Both Britney Spears and Madonna are back in the press recently, though for very different reasons.
Spears is making headlines thanks to her memoir, The Woman in Me. The tell-all shocked millions with its stories about her being pushed into fame, her conservatorship, and especially the abortion she had when she became pregnant with Justin Timberlake’s baby — something she apparently didn’t want.
The book quickly shot to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
At the same time, Madonna is trending almost constantly as she travels the world on her The Celebration Tour.
The superstar finally returned to the road after a very scary hospital stay this summer that saw her fighting for her life for a time. That illness caused her to delay the trek, which is now working its way through Europe, seeing the chart-topper perform the hits that made her a legend.
While they’re both powerhouses in their own right, Spears and Madonna also have a longstanding friendship.
The two have supported one another several times throughout their lives, and they’ve worked together once. The two recorded and released one duet, “Me Against the Music,” which is now 20 years old. The tune hit that milestone last month, becoming nearly old enough to drink.
To celebrate its anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts about the collaboration, with fans of both artists still love to listen to.
1. At rehearsals for the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, which are remembered for the infamous kiss between Madonna, Spears and Christina Aguilera, Spears played Madonna the track for the first time. Then and there, she proposed they collaborate on the song, and Madonna agreed.
2. The single is featured on Spears’s album In The Zone, and that’s not a coincidence. The title of the full-length actually comes from “Me Against the Music.” The lyric that inspired its name goes, “I’m up against the speaker, trying to take on the music / It’s like a competition, me against the beat / I wanna get in the zone (in the zone).”
3. Spears’ record label aimed to release a different song as the lead single from In The Zone titled “Outrageous.” The singer pushed for the Madonna collaboration, and won out in the end, despite arguments from her label. “Outrageous” was the last album single and performed poorly on the charts.
4. Spears first performed “Me Against the Music” as a solo song at the 2003 NFL Kickoff Live event. At the time, nobody knew whether it would be released as a single, and certainly not that Madonna would be involved later on.
5. The singer reportedly reached out to hip-hop duo OutKast to remix the song. There’s a possibility that the reworking actually exists somewhere, though it was never released.
6. While fans have always enjoyed “Me Against the Music,” it largely received negative reviews when it was released. Particular hate was bestowed upon Madonna’s involvement, with few praising her lines.
7. “Me Against the Music” marked Spears’ first song to reach the Hot 100, which earned her credit as a songwriter. Since then, he’s co-written a few of her hits, though most of her best-known tracks were completely penned by others.
8. The song was also the first in Billboard history to see Madonna hit the charts in a featured role. In the 20 years since she has only appeared as a featured act on a handful of other tracks.
9. “Me Against the Music” gave Spears her first No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart. She has since gone on to reach the summit with 11 different singles.
10. The “Me Against the Music” music video kicks off with Spears parking a silver Mazda RX-8. After filming the visual, the singer signed the hood of the car, which was later auctioned to support the Britney Spears Foundation.
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