On this day: Oct. 7: Madonna and Britney Spears 'Me Against The Music' single is in stores (2003)

Me Against The Music
 
 
October 07, 2003
Madonna and Britney Spears' "Me Against The Music" single is in stores.
 
Me Against The Music
Single by Britney Spears featuring Madonna
From the album In the Zone
Released: October 14, 2003
Format: CD single 12"
Recorded: 2003
Genre: Dance hip hop
Length: 3:45
Label: Jive
Writer(s): Britney Spears, Madonna, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Thabiso "Tab" Nikhereanye, Penelope Magnet, Terius Nash, Gary O'Brien
Producer(s): Trixster, Penelope Magnet
 
"Me Against the Music" is a song recorded by American singers Britney Spears and Madonna for Spears' fourth studio album, In the Zone (2003). It was written by Spears, Madonna, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Thabiso "Tab" Nikhereanye, Penelope Magnet, Terius Nash and Gary O'Brien. The song was released on October 14, 2003, by Jive Records, as the lead single of In the Zone. After bonding with Spears during a night in New York City, Stewart and Magnet started working on the song for her. During rehearsals for the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, Spears played Madonna the track and asked her to do the song with her.
 
"Me Against the Music" contains influences of hip hop and usage of funk guitars. Spears and Madonna trade lines during the verses, and Madonna sings the bridge. Lyrically, the song talks about battling the music and the pleasures of letting go on the dancefloor. The song received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Some felt it was a strong dance track of In the Zone, while others referred to it as lackluster and disappointing. The song was a commercial success, peaking atop of the charts in countries such as Australia, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland and Spain, as well as the European Hot 100 Singles. It also peaked at number two in Canada, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom, and inside the top five in many other nations. The song won the "Hot Dance Single of the Year" accolade at the 2004 Billboard Music Awards.
 
The accompanying music video for "Me Against the Music" shows Spears and Madonna playing opposites in a nightclub. A cat-and-mouse chase ensues, and Spears finds Madonna in the end, only for the latter to disappear before they kiss. The video received positive reviews from critics, who noted it as symbolic of the sexual roles between the women. Spears has performed the song in a number of live appearances including the 2003 NFL Kickoff Live, Saturday Night Live, 2003 American Music Awards and TRL. She has also performed remixed versions with elements of bhangra music at The Onyx Hotel Tour (2004) and The Circus Starring Britney Spears (2009). Spears is currently performing the song on her Las Vegas residency show Britney: Piece of Me. "Me Against the Music" has been sampled by Justice, while the music video was recreated by television series Glee and included an appearance by Spears.
 
Composition
 
"Me Against the Music" is a dance and hip hop song with usage of funk guitars. The song features Madonna, but was constructed as a duet after she was added to the track. Spears and Madonna trade lines during the verses, and Madonna sings solo in the bridge. Stewart described the sound as "half-rapping, half-singing" and "beat-driven". According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Hal Leonard Corporation, "Me Against the Music" is set in a moderate dance beat, with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. Spears's vocal range span from the low-note of G2 to the high-note of B4. Gavin Mueller of Stylus Magazine deemed Spears's vocals as "sexy and sultry" and compared them to those of Prince.
 
In the song, Spears and Madonna sing of the pleasures of letting go on the dancefloor, in lyrics such as "I'm up against the speaker / Trying to take on the music / It's like a competition". Spears explained the concept of the song as "basically about just going to a club and letting yourself go and battling with whoever is around you and battling against the music as well." Magnet continued, saying, "Like she was hearing the music and trying to out-dance the track or out-beat the drum or out-pluck the guitar. It's as if she's in the club, losing herself in the music." William Shaw of Blender stated Madonna's verse could be interpreted as her passing the baton to a new talent, as well as "a taunt from the old guard to the uptight youngster."
 
Remixes
 
A number of remixes were commissioned by Jive Records, to accompany the song. The Australian CD singles included remixes by artists such Peter Rauhofer, Rishi Rich, Passengerz and Terminalhead. The US CD single also contained remixes by Trak Starz, Gabriel & Dresden, Bloodshy & Avant and Kanye West. The Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix was later included in the tracklist of In the Zone. The remix removes the original melody of the song and adds a clattering backbeat and Punjabi shouts. Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times called the remix "excellent", noting that it is "so frenetic you barely notice Ms. Spears and Madonna – it's odd to hear two such ubiquitous figures sounding so anonymous." Britney had also contacted Outkast to remix "Me Against the Music" but the remix was not released.
 
Music video
 
 
The music video for "Me Against the Music" was filmed over three days in October 2003, at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, New York. It was directed by Paul Hunter, who revealed that the concept was setting Spears and Madonna apart, hence Spears wore a black outfit whereas Madonna sported a white suit. Spears stated, "The video is more sensual than I’m used to  It was my first time doing a collaboration and I got Madonna. It’s really interesting to see the two different styles together." Kevin Tancharoen was the choreographer of the video. The vehicle used in the video, a Mazda RX-8, was autographed by Spears on the hood and auctioned off to benefit the Britney Spears Foundation. In 2009, Hunter talked to MTV News about the video, saying, "Madonna is an icon of an earlier generation, and then Britney of the newer generation. She was at her peak at that point  So it was a challenge to kind of bring both of the worlds together. I wanted it to be a bit of a cat-and-mouse sort of game and a little bit of a foreplay between Britney and Madonna and just sort of tease the audience."
 
The video premiered on television on Making the Video on October 21, 2003 at 23:00 EDT. Its online premiere was on Yahoo! Music. It was viewed more than 2 million times in its first five days. The video reached number one on the AOL Music Top Video chart in November 2003, with 3,356,007 million streams. In January 2004, the video topped the same chart again with 1,198,920 million streams. Jocelyn Vena of MTV said, "It was the changing of the guard — or at least the meeting of two of the most influential pop divas of all time.  The superstars tantalize the audience (and each other) throughout the flirty video." Antonella Lazzeri of The Sun commented, "Just weeks after snogging at the MTV Video Music Awards they teamed up for another raunchy double act.  The video highlight comes with the pair embracing against a wall, only for Madonna  to vanish just as they are about to kiss."
 
 
Julie Andsager stated the 'fantasy-fulfillment' strategy of Spears continued with the Madonna kiss and the "Me Against the Music" video, but added that "she has, perhaps, taken her sexuality to its extreme—for network television, at least—at the age of 22". Laurenz Volkmann said that it showcases an entire range of different female roles between 'older' and 'younger' sign systems. Author Judith Ann Peraino commented, "In 1963, Judy Garland presented Barbra Streisand as her protégée as songstress and gay icon; in 2003, Madonna instated Spears as her protégée in same-sex erotica and icon of polymorphous sexuality." (Wiki)
 
Track listings
 
Australia CD 1
"Me Against the Music" – 3:43
"Me Against the Music" (Peter Rauhofer Radio Mix)  – 3:42
"Me Against the Music" (The Mad Brit Mixshow)  – 5:55
 
Australia CD 2
"Me Against the Music" (Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix)  – 4:32
"Me Against the Music" (Passengerz vs. The Club Mix)  – 7:37
"Me Against the Music" (Terminalhead Vocal Mix)  – 7:10
"Me Against the Music" (Video Mix Instrumental)  – 3:35
 
UK/EU CD Single
"Me Against the Music" – 3:43
"Me Against the Music" (Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix)  – 4:33
"Me Against the Music" (Peter Rauhofer Radio Mix)  – 3:42
"Me Against the Music" (The Mad Brit Mixshow)  – 5:55
 
UK CD Maxi 
"Me Against the Music" (Trak Starz Remix) – 3:31
"Me Against the Music" (Scott Storch Remix) – 3:38
"Me Against the Music" (Kanye West Remix) – 3:43
 
U.S. CD Single
"Me Against the Music" – 3:43
"Me Against the Music" (Trak Starz Remix)  – 3:31
"Me Against the Music" (Gabriel & Dresden Club Mix)  – 8:51
"Me Against the Music" (Peter Rauhofer Radio Mix)  – 3:43
"Me Against the Music" (The Mad Brit Mixshow)  – 5:55
"Me Against the Music" (Bloodshy & Avant “Dubbie Style” Remix)  – 5:15
"Me Against the Music" (Kanye West Remix) – 3:43
 
U.S. 12" Vinyl 
A1. "Me Against the Music" (Peter Rauhofer's Electrohouse Mix)  – 8:17
A2. "Me Against the Music" (The Mad Brit Mixshow)  – 5:55
B1. "Me Against the Music" (Gabriel & Dresden Club Mix)  – 8:51
B2. "Me Against the Music" (Rishi Rich's Punjabi Club Mix)  – 5:34
C1. "Me Against the Music" (Peter Rauhofer's Electrohouse Dub)  – 6:49
C2. "Me Against the Music" (Passengerz Vs The Club Mix)  – 7:34
D1. "Me Against the Music" (Gabriel & Dresden Dub)  – 7:14
D2. "Me Against the Music" (Terminalhead Vocal Mix)  – 7:07
 
 

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