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"Piece of Me" is a song by American pop singer Britney Spears, from her fifth studio album, Blackout. It was released on November 27, 2007 by Jive Records as the second single from the album. The self-manifesto song's lyrics are a response to the constant media scrutiny and sensationalism of Spears's private life. "Piece of Me" runs through a down-tempo dance beat, and highlights loud '80s-influenced synth. Spears's voice is heavily synthesized, and constantly shifts in pitch. Backing vocals are provided by Robyn.

"Piece of Me" received positive critical reviews for its electropop sound and instrospective lyrics and it is ranked at number 15 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 100 Best Songs of 2007. It became a big hit, peaking at number eighteen on the Billboard Hot 100, inside the top ten in most other countries, and reaching number one in Ireland. It was also successful in clubs, reaching number one in various Dance Club Play charts, including those in the United States and Australia. It was also one of her most successful singles in the United Kingdom.

The music video featured Spears being photographed constantly by paparazzi and disguising herself in order to confuse them. The video won three awards at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. The song was performed for the first time at The Circus Starring: Britney Spears 2009 world tour, in which she wears a corset and dances inside a golden cage.

Background

"Piece of Me" was co-written by the Swedish duo Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, professionally known as Bloodshy & Avant, and Klas Åhlund, for Spears's fifth studio album, Blackout. Although Spears was not credited as writer of the song, her A&R rep, Teresa LaBarbera Whites, stated that she was involved in the songs and how they turned out. The song was recorded in response to the constant media scrutiny and sensationalism of her private life. In a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest, Spears said about the song:
"Wherever you go, there's a lot of people who ask questions, and sometimes you don't know their intentions and stuff like that. So, it is kind of a cute way of putting it out there. You know, like, 'You want a piece of me?', you know, in a cool, cute and clever way. It is a cute song [...] I like it."
Swedish pop singer Robyn originally recorded a demo of the song after Åhlund wrote it. Her vocals remain in the background on Britney's recorded version. The track was also produced by Bloodshy & Avant, who produced Spears's Grammy Award-winning single "Toxic".

Composition

"Piece of Me" is a pop-groove song with a duration of three minutes and thirty-two seconds, and is 115 beats per minute (BPM). It is composed in the key of C# minor, and is set in common time, in 4/4 count. The melody runs through a down-tempo dance beat, and highlights loud '80s-influenced synth. Spears's voice is heavily synthesized, and is constantly pitch-shifted. Spears' vocal range in the song runs two octaves from a D#3 - D#5. The track consists of over-the-top vocal distortions, causing a split sound effect, making it difficult to discern which voice is Spears's. It is dominated by a series of squelching beats and bleeps, introduced in the sludgy bassline beginning of the melody. The song has a background of Middle Eastern-like percussion finger cymbals.


"Piece of Me" is constructed in the common verse-chorus pattern. The country Philippinesmarker is mentioned in the song. The lyrics are written like a biography retelling Spears's mishaps, sung in nearly spoken manner. The song starts with a pre-verse before its main verse. The chorus repeatedly asks "You want a piece of me?" which slightly changes in melody to "You wanna piece of me?". There are also rhyming lyrics of "rich and famous" with "shameless" in the chorus. The producers chimes in when she sings "Extra! Extra! This just in." A new pre-verse and verse is created after the first chorus. The bridge follows after the second chorus using the same lyrics in the first pre-verse. "Piece of Me" ends in a repeated chorus.

Release and cover artwork

Following radio airplay, "Piece of Me" was officially released on January 7, 2008, in the US and the UK.

An alternate cover for the CD single featured images of Spears' fans making up the main image of her in a montage form. Fans that had signed up for Sony BMG UK Britney Spears updates received the e-mail informing them. The cover was revealed on January 4, 2008. There is also another cover available. It makes use of the same photo from the remixes EP, but had been zoomed in.

Critical reception

Prior to the release of Blackout, "Piece of Me" was among the critically praised and recommended tracks. Margeaux Watson of Entertainment Weekly praised "Piece of Me", calling "a rump shaker that finds Spears venting." Chuck Taylor of Billboard said that "the song drips and drools '80s synths, alongside a drowsy midtempo clip, as Brit sings in a heavily layered near-monotone." Bill Lamb from about.com wrote that the song is brilliant, and is one reason to listen to Blackout. Kelefa Sanneh of New York Times defined "Piece of Me" as: "[a song] introduced by a sludgy bass line, Ms. Spears waxes defensive, in a heavily synthesized voice that's the main (and sometimes only) instrument." Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy noted that the song's "fat, squelching series of beats and bleeps" is "an electro-thudding cry of defiance." Jennifer Vineyard reported that "Spears' mission statement of sorts, finds the singer so vocoder-ized that it is hard to tell where the real Britney begins and ends — which is part of the point."

"Piece of Me" gained attention from critics for its introspective content." Bill Lamb commented that "Britney Spears answers all of the critics directly, forcefully, and fearlessly," giving the song four and a half stars out of five. Melissa Maerz of Rolling Stone referred to it as "tabloid-bashing banger" and a "must hear song," while including it in their annual "100 Best Songs of the Year" at number fifteen. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic commented that Bloodshy & Avant "try desperately to craft a defiant anthem for this tabloid fixture."

Chart performance

"Piece of Me" debuted on November 17, 2007, on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-five, as well as at number thirty-seven on the Canadian Hot 100. After the release of the single's music video, "Piece of Me" climbed up the charts. On January 5, 2008, the single rose to number twenty-one, receiving the Greatest Gainer certification. On February 9, "Piece of Me" peaked at number eighteen, and stayed on the chart for twenty weeks before being removed from the Hot 100 due to Billboard deletion criteria. The single became her ninth top-twenty hit on the chart. It then charted on the Hot 100 Singles Recurrents at nine on the week of April 5, 2008, due to digital sales, as well as a somewhat high airplay. The single has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The single debuted at number two on the Australian Singles Chart on February 4, 2008. Certified Platinum by Australian Recording Industry Association, the single also spent nine consecutive weeks at number one on the Australian Dance Chart, while simultaneously topping the Australian Airplay Chart. The track enjoyed a second surge in support by fans which saw it climb back to the top of the Australian Dance Chart. It held the number one spot for thirteen weeks, and achieved Platinum status.

In the United Kingdom, "Piece of Me" debuted at number sixty-nine on December 24, 2007. From number nineteen on January 7, "Piece of Me" propelled to number two on January 14, 2008, after its physical release, surpassing the peak position of its predecessor, "Gimme More," which peaked at number three in 2007. In the UK, as of March 2, 2008, "Piece of Me" has sold 147,382. The single stayed in the top seventy-five for twenty-three weeks. The song entered the Irish Singles Chart on December 20, 2007, at number twenty-four, and after four weeks on the chart, it reached the top spot on January 12, 2008. "Piece of Me" became her seventh Irish number-one single, tying with Madonna as solo female artist with the most number ones in the country (Madonna has since broken this tie with her eighth number one hit "4 Minutes"). "Piece of Me" has also reached the top ten in Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Sweden, where the single had its first chart entry. In Italy, the single spent fifteen consecutive weeks in the Top 15 and thirty consecutive weeks in the Top 30, peaking at number five, becoming one of Spears' most successful singles in the country.

The single debuted in New Zealand at number thirty-four on December 31, 2007. "Piece of Me" peaked at number four on February 4, 2008, surpassing the achievements of "Gimme More," which peaked at number fifteen in October 2007. The single was certified gold after thirteen weeks on the chart. "Piece of Me" was Spears' highest charting single in New Zealand since "Toxic", which peaked at number two in April 2004, until 2009 when "Circus" also peaked at number four. The song was also her longest running single on the chart since "Toxic", remaining on the chart for twenty weeks, becoming one of her biggest hits there.

Music video

The music video was filmed on November 27 and November 28, 2007, at the exclusive Hollywood nightclub and restaurant, Social Hollywood. It was directed by Wayne Isham, who had previously worked with Spears in the video "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman", and in the international Pepsi commercial campaign in 2002. On November 30, 2007, the "Britney Spears Wants a Piece of You" contest was launched in which fans could make videos of "Piece of Me" themselves using MTV's Video Remixer. The clips used images of Spears over the years, including interviews, red-carpet appearances and performances. MTV, Jive Records and Spears chose the winner, which aired on MTV's Total Request Live on December 20. MTV premiered the video of "Piece of Me" on December 14. It currently holds a 4/5 rating on iTunes based on over 543 reviews as of August 25, 2008 and is also her best-selling music video. The video won Video Of The Year, Best Female Video, and Best Pop Video at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.

The music video for "Piece of Me" follows a paparazzi theme. The clip begins with a group of paparazzi taking pictures outside a residential area. Spears exposes her bottom and wiggles it for all to see, while various blonde-haired girls (one of whom bears a deliberate resemblance to Los Angeles socialite Paris Hilton, one of Spears's friend) are changing clothes, putting makeup on and playfully dancing. Spears shows up in front of a multi-colored, illuminated background wearing a brown-fur vest, black bra and destroyed jeans. Scenes with Spears tearing negative tabloid covers down and creating positive ones are interpolated in the video. Spears later joins the other girls who have changed into matching blonde-bob wigs, dark sunglasses, and black trench coats as they enter a car being hounded by paparazzi, a representation of Spears' life. The girls make it to the party and exit the car in different clothes. Spears then holds up a magazine cover reading "It's Britney, Bitch" and "Exceptional Earner." Inside the party, a rogue paparazzi joins the girls in the bathroom, but Spears spots him at the end. The girls are seen back at the apartment watching an entertainment news program, in which the "Britney invasion" from earlier is reported. The final scene shows a close-up of Spears' smirking.

The video has had over 20,636,627 views on Spears' official youtube page. Originally the video received over 51 million views in 2 weeks but was removed.

Live performance

"Piece of Me" was performed for the first time at The Circus: Starring Britney Spears. It is the second song of the show. While "Circus" ends, Spears takes off her red jacket to reveal a sparkling bra and corset, fishnet stocking and high-heeled laced-up boots. While smoke surrounds her, she gets into a cage in the middle of the stage. When the music begins again, she is swirling in the cage, with four dancers around trying to get to her. In the show, this is seen as the transition between ringleader and animal of the circus; it also represents the media scrutinity of Spears' life with the dancers representing paparazzi. Spears sings and dances inside the cage throughout the song and performs different stunts, such as climbing onto the top of the cage. The cage returns to the main stage in the last chorus, while her dancers try to get to her again, but she escapes and walks to one side of the stage and ends the performance, smiling and saying "You wanna piece of me?".

Track listings and versions

Major formats released for "Piece of Me":

UK/German CD Single (88697 221762)/The Singles Collection Box Single
(Released: January 14, 2008)
  1. "Piece of Me" (Main Version) — 3:32
  2. "Piece of Me" (Böz O Lö Remix) — 4:51


European/Australian Maxi Single (88697 221782)
(Released: January 25, 2008)
  1. "Piece of Me" (Main Version) — 3:32
  2. "Piece of Me" (Böz O Lö Remix) — 4:53
  3. "Piece of Me" (Bimbo Jones Club Mix) — 6:26
  4. "Piece of Me" (Vito Benito Club Mix) — 6:50
  5. "Gimme More" (The Kimme More Remix)(featuring Lil' Kim) — 4:14


German Limited Edition CD 1 (88697 278902)
(Released: February 29, 2008)
  1. "Piece of Me" (Main Version) — 3:32
  2. "Piece of Me" (Tiesto Radio Remix) — 3:23


German Limited Edition CD 2 (88697 278912)
(Released: February 29, 2008)
  1. "Piece of Me" (Main Version) — 3:32
  2. "Piece of Me" (Junior Vasquez & Johnny Vicious Radio Remix) — 3:38
Digital EP — The Remixes
(Released: February 12, 2008)
  1. "Piece of Me" (Main Version) — 3:32
  2. "Piece of Me" (Böz O Lö Remix) — 4:53
  3. "Piece of Me" (Tiesto Radio Edit) — 3:23
  4. "Piece of Me" (Junior Vasquez & Johnny Vicious Radio Edit) — 3:38
  5. "Piece of Me" (Friscia & Lamboy Radio Edit) — 3:27
  6. "Piece of Me" (feat. Cherine) (Sly & Robbie Reggae Remix) — 4:16


Credits and personnel

  • Written by: C. Karlsson, P. Winnberg & Klas Åhlund
  • Produced by: Bloodshy & Avant
  • Recorded by: Bloodshy & Avant at Bloodshy & Avant Studios, Stockholmmarker, Sweden and Chalice Recording Studios, Los Angeles, Californiamarker
  • Mixed by: Niklas Flyckt at Mandarine Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Keyboard, Programming, Bass & Guitar by: Bloodshy & Avant
  • Additional Guitar by: Henrik Jonback
  • Additional Bass: by Klas Åhlund
  • Background Vocals by: Robyn Carlsson
  • Mastered by: Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound, New York City


Charts

Chart (2007-08) Peak

Position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 2
Austrian Singles Chart 6
Belgian Flemish Singles Chart 36
Belgian Walloon Singles Chart 36
Canadian Hot 100 5
Danish Singles Chart 4
Dutch Singles Chart 41
European Hot 100 Singles 6
Finnish Singles Chart 8
German Singles Chart 7
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian FIMI Singles Chart 11
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 4
Swedish Singles Chart 9
Swiss Singles Chart 19
Russian Airplay Chart 6
UK Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 18
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1


End of year chart (2008) Position
New Zealand 28
Australia 38
United Kingdom 47


Certifications

Country Provider Certification Sales
Australia ARIA Platinum 70,000
Canada (ringtone) CRIA Platinum 40,000
Denmark IFPI Platinum 15,000
New Zealand RIANZ Gold 7,500
United States RIAA Platinum 1,372,661+


References

  1. Sheet Music Downloads & Books | Musicnotes.com
  2. Piece of Me Remixes single cover on Amazon
  3. RIAA - "Piece of Me" Certification RIAA.com
  4. Top 50 Singles Chart - Australian Record Industry Association
  5. RIANZ
  6. http://top40-charts.com/songs/full.php?sid=21777&sort=chartid
  7. RIANZ
  8. ARIA Top 100 Singles 2008
  9. http://www.ukchartsplus.co.uk/ChartsPlusYE2008.PDF
  10. Australia Certification
  11. Certified Platinum, which requires sales of 70,000 or more. Australia Certification[1]
  12. #34 in the Tracklisten Top-40 Uge 19-2008.
  13. Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Certification Results
  14. #39 on Chart #1616 - Monday 12 May 2008; Top 40 Singles Chart at RIANZ
  15. Certified Gold (#39 on Chart #1616 - Monday 12 May 2008; Top 40 Singles Chart at RIANZ), which requires sales of 7,500[2]
  16. RIAA - "Piece of Me" Certification RIAA.com
  17. Certified Platinum RIAA - "Piece of Me" Certification, which requires sales of 1,000,000 or more [3].


External links




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