them, though, was a ballad that will likely appear on her next album.

Britney's "nastier" sound, which doesn't exceed a few "damns," prompted some critics to wonder if Spears may be outgrowing her audience.

"It's not my intention to leave my young fans. I just want an older generation to pick up on it as well," she responded. "I couldn't do ... Baby One More Time number three. I had to change it up and pray people think that's cool."



Britney reached the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 in the US, as well as in 5 other countries, and it became a Top 10 in over 25 charts around the world. It's sold over 10 million copies globally.


Several singles were released in order to promote the album, though this time they were released at different times depending on the territory, with some even being region exclusive:

  • I'm a Slave 4 U
  • I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman
  • Overprotected
  • I Love Rock 'n' Roll
  • Boys (The Co-Ed Remix)
  • Anticipating



On November 01, she had also kicked off her Dream Within a Dream Tour in Ohio, a few days before the record came out in the United States.




Ahead of the release of the album, MTV had a special TRL show called Total Britney Live on November 03 in order to promote the record



On the day of the release, she also appeared on TRL Spanking New Music.



The album also coincided with the release of the movie Crossroads, starred by Britney, in 2002. A version of he music video for Not a Girl featured scenes from the movie.


In 2003, Britney got a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album, but lost to Norah Jones' Come Away with Me.






Britney has received multiple Platinum and Gold certifications around the world. In 2019 it got a special release on vinyl through Urban Outfitters. It's got over 370M streams on Spotify.



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Thanks for posting this! What a time to be alive to witness this era. I have some commentary to add..

1. I never knew that The Neptunes produced a ballad for her, and that it was supposed appear on her next album. I wonder what happened to that. 

2. I enjoyed the Britney listening party clip. So many gif worthy moments from the audience. :haha_britney_laugh_lol_lmao_hehe_haha_bw_black_white:

3. The only thing I don’t like about this era is that her label turned almost half the album into a “Crossroads” soundtrack. For me, this would have been the perfect tracklist…

1. Overprotected (“I need time, joy, I need space, love, I need..me..Action!” was the perfect opening line)

2. I’m a Slave 4 U

3. Lonely 

4. She’ll Never Be Me 

5. I Run Away

6. Before The Goodbye

7. When I Say So 

8. Cinderella

9. Boys 

10. What It’s Like To Be Me 

10. Anticipating 

11. That’s Where You Take Me 

12. Let Me Be 

13. Tell Me (Am I A Sinner)
*Bonus Track*

I believe Britney intended for most of these songs to be on the standard edition, since she claimed in a interview she wrote every song but 2 on the album. Her label probably thought it was too mature and didn’t want to alienate her younger fan base, but I think it woulda been just as successful, if not more, with the tracklist I posted. “I Run Away” should have been the ballad single in place of the cheese fest that is “Not a Girl”. 

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Oh wow, such a fantastic era. She truly was like peak superstardom during this time and I just remember her being literally EVERYWHERE you turned and it was wonderful to be a fan. There was also an interview, performance, photoshoot, etc. She was SERVING IT.

It’s literally such a crime that “Slave” peaked at number 27 and “Overprotected” peaked at 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the rest of the singles didn’t chart at all. 

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