It was the changing of the guard — or at least the meeting of two of the most influential pop divas of all time — when Britney Spears and Madonna hooked up for Brit's single "Me Against the Music," from 2003's In the Zone. The superstars tantalize the audience (and each other) throughout the flirty video.
"Madonna is an icon of an earlier generation, and then Britney of the newer generation. She was at her peak at that point," director Paul Hunter told MTV News about the video. "So it was a challenge to kind of bring both of the worlds together. I wanted it to be a bit of a cat-and-mouse sort of game and a little bit of a foreplay between Britney and Madonna and just sort of tease the audience."
A few years back, Britney revealed that the collaboration came together thanks to the 2003 VMAs — you know, the show where Britney and Madonna locked lips. "I was in the middle of rehearsals for the VMAs and I played her the song, and she was like, 'That's your first single, right?' " Britney recalled. "I was like, 'Yeah, hopefully.' She was like, 'I really like it.' I was like, 'Really?' I was like, 'Well, you wanna do it with me?' She said, 'Yeah.' "
Hunter said the video was all about setting Spears and Madonna apart. "I try to play opposites, when you have Britney in dark and Madonna in white," he said. "And then we see them kind of dance around the bed ... and you think they're gonna get on top of each other and do something crazy."
But Spears said nothing crazy was supposed to happen; it was all about teasing people. "I never actually see Madonna or touch her; I just feel her presence there," she said. "[The song is] basically about just going to a club and letting yourself go and battling with whoever is around you and battling against the music as well. This is my first time doing a collaboration, and it's with Miss Madonna herself."
With the release of Britney Spears: The Singles Collection, MTV News is looking back on the pop star's career through interviews with video directors, music-industry insiders and Spears herself, as she reflects on some of her greatest hits. Keep coming back for all things Britney, and let us know your favorite Brit songs, videos, memories and more in the comments below!