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In the Zone is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Britney Spears. It was 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.

Following 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".

Track Listing

Standard Version
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Me Against the Music"Britney Spears • Madonna • Gary O'Brien • Penelope Magnet • Terius Nash • Thabiso Nikhereanye • Christopher Stewart3:43
2."(I Got That) Boom Boom"Deongelo Holmes • Eric Jackson • Chyna Royal4:51
3."Showdown"Spears • Cathy Dennis • Henrik Jonback • Christian Karlsson • Pontus Winnberg3:18
4."Breathe on Me"Steve Anderson • Lisa Greene • Stephen Lee3:43
5."Early Mornin'"Spears • Magnet • Nikhereanye • Stewart3:45
6."Toxic"Dennis • Jonback • Karlsson • Winnberg3:21
7."Outrageous"R. Kelly3:22
8."Touch of My Hand"Spears • Jimmy Harry • Balewa Muhammad • Shep Solomon4:19
9."The Hook Up"Spears • Magnet • Nikhereanye • Stewart3:54
10."Shadow"Spears • Lauren Christy • Graham Edwards • Charlie Midnight • Scott Spock3:45
11."Brave New Girl"Spears • Kara DioGuardi • Brian Kierulf • Josh Schwartz3:30
12."Everytime"Spears • Annette Stamatelatos3:53
13."Me Against the Music (Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix)" 4:31
Total length:50:02
International Edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
14."The Answer"Sean Combs • Ryan Leslie3:54
Total length:53:37
Australian, UK & Japanese Version
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
15."Don't Hang Up"Spears • Kierulf • Schwartz4:02
Total length:57:59

Singles

"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.

Promotional Singles

(I Got that) Boom Boom” was released as the second single in South Africa. The track has since received positive reviews from South African radios. The song had multiple promo performances.

"Breathe on Me" physical CD's were released in China. The track has since received positive reviews from critics and is a fan favourite. A "Breathe On Me" Remix album of 15 remixes was released in 2004. The song had multiple promo performances.

Unreleased & Unused Songs

  • Bring Back Yesterday - Confirmed by Joshua Schultz in 2021.
  • Conscience - Leaked in 2015.
  • Cherry Bomb - Demo pitch by Alex Greggs and Bradley Raymond.
  • Crazy Girl - Rumoured to be intended as a bonus track for the European edition of the album.
  • Chaotic - The song was released on the Chaotic EP in 2005.
  • Do Like Ya 'Spose To - Demo pitch by Alex Greggs and Bradley Raymond.
  • Disguise My Love - It's confirmed Britney recorded the song. Demo pitch by Michelle Bell has leaked online.
  • DFA Demo - Fans have called the song "Get It". Leaked in 2006.
  • Girls And Boys - It's the only bonus song on the DVD version on the album that isn't available on streaming services.
  • Guilty - The song samples Prince's "Kiss". This song is rumored to be about and her affair with Wade Robson.
  • Graffiti My Soul - Britney recorded a undermixed version before it was given to Girls Aloud for their album.
  • Look Who's Talking Now - The song is a response to Justin Timberake's "Cry Me A River" as it refrences the word "Justify". It was given to BOA years later for her debut US release album.
  • Love's Supposed 2 Be - Mentioned by Rob Fusari in 2003.
  • Love Crime - Demo pitch by Jennifer Kimball has leaked online.
  • Mystic Man - It's believed to be written about Justin Timberlake. The song only performed live in 2002.
  • Nothing (Ft. Fred Durst) - Confirmed in 2003. Britney said the song was an experiment and didn't want it to appear on the album.
  • New Religion - Confirmed by Joshua Schultz in 2021.
  • Outta Here - Demo pitch by Karen Poole, Henrik Jonback, Bloodshy & Avant. Demo snippit as leaked online.
  • Over To You Now - The song was released on the Chaotic EP in 2005.
  • Sippin On - The song was initially to be included on select versions of the In the Zone DVD but was omitted.
  • Strip - The song was britney's favorite but was removed from the final track listing.
  • Strangest Love - Leaked in 2011.
  • Peep Show - Snippet leaked in 2012.
  • Pleasure You - In 2012, the song was stolen and leaked with unofficial feature vocals from Don Philip.
  • Phony Lullaby - Demo pitch by Cathy Dennis for the album, released by Rachel Stevens under the name of "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex"
  • Pulse - Britney recorded the song but was given to Brother + Sister in 2005.
  • Rockstar - Almost made the tracklist but was eventually cut. The song is a response to Fred Durst's Limp Bizkit song "Just Drop Dead". Leaked in 2011.
  • Reminded - Confirmed by Joshua Schultz in 2021.
  • Stay - Confirmed in the June 2003 issue of “Music Week”, “sounds like Massive Attack meets Coldplay meets Britney".
  • Things We Do For Love - Alternativley titled "Crazy Things", Demo pitch by Michelle Bell, Bloodshy & Avant. Demo snippet leaked in 2020.
  • Untouchable - Written by Britney Spears, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels & Kenneth Pratt.
  • Under The Pressure - A demo pitch snippet by Michelle Bell has leaked online.
  • Weakness - Britney only performed the song live in 2002.
  • Wonderland - According to songwriter Jimmy Harry, it has an electronic sound.
  • Watch What Ya Shakin' - The song confirmed by the Ying Yang Twins in a 2004 radio interview. It's rumoured to sound similar to the Ying Yang Twin's hit with Lil' Jon "Get Low."
  • You Were My Home - The song is written about relationship with Justin Timberlake.
  • What's Next - Demo pitch by Billy Lawrence has leaked online.

Trivia

  • A lot of the songs intended for In The Zone were recommissioned for Original Doll. Those include "Money, Love and Happiness", "Hollow", "Like I'm Fallin'", "Free", "Take Off", "Sacred" and "I'm Aaaaaight".
  • "Me Against the Music" was originally going to be a solo song, but Spears asked Madonna to appear on the song.
  • 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.
  • Spears has stated her dislike of “Outrageous" several times. This is the main reason she has never performed the song in full.
  • "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 in on Spears' face than intended. There's also a cover of Spears' full figure.
  • 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.
    • 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 Rudolph 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.
  • 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 “Everytime” ,but JIVE didn’t allow this as they thought the song would create Controversy and would be bad for her image
  • Britney also had to beg her label JIVE to have "Everytime" on the album, as it's the only ballad that's written by her.
  • There was a different tracklist in the early time of making the album without mixes (it is speculated that the tracks are not in order) .

1. Me Against The Music

2. (I Got That) Boom Boom

3. The Answer

4. Toxic

5. Rockstar

6. Breath On Me

7. Early Mornin’

8. Outrageous

9. The Hook Up

10. Shadow

11. Chaotic

12. Everytime I Try

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CD Booklet

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