Britney Spears debuted the first full song off her upcoming record Thursday on ABC’s “NFL Kickoff Live,” but despite the primetime unveiling, “Me Against the Music” isn’t necessarily going to be the new disc’s first single.
Wearing a cropped referee’s shirt, Spears performed a medley of “… Baby One More Time” and “I’m a Slave 4 U” after finishing the RedZone-produced dance tune, which features a near rap and tribal rhythms. “Dance all night,” she exhorts on the song, demanding that “All the people in the crowd, grab a partner, take it down/ All my people in the crowd, let me see you dance.”
Speaking to MTV News prior to her performance, Spears would only confirm that a video shoot for the first single is taking place in the next two weeks. “I can’t tell you what the first single is going to be,” Spears said, “but there are some surprises that are going to come up in the song that I’m really excited about.”
One of her producers, P. Diddy, spoke to MTV News last week about a song he was working on with Spears, but at the time it had no title (see “Britney Raps On New Album, Teaches P. Diddy A Thing Or Two” ). This week it does: “The Answer.”
“I was very impressed with [Diddy],” Spears said. “He’s very family-man-oriented, he brought his kids in. His studio and the people he works with, the people he does tracks with, are, like, amazing. He’s a cool guy.”
Spears also had high praise for Moby, who worked with her on the mid-tempo “Early Morning.”
“He’s such a pure-hearted guy,” she said. “He’s so cool. He just played me a really cool track, and I thought it was brilliant. I just came up with stuff to go over it, and I hope he likes it. I don’t know if he’s heard it yet, but I like it. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the record.”
The track is a day-after hangover song, balancing other party-hard tunes that might make the album. “Some songs are just written generally about going out and wanting to have a good time,” she said. “I was writing about a lot of stuff in general — going out with my girlfriends, everyday experiences I was going through.
“Like, ‘Early Morning’ is basically talking about just going out and feeling bad the next day, and ‘Touch of My Hand’ is about, you know, touch of my hand,” she continued (see “Britney Previews LP, Denies Rumors Of ‘Cry Me A River’ Response” ). “You’ll have to hear the song and get your own interpretation of what you think it’s about. Other songs are just very sensual, very sensual songs.”
A single girl for the past year, Spears said she’s trying hard not to let anything from her romantic life influence the record.
“Some people choose to put on their records stuff that’s very, very personal to them. It’s just my personal opinion, but that’s exposing yourself a little bit too much. I don’t feel comfortable doing that. So, my personal life? I’ve learned my lesson is to just keep it to yourself. I don’t think it’s cool to do that at other people’s expense, if you understand what I’m trying to say. That’s not what it’s about for me personally. Some people, they like to bring other things into it, and that’s fine. They’ve got to go to bed with that at night.”
Right now, the main thing on Spears’ mind is keeping things off her mind, so she can focus on completing the album.
“I’m thinking about it now, like, ‘Oh my God, you know what? I can’t think about it,’ ” she said. “You just have to do it, let it come out, and pray people like it. Honestly, when you’re in the studio, all you can do … is just go inside yourself, and trust me, I’ve had time to do that. You just really go there and do what feels right. And it’s not about selling 50 million records. It’s just expressing myself the way I want to express myself, and as long as you do that and you’re happy with that, that’s all that matters.”
No track list is available for the as-yet-untitled album, since Spears is still recording, her label spokesperson said.
[This story was updated on 09.08.2003 at 3:23 pm ET]
—Jennifer Vineyard, with additional reporting by Gideon Yago