A long awaited moment is here, and it is an unexpected one. Not because of the slightly stiff dancing and fast paced editing, or because of the tone-tight physique Britney Spears is sporting lately, but because this marks Spears’ first video where she goes symbolic and subtle, by pulling off a storyline recounting how she got started in the business, how she developed and came to hit rock bottom in her dark days, to then emerge as the popstar she truly is.

The video starts with a firey meteorite making its way to the Earth (allegedly Spears), which upon crashing, ignites lights of yellow and purple. Spears opens with a mild dance sequence on a circular platform with several propped cameras in tripods flashing intermittently.  Then it switches to Spears in a white long dress ascending inside of a metallic structure tower of monitors, where past videos of hers are being played. Right after Spears is shown with a red bejeweled skull shoulder ensemble, in the center of circularly framed microphones; the scene is insterspersed with a full dance sequence at the initial platform, while allusions to Rocky Horror make brief appearances on the screen.

From under Spears’ gown at the monitor tower, white-hooded eye-less dancers emerge in loose fitting before she shoots multi-colored paint from Ivs attached to her arms and fingertips, to stain her dress and spray the monitors, where her work is being displayed, while she simultaneously battles herself as the song reaches its climax in a dubstep breakdown. She falls on the tinted dress and right next to her alleged other self in the breakdown scene, before she gets right back up and appears in an elaborate set ornated with vibrant speakers as fire, smoke and confetti are shot across the room in the last dance sequence.

Spears looks fantastic, in shape with a lush blonde mane and glossy lips, with a fierce stare which seems to have never been away. The opening sequence is such a major boom; its stunning and introduces how improved and glowing Spears is these days. It is jaw dropping, to see how young and beautiful she has kept herself aside the fact of almost pushing 30.

Overall, the direction of Jonas Åkerlund, is beyond incredible in the visuals for ‘Hold It Against Me’, the angles are on point and the circular shooting of the first dance sequence is mesmerizing, as it gives a full view of the set and what is happening on the platform. The ascending maneuver of Spears in the white gown, and all the monitors representing her past work are superb, and the spraying of paint through intravenous tubes attached to her arms and dress is insanely epic, as it reaches the climax on a one-on-one combat against herself, is just wowzers; Lady GaGa could never.

The hair, makeup, and coutoure-ish ensembles further Spears into more stylish and visually stunning ground; the fashion is fresh and appealing. The illumination is abundant and complimentory, the dancing is not as elaborate as Britney’s past choreographies, but allows her to match the energy of the track; considering a knee surgery, a public meltdown and being a mother of two, the dancing is quite good either way. Brian Friedman’s overtly hyped dance sequences are a let down, taking into account how sky high he set them to be, yet they somehow still work for a visuals driven video.

The symbolism and diverse allusions to pop culture are very artistic, something Spears had not implemented fully before. Not only ‘Hold It Against Me’ is very futuristic in terms of its sound, but the video brings to life that conveyed future mixed with a lot of bright color. Despite general disagreement, Britney does seem to be having a good time throughout, and her on-screen charm, which was mostly absent during the Blackout era, seems to have finally come out after warming it up during promotion for Circus; she looks playful, confident and extremely sexy.

The only flaw in the video is the editing and blatant product placement. It is too fast paced; a scene can be missed in a blink; though the effects somehow remain ace. It was either done to cover up for Spears’ slightly stiff movement or to stay true to the beat of the track. Spears had advertised her fragrances in the video for 2009’s ‘3′, where she sprayed Circus Fantasy at the beginning, but in ‘Hold It Against Me’, not only Radiance makes an appearance but MakeUp Forever, dating site Plenty of Fish and several Sony flat screens also do, becoming a minor turn off and distraction from the flashy scenery.

It is an outstanding video in general, an improvement from the already amazing and high budgetted videos from Circus. ‘Hold It Against Me’ becomes her redemption from the lack of energy and input she should’ve poured on the dance-ready music videos for Blackout. It is everything ‘Piece Of Me’ should have been mixed with a whole new vision of Spears, which seems to conceptualize what is not obvious.

★★★★★

C.Perez

Watch ‘Hold It Against Me’ below!

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