Review Revue: Critics React To Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me” Video

By: Robbie Daw / February 18, 2011

Fourteen teasers later, Britney Spears’ mega-hyped video for “Hold It Against Me”—the lead single off the pop songstress’ upcoming seventh LP Femme Fatale—finally exploded onto the pop culture scene last night with a strobing flash of lights and spattering of rainbow colors. The song itself already topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart last month. But judging by the way various critics around the Internet reacted to the Jonas Åkerlund-directed clip, it may take a few more views to grow on folks—if they’re willing to give Ms. Spears’ latest another chance at all. Read on!

* The vid kind of left Entertainment Weekly’s Music Mix feeling ho-hum: “The best part is undoubtedly the battle of Britney vs. Britney, in which our lady Crouching Tiger Hidden Fight Clubs her own self to the death (or narcolepsies? It’s a toss-up). Otherwise, she seems to spend a large portion of the video with the half-distracted air of a person who thinks they may have left the stove on at home.”

Britney Spears Hold It Against Me Video 5* Likewise, Australia’s Star Observer pointed out that the video is “bright, colorful and features men in underwear but the bizarre plot – which finds Britney fighting herself and floating above dancers in a giant wedding dress – doesn’t fit the song’s lyrics or tone.”

* Rolling Stone plays it neutral and simply notes, “The video, which was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, is a mix of everything we’ve come to expect from Britney — sexy costumes, elaborate choreography, good-girl pouting and bad-girl strutting — pushed way over the top.”

Britney Spears Hold It Against Me Video 3* The Washington Post quipped, “In her latest video, Britney Spears arrives on earth — an alien, we presume — to spread the message of consumerism… Is she the first performer to push product? No. Think of the effect Run DMC had on Adidas back in the early ’80s. But she does seem to be breaking ground with undisguised, un-subtle in-video brand cameos. “

* E! Online was on a similar wavelength: “Perhaps not so weirdly these days, all the eye candy came with random close-ups of her signature fragrance, as well as Sony and Makeup for Ever products and the website PlentyOf Fish.com. (Oh yeah, Brit does some online dating in the video, too.) We were waiting for her to start chugging a Pepsi or, in keeping with the song’s message, whip out a pack of Trojans.”

Britney Spears Hold It Against Me Video 2* Throw Zap2it on the list of those not blown away by “Hold It Against Me”: “It’s fun — especially when things slow down and Brit enters stiletto’d mortal combat with herself — but we can’t help but want a little more (i.e. some sharper dance moves).”

* A longtime Spears fan is sad to report the following on The Stir: “I know there will be hard-core Brit fans who disagree, but in terms of new dance hits, Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ just hits a better beat.”

Britney Spears Hold It Against Me Video 4* Another mega-fan, The Prophet, found Brit’s latest clip—as well as the pop star’s lack of hitting the promo trail in support of her single—to be the last straw: “I don’t know what the cause is of Britney’s lethargic dancing, prolonged conservatorship, and severe lack of public exposure (to the point where she hasn’t said one word — I just need to reiterate that), but I know she’s not a lazy person, so to point the finger at her and blame her personally is a derogatory and negative manner is unfair.”

* Finally, yours truly was just hoping for some good old-fashioned Britney charm—or even one smile from the pop icon—on Chart Rigger. But I just ended up scratching my head: “This Britney Spears clip is like a great allegory, a Twisted Music Video Enigma that may never truly reveal its intricate secrets. Something tells me even Jigsawney didn’t know what the hell was going on while the cameras were rolling.”