It’s funny, but I never really made the connection at first: Whenever Britney Spears pairs up with Joseph Kahn for a music video, she’s pissed.
In “Stronger,” she’s kicking around chairs and going on dramatic rainy night drives after dumping her dud of a dude. In “Toxic,” she goes on a futuristic journey and swoops in on a Tyson Beckford-manned motorcycle to go poison her cheating man. And in “Womanizer,” she cons her womanizing beau by playing the role of several sensual seductresses and catching him right in the act.
With “Perfume,” the same thing was supposed to happen again — but didn’t.
The video is a pretty slow build of a love affair: Brit Brit — looking (drop dead) beautiful, but when doesn’t she? — and her handsome lead are canoodling on the streets and getting cutesy together. She even gives him a ring made out of a bent nail (sure, why not?), falling asleep sweetly tucked away by his side, giving you some Tinky Winky Rolling Stone ’99 cover realness in the process. Bosomney!
But behind the scenes, she’s putting on that Fantasy (finally, some actual #PerfumePromo) all over her hot bodeh, ’cause she wants to mark her territory. Why? ‘Cause of this bitch.
Cindy comes in with her stupid face and annoying personality (literally no one cares about your new highlights, Cindy), seducing Brit’s man and fucking everything up. Is she a current girlfriend? Ex-girlfriend? What’s a girl to do? Well, when you’re the Legendary Miss Britney Spears, there’s only one answer: Revisit “Stronger.”
And so, B-Girl hops right back into that car and gets her Stalkerney game on. “I got my eye on you,” she (probably) murmurs to herself in the rearview mirror, “and I can’t let you get away” (REFERENCE).
Britney notices the twosome getting all touchy-feely, and gets really sad back at the Holiday Inn where she shot the “Perfume” lyric video. And when Britney is sad, the entire world is sad, and everything is sad.
And then, it um…kind of just ends.
Now, look: The video is gorgeous. Britney looks absolutely stunning (in related news, the grass is green), and I love seeing her work on those acting chops. Sadney! Happyney! Jealousney! Contemplativeney! But there’s a nagging truth that sort of spoils the entire show here — this wasn’t the original vision for this video.
If you aren’t a Britney stan, you might not already know that Joseph Kahn has been loudly fuming on Twitter for days now about an “original version” of the video, which apparently would have “blown your mind.” And uh, these gun-toting photos from behind-the-scenes on the set also confirm that something much darker was about to go down with “Perfume.” I trust Joseph Kahn’s vision — his first three videos with Britney were all iconic, were they not? — so it’s a bit upsetting to hear that they opted for #SomethingLessKahn.
If the label, or Britney herself, felt that the director’s cut of “Perfume” was too dark for their liking, then that’s fine. What will be will be.
But now, we’ll always be left wondering: Just what really did happen at the end?
‘Britney Jean’ was released on December 3. (iTunes)