In the Zone is the fourth Britney Spears, released on November 16, 2003, by Jive Records. Following the end of the Dream Within a Dream Tour in July 2002 and her break-up with Justin Timberlake, Spears announced she would take a six-month break from her career. She started working on the album in November 2002, with producers such as Bloodshy & Avant, R. Kelly, Christopher Stewart, Moby, Guy Sigsworth and The Matrix. Musically, In the Zone is a dance-oriented album that incorporates elements of various genres, such as house, trip hop and hip hop. It features instrumentation from guitars, drums, synthesizers, strings and Middle Eastern musical instruments.
Spears began writing songs for In the Zone while touring around the world, despite not knowing the direction of the album. She started to experiment with different producers, trying to find those who she had chemistry with. Spears stated she was an autobiographical songwriter, although not the point were she felt self-exploited. She also explained that the sexual nature of In the Zone was subconscious and happened while she was in the process of developing the album. The topic for the songs range from love, dancing, empowerment, and in the case of songs such as "Touch of My Hand", sex and masturbation.
After its release, In the Zone received mixed reviews from critics. Some appreciated the album, calling it a strong and confident pop record, while complimenting the mix of different styles and Spears's skills as a songwriter. Others however, criticized it for what they perceived as distant and processed vocals. Commercially, In the Zone became an international success, debuting atop of the charts in France and the United States, and peaking inside the top ten in eleven countries. In the United States, she became the first female artist to have four consecutive number-one albums. In the Zone went on to become the eighth best selling album of 2003.
Four singles were released from the album: "Me Against the Music", "Toxic" and "Everytime" became worldwide hits, peaking at number one in Australia and reaching top five positions worldwide. To promote In the Zone, Spears performed the songs in a number of television appearances and also embarked on The Onyx Hotel Tour. The album and its music videos are largely seen by critics as the end of her transition from teen pop star to a more adult female artist. In 2009, Amy Schriefer of NPR listed In the Zone as one of The 50 Most Important Recording of the Decade, calling it "a primer on the sound of pop in the '00s".
|1.||"Me Against the Music" (featuring Madonna)||Britney Spears, Madonna, Christopher Stewart, Thabiso Nikhereanye, Penelope Magnet,Terius Nash, Gary O'Brien||Trixster, Magnet||3:44|
|2.||"(I Got That) Boom Boom" (featuring Ying Yang Twins)||, Chyna Royal, Deongelo Holmes, Eric Jackson||Roy Hamilton||4:51|
|3.||"Showdown"||Spears, Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg, Henrik Jonback, Cathy Dennis||Bloodshy & Avant||3:17|
|4.||"Breathe on Me"||Steve Anderson, Lisa Greene, Stephen Lee||Mark Taylor||3:43|
|5.||"Early Mornin'"||Spears, Moby, Stewart, Magnet||Moby||3:45|
|6.||"Toxic"||Dennis, Karlsson, Winnberg, Jonback||Bloodshy & Avant||3:21|
|7.||"Outrageous"||R. Kelly||R. Kelly||3:21|
|8.||"Touch of My Hand"||Spears, Jimmy Harry, Balewa Muhammad, Shep Solomon||Harry, Solomon||4:19|
|9.||"The Hook Up"||Spears, Stewart, Nikhereanye, Magnet||Trixster, Magnet||3:54|
|10.||"Shadow"||Spears, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards, Charlie Midnight||The Matrix||3:45|
|11.||"Brave New Girl"||Spears, Brian Kierulf, Josh Schwartz, Kara DioGuardi||Kierulf, Schwartz||3:30|
|12.||"Everytime"||Spears, Annette Stamatelatos||Guy Sigsworth||3:53|
|13.||"Me Against the Music" (Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix) (featuring Madonna)||Spears, Madonna, Stewart, Nikhereanye, Magnet, Nash, O'Brien||Rishi Rich||4:33|
Latin America Bonus Track:
|14.||"The Answer"||Sean Combs, Ryan Leslie||Diddy, Leslie||3:54|
European, Japanese and Australian Bonus Tracks:
|14.||"The Answer"||Combs, Leslie||Diddy, Leslie||3:54|
|15.||"Don't Hang Up"||Spears, Kierulf, Schwarz||Kierulf, Schwarz||4:02|
DualDisc Edition Bonus Videos:
|1.||"Toxic" (Music video)||Joseph Kahn||3:30|
|2.||"Everytime" (Music video)||David LaChapelle||4:10|
|3.||"Chris Cox Megamix" (Music video)||Various directors||3:47|
"Me Against the Music" (featuring Madonna), the album's lead single, charted number one in international countries, such as Denmark and Spain. The song's music video features Spears chasing Madonna in a nightclub. Their kiss at the end of the video is similar to the one they had during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
"Toxic", the album's second single, is one of Spears' greatest songs. It charted the top five in 15 countries, and reaching number one in Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom. Its music video is Spears' most expensive video (it cost $1 million).
"Everytime", the album's third single, was apparently a response to Justin Timberlake's 2002 song "Cry Me a River". The song is named one of Britney's best ballads. The concept of the song's music video was very controversial.
"Outrageous", the album's fourth and final single, charted only in the United States and was not sucessful like the album's previous singles. A music video was planned, but Spears hurt her knee and had to undergo arthroscopic surgery. The video was canceled, as well as The Onyx Hotel Tour.
- A lot of the songs intended for In The Zone were recommissioned for Original Doll, songs such as "Money, Love and Happiness", "Hollow", "Like I'm Fallin'", "Diary Of...", "Free", "Take Off", "It Don't Mean A Thing" and "I'm Aaaaaight".
- "Me Against the Music" was originally going to be a solo song, but Spears got Madonna to record her vocals.
- The symbols in the album's booklet spell out "Britney Spears".
- Spears didn't want to shoot the video for "Outrageous" because she was fatigued from finishing The Onyx Hotel Tour. It's possible that this caused her knee injury.
- "Outrageous" was sent to radio in two formats: a shortened version and the version with a faster instrumental.
- "Everytime" was intended to be the lead single from In the Zone, but "Me Against the Music" was selected over it.
- "Shadow" is registered twice on ASCAP, meaning an alternative version was recorded. It has different writers. This version is rumored to be a Spanish version, titled 'Sombre', but this wasn't confirmed nor denied.
- "Chaotic" and "Over to You Now" were supposed to be included on the album, but we're cut. They were later included on Spears' extended play Britney & Kevin: Chaotic.
- "Chaotic" was replaced with "Brave New Girl", and was supposed to be a bonus track, but this was scrapped.
- When the intro on "Touch of My Hand" is reversed, it's possible to hear the instruments how they were recorded.
- "(I Got That) Boom Boom" was intended to be the lead, second and third single off the album, but ended up never being released.
- The unreleased song "Sippin' On" was supposed to be included on the bonus CD that came with the album's DVD. However, it was cut and later leaked online.
- The album cover was much more zoomed on Spears' face than intended. There's also a cover of Spears' full figure.
- The album was originally titled Get In the Zone, but was changed due to copyright issues.
- Britney convinced to her label Jive to release "Toxic" as a single as she loves dancing to it.
- Spears called "Toxic" her favourite song from her entire discography.
- Spears co-wrote most of the album tracks, and often changed the lyrics to suit herself.
- On the international standard edition of the album, the album includes "The Answer" which is not present in the U.S. edition.
- The first song recorded for the album was "Touch of My Hand".
- "Breathe on Me" was also planned to be released as a single (possibly after "Outrageous"), but was cancelled after Spears hurt her knee.
- "Brave New Girl" was originally meant to be titled "Brave Girl".
- It's also rumoured "Toxic"'s original name was "Toxic Guy".
- A Brazilian magazine previewed tracks from In the Zone before the album's release, it said the sixth track on the album was called "Toxic Guy" and as the magazine was written in Portuguese, it may have been a translation error.
- The same magazine also said the album was supposed to be called 'Outrageous' (this again, may have been a translation error, a rumour, or might have actually been considered to be an album title at one point).
- "Toxic" was the only single to win Spears a Grammy.
- It was rumoured in early 2004 that In the Zone was going to be re-released with new tracks. Her manager Larry Ruldoph also apparently seemed to hint at this, at the time. This never happened.
- There is an alternative version of "Early Mornin'" - it features much stronger vocals from Spears and she says 'shit' in the chorus.
- Spears was supposed to perform "(I Got That) Boom Boom" with the Ying Yang Twins on SNL in 2003, but couldn't because they had other commitments. She performed "Everytime" instead.
- "(I Got That) Boom Boom" was released on radio in South Africa as the second single and was on their VIP track list on a radio station called 5FM, until they were told that "Toxic" was the new single instead.
- During the release of “Me Against The Music” Britney still had her radio ban , this resulted that the songs promotion was cut in half and is the main reason why it charted so low in the states.
- Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst wrote and produced three trip hop tracks that were recorded in January 2003. However, after news of an affair between them broke, Durst told Jive Records he would not let them use the songs.
- Britney Personally wanted “Rockstar” to be on the album together with “Evreytime” ,but JIVE didn’t allow this as they thought the song would create Controversy and would be bad for her image.
- Britney has stated a lot of times she does not like “Outrageous” , this is the main reason that she has never performed the full song. This is one of her only singles that she has never performed fully.