Madonna

Freedom’s Just Another Word for a Complete Lack of Parenting: Kesha – “Tik Tok”

Kesha Tik Tok

We start out with some skeezy-looking girl waking up in a bathtub, and it’s clear that she’s not really sure where she might be. (Don’t start judging at this point. If you have any sense of adventure, there’s been at least one time when you’ve snoozed in a place that wasn’t necessarily designed for slumber.) Eventually home-girl realizes that maybe this isn’t her own bathtub and there might be some type of penalty associated with what she did or didn’t do the previous evening, so she hops out of the cleansing station and proceeds to do some damage control.

First on her agenda? Marching over to the nearby vanity, plucking up one of the anonymous toothbrushes that previously did not contain any of her DNA, and then proceeds to “brush my teeth with a bottle of jack.” Then she waves her ghetto-painted toenails in front of the camera, because it seems like a fun thing to do when you’re a pop star and have your own personal cinematographer, and then she slips on a pair of cowboy boots and little else. (This is probably the part where you can start judging.)

So right away we know we’re dealing with a quality kind of girl, here. Top drawer. Or should I say top shelf? Kesha marches out of the bathroom with some swagger going on (because everyone is essentially self-absorbed until they are at least 30), and she quickly jacks with some pictures of a nice family that are hanging on the walls. Her disrespect of memorabilia is supposed to help us understand that she really doesn’t care about anybody or anything, but I think we grasped her lack of morality starting with the “waking up in a bathtub” bit.

Then she wanders down a flight of stairs in the house, singing about “boys blowing up my phone” and “trying to get a little bit tipsy”. Little bit? Honey, you look like you left “little bit” about five miles back. After you smothered it with a pillow.

She wanders into a breakfast room, where the family from the hanging pictures she violated is just trying to get some nutrition and worship Jesus. Her sudden appearance causes the mom to drop a plate of pancakes, an obvious sign that Satan has just arrived in the suburbs and the Apocalypse can’t be far behind. This is the natural reaction of ignorant folk who have never watched anything other than Fox News.

Kesha then sashays outside the Mormon Tabernacle Condo and decides to steal a bicycle that has been blinged-out in 2-carat gold, because we all know that jewel-encrusted conveyances can easily be found near cheaply-built domiciles in a neighborhood near you. Kesha then rides the bling over to a conveniently-nearby group of wholesome kids who just want to play with balloons and not become ensnared by unexpected pregnancies. But Our Lady of Tawdry Deception quickly convinces them that you really need a pimped-out ride if you’re going to make it anywhere in this world, and the youngsters embrace her vision with startling expediency.

Next up, due to some clearly unfocused editing, we have Kesha looking all trashy while sitting on a curb in front of some wall, while she sings (if you can call it singing) about how all boys want her because “I’ve already got beer and I’m already here.” Then some dudes drive up and pile out, having heard about the beer, and they all look like “beer” is the longest word they can spell.

But Kesha is fine with their potential shortcomings, indicating that her mother may have already prepared her for the reality of marriage, and she quickly jumps in the car with the most redneck member of the posse, and they take off, driving around. Kesha starts singing about “don’t touch my junk,” but this directive is a bit hard to follow when Kesha is bouncing around and thrusting her junk from here to Encino. Sooner or later the sheer gravitational pull of the Earth will result in some junk-touching.

Then the po-po pull the two over, and at first it doesn’t look like a very promising as Kesha is thrown over the hood of the pimp-mobile and forced into a pair of handcuffs. Of course, this is done in a slutty way so we basically get a PG-13 gander at Kesha’s junk that she’s been singing about all along. (Product Placement 101.) And the ease with which Kesha “assumes the position” makes it very obvious that she has sprawled across a few turbo-charged machines in her day.

Next thing you know, Kesha and Redneck are zipping along the highways again, so either the po-po are really bad at their job, or they got hired for a promising pilot that is shooting on the next soundstage and they had to be written out of the script. This is never made clear. What is clear is that Kesha is able to party in the Redneck’s car by standing up through the sunroof and bouncing her ta-tas around in a psychotic frenzy. Kesha also makes a lot of hand gestures to clarify that she is really proud of herself, in case you hadn’t figure that out yet.

Then, suddenly, the car is gone, and Kesha is in some weird, stone-walled room where she appears to be wearing animal fur (PETA alert!) while little bits of something sprinkle down around her. She’s waving her hands around above her head like a really bad witch doctor that forgot to read the training manual and she has to do something interesting to keep her teenage fans voodoo clients from asking for their money back.

This goes on for a while, indicating that the director went AWOL for a bit (surely drugs were not involved in any way) and the remaining crew had to just make things up to kill time. Out of desperation, they bring in a wind machine, and they instruct Kesha to lay on her back and thrust her feet into the air, which I guess means that Kesha is aroused by wind, stone walls, chunky confetti, the possible appearance of a Sleestak from “The Land of the Lost” and the ability to raise her arms and wave them about.

Then we’re transported to a nightclub, where Kesha informs us that “the party don’t start till I walk in.” Really? And what party is that? The “Blowing Smoke Up Your Own Ass” Party? Let me know who your candidate is in the next election, so when I go vote (are you familiar with what that means?) I can be sure to rip his or her name off the ballot and use the strip of paper to light something up at the next Burning Man Festival.

Kesha dances all over this place, with her messy hair and runny mascara, apparently not realizing that Madonna perfected this art form in 1984. We know it’s a real quality establishment, because people are drinking their adult beverages from plastic red cups, always a sign that no expense has been spared. The loser redneck from the mysteriously-aborted run-in with the po-po is in the club, so I guess Kesha is a little sweet on him, even though she keeps singing about how there won’t be any junk-touching.

She keeps dancing. And as she gyrates around and we get a better look at this place, I’m seeing things that make me wonder if this is just somebody’s living room. There’s a mid-80’s ceiling fan and some very ugly couches, the kind that will never be snatched up by junk collectors who troll your neighborhood during the week when the city collects Bulky Trash from your curb. What was the budget on this video, anyway? Amazing as it may seem, said budget was apparently lower than the average teacher’s salary in the United States. I didn’t think it was possible to get under that figure.

We have lots more dancing and runny mascara, with Kesha eventually working her way to the Redneck and possibly offering her junk after all, which is kind of sweet but nowhere near as inspiring as Samantha and Jake sharing cake at the end of “16 Candles”. Just to make sure that the jaded teen viewers grasp the concept of finding love in all the wrong places, we are presented with more chunky confetti falling down on the jailbird lovebirds whilst people pass out around them.

Final scene shows Kesha, trashed and missing some footwear, giggling in a bathtub and settling in for another night. She’s picked up an American flag somewhere, which she’s using as a sweatband or some such on her right ankle. Such a touch of class. Then she presumably goes into an alcoholic coma, where visions of sugar rums dance in her head and she actually believes that she is a role model for the youth of America.

Good gawd.

Parents, send your girls to strict boarding schools with plenty of barbed-wire and severe nuns that resort to whacking people with rulers. It’s not pretty, and there are surely some Constitutional violations in the mix, but it’s got to have better results than this….

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 12/07/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

Don’t Squirt That Thing in the Wrong Direction: Madonna – “Borderline”

Borderline

We start out with Madonna and a gang of friends all gathered round one of those areas where folks used to do spontaneous break-dancing back in the day, mainly because the Internet really hadn’t caught on just yet and people were bored. There’s a small child doing a backbend whilst Madonna, wearing the trash-girl couture that she popularized back then, does some odd dance steps and then touches his hiney. In modern times, that would constitute child abuse and Madonna would get thrown in the Big House, but such overkill political correctness won’t happen for another twenty years or so.

Then we have a montage of street-dance sequences, where Madonna gets to show off the fact that she can throw her leg over her head, and we get introduced to her lover, a man-boy wearing tighter pants than she is. Everyone seems to be having a very good time, or at least as much fun as you can have when people are spinning around on their backs with their legs in the air. Suddenly, some snooty photographer guy comes waltzing up and crashes the party without an invite.

Normally, this would require that one of the gang members get an attitude and pull a knife, but this isn’t reality, so the street folks just keep spinning and dancing unprofessionally while the photographer (let’s call him Hank) hands his business card to Madonna. We don’t know why Hank would single out Madonna, when most of the other folks are spinning and spreading their legs with much more gusto, so Hank must have a special fondness for the bandana thingy that Madonna has artfully woven through her hairdo that is bigger than Detroit.

Well, Man-Boy doesn’t care for small pieces of cardboard being handed to his lady-friend, and he makes a small scene that implies we don’t need no paparazzi up in here. (Apparently he doesn’t know Madonna very well, since she’s dreamed of paparazzi since the doctor slapped her newborn ass at the age of 10 seconds.) Madonna gives him a look (and a shove) that makes it clear that she and her bandana are going to do whatever it takes to not have to dance on this street corner any more.

Cut to Madonna hopping into Hank’s fancy car (while Man-Boy glares from what looks like a balcony in Barcelona, so there might have been some editing issues), and the next thing we know Madonna is wearing an outfit with extreme ruffles and screwing around with a giant ball while Hank takes pictures. (There’s also some business with Madonna wearing a leather jacket accented by a hairstyle jacked to Jesus, but it’s not clear if Hank is also recording that Madonna or if it’s just her auditioning for a Broadway revival of West Side Story 2: The Hair Product Strikes Back.)

Next up are some shots of Madonna and Man-Boy on a rooftop somewhere. They seem to be very much in love, or at least horny, and they proceed to admire each other’s wardrobe and then make out. Zip back to Hank’s photography studio/penthouse, where now we have Madonna traipsing around in another leather outfit, meandering amongst some fake Greek columns and a giant statue of a naked man. Hank seems to be encouraging her to twirl as much as possible, when he really should be advising her to brush her hair at least once a week if she wants to be taken seriously.

Then we have a montage featuring Madonna in another frilly outfit that no serious person would ever wear unless under court order. (Was Nellie Oleson the stylist for this shoot?)  Madonna and Hank review the photos he has taken, and they both guzzle margaritas like there’s some kind of prize to be won. Apparently Madonna is quite pleased with Hank’s work, because she lustfully kisses him on the lips and they presumably (nothing is clear in a music video, ever) proceed to have questionable sex while the giant naked statue reviews the proceedings.

Cut to a phone booth, who knows where, with Madonna back in her street gear, a colorful ensemble with a Keith Haring theme and more hair that has not received proper attention. (Girl, put some conditioner on that mess!)  She’s hanging up on someone, but we don’t learn who it is (bill collectors? the Pope?) because it’s time for another round of Madonna dancing back at the sex-scented photography studio. This turns into an extended scene where Madonna uses all of her acting skills to show that she can wear an outer garment that is clearly too big for her and maneuver her way through the Greek columns without mishap or any damage to the artwork. (I bet she’s really good at Ms. Pacman.)

Now we have Madonna (back in the Keith Haring outfit) standing on a street corner and chatting with several of her girlfriends, all of them sporting hairstyles courtesy of the Helen Keller Salon in the South Bronx. Man-Boy suddenly shows up and pouts whilst leaning against a lamppost and smoking a cigarette, because his part in the script wasn’t clearly defined and he’s winging it.

Madonna finally wanders over and tries to make nice, but her efforts are thwarted by Man-Boy doing some odd improv-acting with an unexplained pool stick. The subtext is unclear, but he seems to have a number of issues: Madonna is banging someone that is not him, Madonna is getting all uppity and wearing clothes that she can’t get at the dollar store, and Madonna’s hairdo is getting more publicity than his. He stomps away and heads back into a building, leaving Madonna to fret and kick the innocent lamppost, like it had anything to do with her bedding choices.

We go inside the building, where Man-Boy is playing pool (somewhat explaining the stick in the previous scene, but not the manner in which he was fondling it), which is something some guys naturally do when their Former Squeeze is on the brink of international superstardom. Madonna appears in the doorway and tries to interest Man-Boy in her womanliness, or at least her more expensive couture, but he ignores her and keeps shoving balls into pockets. Madonna turns and struts away, apparently deciding that this is a part of her life that won’t make it into her autobiography anyway, so what’s the point?

Brief revisit to Hank’s studio, where Hank is smirking and Madonna is twirling while he takes photos that no one will appreciate except Vogue editors, not showing any signs of guilt about working her way up the corporate ladder or bothering to get an STD check. Cut to Man-Boy walking up to a newsstand, surprising all of us that he reads, where he sees Madonna on the cover of “Gloss” magazine. He snatches up the magazine and proceeds to another Barcelona balcony so he can pout some more and have flashbacks of those special fifteen minutes that he and Madonna had on that random rooftop.

And now we’re at the studio/trysting place once again, where Hank is trying to convince Madonna that she needs to wear an especially unattractive floppy hat for their next photo session. She doesn’t seem to care for it, but Hank gets her on his artistic-vision side by handing her a can of spray paint and encouraging her to draw hearts on his fake marble wall. This development appeals to the street side of Madonna, so she proceeds to graffiti with exuberance, regardless of the annoying hat, whilst Hank points and shoots.

Madonna, who firmly believes in excess, gets carried away and accidentally besmirches Hank’s fancy sports car during the ecstatic bliss of getting to deface property that does not belong to her. Hank gets all pissy with Madonna, despite the obvious stupidity of Hank parking his car in the middle of a photo shoot where aerosol propellants will be introduced. There is an altercation, one that presumably does not lead to wanton sex but does lead to Madonna and her hair no longer being welcome in the House of Questionable Greek Architecture. Poor girl is not going to be the next supernova supermodel, at least not this afternoon. Bummer.

Cut to Madonna waltzing down a darkened street, headed toward the pool hall where Man-Boy is still shoving a stick at balls and making it clear that he doesn’t have a real life or he wouldn’t still be there. First, Madonna greets her gal pals standing outside, because you always have to give props to your sisters or you get kicked out of the gang (you can’t have that kind of mess showing up in your autobiography), then she heads inside for the showdown with Stunted-Growth-Boy.

Madonna and the Pink Ladies sashay their way past Man-Boy, who apparently hasn’t moved from his position on the table since Oklahoma became a state, and then Madonna tries to appear disinterested as she peruses the selections on the jukebox. (After all, Joan Jett advised us years ago that we should put another dime in the jukebox, baby, and peer pressure is really hard to shake off despite counseling and relative distance from your formative years.) The tension in the room is as thick as hair gel as we wait to see what happens.

Man-Boy rushes up to Madonna before she can insert anything into a slot, and they embrace each other fervently, as if Madonna hadn’t recently offered her wares to the first guy who had more than just liability insurance on his car. To confirm their back-togetherness, we cut to Man-Boy showing Madonna just exactly how his pool stick should be handled to achieve the most satisfaction. We finish out with another shot of Madonna singing the final notes of the song and wearing that ill-advised floppy hat with the most obnoxious bow known to mankind, accented by a heart-shaped earring that annoyingly swings back and forth as she lip-synchs. Little did we know that the earring was simply marking time until Madonna swallowed the entire music industry for breakfast and then kept going…

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 01/27/13, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

 

Nuns and Guns: Lady Gaga – “Alejandro”

Lady Gaga Alejandro

 

  Preliminary bit wherein I absolve myself of any blame for what’s about to follow: We’re talking Lady Gaga, here, not Charlotte Church, so things in this video get a bit eye-opening. It’s also a very long video, so Lady Gaga can throw in lots of artsy stuff that may not make sense but is certainly interesting. So, if you’re not a fan of The Lady or can’t sit still for longer than four minutes you might want to skip this one and go check the lint in the dryer.

  Still with me? Great. Here we go…

We start out with a giant “GAGA” logo, because she may not want us to call her name, but she damn sure wants us to remember it. Then we immediately cut to a very tired military-type man who is wearing little more than fishnet stockings as he lounges on some dreary patio. Yes, it took Lady Gaga exactly two seconds to get twisted.

Then the camera starts panning around, and we learn that there are lots of tired military people sitting around at what might be a bar, where no one knows your name and everyone is on medication. This could be because there aren’t any drinks on the table and the music hasn’t started yet. Who knows. We still have over 8 minutes of video for the producers to explain all this.

Cut to some shadowy figures standing on what looks like a ramp that probably leads to an underground laboratory where anti-social scientists named Hans conduct experiments involving plutonium and death. These figures are apparently practicing a dance routine where the theme appears to be stomping while carrying odd symbols and looking angry.

Oh good, they turned the lights up a bit and we can see that the dancers are wearing jock straps that appear to be vaguely Sumo-wrestling in nature. (So far they haven’t spent a lot of money on the costume budget for this production.) The dancers all have the same bowl-cut hairdo for some reason, probably because Lady Gaga was going for that “we might be poor but we have rhythm” look. The dancers march their way down the ramp so that Hans can begin dissecting them.

Finally, we have a close-up of Gaga herself, sporting a hairstyle that has been inspired by the handles on wicker baskets. She’s looking through some very funky binoculars, trying to determine where the sad music is coming from that has started to play. This is followed by someone carrying what looks like a human heart on a black satin pillow, and then a shot of Lady Gaga messing around with her mouth. Maybe she’s got some spinach caught in her teeth.

Quick scene, possibly back at the boring bar where they still aren’t serving any drinks. It’s snowing outside, and people are sad, or at least lethargic, so somebody probably died. Then we’re out in the snow, and yep, there’s been a death. People are carrying a casket, while Lady leads the way, lugging that heart on a pillow while violins play. Did Ingmar Bergman direct this?

We switch to a man wearing leather panties and holding a gun in his crotch. It’s a pretty gun. He’s also wearing a strange helmet that doesn’t seem to fit, and there are very large holes in the wall behind him, which is letting in some of the snow. Perhaps he should call Maintenance.

Gaga again, with a severe blonde hairdo that is not kind to her facial bone structure. She appears to be wearing a modified veil, so perhaps she is familiar with the person in the casket. (Maybe they took an aerobics class together one time?) But this doesn’t explain why she’s acting like Eva Peron on some balcony, back when the Argentinians still liked her, and before they made that Broadway show and then the movie where we finally learned that Madonna can actually act as well as get pregnant via a personal trainer.

We head back to Wicker Basket Gaga, still screwing around with the pointless binoculars while she smokes a cigarette, watching the jock-strap dancers through a conveniently large but still gloomy window. The dancers apparently learned some new moves while underground, so their stomping about is less crude, but we still don’t know what happened to the rest of their clothes.

Oh look, Lady Gaga is able to flip just one lens of the binoculars away from her tragically-pale face so we can watch her not emote while she sings. That’s why she wanted those things. She doesn’t need to see anything, she just wanted a cool accessory that she can manipulate to the beat of the song. So she does that for a while as the dancers continue showing off their improved choreography, including the ability to arch their backs so that their crotches bulge even more.

And those dancers have some stamina, because they frolic around for quite some time. They seem to be really fond of doing this group-hug thing where they spin in a circle while war-like scenes flash on a screen that some crew person has helpfully erected in the back of the soundstage. Then the dancers pair off and things get a little heated, with some grunting and such, and for a moment I don’t care if Alejandro ever shows up.

Now we have Lady Gaga in a red-leather nun’s habit, lying on a bed and being overly affectionate with her rosary. This very personal time is inter-cut with scenes taking place in some type of institutional barracks, where people are either having naughty relations or emotional breakdowns while they writhe on metal cots. Whips and high heels are major design elements, along with some line dancing where Gaga joins the Jock-Ettes for some synchronized footwork. (And who spread the kitty litter all over the floor?)

This goes on for a while as well (hey, they’ve still got 4 minutes to kill), with lots more simulated and symbolic sexual slap and tickle, where it’s clear that gender and manners are completely unimportant. (They definitely won’t be showing clips of this part on the morning talk shows. Well, maybe on the FX channel.)

Things finally cool off a bit, with the Jock-Ettes doing some comparatively mundane hand movements, lying on their backs while Lady Gaga stands in the middle, wearing something Greta Garbo would wear just before she took her own life in a tragic 1930’s movie.

Scratch that. We get a closer look at the outfit, and Greta would never go near this, even after she became a recluse and started drinking. This close-up comes courtesy of the Bowl-Cut Boys, as they lift a spread-eagled Lady Gaga over their heads, and we learn that there’s an inverted red cross in Gaga’s business section. The boys continually thrust Gaga at the overheard camera to Make. Sure. We. Can. SEE IT. This wholesome scene is followed by one where Gaga crams her beloved rosary into her mouth.

At this point, I’m sure the switchboard at the Vatican is very busy. I’m assuming that Lady Gaga won’t be getting a contract with Pepsi.

Back to the spread-eagled Gaga in case you missed anything the first time. Yep, that cross is still waving at us from Gaga’s undulating undercarriage. Hey there, how ya doin?

Suddenly we have Lady Gaga in another outfit, this one with shades of Liza Minnelli in “Cabaret”, minus Joel Grey or any of the startling eye shadow. She does a few solo dance steps, and then the Jock-Ettes are back, parading down the stage in pairs, wearing leather jackets while Lady does some more dance steps that make it clear she’s hoping for a remake of “Saturday Night Fever”.

Then Gaga and the Jock-Ettes switch over to the laboratory ramp, where Lady has decided to one-up Madonna by wearing a bustier made out of machine guns. She’s very proud of this piece of couture, fondling the gun barrels as she shimmies. Meanwhile, the Jock-Ettes twirl, leap and touch their faces dramatically. How they can still have so much energy is beyond me, after that massive orgy mass they just celebrated a few scenes ago. They must be drinking that fancy new vitamin water that Jennifer Aniston wants me to buy. (Updating shopping list, click and save.)

Now we’re jump-cutting all over hell, with brief bits of everything we’ve seen, mixed in with new material that fully expresses Lady Gaga’s art. (Or at least underscores the possibility that someone on the production team didn’t refill his prescriptions.) The metal cots are still filled with angsty couples, the Jock-Ettes are still flinging Gaga through the air, and the amorous nun is still lying on her bed, belching contentedly after eating the rosary.

Wait a minute. We are suddenly getting shots of some non-bowl-cut guy standing around, looking forlorn but still trendy in his leather outfit. Is that Alejandro? Dude, where have you been? That bitch has been calling your name for the last half hour.

We are treated to more jump-cutting and sexual hi-jinks involving uncomfortable positions. This time through there’s new business with the Jock-Ettes shoving Sacrilege Gaga all over some Goth playground. (I guess they found out she had a better dressing room.) To reinforce her A-List status, Lady Gaga straddles one of them, and then rips off her top. The chorus boys do such a dismal job of pretending to be interested in her wares that the director quickly orders them to go back to dancing in minimalist attire and looking pretty.

Final shot has Gun-Crotch Boy and Nun-Jandro on a bed, with wires coming down making them look like marionettes. Oh? So is Lady Gaga saying that she didn’t have all this sex of her own free will, that other people were making her do it? (I didn’t know she was a Republican Senator. Hmm.) The camera zooms in on the face of Nun Gaga and the film begins to melt, making Senator Gaga briefly look like something that took possession of little Linda Blair and made her pee on the carpet during an otherwise festive dinner party.

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 06/25/10, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.