The Meaning Of “Hit Me” In Britney’s “…Baby One More Time” Revealed!

Image Via Jive Records

oooooh, now we get it.

Not to get all supercereal on you, but ever since it was released 17 (yes, 17) years ago, there’s been speculation and quite a good deal of criticism surrounding the meaning of the lyric “hit me” in Britney Spears’ breakthrough single, “…Baby One More Time”. Much like Matchbox 20’s “Push” only a few years before it, “hit me” brought up issues of domestic abuse, male domination, and female subjugation.

Was the 16-year-old Spears asking to be struck by the male object of the song? Was she submitting herself to his will? Was it just that the lyrics were innocent but in really bad taste? These were questions fans and critics alike have entertained from 1998 all the way to the present. Well, now there’s an answer of sorts, and it’s totally not what you were expecting.

As reported at Huffington Post and elsewhere, songwriters Max Martin and Rami Yacoub opened up about the development of “…Baby One More Time” in John Seabrook's new book, The Song Machine. Seems the two Swedish-speaking writers felt that “hit me” was American teen slang for “call me” (as in “hit me on the cell, yo.”) While this was and is more or less accurate, it’s also an awkward, problematic turn of phrase. Indeed, the American producers of Spears’ album noticed the loaded term and changed the song’s title from “Hit Me Baby (One More Time)” to “…Baby One More Time”, which eventually became her album's title. Despite these efforts, the single still drew controversy. 

So what is one to make of all this? Well, if these claims are true, it’s clear it was an honest, innocent attempt to parrot the way teens speak that, unfortunately, produced a very off-tone result. It’s forgivable and understandable, even if it should have been stopped well before recording.

That said, while the clarification of “hit me” fixes that one line, it actually brings the full tone of the much-beloved song back into focus. Yes, “hit me” is not as problematic as it could have been, but the entire single is a minefield of tropes about female passivity. While we can shoo away the specter of domestic abuse, the lyrics still point to a lopsided relationship where the female asks the male to, “show me how you want it to be.” Granted, these lyrics speak to the desperate, genuine emotions almost all women and men have felt at one time or another. Still, with these male-written lyrics coming out of the mouth of a female high-schooler, it’s quite troubling in retrospect.

That’s not to say we don’t totally love “…Baby One More Time”. We totally do. It’s just that we also recognize that—for a bouncy pop trifle—it’s a very loaded song. Actually, let's all take a minute or three out to enjoy it right now.


Now, if you want to clean your palate of all that theory, head on over to Huff Post to find out the very surprising artist who turned down the opportunity to record “…Baby One More Time” herself. No, not TLC. It’s a nice little bit of alternative pop history.

(Huffington Post)

Lil Nas X, The Regrettes, and more

Every weekend, we bring you #SOUNDCHECK—your destination for the best of the best new music that hit the web over the course of the week. Because you should always be prepared when someone passes you that AUX cord. This week's round features 10 of our favorite emerging and established artists including Lil Nas X, The Regrettes and so many more. Turn up, tune in, and tune out.

7 EP - Lil Nas X
It's finally here, and it's everything you'd hope it'd be. Catch that yeehaw Cardi B feature.

"Expensive" - Rence ft. Noah Cyrus
I identify as the expensive love interest, thanks.

The Regrettes - I Dare You [Official Music Video]

"I Dare You" - The Regrettes
How much cuter could they get? We stan.

Kiesza - Sweet Love (Official Music Video)

"Sweet Love" - Kiesza
Haunting and hot. What more could we ask for?

Noël Wells - Sad Girl Blues

"Sad Girl Blues" - Noël Wells
My new anthem, TBH.

"Addicted" - Déyyess
I would let Déyyess sing me the phonebook.

Baby Rose - Mortal (Official Video)

"Mortal" - Baby Rose
A sultry sort of lullaby.

"Keeper" - Olivia Nelson
Already stuck in my head, and that's where I want it to stay.

Poppy - Choke (Official Audio)

"Choke" - Poppy
I can't get enough of this creepy AF beat.

"dead yet" - Gabriel Black ft. Phem
So here for this tender teen angst.


Liquid eyeshadow is having a moment, but eye gloss needs some attention, too

Friends don't let friends miss out on all the cool, under-the-radar things they know about, like which little-known beauty brand is low-key making the best highlighter around. And because we consider our readers to be like friends, we gather together all our best finds in our Don't Sleep On This series. Check in every week to see what things we can't wait to share with you.

Applying makeup is really an art: Everyone has their own technique, secret trick, and routine. For me, if I don't have to use a makeup brush, I'm instantly hooked on the product. (My goal is always "it looks like I tried this morning, but I really didn't.") Which is why, when Ulta was having its 21 Days of Beauty sale last year and the Butter London Eye Gloss was half-off, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Keep reading... Show less

We identify

You probably know Laura Dreyfuss, aka Loladre, from her stint on Broadway in the hit show Dear Evan Hansen. Since leaving the show, she's started writing lines for herself instead of just memorizing them. She's excited to be singing as herself now, instead of as a character, and is happy that her music reflects her own feelings. She also reveals that she loves how little the songs have in common, saying it's "representative of who I am as a person."

In the video, above, the singer talks about what drove her to make her own music, and what she's still applying from her Broadway days.

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Shot by Charlotte Prager + Gretta Wilson
Edited by Madeline Stedman

Asset 7

Fight the fade and keep up the shine

There's really no way around it: Summer is the absolute worst time of the year to dye your hair. Thanks to culprits like chlorine, salt water, and excessive sun exposure, it can seem practically impossible to keep color looking fresh.

Keep reading... Show less

We talked with the "1950" singer on her new collaboration with Mark Ronson for 'Late Night Feelings'

Today, Mark Ronson releases his debut full-length album Late Night Feelings, and it's packed with stellar female vocalists straddling all genres, from Camilla Cabello to Alicia Keys to Angel Olsen to our favorite star-on-the-rise, King Princess. During this past weekend at Bonnaroo, I had the chance to pick KP's brain about their collab, "Pieces of Us," ahead of its release.

Keep reading... Show less