Video Review: Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild”
What to pick for the inaugural music video review? Should it be something brand new and on many people’s lips? Or something more obscure and relatively untouched? Do I choose something that I admire to construct, or perhaps target the terrible and it tear it apart?
Let’s smush it all together and check out a well-loved, easy target who is old but is releasing something new.
A music video usually chooses one of these more common paths: 1.) It tells the story of the lyrics; 2.) It artfully represents one or more themes of the song; or 3.) It’s something cool/funny/experimental that the director and/or performer(s) wanted to do that works regardless of its relation to the song’s content.
“Girl Gone Wild” seems like it’s going for #2 and maybe a dash of #3. Madonna immediately brings up offending God in the intro. All right! Things are going to get sexy! Madonna is known for her provocations, so this should be scandalously scintillating—like peeling the skin off a hotdog… in front of the Pope!
Muscley dudes in heels? That’s all you’ve got? Oh, and you’re old and practically airbrushed into being a black and white cartoon? If anyone, the men are the ones going wild while Madonna does her daily routine of yoga-humping in a box.
But wait! A sexy pile on:
Has there been any female pop star who didn’t have this in some shape or form in her video the last 15 years? This concept is exactly what you’d expect from a brainstorming session with a pop star stuck in an earlier era. It’s like how people over 35 get stuck wearing the fashions from whichever time period in which they were young and hip. This just makes me feel embarrassed for her. You know what would be new and shocking? Anything but rehashing the same rogue sexuality routine (that is entirely commonplace at this point.) She can start with not naming her song similarly to a popular porn franchise from 1997.
The directors are Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, a well-known fashion photography duo, and it shows; this looks like an ad for a homoerotic salon. Which begs the question: why is homoeroticism a motif in this video? Turning the gay men’s sexual attention on a straight female is certainly making a statement. I’m just not sure what it’s supposed to be.
Madonna, a friend to the gay community, presumes that sexy male dancers in spandex and heels is an ‘offense’ to God (and society at large.) Wouldn’t someone who had truly gone wild not care about the opinion of detractors? But, I guess that’s what provocation is really about. More importantly, this is a pretty tame video. In which case, she was successful at #2’s goal, because it turns out the video matches a theme in the song after all: my boredom.