13 Weird Britney Spears Lyrics You Didn't Think Too Hard About Until Now
When you think of a certain iconic blonde singer, it's easy to think of pop at its most seductive and major chord songs that get stuck in your head for weeks. But the eccentricity of Britney Spears' work is perhaps less obvious. Still, these Spears songs with weird lyrics just go to show how out-there the star is open to being.
While the uproar over Spears not writing any of her tracks on her 2011 album Femme Fatale essentially publicized that the majority of her hits are penned by songwriters, she presumably still has some say over the lyrics she gets to sing. And it's worth keeping in mind that, since the songs she does write, like "Alien," are just as wacky as any of the songs penned by independent musicians, perhaps songwriters are influenced by the "Slumber Party" singer's openness to weird lines when composing tunes for her consideration.
With nine albums under her belt, there is a whole galaxy of songs out there covering everything from technology in the '90s ("E-Mail My Heart") to the importance of a puritanical work ethic to earning your party time ("Work B*tch"). The one uniting factor? A willingness to get goofy whenever possible.
1"(You Drive Me) Crazy" From '...Baby One More Time' (1999)
The Weird Lyrics: "Baby, you spin me around/The earth is moving, but I can't feel the ground"
The first line is presumably a tribute to the iconic Dead or Alive single "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)", but what about its partner line? A shameless bit of nonsense to forge a rhyming couplet? Or a rumination on the way emotion lifts us beyond the sphere of science? It's a puzzle.
2"Soda Pop" From '...Baby One More Time' (1999)
The Weird Lyrics: "We have a plan, we have a definite plan/To level the vibes"
Did late '90s pop music have to mean anything, really? Vibes is a gloriously vague term that gets thrown about with abandon, but "to level the vibes" reaches a whole new nutty level of nonsense.
3"E-mail My Heart" From '...Baby One More Time' (1999)
The Weird Lyrics: "E-mail my heart and say our love will never die"
And there you were thinking the intricacies of email, like putting together a mailing list, were tricky. Spears circa 1999 was already trying to find a way to connect her inbox to her body's most important organ.
4"Girl In The Mirror" From 'Oops!...I Did It Again' (2000)
The Weird Lyrics: "There's a girl in the mirror/I wonder who she is"
The premise of the song is wacky. A girl looks in the mirror and sings about the stranger she sees there. The plot twist — that the girl in the mirror, is in fact, the singer herself — seems pretty weak for an album that came out just one year after The Sixth Sense.
5"Dear Diary" From 'Oops!...I Did It Again' (2000)
The Weird Lyrics: "Diary, tell me what to do/Please tell me what to say"
Writing a diary in a time of emotional distress is a pretty universal experience, even if the crush Spears sings about reaches a more stalkerish intensity than your usual high school heartache. But when the character pleads with her diary to give her instruction, we reach new weirdnesses. Why does Oops!...I Did It Again era Britney have such an extreme relationship to all the inanimate objects in her room, like mirrors and diaries? Where are this teen's friends and confidants?
6"Work B*tch" From 'Britney Jean' (2013)
The Weird Lyrics:"Go call the police, go call the governor/I bring the treble, don't mean to trouble ya'"
You might have thought the weirdest thing about this song was the icon's Sweeney Todd-esque British accent in the spoken parts or the S&M product placement of a speaker (see roughly two minutes in). But nope. Arguably this line is amongst the song's goofiest offerings. Who is the police? And the governor? Why would the treble trouble us? So, so many questions.
7"If U Seek Amy" From 'Circus' (2008)
The Weird Lyrics: "But all of the boys and all of the girls are/ Begging to if you seek Amy"
As The Guardian put it, the hidden meaning of "If U Seek Amy" isn't hard to guess: it's "not so much about Amy, it's about the letters F, U, C, K – oh, and 'me'." As such, the clumsy refrain of the chorus is some high intensity nonsense in order to shoehorn in the joke. What does the sentence above even mean?
8"Alien" From 'Britney Jean' (2013)
The Weird Lyrics: "There was a time I was one of a kind/ Lost in the world of me, myself and I/Was lonely then, like an alien"
While the first two lines make sense — the singer is isolated, increasingly submerged in herself — the third line shocks the listener out of their reverie. When you think of loneliness, are aliens the first beings that come to mind? Not... really.
9"Touch Of My Hand" From 'In The Zone' (2003)
The Weird Lyrics: "From the small of my back and the arch of my feet/Lately I've been noticing the beautiful me"
Now, there's nothing intrinsically weird about a song about masturbation. Actually, it feels weirder to think how few songs there are about masturbation in a world in which millennials are increasingly spending time single. But this lyric reads like it's been penned by someone who's never spent an evening alone in with themselves. Exactly how (and why?) did she contort herself to look at the small of her back and then the arch of her feet?
10"Break The Ice" From 'Blackout' (2007)
The Weird Lyrics: "I'ma hit defrost on ya, let's get it blazing"
We get it — the song's a metaphor for warming up a shy bed partner before diving in. But the microwave metaphor takes this into the realm of the absurd. If we're really splitting hairs, the defrost function makes food lukewarm, not blazing.
11"Slumber Party" From 'Glory' (2016)
The Weird Lyrics: "Smells like a cologne and candy lotion"
On one level, this works. The room smells like cologne and candy. But is there actually a lotion that consists of both things? And why would a room smell like that in a sexy grown up slumber party? Mystifying.
12"Phonography" From 'Circus' (2008)
The Weird Lyrics: "And I make no apologies, I’m into phonography."
Is the 35-year-old genuinely into phonography, a system of writing in shorthand and transcribing the shorthand on a typewriter? The heavy mouth breathing on this track implies no, this just might be the old Spears wordplay. She might be talking about another fun hobby lots of people like beginning with p. Or then again, maybe she's just really into shorthand. Hard to call it.
13"...Baby One More Time" From '...Baby One More Time' (1999)
The Weird Lyrics:"Hit me baby one more time."
The weird lyric that launched a zillion more weird lyrics. After all, if Miss American Dream could sing a line that sounded awfully close to S&M then, 12 years later, teen favorite Rihanna could sing pretty explicitly about, well, S&M. John Seabrook's book The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory reveals that Swedish songwriters Max Martin and Rami Yacoub mistakenly believed "hit" to be American slang for "ring" (like "hit me up") and therefore the song wasn't about bedroom kink or domestic abuse, but something as everyday as a girl going through a break up and begging for her ex-boyfriend to call her.
The singers weird lyrics are more than just that. They're not simply an affectation or a fun quirk of her music; they changed the pop landscape, making it acceptable, attractive even, for singers to be out-there, odd or risqué.