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  1. On January 13, 2004, Britney Spears released Toxic, the second single off her fourth studio album In the Zone. The dance-pop anthem with Bollywood influences was produced by Bloodshy & Avant and it went on to become one of the most recognizable tracks by Britney Spears among the general public. The same day it came out, the music video for the song, directed by Joseph Kahn, premiered on MTV's episode of Making the Video. Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg (aka Bloodshy & Avant) co-wrote the track along with Cathy Dennis and Henrik Jonback. The techno-pop song with elements of bhangra music incorporates instrumentation such as drums, synthesizers, violins and surf guitar, as well as the iconic strings that were sampled from the Hindi song Tere Mere Beech Mein from the Bollywood film Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981). Cathy Dennis revealed in 2020 that the song was originally created with Janet Jackson in mind, but she couldn't finish it in time during their time together: The song was later offered to Kylie Minogue, which had already recorded other songs made by Dennis, such as Come into My World, and most notably, Can't Get You Out of My Head. However, the Australian diva passed on the song. Side note: Can't Get You Out of My Head was also rejected by S Club 7 and Sophie Ellis-Bextor before it went to Kylie. But before Britney could take the song for her, Sarah Whatmore almost got away with Toxic, as she revealed in 2017: Britney recorded the song in Sweden in 2003. In December of that year, MTV reported that Toxic would be released as the follow-up single to Me Against the Music, after trying to choose between (I Got That) Boom Boom and Outrageous: Britney has stated in numerous occasions that Toxic is one of her favorite songs. It won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it went #1 on the Dance Club Songs, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Digital Tracks charts. It was also #1 on many international charts, such as European Hot 100, UK, Australia, Canada among others, and it was Top 10 in almost every other country it charted. It's been recognized as one of the best songs of the 2000's by different publications like Rolling Stone and NME. In 2021, Toxic surpassed the 500 million streams on Spotify. Britney has performed Toxic on many tv shows during the promotion of the single, as well as in the 2016 performances. She's also performed the song on every tour/residency she's had ever since The Onyx Hotel Tour in 2004. The Music Video The music video for Toxic was directed by Joseph Kahn, who had previously worked with her for the Stronger video in 2000. Toxic was the most expensive video of hers at the time, at the cost of $1 million. In the video Britney plays a secret agent that starts disguised as a flight attendant. She takes a passenger to the bathroom and kisses him, peels off his mask and takes from him a pass that helps her later to steal a bottle of green poison (she's a red-head by this point of the video). After escaping the vault where the poison was, she has to evade a laser trap with a series of complicated moves, including a back handspring. She then climbs up a building, now as a brunette, to enter the room of her cheating boyfriend. She throws him to the floor, kisses him and pours the poison in his mouth. She escapes through the balcony, and we see her again in the airplane with her flight attendant outfit, as she winks to the camera. Throughout the video, we also see scenes of her where she's naked, and only covered in diamonds. Britney told MTV Joseph Kahn also talked to MTV in 2009: In 2021 the choreographer of the video and long-time collaborator of Britney, Brian Friedman, confessed he was the one that came up with the concept of the video, despite Britney and Joseph Kahn saying otherwise all these years: Joseph Kahn only tweeted After the premiere of Toxic on Making the Video, the video debuted on TRL the following day. In 2004 it was nominated at the VMA's for Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video, but didn't win any of the awards The video is her second most watched solo video on YouTube, where it's about to hit the 500M mark, and the iconic flight attendant outfit is set to receive its own Funko figure.
  2. On December 10, 2013, Britney Spears released the Perfume music video to promote the second and last single off her, fan-favorite, eighth studio album Britney Jean. It was directed by Joseph Kahn who had previously worked on the Stronger, Toxic and Womanizer videos, and it was filmed from November 19 to 21 in the California desert and Lancaster. The video portrays Britney and her lover, played by model Alexander Kjellevik, doing several activities like taking a trip at night, walking on the street while the guy flips his middle fingers to the world, drinking a beer on the roof of a motel, bathing in a pool and at some point Britney makes a ring out of a crooked nail and gives it to him as a symbol of love. In 2013, in an interview for ET, she spoke very briefly about handling the situation of kissing a guy in a music video, while having a boyfriend in real life: "[...] we had a discussion about that, you know, it's like, it's really weird 'cause in Hollywood it's so acceptable to just like go and do a movie and make out with somebody and 'cause you're just, you know, flattered to be in a movie and stuff, but I think, you know, some people who are very old-fashioned kind of don't believe in that manner, so um, we're kind of like torn on the whole situation". Later in the video, we see Britney wearing lingerie, in front of the mirror of the bathroom, putting on her Fantasy perfume, when a message from Cindy, played by Alandrea Martin, pops up on the screen of an iPhone. Afterwards, we see the guy and Cindy meeting at a gas station, while Britney is watching them from the distance inside a truck. The guy and his new partner, repeat the same activities we see him doing with Britney at the beginning of the video, while Britney drives away and is later seen crying inside the room of a motel. At the end we see the guy looking at the window, holding the ring Britney gave him. Throughout the video, we see intercalated aerial shots of Britney singing the song while wearing lingerie and her lover's shirt, lying in a mattress, with her man sleeping besides her. Several teasers were released previous to the premiere of the video. Britney shared on Facebook: "We've set a date! Perfume vid will premiere Tuesday on VEVO. Had to dig deep and really play with some acting chops for this one!" After being uploaded to her VEVO account in December 10, the video received positive reviews from critics, but not so much from the fans. The concept and storyline of the video seemed confusing and dull despite the very theatrical overall vibe of the clip. The amount of views it received was very overwhelming, paling in comparison to the massive hit its predecessor Work ***** was. To this day, seven years later, it's still yet to hit the 40M mark. However it did pretty well on the VH1 Top 20 in Latin America, occupying the top position for several weeks. The original concept On December 05, Joseph Kahn, the director of the video tweeted "Sigh I love my original edit no one will ever see. I'm gonna go cry in the arms of a Senegalese hooker". Two days later, he continued: "Internet calm down. I never said I didn't like the #Perfume video. I said I preferred my very different cut but their cut is fine. Jeez. Artists have the right to release their videos the way they want. I'm just a work for hire. It's their money & their career. No worries". Then on December 10 he added: "Wish they'd release the director's cut of #perfume. Britney's performance is unbelievable. A tur artist in it. Game changer. Official cut is a good video as you'll soon see. But it's a true loss not to see what she really did. It's incredible. Beyond other artists. Maybe if your voice is loud enough they'll release it. But other than that, I just needed to tell the truth. Something amazing is waiting". "The DC is a minute longer and there's a very shocking ending. But not what you think. I call it BREAKING BADNEY." In January 2014, Joseph was asked about it in an interview for Videostatic (who had also seen the original video): In July 2014, a person that claimed to be friends with someone working for a production company in Los Angeles leaked through a Facebook group what was supposed to be the original treatment of the video: Joseph Kahn confirmed these claims to be somewhat true, explaining some things were actually changed prior to the filming of the video He also clarified that things like Cindy's phone call were added after he was asked to change the storyline In 2015, in an interview for BreatheHeavy, he talked about Britney and the Perfume video: Tbh, the comments section of the video is mostly positive, it seems that just not a lot of people know about it, or those that do, didn't care to go back and re-watch it after they did it the first time. Footage of the original Make Me... video, which was also scrapped in 2016, ultimately leaked and to me that seemed even more impossible to happen compared to the original Perfume concept, so who knows if the Director's Cut will ever see the light.
  3. On November 2, 2000, Britney Spears released the Stronger music video, the third single off her second studio album Oops!... I Did It Again. It was shot from October 5 - 7, and it was directed by Joseph Kahn, being this the first out of 4 videos she would eventually do with him throughout her career (so far). In 2009, Joseph Kahn told MTV News that he considered this video to mark a departure in Britney's image and career: "I think this video is interesting because it's got a very sophisticated, adult look to it [...] It's definitely a departure from the sort of candy-colored videos she was doing before, so I always thought this was the transition between Britney the teenage pop star and Britney the sort of diva she became." He revealed the original concept was created by Britney "For 'Stronger,' she said, 'I would like to dance in a chair and drive in a car and break up with [my] boyfriend. Those are your three elements.' And then, as a director, you go, 'OK, well, how do I make that cool?'" He's also noticed the influence of Janet Jackson's videos such as The Pleasure Principle and Miss You Much for the video's chair routine: "She pitched it to me as an original concept by herself, but the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of the chair sequence, in terms of how it applies to music videos, was Janet Jackson's 'Pleasure Principle' — the iconic chair sequence in that." In 2019, he talked about his original concept for the video in an interview he did for Indy Mogul: "The first time I met her on the Stronger video, I had this entire idea of like pitching like this big thing with a dragon, and dancing in the rain and soldiers and all this stuff, and she's listening, she's listening, I go through my whole pitch and then she looks at me and goes 'I was thinking about dancing in a chair'". The video takes place in a futuristic world where Britney walks into a club to find out her boyfriend cheated on her, so she breaks up with him and leaves, driving away, walking in the rain over a bridge, while we also see alternating scenes of her doing the chair routine choreography. There was a bit of controversy on set with Britney's manager over a particular scene he shot: "There's a shot here where I'm tracking with her, and her legs are spread, and Larry [Rudolph], the manager, was like, 'Don't do that.' And she was like, 'Yes, definitely do that.' " The MTV article also reveals another aspect of the video Kahn was insistent upon, Britney's silver eyeshadow: "One of the big things I wanted to do here, that I was just obsessed with ... I know it sounds really strange, but I wanted her to have gray eye shadow, and I think it looks really good. I remember when I was looking at the close-ups, Britney goes, 'You're really obsessed with this gray eye shadow!' and I go, 'Yes, absolutely.' But if you look at it, it just makes her eyes pop like crazy." The music video was nominated at the VMA's 2001 for Best Pop Video, but lost to *NSync's Pop. Stronger appeared at #71 on the yearly Top 100 of MTV Latin America in 2000, but it reappeared the next year claiming the top position. In October 2019, the music video surpassed the 100M views on her official YouTube channel, becoming her 21st video in achieving that feat.
  4. On October 10, 2008, Britney Spears released the Womanizer music video, the lead single off her album Circus. The video was directed by Joseph Kahn, who had previously directed Stronger and Toxic videos in 2000 and 2004 respectively. It was filmed in September, and according to Kahn, it was Britney who pitched him the original concept with all the elements that were ultimately used in the final product. In an interview with MTV, Joseph said "She pitched to me a very detailed idea of what she wanted to do. She wanted to dress up in costume, she wanted to follow her man to work, and she eventually wanted to show at the end that she is all three of those women." "It was, like, her first video that no one really knew if she could even come on set, you know? It was just a big question as to you know, like, what would that video look like?" he said. "What shape would she be in? Can she really dance? Can she perform? Who is she at this point?" "Womanizer, for me, was a great experience on a personal level, because it completely verified that she was coming back," he continued. "By the time I worked with her on 'Womanizer,' you know, that was the Britney that I knew and it was a fun experience for me." For the sauna scenes Joseph said: "It was an actual sauna and we built a big tent around it ... and Britney, naked again. I guess I have one of the best jobs in the world. I was like, 'You know, if we do this video, and she went through all this work to get a new paint job, I was gonna show off the paint job — she's gonna be naked in this video.' " "By the time it got out — and the beautiful thing about the Internet is that you get instant reaction — the reaction seemed to be very positive. I'm going to sound like such a wuss, but I think I cried," he said. "That sounds super lame, but come on, man — that's five days of some serious stress. And I had to end the video on her smiling, for sure. Like, we just need to tell everybody that she's OK." About working with Joseph Kahn, Britney said "Working on 'Womanizer' with Joseph was a lot of fun. [...] He makes sure that he gets the types of shots that go with the music. It's not like a movie, it's more like a musical. You know, if I say 'on the hi-hat here or on the drumbeat here, I want my leg to be in the air.' And it's that detail, and it does make a difference, and that's what he can do. It's very rare to find people that still know how to do that." The video was nominated for Video of the Year at the VMA's 2009, but lost to Beyoncé's Single Ladies. However, it did win the Best Pop Video category. In MTV Latin America, it landed at #5 on the Top 100 of 2008. In 2013 it reached the 100M views on her official YouTube account. However it was in February 2020 that it got the most views in a single day, ever since it was uploaded to her account, with 1,395,897 views. It's currently expected to reach 300M views in November. Related:
  5. On June 30, 1997 Everybody (Backstreet's Back) was released as the lead single of Backstreet Boys' second studio album Backstreet's Back. The haunted house treatment of the video was based on a treatment he envisioned for rapper Ice Cube a few months prior, and was inspired by the music video of Michael Jackson's Thriller. Joseph Kahn and the Backstreet Boys wanted Antonio Fargas to portray the bus driver, as they were fans of Starsky & Hutch. The video shoot lasted for 36 hours, with Nick Carter's mummy shot being filmed last. Jive did not get behind the concept of the band in costumes or the $1 million requirements, and did not believe MTV would respect the video. The band ultimately had to put up their own money to shoot the video and had to fight with the label to get reimbursed once it was successful.
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