It's an understatement to say that Britney Spears' music has impacted a generation in more ways than one. The world-renowned pop star has had countless chart-topping hits and her public persona and personal life have influenced millions of fans across the globe. With that being said, some of her songs have had a longer and more profound cultural impact than others, one being her 2009 hit track "If U Seek Amy."
The song was, as most of Britney's releases are, a smash hit, but it also generated a bit of controversy for its supposed secret double meaning. To this day, not everyone is really aware of what that secondary meaning really is, which begs the question: What exactly did Britney mean when she sang "If U Seek Amy"? Keep reading for all of the known details.
What does "If U Seek Amy" really mean? Well, it's a bit risqué to say the least.
When it was originally released in 2009, "If U Seek Amy" was well-received by critics and praised as a prime example of her star power and ability to stage a comeback after some rocky moments in the public eye. However, for as much acclaim as it received, "If U Seek Amy" also caught some flak from some concerned groups who recognized that the track has a secret double meaning regarding sexual intercourse.
Indeed, if you listen to the track, the inclusion of the phrase "If U Seek Amy" doesn't really make sense said normally. However, Britney's chosen cadence for the track speeds the phrase up and makes it sound a lot more like she's sounding out the letters, "Eff You See Kay" and then adding "me," spelling ... well, you get it. Say that out loud to yourself (maybe not around any little ears) if you still don't get it, but the meaning of the song entirely changes when you consider the way she delivers those words.
The rest of the lyrics largely focus on Britney's take on the world at the time, lightly addressing her controversial public persona and basically stating that she doesn't care what anyone thinks. Centered around partying to a catchy beat, the song's core meaning is exemplified through lyrics such as, "Love me, hate me / Say what you want about me / But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to / If you seek Amy."
It's exactly that aforementioned sped-up singing of the words "If U Seek Amy" that made the song so controversial. Per NBC, the Parents Television Council petitioned back in 2009 to remove the song from all radio stations. The group cited the notion that impressionable children may hear Britney's lewd take on the phrase and repeat it themselves.
"There is no misinterpreting the lyrics to this song, and it's certainly not about a girl named Amy," claimed PTC president Tim Winter at the time.
Nonetheless, "If U Seek Amy" was a resounding success for the singer. Per Wikipedia, the track peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs list on Apr. 11, 2009. On May 9, 2009, it reached No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Internationally, "If U Seek Amy" debuted at No. 49 on the ARIA Singles Chart on Feb. 16, 2009, entered the U.K. Singles Chart at No. 45 on Apr. 6, 2009, and peaked at No. 13 on Canada's charts on Apr. 4, 2009.