Although the Queen of Pop is no stranger to appropriation (honestly, as one of the most iconic pop stars of all time, she more or less wrote the script for it), the recently—released video for “Bitch I’m Madonna” seems to take it up a notch—well, it would take it up a notch ify it was appropriating anything new. But the chaotic video for the second single off of her latest album “Rebel Heart” really just chews up and spits back cliches for which younger artists (including some who were featured in fly-by-the-minute cameos throughout the video) have already been raked over the coals.
We watched the Jonas Åkerlund-directed video (which, for a day, was sitting behind a TIDAL-exclusive paywall) and caught a few key moments that show just how out of touch Madonna’s become, even in her appropriation.
First off, in a behind-the-scenes teaser (which is public, and viewable below), the singer writhes and booty-pops alone in a room. Some have commented on this as “twerking” but we’ll let you be the judge—in any case, Miley Cyrus (who appears in the video) already did this, and it was already edgy and pissed people off years ago.
So then there’s the actual video (which you can see above), for a song which uses really out-of-date EDM build-ups and a minimalist trap beat in the chorus with what will probably be the most annoying and hard-to-get-out-of-your-head bass line since “Fancy” (and no, catchiness does not equal quality). Set in what looks like the craziest and most colorful apartment party that nobody’s ever been to, the video pulls out all the stops that Madonna apparently missed out on when she wasn’t releasing music these past few years.
There’s the matching Asian dancers, seemingly pulled from Tokyo street style pictorials. Too bad Gwen Stefani already did this like a decade ago, and caught flack for it then.
Then there was the young black b-boy, which—let’s be real—is a trope so ubiquitous on social media that seems like a cynical grab for authenticity and cuteness.
Madonna tries to redeem herself with a gatling gun of cameos, but quick-flash appearances from Chris Rock, Kanye West, and Beyonce aren’t enough to make any of this seem relevant enough to be that offensive (although it probably didn’t help to include noted appropriators Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, or Diplo). Even when Nicki Minaj shows up on an LED screen for her guest verse, the delivery’s too listless to make it look like anything other than a token verse from a complicated and respected black female artist (which, after Nicki’s ”Bang Bang” verse, is also way past the point of relevance anyway).
Add to this some gratuitous kissing and flashing lights, and you get a sense that either nothing’s really changed, or everything’s changed around Madonna. Either way, she’s missed the boat—one, given her influence, of her own creation—and annoyed us in the process.
Do you agree? Tell us in the comments!