Britney Spears‘ team was not looking for any surprises. That explains the very careful, old-school way that long-time manager Larry Rudolph and Spears’ label, RCA Records, promoted and released Glory, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 this week. But despite a fairly well-received return to the MTV VMAs last month after a decade away and a drama-free Carpool Karaoke ride with James Corden, there was one small hiccup along the way: The “missing” video for “Make Me.”
Fans started a petition aimed at getting RCA to release the original, David LaChapelle-directed video for the album’s first single, which was allegedly scrapped for being “too sexy.” Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Rudolph sought to defuse online myths that the first clip was canned because the singer thought it was too sexy.
“It’s really simple. The video just didn’t work,” Rudolph told the paper without describing what the first pass looked like. “This is the first time we’ve reshot a video, and because it’s Britney there are all kinds of conspiracies. Nobody is hiding anything.” Lauded fine-art photographer-turned-video-director LaChapelle has been behind the lens for several sexually charged clips — including Christina Aguilera’s controversial “Dirrty” — and had worked with Spears before on the video for “Everytime”; to date he has not spoken about the “Make Me” redo.
Though Glory contains some of Spears’ most explicit lyrics and sexual come-ons, RCA President Tom Corson told the paper the team was not looking to break the mold or surprise anyone in advance of Brit’s ninth studio album release. “What we didn’t want to do was a secret release in the middle of the night,” he said, seemingly in reference to pop-up releases by the likes of Beyoncé, Drake, Kanye West and Chance the Rapper. “Pop audiences want to hear something. They want to be informed and educated about [an album] to some degree.”