It's likely that you don't even remember the first time you heard Madonna, that, to you, she just was and is. She's the gap-toothed dancing goddess dubbed the Queen of Pop, managing to almost always have at least one track in the top 100 every time she drops an album. There's no arguing that she's a legend for a reason, but how many trends does one get to set in a lifetime? How many times can you possibly, genuinely reinvent yourself before you succumb to merely vying for marketability? How much pop is in one star? Possibly not enough. Definitely not over three decades-worth.
To be fair, I was already annoyed with Madonna for the prolonged kiss she laid on Drake at her Coachella performance earlier this year before really giving this total flop of an album, Rebel Heart, a listen. I have every right to be concerned having seen what happened to Britney after she got a Madonna kiss. No doubt in my mind that lip-lock sent him straight to Meme City, USA, so, I wasn't exactly eager to find out what was next when she unleashed the video, "Bitch, I'm Madonna" (Yes, bitch, we know.)
Madonna's a known chameleon and that fickleness manifests itself this time around as a crazy party girl in a hot pink studded jacket who's just too cool to care. There are pandering celebrity cameos as the camera swirls around a generic neon night club, giving us money headshots of the star-studded VIPs in attendance — proving she's got hip friends. There's a fair amount of trying-too-hard styling and a latent borrowing of Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Girls. It's not believable, or it's terribly believable if you consider that this is what a 57-year-old thinks the kids are into. It's also rather dated.
The entire feel of the video calls to mind visions of a friend's birthday party where her parents let you drink because you might as well do it at the house, but her hot mom has one too many wine coolers and gets wild on the dance floor, "You guys having fun yet? Bet you didn't think I still had moves like this!"
Sure, you want to join in — it's her house after all — but you're a little embarrassed, and besides, you really only showed up to the party — or clicked on the link — to see Nicki Minaj. Madonna is clearly aware that hip-hop and R&B are currently in favor in the Top 40, but knows better than to dive right in. I suppose we can be glad she left the rapping to someone else this time, we don't need another repeat of "American Life" (2003), wherein she rhymes "soy latte" and "double shot-eh" with "hot bod-tay," along with the riveting wordplay of "feeling super-duper" in her "Mini Cooper."
We'll always love Madonna, but perhaps it's more for what she was rather than what she is. Gone are the days of the '90s sex book dom-Madonna and wannabe British yogi-mom children's author. I'm not saying sexy has an age or an expiration date, and neither does being cool. However, Madonna appears to just be playing it safe, while attempting to stay relevant. Like my mother once said, "Don't be afraid of getting old, be afraid of getting boring."
After unapologetically opening the doors for a gaggle of alternative pop stars and building a fanbase empire, we're now forced to watch her brag about staying up all night while kissing a bevy of babes and saying the B-word. But bless her heart, it's 2015 and everyone has already pushed the envelope she set down. Taylor Swift is giving the American Sweetheart thing a good-old college try, Beyoncé has choreographed dancing on lock, Lady Gaga came out of an egg that one time and Miley Cyrus is a full-blown adult-baby wearing a diaper and sucking on pacifiers, so it's not easy staying in the game, even if you helped write the rule book.
Maybe it's our fault, maybe we're just asking too much of our female pop stars.
It seems that the ultimate goal in reaching the global pop status that Madonna has attained is the allowance to do whatever the hell you want. No one is going to tell you no, even if they should. Still you must admit there's something admirable about continuing to do what you love whether anyone likes it. This is a tenacious tour, no doubt, and perhaps the only thing that could be worse is seeing a purely nostalgia act. In fact, if you happen upon a ticket to go see Madonna you're probably not going to pass it up and you're probably not gonna not dance.