Britney Spears '(You Drive Me) Crazy' (The Stop Remix) # # # # #
And here is where my main dilemma with Britney's videography comes into play. Having seen most of these videos literally hundreds of times, especially during my formative years, they have become so ingrained in my head, I have a hard time discerning whether they are "good" or "bad." The prime example of this conundrum happens to be '(You Drive Me) Crazy,' the third single off her first album and the one that probably solidified her fame in my (and probably many others') mind. The video's premise--a bunch of people dancing in a stand-alone soundstage--is one I not only despise now but considered lazy even at the tender age of 11 (Backstreet Boys' 'All I Have to Give,' I'm looking at you). Nothing particularly happens in the video nor does it really work to advance or expound her star persona in any meaningful way. So what about this video has me fondly reminiscing about it many years later, often recalling minute details with the precision of an autistic child? Beats the hell out of me. I suspect the fact that I consider '(You Drive Me) Crazy,' on a good day, my favorite Britney recording of all time (on a bad day, top three easily) plays a large roll in it. Other than that, I can only guess. Looking back on this in 2010, what strikes me the most about the video is the ease with which Britney carries the video past its simplistic set-up. Here's a 17-year-old girl, three singles into a music career which has already made her a mega-star and the most talked about teen vixen since Lolita. Already, armed with nothing more than an emerald green top, a silly "boys vs. girls" dance-off and the word "CRAZY" spelled out in bright red neon lights, she knows how to captivate her audience and keep them entertained for 3.5 minutes. Britney is even starting to slowly work the diva side of her, as in the moment where she yells "Stop!" in the middle of the song and everything and everyone around suddenly shuts up. This is something she would learn to nurture as she progressed in her career, but, at that moment in time, it was our first glimpse into what this "down home" girl had to offer besides a complicated sexuality.