Though some might have thought Britney Spears lost her knack for showcasing a bit of cheesy flair when it comes to her music, the pop star returned to a schmaltzy form not seen since the interlude before her cover of “Satisfaction” on Oops…I Did It Again. For the video for her first single, “Make Me,” from her forthcoming ninth album, Glory, Britney opts to stay pre-“I’m A Slave 4 U” tame with a narrative directed by Randee St. Nicholas. Although David LaChapelle was originally at the helm of the project, his concept for the video was evidently too racy for Britney and her team.
Nonetheless, we’re still left with something that, at the very minimum, seems to continue the objectification of men trend that has been oh so popular this summer. As Britney and a group of her hen friends sit at a table, a black haired one remarks to a beefy, frat sort of guy that sits down before them, “Ooo, you’re back. What was your name again?” He replies, “Michael” in a way that indicates just how low his IQ is. Britney’s friend returns, “I feel like we need to see more of you.” He dumbly asks, “More of me…like here right now?” Britney’s friend elaborates, “No. Later on.” “Saturday!” Britney interjects. Her friend adds, “Like multiples of you…good looking friends. Right?” Michael tries his hand at wit by noting, “This sounds like an evil plan.” Brit’s friend does nothing to assure him by stating, “I promise you, we’re up to no good.” Britney coyly adds, “You’re gonna have a lot of fun.” He perks up, confirming, “You’re gonna be there?” She coquettishly states, “I’ll be there.” He smiles, “Then I’ll be there.” Combining equal parts the dialogue style from the “Oops…I Did It Again” song and album, Britney fine-tunes cutesy schmaltz to contrast against a more undercutting statement when it comes to the treatment of men.
After Michael leaves, the quartet of women around Britney burst out laughing in that annoying sort of way that only a large group of females can. Yet, it sets the tone for a larger form of empowerment and objectification. The video then transitions to a sweeping overview of Los Angeles and the title card, “Saturday, 1:15 PM” as a BMW drives up to the cattle-like casting call of early 00s-inspired “hunks” waiting outside the sound stage to audition for Britney’s video (so meta, right?).
With that, a heaven-like light and backdrop introduces Britney in all her silhouetted and lacy leotard “glory.” And, because no Britney video would be complete without some sort of product promotion, St. Nicholas then cuts to the pop star rubbing her lips down with some egg-shaped EOS lip balm. The video then reverses back to the version of Britney emerging from the BMW (the entity that started the product placement in the first place) outside the soundstage as she walks past the ogling group of men waiting outside to perform for her.
More random promotion occurs with her four friends watching as Britney walks in and a video showing Orangetheory Fitness workouts “happens” to be displayed on the screen, perhaps an allusion to just how Britney “got her body back.”
Soon, the leering looks the men were giving Britney outside are the ones she and her posse flash to all who step in front of the mic to give them a sense of their “raw talent.” And yes, in between, Britney carries forth with her standard brand of ass-shaking dance moves, but there is a different vibe to it–one that indicates she’s doing it for herself, not to appeal to some man’s need for eye candy.
In the same way Madonna took full possession of her sexual confidence in the early days of her video-making (e.g. “Lucky Star” and “Borderline”), Britney, too, has finally adopted ownership of her own sexuality, and knows just how to use it to turn the tables on all those boys who have so long lusted after her as an object. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to take voyeurism to the next level by the conclusion of “Make Me.” All in all, the video, while not as memorable as, say, “Baby One More Time” or “Toxic,” is Britney at her most assured self.