TGJ Replay: Britney Spears “In the Zone”

Published: Tuesday 5th Mar 2013 by Rashad

Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.  So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.  Today’s ‘Replay’ presses play on pop princess Britney Spears’ 4th album ‘In The Zone’ – arguably her last great stage performance era…

Before Lady Gaga brought her bass-heavy brand of RedOne-produced ‘EDM’ (electronic dance music), Britney Spears unquestionably reigned as the Queen of electro-pop (prior to such genre titling being officially coined).  ‘Blackout’ may have been the album that really pushed her EDM agenda, but its predecessor ‘In the Zone’ certainly laid the groundwork. 

Spearheaded by first single ‘Me Against the Music’, the pop princess enlisted pop Queen Madonna and then-little known producers The Dream & Tricky Stewart to complete what most would’ve believed to be a dream intro for an album.

Me Against the Music ft. Madonna

But, while the video won rave reviews, the charts seem to sing a different tune with the song barely cracking top 40.  That, however, did not deter first week sales of the album which debuted atop charts with a whopping 600k sold (making Spears the first female artist in history to see her first four albums debut at #1 and second female artist to have four consecutive #1s on Billboard 200).

And, with record-buyers still entranced by Spears’ signature pop potion, the set’s second single ‘Toxic’ proved no antidote.  Oozing a redefined, bolder sex appeal than her three previous efforts, ‘Toxic’ slid its way right into Billboard’s top 10 and quickly became a fan favorite.

Toxic

It was safe to say the songstress who once proclaimed she was ‘Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman’ was indeed evolving to become what some argued would be this generation’s “Madonna” – high octane stage shows, theatrical videos, in your face sexuality (see:  ‘Touch of My Hand’), and bold lyrics to match.  No further proof was needed than ‘Shadow’ and her haunting ‘Every Time’ video – one of her most artistic offerings to date.

Every Time

All-in-all ‘In the Zone’ proved to be Britney’s most eclectic offering to date and her first attempt to even out her overabundance of style, but lack of substance. From electropop and dance to ballads and hip hop heavy offerings like ‘Outrageous’ (ft. R. Kelly) and the Ying Yang Twins-assisted clubbanger ‘I Got That (Boom Boom)’ – it was clear to see that Britney was well on her way out of teenybopdom into sex siren…

I Got That Boom ft. Ying Yang Twins

Unfortunately, every album since ‘In the Zone’ has seen Spears zoned out – from K.Fed to performances stiffer than Pinocchio, the past 10 years have not exactly been kind on the stagefront (despite her sales and relevance remaining relatively steady).

Here’s hoping the next album sees visually and lyrically fulfilling content like ‘Zone’ while sonically borrowing from ‘Blackout’ and even ‘Circus’.

Outrageous ft. R. Kelly

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  1. duke March 5, 2013

    Who wants to see a picture of Sam?

    You wanna what a real AFRICAN queen looks like?

    LMFAOOOOOOO.

  2. Dakizz March 5, 2013

    My favourite album by Britney she was soo good back then and her Onyx hotel Tour was her Best tour as well

  3. BeyBoy March 5, 2013

    NICE! I just got an iTunes card pin number for FREE! 😀 freeitunesforever com

  4. Dossome March 5, 2013

    Britney had In the zone
    Madge had Ray of light
    Mariah had Butterfly
    Xtina had Stripped
    Janet had Control
    Brandy had Full Moon
    Rihanna had Rated R

    i think these were the eras that pushed these divas artististically beyond their comfortable limits..recreating these eras to me is beyond impossible (i’m glad janet refused to redo control)

    • ANDY March 5, 2013

      I know what you mean Hun!

      But, I think, with Mariah – it started with “Daydream” and with Madonna, it started with “Bedtime Stories” (maybe even “Erotica”)

      Whitney had “I’m Your Baby Tonight” – that is/was considered the most LEFT album Whitney had ever done – especially in the early 1990’s, when Whit. was RIDING HIGH on Pop success with her 1st and 2nd albums.

      Also, Janet had “Velvert Rope” – DEFINETELY.

      BEYONCE has yet to anything even worth that.

      Musically, she just isn’t there yet. AT ALL. All she is, is a GOOD live performer – that’s it!!!!!!!

      • Dossome March 5, 2013

        I agree…to me Janet remains one of music’s biggest risk takers.her albums control,rhythm nation 1814,janet,velvet rope and all for you were all iconic and special in their own way..to me that is an artist

        as for daydream,i thought that she took music box,rectified its mistakes,perfected it and then there we had daydream.butterfly to me was just something else,i never get enough of that album

        i also agree beyonce is yet to get to that level,hopefully her next album will see her push her artistic limits

      • AdeleAdkins- Oscar Winner!! When will ur fav??? NEVER!! March 5, 2013

        Yeah i agree with DOSSOME

        Butterfly was the first album mariah opened up more! Physically, Emotionally, Mentally etc!! The way she incorporated different genres all in one album! Not just pop, but R&B, Hip Hop, Soul, Dance, Gospel, Latin etc. It really was a defining album of the 90’s and transitioned music of the pop and R&B genre! Arguably her best work!!

        Whitney houston had “My Love Is Your Love” Which i believed really transitioned her outside the “Pop genre” and into R&B, Hip Hop! She really surprised the public while still slaying!!

        All those 90’s diva’s have classic/Masterpiece records which will go down in history!!

        I also agree with the beyonce comment! She has YET to release an album somewhat groundbreaking and futuristic, something that wont go outdated but will stay timeless like the others. An album that will move her up to a whole other level and show artistic growth throughout that era

      • JOHNVIDAL March 5, 2013

        You´re so right about Beyonce. She´s not on that level musically. She just isn´t

      • irene46 March 6, 2013

        @ andy…

        what are you talking about? beyonce’s bday album is every bit as strong and memorable as the ones dossome listed (especially rihanna and britney). ‘irreplacable and ‘beautiful liar make it so’. of course, none of the females dossome listed are in the category with whitney except maybe mariah. bey has as much goin’ on album wise as the rest of them.

  5. Aryo March 5, 2013

    Its her best album.
    No rihanna/beyonce/katy album can top in the zone.

    • Nikko March 5, 2013

      AGREEE 100%
      BOW DOWN FOR THE REAL QUEEN B……

  6. In The Zone March 5, 2013

    Hands Down Best Album Best Era By Britney!!!
    Still Listen 2 The Album Till Now!!!
    Always Wonder How Can Britney Tumble Down That Far…Still A Mystery…
    In The Zone Is The S** Bomb!!!

  7. bk March 5, 2013

    THE BEST ALBUM FROM BRITNEY ! WHEN I TELL YOU TI SLAAAAYED ! .. CLASSIC POP ALBUM !

  8. bibi93 March 5, 2013

    Toxic is a classik!!

  9. lk March 5, 2013

    britney was no damn ‘new generation madonna’.. she was janet jackson down to the very last step.. her slick choreography, the way she moved and her own brand of s** appeal; bad girl with an innocent look. everything was janet…
    but the media branded her the new madonna cause at the time britney started to crossover from her teen image was when the superbowl incident happened and janet got blacklisted…
    old britney used to shut it down on stage. r.i.p

    • King B>Rihanna March 5, 2013

      PREACH!

      • irene46 March 6, 2013

        @ lk…

        actually, the media started the britney ‘madonna reincarnated’ sh!t in 2003 with the madonna kissfest. it was definitely make believe bullsh!t because as you sorta said britney was nothing but a blonde ‘janet’ copy.

  10. HLOVE March 5, 2013

    Britney might not be the best singer or performer but she does put out great music…

    …Baby One More Time – Great debut album

    Oops!… I Did It Again – Classic teen pop album & great follow up

    Britney – Incorporates R&B and hip hop styles with more sexual influence = Great urban pop album

    In the Zone – Dance, house, trip hop, and hip hop styles with instrumentation from guitars, drums, synthesizers, strings, and Middle Eastern musical instruments = I LIVED

    Blackout – Billboard, Rolling Stone and The Times named it as the fifth best pop album of the decade and added on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012… need I say more…

    Circus – Great comeback album (Unusual You & Kill the light should have been a single)

    Femme Fatale – Fierce dance record where each song makes you want to get up and move.

    BRING ON ALBUM NUMBER 8

    • irene46 March 6, 2013

      ‘hold it against me’. the most pathetic and lamest song ever written!!!

  11. lolax March 5, 2013

    toxic is already a classic for me

    the best albums of britney

    1 Blackout (most underrated ever)
    2 Circus
    3 In the zone

    • dat nig March 17, 2013

      I would re-categorize them for myaself, but yes, they r her best 3

  12. AdeleAdkins- Oscar Winner!! When will ur fav??? NEVER!! March 5, 2013

    Her absolute BEST WORK!
    She SLAYED with this!! The songs, her voice, her body, the video’s and choreography!! Best Era!! This is the first album Britney really was involved in! Songwriting, production etc!!!! One of those albums u could listen to now and it would sound fresh as hell! This album really has aged well!!

  13. King B>Rihanna March 5, 2013

    best album by far.

  14. J March 5, 2013

    This is her best album, absolutely flawless! I really hope her next album is similar

  15. JOHNVIDAL March 5, 2013

    I just have a question: did In The Zone go 10x platinum??? Cos I really doubt it. If she´s sold around 30-35 million albums in the USA (I don´t remember the exact number) and her first two albums sold around 10 million over there… it´s impossible her 4th album sold 10 million too. I think TGJ got the info wrong (not that it is a surprise they get some things wrong though)

    • Suicide Blonde March 5, 2013

      No, In the Zone has sold almost 4 million copies in the US.

    • danny b March 5, 2013

      hes referring to WW sales.

      • JOHNVIDAL March 5, 2013

        Ok that´s what I was thinking. But there´s no such thing as 10 times platinum worldwide. 10 million copies are not 10 times worldwide platinum (or diamond). That´s only for the USA. People like to use that to make their faves seem more successful

  16. SUGA March 5, 2013

    In the zone has sold over 10 million world wide and around 4 million in US alone according to the RAA…

  17. Suicide Blonde March 5, 2013

    This is her best album, she has everything, the Onyx Hotel Tour, Madonna, the looks, the Music, ect, ect…”Toxic” is one of the best Pop masterpieces in music History, you can play that song in 50 years and it will sound fresh like the first day, this is her best era, the kiss with Madonna cemented her place as one of the all time best Pop artist ever, she is one of the best selling music artist of all times, 190 million records sold worldwide, an icon and the undisputable Princess of Pop. When she dies, she will share the same level of fame and worship of Elvis, MJ, Madonna and The Beatles, no matter how much you hate it. So many s**** sacrificed in the name of this girl back in the day.
    It’s Britney B****.

    • irene46 March 6, 2013

      when she dies she will be remembered as a young teen queen performer. she’s done nothing worthy (certainly not performance wise) since 2003 (‘in the zone’). she is not on the legit level with elvis,mj,the beatles,or even madonna whose talents spanned their entire careers. and let’s definitely not forget the legandary whitney!!! even though whitney’s voice changed, she was still a hell of a good singer.

  18. TeamBreezy March 5, 2013

    I LOVE this album, one of the decade’s best pop albums easily.(2000-2010)

    The post was a good read until the end, then it got really analytically dumb

  19. Arthur March 5, 2013

    The princess of f*****’ pop!

  20. GODNEY June 23, 2013

    This is the album which proved Britney as the new queen of pop. The album is great, Onyx Hotel tour is great, Britney’s image is awesome. Her first three albums established her as the princess but In the Zone named her as the queen. Me Against The Music, Toxic, Everytime all peaked #1 on UNITED WORLD CHART and if she would not have that knee injury, album would release more singles.. Britney is the queen of pop and i listen to this album for 10 years..

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