Retrospective: Britney Spears’ Iconic “Womanizer” Turns 11
This week marks an important anniversary in Spearstory (the history of Britney Spears, obviously). What is it? Eleven years ago the Princess of Pop launched the second half of her career with the release of “Womanizer.” Following her descent into the depths of the clubs on 2007’s Blackout and a literal media frenzy, the incomparable icon switched things up as she readied the release of her sixth album Circus. And she introduced the new era with what would become her biggest hit since “…Baby One More Time.”
After changing the face of dance pop with icy cuts like “Gimme More” and “Piece Of Me,” “Womanizer” signified a return to B’s pure pop roots. Produced by The Outsyders and K. Briscoe, it’s an empowering anthem that finds her putting a cheating man in his place. “I know what you are, baby,” she growls over playful beats. Then comes the schoolyard-ready chorus. “Womanizer. Woman-womanizer. You’re a womanizer,” she chants. “You, you, you are. You, you, you are. Womanizer, womanizer, womanizer.”
It’s simple but worked like a charm. The accompanying video (directed by Joseph Kahn and inspired by their previous collab “Toxic”) on the other hand is an intricate blockbuster. In it, Britney plays several characters who join together to rain down hell on a no-good businessman. That all happens after the visual opens with scenes of the living legend reclining nude in a sauna. Following up-skirt photos of her body that had been captured and broadcast for all to see the year prior, this felt like a purposeful statement.
Here the hitmaker reclaims her body as her own and presents it as she (not the paparazzi) sees fit. Everything about the single was meant to prove that Britney Spears was back and better than ever. And it was incredibly well received. So well in fact that it rocketed up the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her second number one on the chart. Since then, “Womanizer” has been a beloved staple in her discography. It’s received prime placement during live shows including her iconic medley at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
Eleven years later, it goes just as hard as ever. In honor of its birthday, join me in revisiting “Womanizer” below.