Happy Birthday to this under-rated gem! 10 years on and the message is just as powerful as it was the first time. Let’s take a look back at the video and share some interesting facts.
The music video for “Someday (I Will Understand)” was directed by Michael Haussman. Spears commented that he “[did] a great job capturing the song, the essence and the emotion” and added that the video had “a different feeling” from any of her previous videos. It was shot entirely in black-and-white. Spears asserted that her life had “come full circle” and implied that in the process she underwent changes in her soul and body, as shown in the video.It premiered on June 14, 2005 during the fifth and last episode of Spears’s reality show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic, titled “Veil of Secrecy”. The music video features a pregnant Spears lying in bed and walking around a house while singing to her unborn child. She also gazes through the window at the Roman sculptures in the garden.
Spears composed “Someday (I Will Understand)” on the piano at her house, two weeks before she learned of her pregnancy with her first child, Sean Preston. She explained the song came “like a prophecy… when you’re pregnant, you’re empowered”
“It seemed very obvious what the song was about — motherhood — but there was no physical sign that Britney was pregnant during the sessions,” Sean McGhee, who engineered, programmed, and mixed the song, wrote in an email. “Certainly, we didn’t ask her any questions, I would not have wanted to pry into her personal life, but when the news came out a few weeks later, it wasn’t too much of a surprise.”
Like “Everytime,” the ethereal ballad had been written by Spears at a piano and produced by Guy Sigworth, who has worked with Björk and Madonna and was one half of the short-lived duo Frou Frou. Engineer McGhee said he was impressed with Spears’ songwriting. “I think it’s actually very difficult lyrically to write something like ‘Someday’ without being mawkish,” he said. “A lot of pop songwriters would really struggle to write about it in a sensitive and personal way, but Britney had written something really beautiful. Great melody, great lyrics, but still totally pop, and totally her. Much harder than it sounds.”
McGhee said he wasn’t told whether the song was to be a one-off single or part of a record. “If there was a larger context to it at the time, I wasn’t aware of it,” he said, although he remembered “Mona Lisa” was “mentioned by one of her label executives as a departure for Britney from what she’d done before.”
“Someday” and a re-recorded and reworked “Mona Lisa” both ended up on a 2005 EP that came with the DVD release of Chaotic. On the new “Mona Lisa,” the line “cuz she’s gone” became “she’s been cloned,” and the second verse was rewritten to be even more prophetic: “Now see everyone’s watching / As she starts to fall / They want her to break down / And be a legend of a fall,” Spears sang.
Happy Birthday, ‘Someday (I Will Understand)’! We will be watching on repeat!