Look, put it this way. If this video was just played in front of a panel of judges and I was the one seated at the end [think: Simon Cowell/Mel B Seat of Importance], I would probably take a deep breath then look at Britney and ask, “how do you think that went?”
Ms Britney is already one of the most important pop music figures of our generation and so at this stage in her career where other female artists are emerging and constantly lifting their game, she really has no business resting on her laurels. In some ways, the ‘Criminal’ music video is up there with some of her most visually stunning work but the whole production itself just feels boring and half-realised.
Director Chris Marrs Piliero, who did her incredibly fun ‘I Wanna Go’ video, was enlisted to shoot ‘Criminal’ and together with BritBrit, they came up with this wildly imaginative concept of her falling in love with a bad guy and basically thugging it out Bonnie & Clyde style. Her real-life boo Jason Trawick plays her rugged love interest in the video and that’s apparently concession enough for a whole lot of raw boob grabbing and genitals bumping in the shower. It made me feel rather uncomfortable.
The ‘Criminal’ video was shot in London, not terribly long after the infamous riots last month. And while there was a bit of uproar over the convenience store robbery scene where Britney pulls a gun on the cashier, the overall tone of the scene wasn’t actually depicted in a malicious way. I kinda wished she had taken this opportunity to really push some buttons, though.
I saw potential for this video to be a little grittier and more authentic. Y’know, why not actually take Britney to the rougher housing commission areas and really capture the essence of that hood? It would’ve been nice to see the pop superstar engaging in a different setting to all the glossy, Hollywood studio types we’ve seen her do countless of times before. I mean, the grimy looking bedroom could’ve been anywhere, really.
Watch Britney‘s ‘Criminal’ video:
I have basically come to a conclusion that every time we set up these expectations for Britney to come through with something refreshing and a little more challenging, she invariably fails to bring it. Look, it’s just not Brit‘s style to be cutting edge and I think we’ve been spoilt to expect that style of performance art after watching so many thought-provoking Lady Gaga videos. At the end of the day, if Britney turns up and turns out some stunning looks in a glossy video – it’s a job well done for her.
On that front, the Fembot Fatale really came through for us in ‘Criminal’. In fact, ever since the project started with ‘Hold It Against Me’, Britney has only gotten hotter in front of the camera. I really enjoyed seeing her with her hair up in the opening scene at the mansion and y’all can’t deny that the nude lace dress is utterly breath-taking.
Britney Spears‘ ‘Criminal’ has to date reached #40 on the US Billboard Pop Songs chart. The single has yet to impact our Australian Top 100 and will only be released in the UK on 19 November.