After Britney Spears dropped "Make Me...," the unexpectedly chill lead single from her upcoming ninth album Glory, fans eagerly awaited its accompanying music video. Despite iconic visuals like "...Baby One More Time," "Toxic" and "Womanizer," Brit's recent videos like "Work Bitch," "Perfume" and "Pretty Girls" were pretty hit-and-miss, but there was hope.
A prematurely leaked video clip floating around on the Internet seemed to show Brit at her sexiest with the superstar moving more than she had in years. No singer likes a surprise ruined, but the video was low enough quality to make fans salivating for the full thing. Yet when the final version of "Make Me..." was revealed last Friday, it set Britney stans and pop fans into a tizzy. That strong reaction continues to prove just how provocative Ms. Spears remains today even if she isn't the mainstream force she was just a few years back.
Let's begin our investigation with this tweet because I find it hilarious and it inspired this piece:
And then let's look at how the Internet reacted after the official "Make Me..." video was unleashed: Huffington Post declared No True Britney Fan Should Be Satisfied With the 'Make Me' Video; BuzzFeed said, "we are in the midst of a pop music emergency"; more than 15,000 people signed a Change.org petition for her labels to release the original visual. All this over a music video.
Granted, the leaked footage from the video did look incredible and comparable to some of Brit's best work: Dancers were hanging off poles next to leopards (a dream I hope to one day accomplish), Brit was watching TV on a beefcake doing sit-ups (another dream), and our girl was even baring all with nothing but sparkly body paint keeping her decent (what 30+ singer is doing that?!). TMZ has 30 seconds of the footage below:
Again, all this hoopla came from Britney's decision to release a different version of a video. She wasn't announcing her retirement or shifting of professional priorities or igniting a feud with another celebrity. She just put out a music video.
While Spears might not be the chart force she once was, her career choices can still elicit responses louder than most of the chart-topping stars of today. From the slightly lackluster visuals for hits like "Hold It Against Me" and "Til the World Ends" to the tepid response to 2013's Britney Jean album, Britney hasn't had such strong feelings from the pop world in years—and, this all comes after years of focusing less on being in the media and more on her family and Las Vegas residency. The fans' passion will likely further be explored when James Corden features her on his "Carpool Karaoke" (despite the pop star not being known for her live vocals anymore) and embarks on other promo opportunities leading up to the release of Glory.
Call it comeback or don't call it comeback, but the fact that so many people wanted to see Britney in her full, bondage-gear-and-body-paint glory (well, potentially in her full glory as we haven't see the full, final version in high quality) just shows Brit can still provoke. And whether or not she's still topping the charts in 2016, the wild reaction proves that Spears still has a star power that any modern diva would envy.
Watch Britney's "Make Me..." collaborator G-Eazy tell the story of thinking he was being pranked called when he was asked to feature on the track: