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‘Hold’ Everything: Britney Spears Earned Her Fourth No. 1 a Decade Ago Today

Don't hold it against us, but it's hard to let a Britney Spears anniversary slip by without commemorating it in some fashion – and today (Jan. 29), we're celebrating 10 years since "Hold It Against…

Don’t hold it against us, but it’s hard to let a Britney Spears anniversary slip by without commemorating it in some fashion – and today (Jan. 29), we’re celebrating 10 years since “Hold It Against Me” topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Previewing her seventh album Femme Fatale (which might be runner-up to Blackout as Best Britney Album yet), “Hold It Against Me” was a smash out of the gates, debuting at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and making Britney, at the time, just the second artist in the chart’s history to debut at No. 1 more than once (Mariah Carey was the first to do so). Hey, that’s just how she rolls.

With a pounding industrial dance beat and throbbing synths fading in and out, “Hold It Against Me” is a decidedly early ’10s production; the impact of EDM on mainstream radio was undeniable at this point, and this banger comes locked and loaded with the requisite dubstep-influenced breakdown that seemed inescapable at the top of that decade. But even if that particular segment comes across as a bit of a checklist to-do item, Spears herself sounds invested in her vocal performance, easily sliding into the role of rave queen. No surprise there: Her instinctive ability to sound sensual and detached at the same time was a perfect fit for a genre that felt simultaneously hedonistic and mechanical.


“Hold” felt like the perfect opening salvo for Britney’s 2010s, and even like a comeback of sorts. Not to say she was on a downswing when the Femme Fatale era arrived: her greatest-hits single “3” topped the Hot 100 in 2009 and previous album Circus housed yet another No. 1 in the iconic “Womanizer.” But with next-gen pop queens Lady Gaga, Kesha and Rihanna having stolen much of the dance-pop spotlight with far edgier aesthetics, it felt like Spears circa 2011 needed a definitive win ahead of her seventh album in order to establish that — unlike most of her millennial pop peers – she was still here to play and slay.

And slay she did. Arriving at No. 1 (becoming the 18th song in Hot 100 history to do so), it also earned Spears the highest debut frame by a lead female artist at the time (in the week dated Jan. 29, 2011); with 411,000 downloads (remember those?) sold, it easily bested the previous record holder, Taylor Swift’s “Today Was a Fairytale,” which moved 325,000 units in 2010.

It also set up Spears nicely for an ongoing hot streak, with Femme Fatale topping the Billboard 200 and producing another ubiquitous early ’10s hit with “Till the World Ends,” which reached No. 3 on the Hot 100, as well as the top 10 “I Wanna Go.” The wins kept rolling throughout 2011, with the Britney Spears remix of Rihanna’s “S&M” becoming Britney’s fifth Hot 100 topper.

In case your memory is a little hay-ZAY, do yourself a favor and revisit one of Spears’ signature singles on the 10-year anniversary of it dominating the Hot 100.