Lost Hit: Britney Spears’ “Kill The Lights” Should Have Been A Single
Things were looking bleak for Britney Spears in 2007, but by 2008 the pop icon reappeared on the scene as though nothing had happened. Following a whirlwind year of frenzied paparazzi chases and very public personal struggles, it was almost shocking to see her demurely posing in shades of pastel pink silk on the cover of her sixth studio album, Circus. Her life in the public eye had certainly become a circus, and with her latest release she assumed the role of the ringleader and began to reassert control over her life. Though slightly dazed by the previous year’s antics, she was very much at home at the top of the charts again.
After growling across darkly throbbing pop tailored for twerking in the club at all hours on Blackout, her sixth LP was a decidedly brighter affair and a notable return to her pristine pop roots. The pop princess turned on a cheating boyfriend on the lead single “Womanizer” and proclaimed herself a true entertainer on the followup single. Brit netted her third consecutive top 20 hit with Max Martin’s double entendre-laden “If U Seek Amy,” and it seemed as though she could do no wrong. Things came to a screeching halt though when she looked backward instead of forward while selecting “Radar,” a Blackout leftover tacked on the new tracklist as a bonus track, as the LP’s fourth single over surefire hits like “Kill the Lights.”
“Kill the Lights” signified a new collaboration with Danja, the man who made her previous release the success that it was. After honing his craft working alongside Timbaland on hits for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, he was responsible for helming some of the most well received tracks on Blackout including lead single “Gimme More” and was tapped to deliver another surefire hit for the comeback album. Playing on the energy that elevated “Piece of Me” to the top 20, his most remarkable contribution dealt with a topic near and dear to Brit’s heart: the eternally annoying paparazzi.
An introduction from Danja crowned the former pop princess the “queen of pop,” a honorific previously reserved for Madonna that he extended to her most likely successor. After his pronouncement he stepped back and unleashed the pop diva on her target. “You don’t like me, I don’t like you, it don’t matter,” she furiously declared to the pesky shutterbugs before reminding them that they needed her for their livelihood while she was fine without them. She went on to deliver an equally barbed chorus that asked the money-hungry paps the age old question: “Is that money in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?” Iconic.
One of the darkest tracks on the album, it was an instant favorite and was tapped as a contender for an official release. Unfortunately after “Radar” failed to resonate on the charts, Brit’s team decided to move on to something new. Britney emerged as a dance floor diva on her seventh LP Femme Fatale one year later, officially ending any hopes for a takeover with the catchy bop.
Although it was never officially selected as a single, “Kill the Lights” charted on several Billboard charts the week of the album’s release due to the number of downloads it received. It also received an animated video that saw a caricature of Britney Spears battling the paparazzi while on an international adventure. Revisit the barbed track (and its kitschy animated video) below.