In the Zone
|Released||January 12, 2004|
|Genre||Dance-pop • techno-pop • pop-rock • electropop|
|Writer||Cathy Dennis, Henrik Jonback, Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg|
|Producer||Bloodshy & Avant|
"Toxic" is a song by Britney Spears from her fourth album, In the Zone. It was released on January 12, 2004, by Jive Records as the second single from the album. Co-written and produced by Bloodshy & Avant, the song was initially offered to Kylie Minogue. After trying to choose between "(I Got That) Boom Boom" and "Outrageous" to be the second single from In the Zone, Spears selected "Toxic" instead. Its lyrics refer to being addicted to a lover. The song was well received by critics, who deemed it as the strongest track of In the Zone, while praising its hook and chorus.
Background[edit | edit source]
"Toxic" was written by Cathy Dennis, Henrik Jonback, Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg, and Sameer Chhabra from production team Bloodshy & Avant, while produced by the latter two.In the Zone liner notes. Jive Records (2003) The song was originally offered to Kylie Minogue for her ninth studio album Body Language (2003), but she rejected it. Minogue later commented, "I wasn't at all angry when it worked for her. It's like the fish that got away. You just have to accept it. "Toxic" was recorded at Murlyn Studios in Stockholm, Sweden] and Record Plant in Hollywood, California. The song was later mixed by Niklas Flyckt at Khabang Studios in Stockholm. In December 2003, it was announced by MTV News that after trying to choose between "(I Got That) Boom Boom" and "Outrageous" to be the second single from In the Zone, Spears had selected "Toxic" instead. She described it as "an upbeat song. It's really different, that's why I like it so much.
On June 5, 2017, Spears' demo for "Toxic" was leaked to YouTube. The demo contains the instrumental track, combined with Spears' original unedited vocals. Despite anticipation that the leak would confirm suspicion of Spears' natural vocals being sub-par, it received generally positive criticism.
Lyrics[edit | edit source]
Music video[edit | edit source]
The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Joseph Kahn and features references to Blade Runner, The Seven Year Itch and the films of John Woo. It portrays Spears as a secret agent in the search of a vial of green liquid. After she steals it, she enters an apartment and poisons her unfaithful boyfriend. The video also includes interspersed scenes of Spears naked with diamonds over her body. After Janet Jackson's Superbowl incident, the video was considered too racy for MTV and was moved to late-night programming. "Toxic" is known for showing Spears for the first time as a confident adult woman, comfortable with her own sexuality.
Chart perfomance[edit | edit source]
"Toxic" attained worldwide success, reaching the top-five in fifteen countries, while topping the charts in Australia, Canada, Hungary, Norway and the United Kingdom. In the United States, it became her first single to peak inside the top ten in almost four years.
Live performances[edit | edit source]
Spears has performed "Toxic" in a number of live appearances, including the 2004 NRJ Music Awards and in three of her concert tours. It was the opening number of The Onyx Hotel Tour (2004), where she sang atop of a bus wearing a black catsuit; Spears also performed remixed versions of the song at The Circus Starring Britney Spears (2009) and the Femme Fatale Tour (2011). "Toxic" has been covered by artists such as Mark Ronson, A Static Lullaby and Ingrid Michaelson, and in television series Glee. The song has also appeared in feature films such as Knocked Up, You Again and television series Doctor Who. "Toxic" won Spears her first Grammy at the 2005 ceremony in the category of Best Dance Recording, while gaining her credibility amongst critics. The song has been included in lists by Pitchfork, NME and Rolling Stone as one of the best songs of the decade. It has been noted for redefining the sound of dance-pop music. Spears has named "Toxic" as her favorite song from her career.