If a glance at the iTunes pop charts on Friday morning (Jan. 26) had you seeing double you can thank Britney Spears fans. The Britney Army has marshalled their collective might to push her deep cut 2011 Femme Fatale bonus track “Selfish” into the top 5 of the U.S. iTunes top 40 singles chart less than 24 hours after long-ago ex Justin Timberlake released his new single of the same name.
At press time JT’s song — which was released Thursday morning — is at the top of the iTunes tally in the U.S., with Spears’ track just behind at No. 2; Brit’s “Selfish” has topped the iTunes pop chart in a number of other territories, including Canada, Mexico and Brazil, among others. The digital chess move was inspired by a raft of social media activity on Thursday urging Britney fans to stream her song in an apparent attempt to tamp down first-week streaming figures for the first single from Timberlake’s upcoming sixth album, Everything I Thought It Was.
On X, Britney’s Army have chronicled how some radio stations in the U.S. have also begun spinning her “Selfish” thanks to the attention on the song produced by Stargate, Kuk Harrell and Sandy Vee. The trolling effort came just as Timberlake began promoting his first solo single since 2018’s “SoulMate” and at press time neither Spears nor Timberlake appear to have responded to the quickly-spreading global guerrilla iTunes chart goosing, which has also included Brit’s tune being added to the Spotify “Obsessed” playlist.
While Spears announced earlier this month that she “never” plans to return to the music business, the two singers will forever be entwined in their fans’ minds due to their dating history in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The pair were pop royalty at the time, with Spears writing in her 2023 The Woman in Me tell-all memoir that she had an abortion while they were dating because Timberlake “definitely wasn’t happy about pregnancy.”
Timberlake didn’t respond to the allegations in the book about his alleged behavior during their relationship, but he did turn off comments on his Instagram after it was flooded with angry comments from Britney’s supporters. Justin did appear to allude to the firestorm during a Las Vegas show in December, where he told a crowd he meant “no disrespect” before playing his 2002 solo hit “Cry Me a River,” widely seen as a commentary on the couple’s March 2002 split after three years together.
Timberlake also apologized to Spears — and Janet Jackson — in 2021, a week after Hulu aired the doc Framing Britney Spears, writing on Instagram, “I have seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond. I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”
The tumult comes as Timberlake is in full promo mode, fresh off a visit to friendly climes of The Tonight Show on Thursday night before heading to the equally warm embrace of Saturday Night Live this weekend as the musical guest on the show he’s hosted five times; Timberlake also has a free show at New York’s 1,100-capacity Irving Place on Jan. 31, his 43rd birthday.
Check out some of the tweets from Spears’ fan promoting the “Selfish” skirmish.
The post “Here’s How Britney Spears Fans Are Trolling Justin Timberlake Over His New Single” by Gil Kaufman was published on 01/26/2024 by www.billboard.com