|N/A||I'm A Slave 4 U|| Overprotected|
| Britney Spears|
|Released||September 24, 2001|
|Format||CD single, 12"|
|Genre||Dance-pop • R&B|
|Writer||Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams|
"I'm A Slave 4 U" is a song by Britney Spears taken from her third studio album Britney. It was released on September 24, 2001 as the lead single from the album.
Background and compositionEdit
"I'm a Slave 4 U" was written and produced by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, best known as The Neptunes, who also collaborated with Spears on another album track, "Boys", for her third and self-titled LP, "Britney". It was recorded by Andrew Cleman at Master Sound Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia and by Brian Garten at Right Track Studios in New York City, being later mixed by Serban Ghenea in NYC. Audio engineering was done by Ryan Smith and Tim Roberts. After reading the lyrics for the first time, Spears stated it talks "about me just wanting to go out and forget who I am and dance and have a good time. That's kinda where I am now right now. I love working, but at the same time, I love having a good time." The urban song is backed with breathy and moaning vocals and scratching. The soundscape of the song has been noted to be similar to Vanity 6's 1982's song "Nasty Girl"
The song was mostly well-received by the critics. A review from NME magazine stated that "the song is funk the way God intended —hypnotic, insistent, mysterious, suggestive— and if Prince was a nineteen-year-old former Disney Club host and virgin, he'd be proud to create such a record". Other reviews from Rolling Stone magazine and Allmusic agreed that "Slave" was a step towards a more mature sound. The song and video was the beginning of a different Britney and was the first of her seductive videos. Even though the single made it to #27 in the US, it is often regarded as one of Britney's best single by fans. However, there were some bad reviews such as the one by Stephanie McGrath from All Pop, who despite considering "Slave" as a "huge step away from the bouncy pop that made her a superstar" and was an "attempt to leave behind her pigtails and chirpy image", stated that the track "did not suit her style, the vocals were forced and the Janet Jackson slinkiness was unnatural".Bill Lamb from About.com listed at number nine, on her Top 10 Songs, saying: "By the time of this single off her third album, it was obvious Britney Spears was becoming an adult. This song is a radical shift from the "not quite innocent" 16 year old schoolgirl of Britney's first album. Slinky and sexy have crept into the Britney Spears style".
"I'm a Slave 4 U" reached number twenty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Britney's first lead single from an album not to crack the U.S. top ten. The track also became a top thirty hit on the Hot 100 Airplay, but just barely made into the Hot 100 Singles Sales peaking at number seventy-three. The low sales points are due mostly because of the song's 12-inch single release instead of a competitive regular CD single. "Slave" became Spears' first dance hit, reaching number four on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. It is also her first and, so far, only song to appear on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at number eighty-five. In Europe "Slave" was more successful, becoming a top ten hit in nearly every country that it charted in, including big markets such as Germany and France, where it was certified Silver by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique for selling over 125,000 copies. The track spent two weeks at number-five on the European Hot 100 Singles chart provided by magazine Music and Media at the time. "Slave" peaked at number-four on the official UK Singles Chart and spent a total of fourteen weeks within the top seventy-five and sold over 150,000 copies. In the Pacific, the track was somewhat successful, debuting at number-seven on the Australian Singles Chart. Despite spending a very short period on the chart, eight weeks, it was certified Gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association for shipments of over 35,000 units. In New Zealand, "Slave" debuted at number forty-six on November 4, 2001 and missed the top ten, peaking at number-thirteen in its third week. The song spent just six weeks on the chart.
Music videoEditThe music video was shot on a soundstage in Universal City, California, over Labor Day weekend (Sep. 1-2), under the direction of Francis Lawrence, and is one of her most risqué videos ever. It made its world premiere on MTV's "Making the Video" on September 24 at 5 p.m. EST, the same day the song officially hit the American radio stations, and debuted at #1 on Total Request Live two days later. Some of the dancing was choreographed by Puerto-Rican dancer Mayte Garcia, who taught Spears bellydancing for the video. In the video, Spears and fifteen dancers employ the same choreography seen in her with Spears looking over a balcony whilst singing with cars down in the distance. Spears is portrayed as a slave to the music who dances all day until she and the other dancers are sweaty and near dehydration, forcing them to search for water. Two alternative versions of the video clip can be found on the Greatest Hits: My Prerogative DVD released on November 9, 2004. The music video was nominated in three categories at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, and Best Choreography. The video clip for "I'm a Slave 4 U" ranked #1 in the list of the "50 Sexiest Music Videos of All-Time" published by Canadian music channel MuchMusic in 2007. An official remix video used the "Miguel Migs Petalpusher Vocal Mix" was also released. There are another 2 unreleased remix videos using the Thunderpuss Club Mix and the Thunderpuss Dark Mix Nearly 10 years later in 2011, the video would be compared to her Till The World Ends music video. Several references from the Slave video were made in the video for Till The World Ends, such as the dancers crowding around her and the sweaty dancers scene.
Live performancesEditSpears first performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" publicly at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City on September 6, 2001. Along with dancing in a very revealing outfit, the performance is probably most remembered for featuring a number of exotic animals, including a white tiger and a live albino Burmese Python on her shoulders, the latter of which has become one of Spears' most iconic images. The inclusion of the animals in the performance brought a great deal of criticism from animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In August 2008, MTV Network named the performance the most memorable moment in VMA history. Other performances include several television appearances to promote her third album, Britney. She performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 11, The Rosie O'Donnell Show on November 5 and the Late Show With David Letterman on November 6. A month later, Spears opened the 2001 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on December 4 with a performance of the track on a stage inside the fountains of the Bellagio Hotel. Notably, the song was performed at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to kick off the 2003 National Football League season. Spears performed the track on her latest four world tours, Dream Within a Dream, The Onyx Hotel, The Circus Starring Britney Spears and The Femme Fatale Tour. On the Dream Within a Dream Tour, she performed the song within a jungle setting and wore a green bra top and a yellow miniskirt. On the Onyx Hotel Tour, she performed it during the Mystic Garden segment and wore a blue dress. On The Circus Starring Britney Spears, she performed it during the Electro Circ segment after "Do Somethin'" and wore a black leotard with crystals on the front. On The Femme Fatale Tour, she performed it while wearing a pink bra top and denim hot pants.
- UK CD
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Main Version) — 3:23
- "Intimidated" — 3:17
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Instrumental) — 3:23
- European CD
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Main Version) — 3:23
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Instrumental) — 3:23
- "Intimidated" (Non-Album Track) — 3:17
- Britney... Interview — 4:16
- The Remixes - Promo
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Thunderpuss Radio Mix) — 3:18
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Miguel Migs Petalpusher Vocal Edit) — 3:35
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Album Version) — 3:23
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Thunderpuss Club Mix) — 8:46
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Miguel Migs Petalpusher Vocal) — 5:31
- The Singles Collection Boxset Single
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" - 3:23
- "Intimidated" - 3:17
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Video Enhancement) - 3:30
- Other Version
- "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Dave Audé Slave Driver Mix) — 5:51
Charts and certificationsEdit