Saturday, 20 August 2011

Britney Spears - Toxic

Artist: Britney Spears

Track: Toxic

Year: 2003

Director: Joseph Kahn

Genre: Pop

Main Audience: 14-20, teenagers, male (male gaze)

Type: Half performance, half narrative

The song Toxic reached the top 5 in 15 different countries, topping the charts in Australia, Canada, Hungary, Norway and the United Kingdom. In the United States, it became her first single to peak inside the top ten in almost four years. The song was originally offered to Kylie Minogue. The music video took 3 days to film. Britney came up with the whole concept of air stewardess etc, and even hire a fat man so 'common men' can be represented. They cleared the set for the naked shoots (when she is in the diamond suit) so it was just Kahn and Britney present, this usually what happens as it gives the star more privacy and keeps it confidential. Britney also shot scenes in which she had to dance through a hallway of imaginary lasers in front of a green screen, something that Kahn deemed as "incredible to watch". It is Britney's most expensive video to date costing $1,000,000

Joseph Kahn used his friends to create the cast for the video, this is uncommon today as the cast is usually hired via a agency. The fat man is played by his assistent, the ex boyfriend is played by Martin Henderson who has previously worked for Joseph Kahn in Torque.

When Janet Jackson's breast was exposed on live television, "Toxic" along with other five music videos would be moved from daytime to late-night programming from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. It failed to win any awards at the time but in 2009 it was voted the most sexiest video of all time by a music video website. The T.V series Glee did a whole hour episode dedicated to Britney Spears, in which she guest starred in, Toxic was among the songs that was covered.

The video references to Blade Runner, The Seven Year Itch and the films of John Woo. It portrays Spears as a secret agent in the search of a vial of green liquid. After she steals it, she enters an apartment and poisons her unfaithful boyfriend. The video also includes interspersed scenes of Spears naked with diamonds over her body. After Janet Jackson's Superbowl incident, the video was considered too racy for MTV and was moved to late-night programming. "Toxic" is known for showing Spears for the first time as a confident adult woman, comfortable with her own sexuality.

"Toxic" features varied instrumentation, such as drums, synthesizers and surf guitar. It is accompanied by high-pitched strings and breathy vocals. Its lyrics refer to being addicted to a lover. The song was well received by critics, who deemed it as the strongest track of In the Zone, while praising its hook and chorus.

The music video begins with an open shot of an airplane flying surrounded by many doves, referencing the works of Hong Kong director John Woo.[46] Spears appears with blond hair dressed as a flight attendant, receiving a phone call. After serving some of the passengers, she leads a bald overweight man to the bathroom and seduces him.[52] She takes off the man's mask to reveal an attractive man (Matthew Felker) and steals a black pass from his pocket.[46][53] Spears is then dropped into the back of a Ducati 999, driven by a shirtless male (Tyson Beckford) in a futuristic Paris, that was compared to the 1982 film Blade Runner.[46] She wears a tight black catsuit and sports red hair, inspired by the character of Sydney Bristow from television series Alias.[49] They pass a woman and lift up her dress, a homage to the iconic Marilyn Monroe scene in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch.[46] They also pass two women frolicking in a store window.[52]

Throughout the video, there are scenes of Spears naked covered in diamonds.[46] The look was compared to that of Kate Bush in the music video for her 1978 single, "The Man with the Child in His Eyes".[54] Spears then enters Toxic Industries, and gains access to a vault from which she steals a vial of green poison. She accidentally triggers a laser trap when she leaves that she evades with elaborate dance moves, including a back handspring. This is followed by scenes of Spears wearing a black superheroine outfit and black hair. She scales a building and enters an apartment, where her unfaithful boyfriend (Henderson) is waiting. She kisses him just before pouring the poison into his mouth, killing him. Spears kisses him again and jumps out of the window. She lands back on the plane sporting her flight attendant outfit, and winks at the camera. The video closes with a shot of the airplane flying surrounded by doves like the beginning.[46]

Wikipedia 2011

The special effects in the video include the plane in the sky followed by some birds, it doesn't look that realistic considering the 1 million budget. Also she jumps off the building and 'flies' and climbs up the walls. The famous diamante body suit is in this video, it's very revealing and is very sexual, this is for the male gaze (Laura Mulvey) and also be a remorable, iconic costume. There are also nude men with there tops off for the woman gaze and to show that even though their big and strong and Britney is little and petite she can still have her way with them. Spears is always looking at the camera seductively and making everything she does sexual in some way or another. Her costumes are very risque, for example the diamond suit and the air hostess uniform which again is revealing but also short and nothing like the real version. There are lots of kisses and sexual actions which all adds to the risqueness. The motorbike and her red hair has an intertextual reference as stated above. When she spills the drink on the male passenger, and starts to clean him up, this is very sexual and again very risque.

There is a relationship bewteen the lyrics and the visuals, the lyrics are both naughty and sexual and so are the visuals. 'I'm addicted to you don't you know that your toxic', she is grabbing the male and showing she can't be without him. She is also saying 'toxic' and their is a green sunstance to represent this. Their is a relationship between the visuals and the music, the music is very upbeat and fast, so is the cuts and clips, everything is at the same speed.

1 comment:

  1. a very thorough post; i fear tho you've failed to ebenfit from such excellent work? when you've written/quoted as much as you do here, ending with a bullet list of main points would be useful (and help with the compiling of key conventions with specific egs attached)
    did the idea of intertextuality with film influence your thinking for example? or the points you make about male gaze (makes me think of the cooking hand on buttock shot we discussed)? the point is: its one thing to write all this, the key thing is to utilise the learning, and make it plain to see you're doing so. that takes in posts on r.cuts/ideas etc, where you should cite vids you've looked at


Please leave constructive criticism :)