The English songwriter Cathy Dennis wrote this in 2003 with Britney Spears in mind. Dennis was the female voice of the group D-Mob, who had a hit in 1990 with "C'mon And Get My Love." She had some other hits as a solo artist, including "Too Many Walls" and "Just Another Dream," before writing songs for other artists. She wrote Kylie Minogue's 2002 hit "Can't Get You Out Of My Head."
The video was released around the same time Janet Jackson flashed her boob at the Super Bowl. The uproar over indecent material caused MTV to banish the "Toxic" clip, and a few other highly sexual videos, to late-night rotation.
In the Joseph Kahn-directed video, Spears is shown in a provocative pose wearing a flesh-colored body suit. Kahn also directed the clips for Spears' "Stronger
" and "Womanizer
This won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. It was Spears' first Grammy.
This was produced by the Swedish production duo Bloodshy & Avant (Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg), and the pair received writing credit on the song as well. They also worked on Spears' 2007 track "Piece Of Me
Spears' previous Top 10 hit was "Oops... I Did It Again
" in 2000. While she did rack up some minor hits, her commercial success was fading a bit. This song, with its memorable high-pitched hook, brought her back to the Top 10 and gave her career a nice boost.
Bertrand - Paris, France
There have been some very interesting and unusual cover versions of this song. The French-Israeli folk-pop artist Yael Naim recorded it, as did the alternative group Local H. A Static Lullaby recorded a Punk version on their 2008 album Rattlesnake!
The singer-songwriter interview with Jayme Dee
got a lot of attention with her acoustic cover that she posted on YouTube. Dee has covered many popular songs in this style which routinely get over 100,000 views, but she tells us that "Toxic" is the one she most connected with. Said Dee: "It's so different than the original version. I wanted to make the song a little more sultry and less obtrusive, so I pulled out my acoustic and went for a more bluesy vibe. It was fun!"
Spears told MTV News in 2003: "It's basically about a girl addicted to a guy. "I really like 'Toxic.' It's an upbeat song. It's really different, that's why I like it so much. This villain girl, she'll do anything to get what she wants. She goes through different obstacles."
Cathy Dennis said that writing this song was "sheer torture." She told Songwriting magazine: "I beat myself up for seven days, not sleeping. The melody came first, then I had this puzzle of trying to fit words to the right number of syllables. It was really weird. I kept writing and then re-editing myself again, and again, and again."
For the video, Britney appears to be a flight attendant, but she's actually a secret agent in disguise. Director Joseph Kahn told MTV News: "The plot is pretty nonsensical. It's just fun. James Bond flicks and sex."
The song was originally offered to Kylie Minogue, but she rejected it.
Jay-Z revealed during a Twitter Q&A that this is his favorite Britney song. "Jamming my G," he remarked. Britney responded by tweeting: "You learn something every day! Never knew @S_C_ was a fan of Toxic! That's Big Pimpin."
This was used on the TV series Chuck in the 2007 episode "Chuck Versus the Truth."