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"3" is a song by American pop singer Britney Spears, from her second greatest hits compilation, The Singles Collection. It was released on September 29, 2009, as the lead single of the album by Jive Records. The song was produced by Max Martin and Shellback while Spears was on tour in Swedenmarker. "3" is an uptempo dance song, that features a heavy bassline and has influences of electropop and rave. The song's lyrics talk about threesomes while referencing Peter, Paul and Mary during the chorus.

The song received positive critical appreciation from contemporary critics. "3" has also achieved commercial success by topping charts in the United States, Canada and Turkey as well as reaching the top ten in many countries around the world. In the United States, the song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, breaking many of the chart records, as well as on the Hot Digital Songs. The accompanying music video, directed by Diane Martel, features Spears and her dancers in different black and white backgrounds and received positive reviews from music critics.

Background

"3" was produced by Swedishmarker songwriter and producer Max Martin, who worked with Spears on earlier hits including "...Baby One More Time", "Oops!...I Did It Again", "Stronger" and "If U Seek Amy". Spears recorded the song during July 2009 while she was in Stockholmmarker during the European leg of the The Circus Starring: Britney Spears tour. The song was announced as the lead single along with the release of The Singles Collection and was sent to radio stations on September 29, 2009.

Music and lyrics

"3" is an uptempo electropop song, which opens with classical Max Martin synths and vocal effects. During the middle eight, the song slows down with synthetic strings and bass beats, and the section ends with a beat similar to a four-on-the-floor. Throughout the song, Spears vocals are autotuned, that according to the Daily Mail, gives the song "a futuristic, contemporary feel."

The song's lyrics are about threesomes. Unlike "If U Seek Amy", the song has no double entendre and it’s more straightforward lyrically. The innuendo in the lyrics such as "Merrier the more, triple fun that way" have been compared to the songs in Prince’s Dirty Mind. The chorus has been compared to a playground chant and closes with an extended moan. During the second part of the chorus, there is a reference to the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary, that in the song is used as sexual slang for a threesome. Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times called the reference "the cut's biggest oddity".

Critical response

"3" received positive reviews from music critics. The song quickly drew comparisons to "If U Seek Amy".According to Billboard, "If U Seek Amy" was an implied double-entendre, whereas "3" "finds Spears seductively delivering her most racy lyrics to date." Nick Levine of Digital Spy, the first major publication to review the song, described it as being "uptempo, quite electropoppy on the verses and a little bit rave on the choruses." Rolling Stone gave the song four stars, called it an "instant Britney classic", similarly praised the song for its up-tempo melody and racy lyrics and compared it to Flo Rida's recent work, saying that it "is more of a surefire dance-floor stomper than anything Brit loaded onto Blackout or Circus". Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly called it "a fembot voice, near-seizure-inducing dance-floor frenzy." While crediting the production for "elevating the song above typical dance products", the Los Angeles Times said that Spears sounded "sweetly generic". Bill Lamb of About.com said that although the lyrics are controversial, "the bottom line is this is another irresistibly catchy pop confection that beats out most everything else on pop radio today". He praised the chorus and the middle section and called the track "classic Britney". The song was also compared to Madonna’s "Celebration", since they "musically present nothing particularly new, but they do manage to encapsulate many of the elements that make the singer a star." Lamb would later name it the most essential pop song of its time in the week of November 20, 2009.

Chart performance

In the United States, "3" debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending October 24, 2009, breaking many of the chart records. Spears became the first artist in over three years to debut at the top position and the only non-American Idol artist in eleven years to do so. It is also the sixteenth song in the chart history to debut at the top position. "3" is also the shortest title of a song ever reaching number one in the chart. This is her third number one single in the U.S., after "...Baby One More Time" in 1999 and "Womanizer", which topped the chart on the exact same week in 2008. The track had first week sales of 255,000 downloads, the highest one week total of any song, since the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" back in April 2009. It has so far sold over 1,129,000 digital downloads to date in the United States.

In Canada, the song debuted at number eighty-six on the Canadian Hot 100 for the issue dated on October 17, 2009 and rose up to number one the following week. It is the biggest jump to the top spot in the Canadian Hot 100 history, breaking the record set by Kelly Clarkson’s "My Life Would Suck Without You", which had jumped from number eighty-two to the top position on February 7, 2009. In Australia, the song charted at number fifty on the Australian Singles Chart on October 12, 2009 with only two days of digital sales. The following week, "3" broke the record for the biggest jump in the ARIA Top 50 history, bulleting forty-three places to number seven and beating George Michael’s "Too Funky", which climbed up forty-two places in 1992. "3" then peaked at number six the following week and has gone on to be certified Gold for sales over 35,000. The track has so far spent seven weeks inside the top ten. On October 12, 2009, the song debuted at number sixteen in New Zealandmarker, making it her highest chart debut since "Womanizer". The song climbed up to number thirteen in its second week on the chart and has so far peaked at number twelve.

In the United Kingdom, "3" debuted at number seven on November 16, 2009, becoming Spears' twentieth top ten hit on the chart. The track has achieved similar success throughout Europe reaching the top ten in Switzerland, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Wallonia (Belgium), and the top twenty of Flanders (Belgium), Denmark, Italy, Germany, Austria and Czech Republic. In Turkey, "3" debuted at number one becoming her third #1 and making her the artist with the most #1's on that chart. So far "3" has spent nine-consecutive weeks at the top, thus being the 2nd song with the most weeks at number one, as well as her third song to spend more then 8 weeks at #1.

Music video

The music video was filmed on October 5 and October 6, 2009 in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker, directed by Diane Martel and choreographed by Tone & Rich. On October 15, 2009, a sneak peak of the video in images was released. A countdown including images and video previews was announced on her official website and the release date was revealed to be on October 30, 2009. When asked about the video, Diane Martel said,
"I think it's her next sexy video. It's a very simple video for her -- I don't think you've seen her this much under a magnifying glass. Everything's really strong and playful. We collaborated on the wardrobe and had meetings about hair and makeup people, we talked a lot on the phone and met Tone and Rich — two of the best choreographers. [..] [Spears]' so sweet and funny and so normal and down to earth. It's really fun as a director to see her in front of the camera. She's so creative with this stuff. The video is very simple, it's very, very minimal. So it's her, her, her. And she's totally engaging every second. She really knows how to work with a camera and move. I was really impressed, and I have worked almost with every female artist in the business."


The video begins with Spears wearing a sparkly black dress at a vanity, putting mascara and Circus Fantasy on. Then, it cuts to her holding her hair up and singing the first lines in a white background. There are also black and white scenes of her wearing a white leotard behind a foggy glass. She then appears wearing the leotard and glasses while surrounded by four female dancers wearing black outfits, hanging from a raised barre. The word "sin" is censored and changed for the word "this" during the pre-chorus. In the chorus, she dances in front of a white wall with barcode-like light installations with six male dancers. There also scenes of her dancing provocatively with two male dancers. At the bridge, there are intercut close-ups of her that end with a smirk. The video concludes with Spears dancing with the two male dancers and cuts to a close-up of her looking into the camera. This is the first time Spears has incorporated tutting in her dance.

Rolling Stone writer Daniel Kreps compared the video with the music video of "Single Ladies" and complimented the choreography saying Spears had not danced with so much conviction since the In the Zone era. Jocelyn Vena of MTV also gave the video a positive review, stating that it's a "sexy, fast-paced clip" and that "there are a few moments in the video where Britney's personality shines" adding that "she smiles at the song's tongue-in-cheek lyrics, particularly when she finishes the song's bridge."Tanner Stransky of Entertainment Weekly complimented the video’s choice of wardrobe, but said that the video was "sparse", adding "there’s not much to the single besides trite, ridiculous advocation for a ménage à trois anyway, so why would the video go any deeper?". The Daily Mail said the video "features Britney writhing around in scantily-clad outfits with male dancers in the best way she knows how".

Track listings

  • Radio Promo
  1. "3" — 3:33
  2. "3" - (Instrumental) — 3:33
  3. "3" - (Acapella) - 3:33


  • Digital Download
  1. "3" — 3:33


  • Digital Download Single/Promo Single/CD Single
  1. "3" — 3:33
  2. "3" (Instrumental) — 3:33


  • Remixes Promo
  1. "3" - Clean Radio Edit - 3:33
  2. "3" - Groove Police Club Mix - 7:08
  3. "3" - Groove Police Dub - 7:09
  4. "3" - Groove Police Mixshow - 5:28
  5. "3" - Groove Police Extended Mix - 9:21
  6. "3" - Groove Police Radio Edit - 3:57


  • Japan Maxi Single
  1. "3" — 3:33
  2. "3" (Instrumental) — 3:33
  3. "3" (Groove Police Mixshow) - 5:28
  4. "3" (Groove Police Radio Edit) - 3:57
  5. "3" (Music Video) - 3:36


  • German/Italian/Turkish/UK Digital EP
  1. "3" — 3:33
  2. "3" (The Knocks Extended Remix) — 5:47
  3. "3" (DiscoTech Remix Club Edit) — 4:23
  4. "3" (TONAL Club Remix) — 5:04
  5. "3" (Trypsin Club Mix) — 7:45


  • German/Italian/UK Digital EP - The Remixes
  1. "3" — 3:33
  2. "3" (Instrumental) — 3:33
  3. "3" (Wolfgang Gartner Extended Club Mix) — 6:35
  4. "3" (Groove Police Club Mix) — 7:09
  5. "3" (Manhattan Clique Remix Radio) — 3:36


  • The Singles Collection Box Single/International 2 Track CD Single
  1. "3" — 3:33
  2. "3" (Groove Police Club Mix) — 7:08


Credits and personnel



Charts

Chart (2009) Peak

position
Australian Singles Chart 6
Austrian Singles Chart 17
Belgium Singles Chart (Vl) 13
Belgium Singles Chart (Wa) 8
Canadian Hot 100 1
Czech Airplay Chart 13
Danish Singles Chart 17
Dutch Singles Chart 57
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 14
French Digital Singles Chart 10
Finnish Singles Chart 6
German Singles Chart 18
Irish Singles Chart 7
Italian Singles Chart 19
Japan Hot 100 29
New Zealand Singles Chart 12
Norwegian Singles Chart 10
Russian Airplay Chart 44
Spanish Singles Chart 38
Swedish Singles Chart 2
Swiss Singles Chart 8
Turkey Top 20 Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 31
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs 4


Certifications

Provider Sales Certification
Australia 35,000+ Gold


Release history

Region Date Format
Worldwide September 29, 2009 Radio
October 2, 2009 Digital download
United States October 6, 2009
Australia October 23, 2009
November 2, 2009 CD single
United Kingdom November 8, 2009 Digital download
November 9, 2009 CD single
Germany November 13, 2009


References

  1. Herrera, Monica. "Britney Spears Debuts Racy New Single '3'". Billboard gave 3 4-star out of 5-stars. Billboard.com. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  2. Levine, Nick. "Notes on the new Britney single". Digital Spy. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  3. Lawsky, David. "Billboard singles reviews: Foo Fighters, Britney Spears". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  4. Kreps, Daniel. "Britney Spears Courts Controversy as Sexy New Single “3” Hits Radio". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  5. Collis, Clark. "Britney Spears' NSFW new single '3': What do you think?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  6. "Rolling Stone Magazine Gives "3" Rave Review". Britney.com. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
  7. Lamb, Bill. "Britney Spears - "3"". About.com. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  8. Pietroluongo, Silvio. "'3' To 1: Britney Beats Odds To Debut Atop Hot 100". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
  9. Trust, Gary. "Chart Beat Wednesday: Britney By The Numbers". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
  10. Turkey Top 20 Chart Retrieved on 2008-10-26
  11. Vena, Jocelyn. "Britney Spears Debuts Sexy '3' Video". MTV.com. Retrieved October 30, 2009
  12. http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=334465420&s=143460
  13. http://www.discogs.com/Britney-Spears-3/release/1995493
  14. http://www.discogs.com/release/1994634
  15. http://www.discogs.com/Britney-Spears-3/release/1996903
  16. 3 EP
  17. 3 EP Remixes
  18. "The Singles Collection: Edition Details". Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  19. "The Singles Collection". Amazon.com. Retrieved 30-10-09
  20. ARIA Charts
  21. [1]
  22. http://dutchcharts.nl/weekchart.asp?cat=s
  23. http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100#/charts/european-hot-100?begin=11&order=position
  24. http://italiancharts.com/
  25. http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100#/charts/japan-hot-100
  26. http://www.tophitru.com/cgi-bin/trackinfo.cgi?id=20337
  27. [2]
  28. http://swisscharts.com/weekchart.asp?cat=s
  29. Turkey Top 20 Chart Retrieved on 2008-10-26
  30. [3]


External links




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