Glory 11 2020.jpg
Swimming in the Stars
Matches N/A
Britney Spears Backstreet Boys Matches.jpg
Britney Spears (ft. The Backstreet Boys)
Glory
Released December 18, 2020
Format Digital • Vinyl
Genre Dance

Glitch pop Electropop

Length 2:52
Label RCA
Writer Mike Wise, Asia Whiteacre, Justin Tranter, Ian Kirkpatrick
Producer Wise

Kirkpatrick

"Matches" is a song recorded by American singer Britney Spears and American boy band Backstreet Boys for Spears' ninth studio album, Glory (2016). It was written by Mike Wise, Asia Whiteacre, Justin Tranter, and Ian Kirkpatrick originally for Backstreet Boys' ninth studio album DNA (2019), however song got scrapped and later was re-recorded by Spears as a collaboration between her and boy band. The track only appears on the deluxe reissue of the album first released on December 4, 2020. It was sent to contemporary hit radio in Italy on December 18, 2020, as the fifth single from Glory. "Matches" was met with positive reception, with critics pointing out the "90's vibe" that the song gives off.

Background and composition[edit | edit source]

"Matches" was produced by Michael Wise and Ian Kirkpatrick and co-written by Asia Whiteacre and Justin Tranter. Even though that both Spears and Backstreet Boys had a prime in late 1990s and early 2000s, "Matches" marks their first collaboration, however both artists previously worked together in 2001, by contributing their vocals to cover of "What's Going On" as a part of Artists Against AIDS Worldwide. The song was recorded early in 2017 solely by Backstreet Boys for their ninth studio album DNA (2019), but didn't make the cut. However Spears heard it and loved it, so she recorded it, but keeping Backstreet Boys on a song. One of boy band members, AJ McLean, was positive about song's release and feeling it gives off, and he said he would like to record a music video in "quarantine style".

"Matches" is a fast dance, glitch pop and electropop song containing glitchy and electronic sound effects and heavily treated vocals. Song's lyrics describe dangerous love and they have been described as "sultry" by USA Today's Sara Moniuszko. Lyrics of "Matches" contain many reversals; in pre-chorus Backstreet Boys are singing "Our fire is killing me / The good kind of killing me", when Spears starts her verse with line "I like the way you dress" later adding "And the way you undress".

Release[edit | edit source]

"Matches" was first released on December 4, 2020, by being included in physical deluxe re-issue of Spears' ninth studio album Glory. A week later, on December 11, a re-issue was released to digital download and streaming media. In the track listing, the track is placed after two previous singles, "Mood Ring" and "Swimming in the Stars". With that release, both Spears and Backstreet Boys tweeted about it, with Spears calling the boys her friends and asking fans about their opinion of the song, while the Backstreet Boys focused on being "asked about the possibility of a Collab like this for the past 20 years". The song impacted Italian contemporary hit radio stations on December 18, 2020, making it Glory's fifth single.

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

Writing for Rolling Stone Jon Blisten called "Matches" a "delightful hit of contemporary club pop" with strings that are "reminiscent of the Max Martin-style songs that made Spears and BSB superstars". Tom Breihan from Stereogum called the track "catchy" and" "fast, glitchy pop". He also added that "'It's Backstreet back, bitch' on the intro feels like a missed opportunity". In opposite to Rolling Stones Blisten, Wren Graves of Consequence of Sound stated that "Matches" "isn't a callback to the glory days of denim dresses and Max Martin productions; instead, it's a trip through the last decade of horny EDM". Idolators Mike Wass called collaboration "sexy" and said that it "doesn’t quite reach those heights [as "Swimming in the Stars"]", but still being a "worthy addition to both discographies".

Commercial performance[edit | edit source]

"Matches" did not spawn huge commercial success, however, it charted on the US and Canada Digital Song Sales charts, placing at number 7 and 11, respectively. In Europe, the song peaked at number 22 on Germany Digital Song Sales chart and Hungary Singles chart and 48 on UK Download Chart. The song also reached number 40 on New Zealand Hot Single Sales chart.

Credits and personnel[edit | edit source]

Credits adapted from Tidal.

  • Britney Spears – lead vocals
  • Backstreet Boys – lead vocals
  • Ian Kirkpatrick – songwriting, production
  • Michael Wise – songwriting, production
  • Justin Tranter – songwriting
  • Asia Whiteacre – songwriting
  • Josh Gudwin – mixing
  • Dave Kutch – mastering

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

[Verse 1: Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears]
I taste you in the air
Your energy everywhere
Oh, it’s borderline unfair
You know, I can see ‘em prayin’ it, screamin' my name, oh
And if it’s up to me (I)
I need you in between (My)
In my Egyptian sheets
You know, I can see ‘em prayin’, think you feel the same, oh

[Pre-Chorus: Backstreet Boys]
Oh, if they dusted me for prints
They'd find you all over me, are you all over me?
Nothing ever quite felt like this
The fire is killing me
The good kind of killing me

[Chorus: Britney Spears]
Like playing with matches, matches, matches
This might leave some damage, damage, damage
The good kind of damage, damage, damage
Like playing with matches, matches, matches
Like playing with matches

[Drop: Britney Spears]
Like playing with matches
Playing with matches

[Verse 2: Britney Spears]
I like the way you dress (yeah)
And then how you undress (yeah)
Like it here on your chest
No, there ain’t no better place to catch my breath, yeah

[Pre-Chorus: Britney Spears]
Oh if they dusted me for prints
They'd find you all over me, all over me
Nothing quite felt like this
The fire is killing me
The good kind of killing me

[Chorus: Britney Spears]
Like playing with matches, matches, matches
This might leave some damage, damage, damage
The good kind of damage, damage, damage
Like playing with matches, matches, matches
Like playing with

[Bridge: Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears]
Oh-whoa-oh
Oh-whoa-oh
Oh-whoa-oh-oh-oh
Want you good in the worst way
Oh-whoa-oh
Oh-whoa-oh
Oh-whoa-oh-oh-oh
Want you good in the worst way

[Chorus: Britney Spears]
Like playing with matches, matches
This might leave some damage, damage, damage
The good kind of damage, damage, damage
Like playing with matches, matches, matches
Like playing with matches

[Drop: Britney Spears]
Like playing with matches
Playing with matches
Like playing with matches
Playing with matches

Video[edit | edit source]

Britney_Spears,_Backstreet_Boys_-_Matches_(Audio)

Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys - Matches (Audio)

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