Because We Know Firsthand What It Feels Like To Destroy Your Hair And Walk Around With the Consequences For Months. MONTHS.
Although you wouldn't automatically know it from our extensive archives, Weenie Enema officially endorses the existence of Britney Spears. The Grimshaw household received cable for the first time since the Gulf War at roughly the same time that Britney's first singles started getting massive MTV air time. You know. When they played music videos NOT in the middle of the night and TRL was actually amusing to watch because Carson Daly had black nail polish and was diddling Tara Reid. Oh, to go back to a time when my BFF was in the White House dot dot dot.
Besides the fact that Britney songs are amazing, even for vaguely mentally unstable high school creatures like myself - who were perfectly content to never listen to the radio during the tumultuous post-adolescence/first years without braces since forever era - Spears goodness can unite the WORLD. I realize that sounds like a hardcore hyperbolic statement, but no. Completely true.
At Olivia's cat birthday party, we had a motley crew assembled, including three people from the Pacific Northwest, a few from the Midwest, a NewEnglander, a cat from the gutter, and two people from the Delaware River Valley (east Pennsylvania/rural western New Jersey). I put on a Britney Spears song, and every single person in the room, spanning different geographical locales and lineage, sang along. If you grew up in the 1990s in the United States, you know the words to "...Baby One More Time", whether you want to or not. As an aside, I was in a room with a bunch of Italian guys at a party in Florence, and THEY knew the words to one of her songs too, but I suspect were not fully cognizant of the fact that they were singing about unrequited male love. Heh.
Others have that market cornered as well.
Due to recent events involving 567 bottles of Jack, 30 kilos of cocaine and one electric razor, I have decided to take a moment to remind society of why we LOVE Britney, because I understand how easy it is to forget when she's flashing her labial folds at the paparazzi. Once upon a time, Britney was IT and a hardcore badass. Perhaps if she sees my amazing tribute to her music videos, she will be able to dust off the alcoholism and sapphic craziness that will surely be a hallmark of an impending custody hearing that will make the Klepto Winona Trial of 2002 look like a Bai Ling press junket.
"Why am I famous?"
1998 - "...Baby One More Time."
The single that started it all. Lest we forget why teenage boys and older men who should have known better started lusting after Brit, this is the song that showcased the Catholic school girl uniform and brought it back into the national dialogue. While the song itself is fairly badass, especially given the glucose overdose that we were being subjected to at that time (Remember All Saints?), it isn't as good as some of the later work, and the video is so clearly a byproduct of those horrible one-star teen movies that came out in the wake of the vastly superior Titanic.
The success of Freddie Prinze Jr. in the late 1990s speaks VOLUMES about the quality of teen cinema during that period.
Actual song: 7
The video: 6
1999 - "Sometimes."
Ever wonder what a J Crew commercial would look like with Britney Spears? You've come to the right place. This video is whiter than Ann Coulter's hometown, which I'm assuming was a bit light on dark-skinned individuals. (I checked on Wikipedia. New Canaan, CT is 95.27% white, according to the 2000 census. Just the facts on Weenie Enema.) Although all of her video male love interests appear to come from the same genealogical lineage, the guy in this video stands out in my mind as one of the better looking creatures. Although Tyrese in the Toxic video gives him a run for his money. Her second single is most notable for its introduction of what I like to call "Heart-related Dance Shizzle," which shows up from time to time in later Britney videos. Towards the middle of the song, Britney and her white-appareled dance posse make a weird heart shape thing on the middle of a pier. Must-see TV.
Do not mess with people in leather miniskirts sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Actual song: 7
The video: 6
1999 - "(You Drive Me) Crazy."
Boy, I didn't think I would actually have a reason to mention Melissa Joan Hart in back-to-back posts, unless I was doing a tribute to black cats that talk on WB sitcoms. Britney officially hits her stride with her third single, which is also conveniently featured on the soundtrack to the Sabrina the Teenage Witch/Adrian Grenier shizzlefest "Drive Me Crazy." In support of this endeavor, both stars make random cameos throughout the video, thus ruining the flashy dance moves and sets pieces they managed to get after the success of "Sometimes." There's all kinds of crazy expensive looking goodness in the background, and I think her previous video had, like, a dinghy in it. The highlight of both the video and the song? When Britney screeches, "Stop," everyone (including Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier) stare at her, and she starts making a weird bubbling noise that crescendos back into the song. Artistry. Sheer artistry.
HAHAHA! It's talking!
Actual song: 8
The video: 8
2000 - "From the Bottom of my Broken Heart."
After three high-octane pop fests in a row, Britney took it down a notch and released a ballad, most of which consists of her sitting on a grain silo in a sweater. While "Broken Heart" wasn't as popular as her previous singles, it appears to be her first video with an actual storyline, although one that looks suspiciously like a bad Mandy Moore movie (is there any other kind?). She also has an amazing, amazing seaweed colored hat that I think she purchased at the Gap for $5.99. The only other noteworthy factoid, besides showcasing her thespian skills - which would soon be put to use in the cinematic classic "Crossroads" - is that this is the only video in which you do NOT see Britney's midriff slash bondage gear, which come soon after the release of album #2.
Britney does not go to church/have Peter Coyote as a dad/die of cancer in her video.
Actual song: 5
The video: 6
2000 - "Oops!...I Did It Again!"
The golden era of Britney arrives in full force, with one of the greatest song titles ever conceived of, and an incredibly strange plot twist towards the end of the song that some of my compatriots are still talking about. "Oops!" is a classic among classics, and the aforementioned "Heart-related Dance Shizzle " is never better than in the dance sequences for the chorus of this catchy little ditty. Set in what I THINK is a space station in Mars, the video story (again, none of this has been confirmed) has an astronaut giving Britney a necklace that looks like the one on Kate Winslet's naked torso back in the day, and upon questioning, claims he "went down and got it for her." There are so many things that don't make sense here, but music videos aren't ABOUT coherent stories - it's something to watch while we listen to the song that CEMENTED Britney's iconic status.
How to get an Oscar: Be 95 and drop a necklace into the ocean.
Actual song: 10
The video: 9
2000 - "Lucky."
The greatest Britney song/video ever. It's not even close. Truly, no Britney single has stood the test of time like this one, chiefly because of its prophetic nature. Let's review some of the lyrics that, seven years later, seem eerily familiar:
She's so lucky, she's a star,
But she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart, thinking,
If there's nothing missing in my life,
Then why do these tears come at night?
Lost in an image, in a dream,
But there's no one there to wake her up,
And the world is spinning, and she keeps on winning,
But tell me, what happens when it stops?
Sniff. People who foresee their downfall always get to me. It's very Beaches.
She's in bed. BECAUSE SHE'S DYING. Cannot handle. (In case you're wondering, she's gazing fondly at a series of pictures of young Bette and Barbara taken in Atlantic City when they were 11. After Bette sang her "Glory of Love" number.)
Actual song: 20 million
The video: Ditto
2000 - "Stronger."
The answer to the question, "What would it look like if we put Britney in a room with a metal chair and black lingerie?" has officially been answered. While nothing is as good as "Lucky," the follow-up is off-the-charts amazing and Britney has never been more of a badass. In the first five seconds of the song, she does a crazy three-jump move onto a chair that could be done by NO ONE ELSE, and then proceeds to molest said chair for four minutes. The only weakness in this majesty? In the final minute, they couldn't figure out what else Britney could possibly do with her chair, so they gave her a metal cane to play with. Come on. Have some faith in Britney and the chair.
Actual song: 10
2001 - "Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know."
Yeah, this is a pretty sucky song slash video that was filmed after Britney and her Caucasian love interest broke onto the set of "Lost." I tend to ignore it when I gaze upon her prestigious career. But that's what you get for teaming up with the writing genius of Shania Twain.
Shania, remember when you almost ruined 1999 for me?
Actual song: 3
The video: 2
2001 - "I'm A Slave 4 U."
I admittedly began losing interest in the Britney phenomenon at this point, largely because I'm not into grammatically incorrect song titles and I had just discovered a whole bunch of John Steinbeck novels that turned me hardcore anti-pop culture in the latter half of 2001. Such are the pratfalls of being an Emma in high school. However, if you're rating Britney videos solely based on their ability to get your penis erect, I suspect this is THE video for such carnal stimulation. When Christina Aguilera decided to walk around a boxing ring soaked in sweat flashing a thong and an ass crack, the inspiration came from this video. The prevailing wisdom is that the intense sexuality in "Slave" stemmed from Britney's decision to grow beyond her innocent teen pop image and move into the more mature adult contemporary scene. Which is a pile of shizzle, because she dressed like a complete skank from day one. But I digress. It's a fun time, and in the post-Oops period, it's one of her better endeavors. I can't decide if "post-Oops period" sounds like a bad menstrual cycle or a weird cereal brand. You decide.
Actual song: 6
The video: 6
2001 - "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman."
You'd think after the colossal flop that came as a direct result of collaborating with a shitty country music artist, Britney would stay away from the slow meandering crap that tends to typify cliche songs hailing from that genre. Not only is this a bad song to listen to, the message is repetitive and basically the same thing Brit's been saying forever. We get it. You're having some human development issues - and you HAVE been for four years. In terms of the video, I consider it the absolute WORST. It's just Britney standing on top of a mountain. Singing. Bring back the metal chair!
RIP metal chair.
Actual song: 2
The video: 1
2001 - "Overprotected."
Britney is at her absolute best when her self-awareness dominates her music. This is best exhibited in the videos for "Lucky" and "Overprotected." When she gets pissed off, sneers and lets her vitriol loose against the society that condemns her (to music, no less), you cannot defeat The Britney. It is completely impossible. In fact, it's the only thing that keeps this particular song afloat. Once again, the oracle-like quality is frighteningly apparent. At the beginning of this video, there's a faux TV newscast of a scantily clad Spears that looks virtually identical to the infamous poon shot of 2006 - I believe during that strange week when she become part of the Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton posse. The only difference? The newscast pisses Britney off and she starts singing. Let this be a lesson to us all. The only qualm? She's wearing a heinous outfit that looks more like Trix yogurt than clothing.
Actual song: 7
The video: 7
2002 - "Boys."
By the time we arrive at the last single from her third album, Britney has successfully morphed from a subject of lust to a sexual predator. As mentioned
earlier, I don't think it necessary to explain the nonexistent plotlines, but this one is so strange, I feel it deserves a minor mention. Britney has a pet zebra and appears to be a concubine leaving in the house from The OC. Sometimes, Pharrell shows up and tries to talk up her female posse. Also, I think the bar from Coyote Ugly is in her house. All very, very confusing. Song-wise, it's not in the top tier of Britney songs, but it's got enough eyeshadow and pelvic thrusting to keep it from hardcore tanking into the abyss.
"I belong to Britney!"
Actual song: 5
The video: 6
2003 - "Me Against the Music."
I've always been very noncommital about this song, because it's not really a Britney song - this is a creepy outlet for Madonna to symbolically pass the torch on to her younger brethren. In fact, it's essentially several minutes of Madonna and Britney trying to ravage each other through a ceramic wall. Sure, I can see where the merits can be found in such a display, but this is not quality by any means, and you should never acknowledge someone who suggests otherwise. Also, there is a VERY thin line in the music world between edgy name dropping (perfected in the rap genre) and perturbing conversational pop lyrics. DMX, Snoop, Jay-Z and every other rap artist who chose to eschew their birth name when they burst onto the scene ALWAYS talk about themselves, sometimes even in the third person. It's a narcissistic twitch that typifies that kind of music. However, when you have shizzle like this:
Madonna: Hey Britney?
Britney: Are you ready?
Madonna: Uh huh. Are you?
Ew. Invite them both on Letterman or something if you want to hear them talk to each other. I don't have time for this. The positives? Britney has a truly EXCELLENT hat made out of latex and a turquoise shirt collar and tie without a shirt. There is also a one-second cameo by a delightful English bulldog who is not intimidated by pop music legends playing with a rusty bed frame.
The REAL star of "Me Against the Music."
Actual song: 2
The video: 2
2004 - "Toxic."
After a few years of subpar (by Britney standards) outings, Brit comes back with her last truly great video. It's incredibly strange, even when put up against the zebra-loving concubine and the Madonna writhing all over the floor for no apparent reason video. There's a horny Britney stewardess who drags overweight businessmen into airplane bathrooms and turns them into Jason Lewis lookalikes, a Britney crawling on the ground wearing something that might not even be fabric, a red-wigged Britney who does backflips over red laser things, and a black-haired Britney who kills off hot guys by pouring an Ecto Cooler colored substance into their mouths. VERY Batman and Robin. Oh, and sometimes she rides on motorcycles in Paris with Tyrese, who doesn't like to wear clothing either. And while none of that may sound like enough of a reason to label this a top-tier Britney video, you have to take into account how well this complements the song itself. This is the official face of Britney's last album, and it showcases that move into a grittier, even more sexual sound than the preceeding albums. And if Britney spilling water into a guy's lap and then using the occasion to seuxally assault someone doesn't make that clear, I don't know how else I can convince you.
I don't know if Uma can sue for copyright enfringement, but I would try.
Actual song: 9
The video: 9
2004 - "Everytime."
In a dramatic departure from her last few dance videos, Britney released this piano ballad that contains some of the most disturbing images ever put into one of her singles. Once again, when placed next to Brit's recent adventures with the bottle slash drugs, it makes you wonder if she saw this coming two years earlier. The video is greatly heightened with an appearance by Stephen Dorff as her violent boyfriend who likes to throw tabloids at photographers and smash flower vases, but it's hard to enjoy the shirtless Dorff (do ANY of these guys in her video know how to keep their clothes on?) when we're watching Britney drown in a bathtub, either from a head wound caused by a scuffle with the aforementioned photographers or from the bottles of pills stacked up on the sides of the tub. It's hard to say which. While congratulations go to Brit for making her one video with a coherent story, the chasm between "Stronger" Britney and "Everytime" Britney makes me sad. Let's insert another metal chair to cheer me up.
The video: 8
The song: 8
2005 - "Do Somethin'."
This is an abyssmal mess, and I really wish we could have ended the tribute with the last video, since it perfectly segues into today, but that would be ignoring history, and we do not want Weenie Enema to get such a reputation. This is the first and only video Britney directed, and a decent human being should have seen this coming a mile away and kept her away from the camera. Marlon Brando also felt a strong desire to exercise some directorial control, and we ended up with a Giant Shitstorm. I don't know if full responsibility for the pink Hummer driving through the clouds should go to Britney, but someone should have been punished severely for that. It looked like a Care Bears acid flashback, and it's not even redeemed by a particularly good song. Very, very run of the mill, and not just for Britney. How many times have we seen her drag a bunch of scantily-clad female underlings into a club (in videos and on Page Six) and start dancing? Britney, you are so much better than this video. I understand that the lyrics clearly state "Somebody give me my truck so I can ride on the clouds," but that's not an invitation to actually show that to us. Very disappointing.
"Britney! Don't run over us!"
Looks aren't everything, but they kind of are for Britney. When she's bloated and knocked up, she's not nearly as fun as when she's sexing up random people in skin-tight scuba gear. Brit, watch your videos and come back. We miss you like the wolf.
"WE LOVE YOU, BRITNEY!"