The music video for Britney Spears and Will.i.am’s horrible new single “Scream & Shout” debuted Thursday night on The X Factor to riotous applause from the crowd. One can only imagine that the applause was an tender-hearted attempt, probably coordinated by that old softie Mario Lopez, to keep sweet Britney from learning the truth and possibly risk teetering over the edge into another head-shaving/umbrella-jousting depression.
The truth is that the video, directed by Ben Mor, was destined to failure because the song itself is such tired auto-tuned crap. The only redeeming feature of both the song and video is the “Britney bitch” sample from Britney’s 2007 single “Gimme More,” which is interjected at three points in the song. It’s almost good enough to forgive the faux-British, Madonna-esque accent that Britney affects throughout the song.
Despite having some cool images, the video has no real punch. I appreciate a music video that doesn’t bother with a story, because they generally seem rushed and lame, but for a song that’s nearly five minutes long, you need more than just a series of images or at least a little more skin in order not to bore the audience to death. There are the requisite party scenes, a fancy car that explodes, Will and Brit are cloned and it’s all pretty cool … but not enough.
For her part, Britney, who turns 31 tomorrow (December 2nd), actually looks quite demure in this video compared to her usual costumes. Her hair is big, her skirt is tight, and her belly is on display. What more do you want? At one point, she wears a gold and black, feathery, spangley corset-type thing while holding two burning disco balls. Overall, she looks pretty great, if a bit lethargic.
Will shows off a bunch of pointless accessories including a Burberry print camera and a baseball cap fitted with a gold crown that dubs him KING. Britney and Will are not on screen together much, though they do repeat together ad nauseum: “I wanna scream, and shout, and let it all out.” Perhaps the intention is to make the audience so insane with irritation over the repetitiousness that they will also want to scream and shout and let it all out. Then it’s very circular and self-fulfilling. And so so awful.