Monday, April 7, 2008

Where’s Atreyu When You Need Him?

Almost all musicians will riff about the power of music; how their relationship with it magical and addictive and divine and their talent is a gift from God. And I’m inclined to agree with them seeing as music inspired me to write my first novel…which is about—wait for it—a musician!
Madonna and Justin Timberlake have finally commodified such a sentiment, crafting a much-hyped dance track called “4 Minutes”—the first single off Madonna’s new LP, “Hard Candy.” The song is a passable dance track with an irritatingly danceable beat, slick production—thanks to the in-demand duo of Timberlake and Timbaland—and flufftastic lyrics—thanks to co-writer, JT. All of those elements add up to a great dance track, especially after a two-drink special at your favorite club…or in your shower if you’re weird like me.

With two obvious forces in pop music, I expected the video to be a super-glam joint with rich colors, an uber-luxe club scene and the hottest choreography this side of “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Instead, Mr. JT and Madge delivered a muted world with decaying bodies, a grocery store a goth could love, and a cameo by Timbaland AND the Nothingness from The Neverending Story. That’s right, folks, the Nothingness is overtaking the world in a noiseless clump of geometric angles that dismantles as it encroaches on their bombastic world. There is a rather cool shot of it dispatching a kissing couple, giving the viewers a cross-section of their jaw bones, wiggling tongues, and buccinators.

I’m not all doom and gloom as far as this video is concerned. The two vignettes where JT and Madonna acrobatically leap and pose in a lot of cars is very impressive and kinetic eye candy. Apparently, when the world is ending, you don’t care about scuffing the hood of a pimped out ride. The two also pop-and-lock their way through the aforementioned grocery store with sparsely stocked shelves and black walls. The climax of the scene is a brilliantly blocked cluster of eight-counts where Madonna and JT hoof it up on the conveyor belts at the cashier-less checkout.

Unfortunately, these snippets of dance porn are spliced with Madonna—who looks rather muscular and washed out with her light blonde coif, pale skin and off-white corseted body leotard—trying to freestyle. This is when we the viewers are reminded that Madonna is not a young rebel with a cause, but that she’s pushin’ 50 and trying to stay ontop in a genre overwrought with younger, more rhythmically adept pop tarts who are just hitting their stride. There are also many other scenes they subtract more from the concept than add to it. The editors were obviously trying to create a frenetic pace, but the constant jumping to different vignettes is both distracting and downright annoying.

Luckily, a bearded Justin Timberlake looks delicious in his appointed black leather, rocker scarf and tight gray t-shirt, especially when during their mutual striptease of a dance break, which is a watered down continuation of Madonna’s weird yoga-esque b-girl moves we were introduced to in the “Me Against the Music” video with She Who Shall Not Be Named. Thankfully, the yoga dial was turned down and the cool factor was pumped up.

Inexplicably, Madonna and JT’s musically collaboration doesn’t save the world. In the closing seconds of existence in Soundstage Pop, the great Nothingness catches up on JT and Madonna, exposing the former’s ribcage and internal organs before the couple can kiss (THANK YOU!). So all of that dancing was all for not and left me wondering: isn’t it bad for business when your funk can’t save the world?


Anonymous said...

i didn't like it. i kind of felt like, i'm glad i don't have epilepsy cause i'd be having a seizure right now. love the song though.

email me your number or something so i can call you, woman. never online these days (me)

K said...

I didn't like it either. And I agree about the epilepsy. I swear I felt an aura by minute three.

Ha. I'm hiding since I'm STILL an unemployed loser. But I will.