by Dan Moore
Britney Spears's new music video, "I Wanna Go," was apparently such an event that a teaser had to be released ahead of the video itself, presumably to tamp down demand, or else reduce a mounting supply of those YouTube/VEVO comments about TURNING OFF THE ADS ALREADY!!! that get thumbed-up relentlessly.
If you haven't seen the teaser yet--well, it's about the paparazzi. Britney Spears doesn't like them! In fact, she'd like to swing a microphone at them so hard that it creates those weird puffs of spark and smoke last seen when a member of the Putty Patrol was damaged by Power Rangers. If you haven't seen the video yet--well, I don't know, the teaser didn't exactly catch me; I'm told there's a press conference in which Britney Spears admits that she purchased the Elephant Man's skeleton. Below: Three music video teasers that weren't.
1. Michael Jackson, "Leave Me Alone"
Nearly every Michael Jackson video could do with a teaser trailer--I'm partial to "Remember The Time," before which I could use 30 seconds to acclimate myself to the idea of Eddie Murphy as an ancient pharaoh. But "Leave Me Alone" is the closest relative to "I Wanna Go" in an important superstar category: The media-paranoia unintentional self-parody.
There's a difference, of course--coming off the best-selling album of all time and in the middle of another massively successful release Jackson was right to assume the media was on his tail, but by making this weirdly compelling video he was only confirming their conception of his weirdness. As for Britney Spears, this reads less like a response to actual paparazzi coverage and more like a brave attempt to imagine a world in which heterosexual males are interested in Britney Spears's comings and goings in 2011.
Teaser: Michael Jackson dances with the Elephant Man for thirty seconds before lashing out at a paparazzo with one Elephant Femur.
2. A-Ha, "Take On Me"
This video is the only reason people continue to believe even now that they can sing the high notes in the chorus in karaoke, which is its own reward. It's also responsible for 90% of all wrench-related assault in the United States of America, which is the price of genius.
Teaser: The lead singer walks across a YouTube page, turning real and hand-drawn in turn, before tripping into the comments section and being torn to pieces for his role in Ghost (RIP). A paparazzo is bludgeoned with a wrench, presumably for being the only reason people are still interested in the pseudo-stars he stalks out of habit.
3. Soft Cell, "Tainted Love"
Oh, God--look, officer, it was just a misunderstanding. I'm a big fan of the song, and I've never seen the video before, and obviously I wouldn't now, because it's so--and look, just check my history if you don't believe me, I have a girlfriend, she's my age.
Teaser: Thirty seconds from the film Caligula, chosen at random. At the end Chris Hansen of To Catch A Really Campy Predator asks a paparazzo to just sit down a second, and does he want any water, anything to drink.