Toxic (song)

"Toxic" is a Grammy Award-winning dance-pop song written by Bloodshy & Avant, Cathy Dennis, and Henrik Jonback for Britney Spears' fourth studio album In the Zone (2003). It was released as the album's second single in early 2004 (see 2004 in music). "Toxic" enjoyed critical acclaim and international success, topping many singles charts around the world. In 2005 it won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, Spears' first Grammy ever. Along with "...Baby One More Time", "Oops!... I Did It Again", and "Gimme More" it is considered one of Spears' signature songs.

It has been covered by many artists, making it one of the most covered songs by Spears. The song's cowriter, Cathy Dennis, recorded the demo for the song.

Music and structure

"Toxic" is a dance-pop song composed in the key of C minor. It is written in common time and moves at 143 beats per minute. Spears' vocal range for the song spans nearly two octaves, from G3 to F5.

After the introduction repeats the hook four times, Spears sings the first two verses, each one followed by the hook. After singing the bridge, she sings the chorus. Spears sings the third verse and then the chorus. Following a break she sings the chorus twice and closes the song with an outro.

Music video

It was directed by Joseph Kahn. It portrays Spears as a secret agent of some sort. She's a flight attendant on a concorde-like airliner, who after receiving a phone call, pushes an overweight man into the lavatory and French kisses him. Spears pulls the face of the man off, revealing a handsome man portrayed by model Matthew Felker, and steals his wallet and a key. Spears is then shown in Paris, in a black pleather catsuit and with wavy red hair, and is picked up by Tyson Beckford on a Ducati 999. The pair drives to a factory, where she uses the key to steal a toxin and passes through a series of security measures. Spears then scales a building, now in a superhero-style costume and with black hair, and enters the apartment of a former lover, played by actor Martin Henderson. They make out and Spears pours the toxin in his mouth, killing him. After planting a kiss on him, she jumps off the balcony, landing back in the airplane in her original attire, and winks at the camera before returning to her duties as a flight attendant. The video closes as it began, with birds flying behind the aircraft.

The Music video contained many Toxic references. For example, the toxins that Britney stole were poisonous thus making them Toxic. Also, the factory which Britney broke into was called Toxic Industries, shown on a large sign above the entrance Britney broke into and the Airliner company Britney worked as a flight attendant for was called Toxic Air.

The video is intercut with sequences of Spears with hundreds of Swarovski crystals glued to her body, wearing only a G-string. It took nearly nine hours for makeup artists to glue the crystals to her body. During filming of the sequence, only director Joseph Kahn and Visual effects supervisor Chris Watts were there to shoot; other crew members had to leave the room.

Chris Watts was awarded the "Best Visual Effects in a Music Video" by the Visual Effects Society for his work on Toxic.

The music video debuted at number one on MTV's Total Request Live. It spent sixteen days at the top of the countdown and was retired after fifty days on the program. The video was nominated in four categories at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, and Video of the Year.


The song received much acclaim from critics and the industry. It earned Spears her first Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 2005. It also came 5th in the highly regarded Pazz and Jop Poll for single of the year. In addition, several popular music magazines have selected it one of the greatest songs to be released since the year 2000. Indie music websites Pitchfork Media and Stylus Magazine both named it one of the top songs to be put out between 2000 and 2005, Pitchfork ranked it 13th and Stylus ranked it 14th. Blender also ranked it on their list of the top 500 songs from 1980 to 2005 placing it 110th. The song was chosen as the second favorite song of the world (all time) in a global survey made by Sony Ericsson, in which 700,000 music fans of 66 countries contributed, behind "We Are the Champions" by Queen.

Formats and track listings

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Toxic".
UK CD Single (82876 602092)

  1. "Toxic" — 3:21
  2. "Toxic" [Lenny Bertoldo Mix Show Edit] — 5:46
  3. "Toxic" [Armand Van Helden Remix Edit] — 6:25
  4. "Toxic" [Felix Da Housecat's Club Mix] — 7:09
  5. "Toxic" [Instrumental] — 3:21

UK DVD Single (82876 603669)

  1. "Toxic" — 3:21
  2. "Toxic" [Lenny Bertoldo Mix Show Mix Edit] — 5:46
  3. "Toxic" [Video]
  4. "Britney Previews 'In The Zone'" Video Interview

UK 12" Vinyl (82876 602091)

  • Side A:
  • "Toxic" — 3:21
  • "Toxic" [Felix Da Housecat's Club Mix] — 7:09
  • Side B:
  • "Toxic" [Armand Van Helden Remix Edit] — 6:25
  • "Toxic" [Lenny Bertoldo Mix Show Mix Edit] — 5:46

Europe/Australia CD Single (82876 591732)

  1. "Toxic" — 3:21
  2. "Toxic" [Instrumental] — 3:21
  3. "Toxic" [Bloodshy And Avant Intoxicated Remix] — 5:35
  4. "Toxic" [Armand Van Helden Mix Edit] — 6:25

Germany Pock-It CD (82876 611132)

  1. "Toxic" — 3:21
  2. "Me Against The Music" (featuring Madonna) — 3:43

U.S. Promo CD (JDJ-591532)

  1. "Toxic" — 3:21
  2. "Toxic" [Call-Out Research Hook] — 0:14

U.S. 12" Vinyl (82876 592141)

  • Side A:
  • "Toxic" [Armand Van Helden Remix] — 9:34
  • Side B:
  • "Toxic" [Felix Da Housecat's Club Mix] — 7:09
  • "Toxic" [Lenny Bertoldo Mix Show Edit] — 5:46

Remixes and other versions

These are (official) remixes and other versions of "Toxic":

  • Album Version 3:24
  • Instrumental 3:24
  • Peter Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix 8:01
  • Peter Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix Edit 6:44
  • Peter Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix Radio Edit 4:29 - only available on B in the Mix: The Remixes Deluxe Edition
  • Bloodshy & Avant's Intoxicated Remix 5:34
  • Junior Vasquez Sound Factory Mix 7:14
  • Felix Da Housecat's Club Mix 7:12
  • Felix Da Housecat Remix 7:01
  • Lenny Bertoldo Mixshow Edit 5:46
  • Lenny Bertoldo Radio Mix 3:32
  • Lenny Bertoldo's 2008 Electro Club Mix 7:10
  • Armand Van Helden Remix 9:34
  • Armand Van Helden Remix Edit 6:25
  • Armand Van Helden Radio Edit 3:46
  • A Cappella 3:11 - Leaked, never officially released.

A mix by DJ Sat One featuring a rap by Bahamadia (who some confuse with Penelope Magnet, a writer and background vocalist on the In The Zone album) which is considered by some to be official; however, it's not a commissioned release and is in fact a bootleg.

DJ Yiannis completed a bootleg tribal mix of his own, as well.

There are a further two remixes, the first nicknamed "Toxic Rhythm" released in the UK on the club circuit, involving rap style lyrics. This is an unofficial remix produced by Edinburgh DJ John Marr and as such can only be found on P2P file-sharing networks. The official title for this remix is John Marr - Toxic Rhythm. The second was released on MTV Mash Up and is a mix of Usher's "Yeah" with Spears' "Toxic".

  • "Toxic" is the second track on the U.S. version of Now That's What I Call Music! 15 and marks the singers return to the compilation series since its tenth volume. The song also debuts the "In The Zone" album to the series.

Cover versions

Along with "…Baby One More Time", "Toxic" has become one of Britney Spears most covered songs. Cover versions include:

Appearances in other media

The song was included in a 2005 episode of Doctor Who entitled The End of the World, where it was a recording on a jukebox that survived until the year 5 billion as an example of "a traditional ballad". It was used by the central villain of the story as background music for witnessing the destruction of the Earth.

The song is used for a commercial for Chuck in Warner Channel Latin America. The song's chorus and a part of second verse can be heard.

The song was used for the movie Knocked Up while Ben and Pete are driving to Las Vegas in their car.

Derrick Barry, a twenty-four year-old finalist on America's Got Talent, impersonated Spears on "Toxic", receiving much applause from the judges and the audience.

Mandy Moore guest starred in an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play", playing Tabitha Vixx, a Spears'-parody. She sings her latest song, "Troublelistic", which goes to the same tune.

The song is covered and played in NBA Live 2008 on the Xbox 360.

A cover version of this song is featured in the game Karaoke Revolution Volume 2.

The instrumental version can be heard in the trailer for Wild Child, a movie starring Emma Roberts.

Professional wrestling tag team the Olsen Twins (Colin Delaney and Jimmy Olsen) used a slightly modified version of this song as their entrance music.

Chart performance

"Toxic" is Spears' fourth top-ten single in the U.S. reaching #9 on the Hot 100 chart. The single also experienced strong downloads, and became her first number one on the Hot Digital Tracks (it was the 4th most legally downloaded song of 2004); The single ranked at forty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End chart for 2004.

On Top 40 radio, the song reached number one for four weeks on the Mainstream Top 40 and the top on the Top 40 Tracks. "Toxic" also reached the top ten on the Rhythmic Top 40.

"Toxic" became one of the biggest worldwide hits of 2004, and reached the top three or number one in nearly every country it charted in.

On the ARIA Chart in Australia, it went to number one, knocking Jamelia's "Superstar" off the top and being replaced by "Yeah!" by Usher. It ended up being one of the best-selling singles of the year.

The single also became a huge success in the UK, selling 105,000 copies in its first week of release and debuting at number one, charting ahead of Kylie Minogue's "Red Blooded Woman" which entered the chart at #5. The chart battle between the two divas was highly popularized in the UK. Ironically, the song had originally been offered to Kylie for inclusion on her 9th studio album Body Language, but she turned it down. "Toxic" sold a total of 268,000 copies in the UK and became the 9th best selling single of 2004. In the United States the single sold over 500,000 downloads and 500,000 CD singles. It has been certified Platinum. The single sold 5,355,000 copies worldwide in 2004 alone, making it the 5th best-selling single of that year.

In New Zealand, Toxic debuted in the chart on February 11, 2004 at number forty-one, being the second highest entry of that week. The next week it moved up only three places before shifting up a further eight places in its forth week. In its fifth week Toxic entered the top twenty coming in at number nineteen. The song then rocketed up to number three in its sixth week on the chart. The song stayed there for two weeks before it moved up one more place to number two in April where the song peaked and stayed for another 2 weeks, being held off the top spot by Eamon's Fuck It (Don't Want You Back). Toxic was certified Gold in its tenth week and stayed on the chart for twenty-four weeks, eleven of them being in the top ten. Toxic also ended up at number eleven on New Zealands Annual Top 50 Singles Chart for 2004.

The single ended the year as the 26th most played song in Latin America.

Chart (2004) Peak
Argentina Top 40 1
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 5
Belgian Singles Chart 6
Brazilian Hot 100 4
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Danish Singles Chart 4
Dutch Singles Chart 6
European Billboard Hot 100 Singles 1
Finnish Singles Chart 8
French Singles Chart 3
German Singles Chart 4
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian FIMI Singles Chart 4
Mexican Singles Chart 1
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 2
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Spanish Singles Chart 5
Swedish Singles Chart 2
Swiss Singles Chart 4
'Tokyo Hot 100' 7
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 9
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 1

Year End Charts

Country Position
Austria 25
Australia 38
Germany 30
Latvian Airplay 31
New Zealand 11
Swiss 17
Tokio Hot 100 95
USA 48
United Kingdom 9


Country Certification Sales
Australia Platinum 70,000
France Silver 125,000
New Zealand Gold 5,000
Norway Platinum 40,000
Sweden Gold 10,000
United Kingdom Silver 268,000
United States Platinum 1,500,000+

External links


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