Should Have Been Bigger: Britney Spears’ “Outrageous”

In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.

Britney Spears was at the top of her game with the release of 4th LP In The Zone in 2003. The songstress emerged as a force to be reckoned with on one of her most eclectic releases to date. After a respectable top 40 showing alongside Madonna on the project’s lead single, the pop princess rocketed back into the top 20 for the first time since 2000’s “Stronger” over the unhinged production of “Toxic” and enjoyed similar success over mournful keys on her heartbreaking ballad “Everytime.” When it was time to select a fourth single, she eschewed the sensual fan favorite “Breathe On Me” for the hip hop-infused “Outrageous.” What follows is the usually-modest starlet’s most braggadocios lyrics to date.

“B-girl ain’t lost the beat. Jumped over drama, and I landed on my feet,” she confidently purrs over a romping production courtesy of R. Kelly. On the chorus she proclaims everything from her sex drive to her shopping sprees outrageous, challenging the world to keep up with her antics. It was a fun and funky release that avoided redundancy with the addition of a sweet and unexpected bridge. With any luck, the track would have extended the In The Zone era and been followed by any of a handful of other releases in the months to come.

Brit performed the track on her international Onyx Hotel Tour, twerking onstage in her fanciest trench coat and underwear alongside a group of dancers. Even better, she teamed up with Warner Bros. to attach the song to their upcoming blockbuster Catwoman. The Halle Berry-starring film was billed as one of the first female-led superhero films and seemed like a surefire hit to hop on. A music video was set to be shot in New York City with direction by Dave Meyers and a cameo from Snoop Dogg. The hitmaker donned a couple of killer looks including a cheetah-print top in reference to the popular super heroine, and everything seemed to be right on track for another smash.

Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan. Britney fell on a slippery street while executing choreography for the video and ended up hospitalized with floating cartilage in her knee. The injury sidelined the pop princess for months, ending any hopes of a music video for the single and cancelling the remaining dates of her tour. Without a video or the promise of promotional performances, the directors of Catwoman went in a new direction and selected girl-group Mis-Teeq’s “Scandalous” as the official song for the film. Meanwhile, Team Spears released the song to radio with little fanfare.

“Outrageous” barely impacted the Hot 100, peaking just inside the top 80 at number 79. It had slightly more luck on the Dance Club Songs chart where its fierce beat propelled it to a respectable, but still unsatisfying placement of number 27. As the single was floundering on the charts, Britney was distracted by her new relationship with backup dancer Kevin Federline. The pair enjoyed a passionate fling before racing down the aisle in September of that year. What followed was the highly-publicized breakdown of America’s reigning pop princess. “Outrageous” is a reminder of the hitmaker at, arguably, her creative peak, and deserved to do so much better. Revisit the bop below.

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