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May 21, 2004


Madonna's boring shock tactics
Looks like Madonna's new "Re-invention" tour is going to be shocking and controversial. Ho-hum.

From the New York Post:

The show reportedly opens with a frisky Madonna simulating sex with a female tango dancer - which is quaint compared with other segments of the "Re-Invention" show.

When she sings "Papa Don't Preach," she'll be backed by a chorus line of scantily clad, heavily pregnant babes.

That ought to provide comic relief from the setup for "American Life," when the audience gets to hear the sounds of bombs dropping and watch a video montage of troops battling in Iraq.

A video of sickly, starving children will reportedly unspool while Madonna delivers her cover of the John Lennon classic "Imagine."

I suppose I should start sputtering indignant noises now, and beat the crowd- except that I doubt there'll be much public indignation over these extremely trite, passe and unimaginative gestures. It pretty much sounds like The Onion parodying Marilyn Manson with a "Boo" tour.

As so often, Elvis Costello says it best:

"How many times can you jump out of the cupboard
Before someone gets suspicious or someone gets discovered?"
-Elvis Costello "Worthless Thing"

None of this is challenging the audience, or the general public in any significant way. What, simulated lesbian sex? That might appeal to my prurient interest, but surely is not spiritually uplifting or intellectually provocative in any way whatsoever. What's the point?

Now, I'm all in favor of a good controversy, but mere simulated sexual display is not particularly controversial in most of the Western world. Maybe if you do actual nudity on prime time broadcast network television, but that's still just dumb- and it did not in fact even sell Janet's crappy record.

Here's a hint: Bob Dylan's silly Victoria's Secret ad was MUCH more controversial and intellectually provocative than yet more simulated sex acts from grandma.

What, she's a liberal and doesn't believe in the war? Shocking controversy! She wants to show pictures of bombing and carnage from the war? No, somebody stop her! I am too provoked. Where are my smelling salts?

Oh, she's going to sing "Imagine." If I didn't hate that sappy song and those trite, nonsensical lyrics before, I would by the time she got done with them.

Oh yeah, and she's got an electric chair that she will be executed in at the climax of each show. This may have been provocative or shocking when Alice Cooper was doing such stuff THIRTY YEARS AGO, but sure sounds just plain silly for a Madonna gimmick.

If Madonna took half the effort that she puts into these costumes and sets and cheap gimmicks, and put it into sitting down and writing actual songs, maybe she'd have something worth bothering about.

If Madonna simply came out on a stage with musicians and instruments- no dancers, hookers, or costumes, dressed in t-shirts and jeans- and just actually played her new album, would anyone be able to sit through it?

posted by Al at 5/21/2004 03:07:00 PM

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