Britney Spears’ ‘ Hit Me, Baby, One More Time’ Isn’t About What You Think It Is

Travel back in time with me, if you will.  The year is 1998, and 17-year-old Britney Spears is standing before you on your TV screen, clad in a uniform that highlights her school’s incredibly lax dress code.  While you can’t get enough of her debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” your mother can’t beg you to turn it off fast enough.  Why?  Because she has some issues with the song’s message: namely, that the scantily clad schoolgirl seems to be asking her boyfriend to hit her.

You have to hand it to all the Moms out there because admittedly, it’s not really clear what Britney means when she asks for her lover to hit her one more time.  As a 9-year-old, my gut told me she was talking about a more figurative and emotional kind of hit, but it turns out that my pre-pubescent self was wrong. 

In journalist John Seabrook’s new pop music history book, The Song Machine, he reveals that the track was written by Swedish songwriter Max Martin (responsible for some of Taylor Swift and The Weeknd’s most recent hits, as well as about half of all the pop songs you’ve loved in your lifetime) and Swedish-Moroccan songwriter Rami Yacous, who both worked for Stockholm’s famous Cheiron Studios, one of the biggest hit factories of the 90s. 

According to Seabrook, Martin was really interested in working with Britney because since she was young and new to the scene, they could get the chance to shape her sound in a way they’d never had a chance before, but always dreamed of.  So, he gave her a song he’d recently written about a girl who’d just split up with her boyfriend, then called, “Hit Me Baby (One More Time).” 

However, the Swedes didn’t really understand what the word ‘hit’ meant in America – they thought it was new slang for the word ‘call.’  All this time, Britney wasn’t asking for a literal or a figurative hit, she was just asking for her ex-boyfriend to call her on her (cell)phone (late night when she needs his love).  Or you know, whenever. 

Jive Records, Britney’s label at the time, kind of had a feeling that any pop song featuring the words “Hit Me” wasn’t going to sell, which is why they changed the title to “…Baby One More Time.”

So there – all the proof you ever needed to convince your Mom that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about when it comes to Britney Spears is finally here.  It may be too late to tell her now, but at least you’ll know.  Who said history couldn’t be fun? 

[H/T Huffington Post]

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