Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Britney's Videography: 'Oops!...I Did It Again'

Britney Spears 'Oops!...I Did It Again' # # # # #
After two lackluster videos in a row, Britney roared back full force with 'Oops!...I Did It Again,' the first single off her second album of the same name and the first video to launch the brand new Britney. The story that sets up the video--an (inexplicably hot) astronaut lands on Mars and runs into Britney--may seem a bit silly and gratuitous, but it actually makes an interesting statement about Britney's new persona. By discovering her on Mars, the video presents Britney as this out-of-this-world alien lifeform too puzzling and different from anything you would find on Earth. Now, 'Oops!' doesn't imply that she's out-of-this-world in the sense that David Bowie, Grace Jones and Roisin Murphy are; rather, the video merely comments on the fact that Britney isn't like other female popstars, especially the multitudes that had emerged after her initial popularity. Female popstars will come and go but Britney is in a completely different league from them, both musically and image-wise. And before we go any further, we must discuss the real star of 'Oops!...I Did It Again.' It's not Britney, the song nor is it the irresistible, iconic choreography. As I'm sure you're well aware, the real star of the video is the Red Leather Jumpsuit (so infamous it is now a proper noun). After Julia Roberts received massive critical love (and an Oscar) for Erin Brockovich, every romcom queen hoped that someday they would have their own Erin Brockovich Moment, a chance to prove that there was talent behind their star persona. After 'Oops!', every female popstar waits, often times in vain, for their Red Leather Jumpsuit Moment, an outfit so iconic it becomes a part of the popstar's persona. B has achieved it with her 'Single Ladies' Black Leotard and GaGa is consistently trying to find hers, although one universal piece of iconography has failed to emerge. The Red Leather Jumpsuit was obviously no accident. From the way the video reveals it, first in a pan upwards, stopping before we even see Britney's face and then in a second shot as Britney descends from the ceiling like the megadiva she is, we are immediately clued into the fact that someone understood that the Red Leather Jumpsuit was going to be huge. And was it ever. Over time, the Red Leather Jumpsuit has become the single most iconic thing from Britney's videography. Ask any self-respecting gay man between the ages of 17 and 28 and they will be able to tell you how much they love the Red Leather Jumpsuit. Very few artists find something as everlasting as this image yet Britney had managed, after the Catholic schoolgirl uniform in '...Baby One More Time', to find two in just over a year.

Previous installments: ...Baby One More Time | Sometimes | (You Drive Me) Crazy (The Stop Remix!) | From the Bottom of My Broken Heart | Born To Make You Happy

1 comment:

Adam M. said...

Great comparison between Erin Brockovich and the "Red Leather Jumpsuit"! Though I think "Single Ladies" is much less about the outfit than it is about the choreography. Perhaps Beyonce has defined her own sort of moment--the "Single Ladies" moment--when you realize a new pop stratosphere through a dance routine.

Back to "Oops...", I think the one regrettable part of the ordeal is "But I thought the old lady dropped it in the ocean in the end?" Silly, obvious, illogical, and not exactly timely, either (the Titanic craze had been over for about 2 years).