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Home Blogs The Arts Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" video more than meets the eye

Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" video more than meets the eye

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Pop music producers Max Martin and Dr. Luke were inspiring with the musical innovation for Britney Spears' record-breaking single "Hold it Against Me." The track musically pits Britney's bubblegum pop past against the straight up electropop that she debuted in her (highly underrated) 2007 "Blackout" album. Jonas Ackerlund's "Hold it Against Me" video, which premiered Feb. 17 (above), expands on that dichotomy by using images from Britney's past and points to her future.

Considering it's a Ackerlund video, there is a lot of interesting and pretty visuals but substance is usually undecipherable.

There is, however, a pattern in thought with the music that is intriguing. Opening the video with a meteor falling out of the sky (plus the strange visual effects throughout) might make this a kind of sequel to the kitschy martian story line in the 2000 "Oops! I Did It Again" video.

The fourth wall is broken throughout the video, showing the viewer lights and monitors as well as a great amount of product placement (not something new to Ackerlund - did you see Gaga and Beyonce's Telephone video?). That break in the fourth wall symbolizes the public personal life Spears has lived since her youth.

Slowly, but surely the images in the video begin making sense.

Britney's "pure/virginal" youth is shown in a tower of televisions (showing images from her earlier music videos), with Britney held aloft wearing an oversized white gown - that is until faceless men start coming out of the folds of the frock.  The white symbolizes her former pure adolescence and hints at it being a lie (due to the eyeless men coming out of her dress).

The dress is later soiled by her own hands as dayglo paint spurts out of them, covering the screens  and dress in a mess of bright colors. When the paint stops flowing, the pedestal  holding her up disappears leaving her on the floor covered in the mayhem she has created.  That is most definitely a nod to the singer's crazier days  of hair shaving and other antics.

In the best portion of the video (and track), the bridge, takes the musical push and pull of bubblegum vs electronica and pits Britney against the "Britney" brand in a fight to the death (or the broken heel, whichever comes first). Quick cuts and a remixing of the track dominate the fight scene to a fabulous effect. Britney seems to be fighting her past to move forward.

As the bridge ends, Britney re-emerges as (one would imagine) the "Femme Fatale" (the name of her album) in a black leather outfit in juxtaposition to the white dress shown earlier with the staple backup dancers and pyrotechnics until all the equipment surrounding her (speakers, etc.) explode. The last scene is a day glo question mark which Britney's must consider the options on her next direction in life.

 

The video is essentially a mythologized biography of Britney Spears in 4:29 - a pop video through and through. The song is a silly fluff piece with (let's face it) terrible lyrics, but the music and video tell a story that is gripping. The story that has kept  us paying attention to Britney Spears. With "Hold It Against Me" Ackerlund might have created one of my favorite pop videos yet.

"Hold It Against Me" is available now on iTunes.

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