So far this new Britney Spears era has been both amazing and terrible. The good part is that she’s finally looking somewhat engaged and alive again, and her recent interviews –while still tightly controlled– are giving her the opportunity to say much more than she has in years. The worst part is “Work Bitch” which is clearly the worst Britney single to ever see the light of day.
Anyway, The Holy Spearit phoned in to a Boston radio station this week to plug the “Work Bitch” music video, where she made some now controversial comments about wanting to tone down the sex in her videos. I suspect that the host is a secret member of the #FreeBritney movement, because he knew exactly what to ask without being too obvious about it.
“Being a mum now, do you feel any less comfortable showing that much skin in a video, or is it cool with you?”
“Oh my god, we showed way more skin and did way more stuff for the video than what is actually there. Like, I cut out half the video because I am a mother and because, you know, I have children, and it’s just hard to play sexy mum while you’re being a pop star as well. But you know, I just have to be true to myself and feel it out and just let ’em know, you know?”
“So in some sense, are they pushing you further than you wanna go and then you sit in the editing room and say, ‘No that has to go’ and that’s pretty much how it’s all lined up?”
[Giggles] “Yes… Yes.”
“So, if you had a chance to have all your people not say a word and you got to pick exactly what you want Britney Spears to be, what would that look like?
“In the video?”
“Yeah in the video and they’re making you do all the sexy stuff and ultimately you have to cut it out. Is there a Britney Spears that you have in mind that you wish you could be today?”
“It’s so real that you say that because part of what I do and a lot of things that made me do so well in the live performances is, a lot of sex goes in to what I do, you know? But sometimes I would like to bring it back to the old days when there was, like, one outfit through the whole video, and you’re dancing the whole video, and there’s, like, not that much sex stuff going on. It’s about the dance. It’s old school. It’s, like, keeping it real and just making it about the dance. I’d love to do a video like that.”
Naturally, Team Britney was quick to rush statements out to the media downplaying Britney’s objections. “Work Bitch” director, Ben Mor, told MTV, “She does not do anything she doesn’t want to do. She’s in complete control the whole time,” while Jamie Spears and Larry Rudolph called TMZ and clarified that Britney wasn’t pressured into anything and was able to tone down some parts of the video.
I don’t doubt what Ben, Larry, and Jamie are saying, but just because she goes along with it doesn’t mean that it’s exactly what she wants to be doing. If Britney had more control over her career (and life, but that’s another issue) like Madonna or Lady Gaga, would she still have released “Work Bitch” and done the same music video, or would we be getting something different?
Don’t forget: When asked on Good Morning America what her favourite song from album No. 8 is, she responded, “The perfume song,” referring to the ballad she wrote with Sia.
The comments from the radio interview also tie in to what she said in her E! News interview about the sexy “character” she plays making her feel “silly” and “awkward,” and stating “This isn’t me, I’m not like all like this.” Granted, she’s always referred to her parts in music videos as characters, but the issue now is whether or not this is a role she still wants to play.
The sad part is Britney acknowledging how much sex has gone into shaping her career and image to date, as if resigning to the fact that she has to give the public what they want, rather than doing what she wants. I voiced this concern in my “Work Bitch” single review, so nothing she’s saying now is surprising to me at all. Like I’ve said many times before, I seem to be one of the few fans that LOVES “Ooh La La” and the relatively non-sexual Circus album. The fact is that most people –both stans and the general public– have little to no interest in anything Britney does if it’s not “fierce” and “sexy,” as if she has nothing else to offer anyone beyond that.
I wouldn’t care if Britney only recorded rubbish like “Work Bitch” for the rest of her career if it’s what she wants to do, but is it? It’s difficult to answer that question either way for sure (clearly I’m leaning more towards the “no” side), but one thing’s a definite: Britney Spears has sold over 100 million albums worldwide and earned her stripes the hard way, and at this point in her career she should be making ALL of her own decisions and doing EXACTLY what she wants.
The first order of business should be removing that damn conservatorship!