Because I kept getting Britney Spears‘ newest song “I Wanna Go” confused with “Till the World Ends,” I checked out the music video yesterday. It’s so bad! I had a flicker of hope when she starts things off by pointing at paparazzi and saying, “F–k you, f–k you, and f–k you.” But when she takes to the streets of LA to fight the cybernetic photogs, it all goes downhill — not least because this is her third music video striking back at the paps.
Spears has been a paparazzi fixture her whole life, though before 2005 it was for being too sexy for her own good. After that dividing line, it was for truly disturbing behavior as she cracked under various personal and professional pressures. She’s been grappling with invasive photographers for the majority of her career, but how she does it has changed over time.
Stage 1: Whining
Like any kid pushing against a manufactured image, Spears started to show signs of strain in 2001, when she released the video for “Overprotected.” Even though the song speaks to any teenager’s need for privacy, it’s especially relevant for Spears, who underwent uncomfortable scrutiny about whether she was as virginal as she claimed. The video shows her seeking an abandoned warehouse away from the cameras; even though some kids find her, she’s OK with the attention because it’s on her own terms.
Still, nothing awful had happened to her, so the reaction was mostly the standard response the public has to celebrities: You signed on for this life, so shut up and deal.