Friday, February 03, 2012

MUSIC TOPIC: Madonna's "Give Me All Your Luvin'" Video Featuring M.I.A. & Nicki Minaj

Madonna is staging a major comeback. She took a little hiatus after her last album, Hard Candy (2008), to direct a passion project, W.E., and now she's back to reclaim her Pop Queen status. I'm assuming she figured Beyonce and Pink would be busy with their newborns, and Katy Perry with her divorce (cause we all saw that coming), so she'd just swoop right on in and get comfy.

The thing is though that three years in music time is like a decade. Listeners have developed other interests, different standards, and new obsessions. The current multitude is gyrating to Rihanna, copying Beyonce's dance moves from the trillion videos she dropped before popping out a mini-B, karaokeing the hell out of every Adele song they can get their hands on, and recording themselves rapping as fast and dramatically as Nicki Minaj. So it's understandable that Madonna would try to mooch off of one of those artists' current fame and get a subliminal cosign by their mere presence. And it's even more understandable that women like Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., who no doubt grew up watching the greatness that was Madonnna, would be intensely honored to be featured on one of her tracks.

I get it. I have no qualms with living the dream. The problem I have is with 1) the song they chose to sellout on and 2) the simple fact that they did indeed sellout!

Let's pretend for a solid 60 seconds that Nicki Minaj, the self-proclaimed Barbie, who's 80% fa├žade and 20% hood, has integrity. Let's pretend that she hasn't manufactured a personality fit for commerce. And let's pretend that she is the greatest female MC of our generation with lyrical genius that Biggie himself would tip his Yankee cap to. Why in God's name did she override everything she's worked towards as a respected rap artist for 13 seconds on a shit song? I'm surprised she didn't end her rhyme with "Yes massa!"

I won't knock Minaj too much though. At least she didn't compromise on her aesthetic, like Lady Gaga did for Beyonce in '09 for "Video Phone," or like M.I.A. did in this video. I'm sorry. Did pregnancy fry her brain? She's wearing lace and performing sexualized choreography. Not only is that out of character, it's embarrassing. The only thing that could redeem her is if she only did it to meet Minaj, and this summer they plan to release a scathing rap collaboration that'll take over the radio waves. Then and only then could I get her Rihanna-esque dirty wind out of my damn head.

As for Madonna, I'm slightly impressed that she still looks fit at 53. But that's grounds for a workout video not a comeback. She has nothing new to say and no new way to say it. She used to return with a whole new persona, but it seems like the only reinvention she can muster these days is regression, looking and acting like a 20something tart.

In case you couldn't gather by my scathing criticism, this video is horrible. It involves football players and cheerleaders, who obviously have nothing to do with the song, because she's doing the Super Bowl. The rest, the spandex, the lace, the plastic baby(?), are homages to other incarnations of herself throughout her career, as if to remind people who she is. But maybe someone should remind her. At this point, I'd rather watch Lana Del Ray during half-time. At least then, I'll know the spectacle will be intentional.

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