Well. It’s certainly an interesting one! When I first hit play on YouTube I was initially reminded of the video she did for “Oops!…I Did It Again” when space-related imagery started to appear, so I was expecting our Brit to be wearing some sprayed-on rubber monstrosity with matching lesbionic footwear as before. However, to steal a line from someone on Twitter today, it was more “Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” than Disney’s version of a bondage outfit like in “Oops…”. Leading in to the body of the video we are greeted with camp-tastic Kiss-style writing that was also a little reminiscent of an 80s game show, though I couldn’t think which one.
Now before one can really start to settle in for the full Britney experience we are beaten over the head with some blatant advertising; “Plenty of Fish” and “Sony”, I’m looking at you. I understand that for the music industry, to fund these lavish videos, product placement and sponsorship greases the wheels, but this just felt like being beaten over the head with a big, wet fish, while someone screamed at you “ARE YOU LONELY? YOU’RE LONELY AREN’T YOU? I CAN TELL YOU’RE LONELY. JOIN US! ARE YOU LONELY….” At least Britney, flogging her own perfume, “Radiance”, had the common decency to hold it up at an awkward angle so you’d have to freeze frame the video and cock your head to one side to find out what it was. To avoid resentment from a viewer, surely the product placement should be more subtly placed so you subconsciously pick up on it, rather than being able to play Sponsorship Bingo with every video made?
One of the first things that initially struck me once the video got under way, was Britney’s outfit. Or lack thereof. Not that she’s too old to be wearing sparkly hot pants, as Kylie proved with “Spinning Around” if you’ve got it, flaunt it. I just felt it was a fairly lazy outfit choice, that I guess was maybe aimed at drawing in the straight guys, whilst the gays and girls are getting hysterical trying to copy the dance “routine” in between necking fruity cocktails.
The general theme of the video is a complete mess too. We start off in space, then we see Britney flailing around in a studio full of lights intermingled with her standing inside a column of screens playing back old Britney videos, all the while wearing what for all the world looks like a wedding dress. Oh, and not to forget the dancers WITH NO EYES! I mean seriously, what the fuck? Perhaps Britney was going commando again, and the sight of her vajayjay had caused their eyes to flesh over? It could happen.
After a couple of minutes of Britney lazily stomping around the place, the dubstep breakdown enters in all its glory. The video then takes a strange turn as the piping that was noticeably attached to her fingers in earlier shots starts to ejaculate streams of fluorescent coloured fluid, which seems to equate to Britney’s life force, as she then begins to collapse down on to her big fat gypsy wedding dress. So what happens now? A fight sequence involving Purple Britney versus Red Britney. Of course! Importantly, both with bad hair. At least the director was a stickler for detail.
Now I happened to enjoy these scenes, though that’s probably because they appeal to the gamer in me, and recalled Kitana versus Mileena battles in Mortal Kombat II. While this was going on Britney was still spewing all over the place, and there was the obligatory “Sony” shot, but the rhythm of the fighting felt like it worked well with the beats that had been introduced; though by this point I had gone beyond trying to understand what the hell was going and just let it wash over me.
Just as I thought it couldn’t get any more confusing after the Britney v Britney transition, the video segues in to some Glee-size rock performance with Britney clad in the most god-awful leather outfit with knickers on show, whilst wearing an Egyptian queen-style necklace, natch. As if to add insult to injury, the video ends with a question mark. A QUESTION MARK! It’s as if the director is taunting us with the meaningless nonsense of the previous four and a half minutes that we have just watched, by saying, “does this work?”
Anyway, enough of this, for some reason I feel the need to go and buy something made by “Sony” after I’ve signed up for “Plenty of Fish”. Here’s “Hold It Against Me” in all its glory, and for the record, I adore Britney and her music, but this video is just one hot mess. Then again, this is Britney Spears.