Readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.
So, as our retrospective segments, ‘From the Vault’ and ‘TGJ Replay,’ allow us the chance to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday of one artist, our latest feature – Chart Rewind – serves as a variation of our Retro Rewind assay to salute an entire era of music history.
Again, we’re revisiting Britney Spears‘ ‘Oops…I Did It Again’ era – this time placing focus on its third single, ‘Stronger.’
During her sophomore album cycle, ‘Oops!…I Did It Again’ (2000), the ‘it’ had taken many forms for Britney Spears as she topped the Billboard 200 again, made history again (this time for becoming the first female act to sell over 1 million copies of an album its debut week), and managed to leave parents and censors jaws dropped again with high octane music videos and stage performances featuring imagery that teetered between nice girl and sexpot.
Arguably the height of her career, those unrivaled wins were less present on the Hot 100 – a platform the singer surprisingly, yet historically, could not boast as high success. Despite gargantuan sales of her first two LPs, less than half the singles collectively designed to support those projects cracked the tally’s top 10. With ‘Oops!’ second single – August 2000’s tame-toned ‘Lucky’ – landing her lowest charting at that point (#23 peak), the then-teen diva’s team opted to remedy that by driving the era in another direction sonically and visually.
Enter the Max Martin-produced ‘Stronger.’
Featuring a ‘darker’ Britney than had been exhibited in visuals past, ‘Stronger’ not only served as an empowerment anthem conceptually but also – thanks to its futuristic, Joseph Kahn-directed visual – one of the singer’s most memorable music videos. Easily one of her most mature offerings by that date from a content perspective, ‘Stronger’ went on to receive strong reviews from critics who lauded its progressive Pop stance – a dark fusion that arguably laid the groundwork for a sound revisited in her later ‘In the Zone’ (2003) and ‘Blackout’ (2007) eras. Notably, it also contained an ode to self with the lyric, ‘My loneliness ain’t killing me no more’ (a clear reference to a similar line in her inaugural hit, ‘Baby One More Time’).
When the dust settled, the song – which peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 this week 20 years ago – joined the list of Spears hits to miss the chart’s top 10.
Yet, it did go on to GOLD status in the United States for sales of 500,000 and helped its parent album to sales of 20 million worldwide.
Hot 100 This Week in 2001
Hot 100 This Week
Click here to read this week’s full TGJ Chart Check: Hot 100.