Huzzah! Britney Spears released the video for “Hold It Against Me,” the first from her seventh studio album Femme Fatale. 14 clips later… don’t tease me, bro! Tase? Oh, by all means – ha ha he he ha ha heaux… #okgo
In 140 or Less:
Cameras up and we see the makings of a modern Pop princess, donning the finest in commercial couture en route to becoming an empress… product placement on parade: Spears’ Radiance perfume, Make Up Forever cosmetics, Plenty of Fish, and Sony; ah yes, the radiant cent of a woman – because this Brit is self-made, self-paid, self-affiliated among the scene’s sea change… live in your world, play in ours – because Pop culture command central is Spears’ play station. On the other side of commerce is the collage of Pop, both cinematically and conceptually, aligning Britney with the masters – rather mistresses – of the modern scene. The pristine white stage of the photo shoot acts as a snapshot allusion to Madonna-circa-2003-meets-Madonna-circa-1998 – dancers decked to the nines in street runway wear, and glam-camo-grenade-belt Britney in the forefront full-focus; HIAM presenting Britney “American Dream Since 17” Spears center-stage in Madonna’s instant-vintage “American Life” fashion show. We see touches of “Bedtime Stories” optical mirages, and “Die Another Day” self-combat, as much as we see homages to Spears’ past-lives – namely, “Oops… I Did It Again” and “Everytime.” Conceptually, 2011 proves to be a year of next-level Pop, and Britney is completely on par with said progress. Just as GaGa emerges from The Fame Monster this way, born again a matured maiden; so Britney battles herself en route to an elevated existence. We even see hints of Willow Smith and Robyn with the neon-paint splatter scene at the bridge. Not for nothing, and not to be overlooked is the shaft, the structure itself: a vertical tunnel with the light, not just ahead, but beneath and all-about Spears. It’s as if The Matrix was met and remastered by Willy Wonka himself, created in the image of fizzy-lifting bubblegum Pop. Finally we reach the end… after Britney made it through the virginal ascent and kaleidoscopic demise, after being beneath and behind the scenes she comes forward – lights killed on a fiery black stage… Earth 2011: because Britney is back out to black out one last time before 2012 #apopcalyptic
As always with Britney videos – and songs, and life – here, the atmosphere is the concept and the environment is the everything. We begin with Britney in a volcanic vessel, hurtling towards Earth in a most “Oops… I Orbited Astray” way… descending at the speed of light to regale – or warn – the world with tales of grave transgressions and nightmarish fantasies made real… to remind the audience of baby boys and girls – again – that last decade happened: “no – I know you “know it happened” but it happened.” We are given a snapshot of Britney en route back to Earth, after living life on Mars; after the crash we are given a glimpse inside the mind of the Matrix misses, and the mass-mediated machine behind the Pop curtain of contemporary culture.
Here we see Britney ascending within the Pop vacuum of her own made Matrix… displaying record of past transgressions, detached, within and without reality, from the place of our anti-Architect – creating a broken system from a position of veiled mass influence – delivering tales from the tone of a neo-she-Keanu Reeves, reflecting said transgressions through fragmented televised transmissions. Wherever there is Britney, though, there is the amplified isolation of her mindset; and wherever there is Britney displaying the current state of me, so sits the present state of her reactionary world – the society of American we.
I can’t help but feel the increasingly prominent theme of a modern humanoid presenting itself at every Pop turn.
This video is scoffed as being boring and static; but the scape needs to be static, the reaction needs to be dynamic, the reprecussory videos and pop creations need to display a a reaction. Britney is the vantage. The scape is the stage – and here the stage is solid. Jonas Akerlund directs a brilliant piece here with wide-reaching elements hearkening to Greek – and modern – mythology, Madonna, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tool, Iamwhoami, and Mortal Kombat among other references. The focus and running theme though, is the Pop world itself and the elements that will set the stage for the future – including pillars of Pop past.
Self-interruption: WATCH THE BRIDGE – POP 2011 is all about the Bridges Over Monster Cries… and the maestros that breed beneath them #psafromthebridgemasterteamsterunionkentwoodchapter – that said: this video’s heart, soul, and Spears’ legacy lie in the cinematic and sonic bridge… here, there, and everywhere for that matter.
The video shows Britney destroying her own made world: you wanted her body, so now she’s holding it against the music. As Britney remains suspended in the televised void, she is faced with her own self – and, even if only for a moment, we think beyond the shaved head and K-Fed to the schoolgirl that once was… that was then, though and this is now. Britney represents the new human condition through electronic evolution. A pop star is not a person – it’s a persona – and nowhere is that more evident than with the iconography of Pop pastiche that is a one Ms. Britney Jean Spears. A receptive conglomeration of all things Pop past, present, and future she has evolved from the face to the body of the modern genre. Britney is our Charlie Bucket rags-to-riches character making real the story of iconic Americana inheritance – a sweet kid with a sweet tooth and a golden ticket, whose only crime is the insatiable need to stay fizzy-lifted… where Charlie’s cure was a burp – the world requires that Britney bleed neon in order to return to Earth’s fair-weathered graces – because “you’re an artist: it’s more cathartic that way – but really you’re a celebrity, so it’s more sacrificial.” As such, the same day-glo paint that flows through Robyn’s “Indestructible” video and whips across Willow Smith’s classroom, is the same fluorescent fuel that runs through Britney’s veins – because when Spears slays her own beast: she bleeds Pop.
As music reflects the global transition to a digital world, Pop is in a state of a magnificent sea change. Lady GaGa is living this evolution – from the soundboard, to the stage and sidewalk. She began as the very product of Britney-era pop: a beautiful, dirty, rich Fame-filled anyone, manifest into the Fame monster of her own best friend, worst enemy, and miserable company; now, she is seemingly re-evolving from a monstrous hellion into a humanoid hybrid. The “egg” – the incubator, the vessel – is nothing new; it is merely the next step towards that GaGa, the one that is true. When I’m on stage that’s the narrative of the show. As a fashion stance the clothing evolves. It begins in sort of a warbly, blue state, and it’s kind of spacy. Then I grow bones, and then I grow hair, and then I grow horns, and then I become a sexy full-bodied woman in a world full of war and military. Then I become myself, by the end of the show. It’s sort of this apocalyptic rebirth when I appear in the orbit and I’ve done it again. The show is like the ultimate, epitome, symbol of what that ‘Fame Monster’ is that we perceive in our heads. The Grammys were merely a rebirth; GaGa stark, naked, stripped, on the brink of rebirth to live all over again – however, this time it is from the place of a more-mistress-than-monster, more-human-than-heathen being… where she will undoubtedly manifest once again before our eyes, on stage, for the final leg of Monster Ball. So, in tandem Britney ascends above her own past demons… where before “Oops,” everytime she tried to fly she fell, here she ascends in the midst of that broken baby to a place of sapient seniority – and more importantly, self-awareness. We have an anti-architect at the podium with handlers forever at the helm – and that is why this is Pop at its finest: because the director is the dictator, the star is the voice and vessel, the marketers are the masterminds, and the market is the masterpiece… culture is the canvas: Louvre the Pop world.
Watch This Space: Joker Jean’s on the Throne #watchit