Madonna's "Give Me All Your Luvin'" video, which premiered only hours ago on her YouTube channel, is proof perfect that she is still the Queen of Pop. The song itself isn't particularly innovative. It's instantaneous dance-pop infused with elements of a previous era, the 1980s, while still attempting to sound fresh with its strange inclusion of surf guitars (that's the work of producer Martin Solveig, for ya, which doesn't sound much different than the demo that leaked months ago), but the video is a wild ride of Madonna crazy.
There may not be a plot, but if "Give Me All Your Luvin'" is Madonna's attempt to finally start competing with her YouTube-star contemporaries, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, who have always cited Madge as an influence, it's clear that she did her homework. The video for "Give Me All Your Luvin'" is Madonna's attempt to outdo the female pop video greatness of "Hot N Cold" and "Telephone," all the while sprinkling in some Madonna magic.
The opening to the video really sets up its premise: There isn't one. "Fans can make you famous, a contract can make you rich, the press can make you a superstar, but only luv can make you a player" -- while that may be true, what kind of statement is that trying to make at the beginning of a pop video with a football theme? That all football players are surrounded by "luv"? Er, ok. That Madonna is famous, rich and a superstar? ...That was a rhetorical question, right?
No doubt a player of the music industry game, "Give Me All Your Luvin'" is Madge's second lead single for an album campaign to boast two other featured artists -- the first being "4 Minutes" from 2008 featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. While both singles couldn't be more different, it's clear from the video for "Give Me All Your Luvin'" at least that no matter the request, fellow pop stars are happy to oblige to Madonna's fanciful whims and fall in line. Why else would M.I.A., of all people, agree to appear in the video as a cheerleader relegated to the background as the pop music equivalent of Madge's back-up vocalist?
Then there's Nicki Minaj in a role that was made for her: Equally campy cheerleader shtick perfect for Minaj's over-the-top expressions and personality. Where M.I.A. comes across like she couldn't be bothered, Minaj is all smiles, shaking her pom poms as gleefully as a New York Giants cheerleader -- an enjoyable contrast to the other cheerleaders, creepily expressionless, masked Anime characters.
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Together Minaj and M.I.A's self-referencing raps do well for the middle eight, updating an otherwise tired '80s vibe with a breakdown that sounds all too current in the industry, if not a few steps ahead. Likewise the choreography at the middle eight for these two cheerleaders is strangely hot -- the look is the most outright homage Madonna has made to Marilyn Monroe in years (and Madge's styling makes her out to be a cougar personified), but, for first-timers like Minaj and M.I.A. it seductively works. The scene here goes to M.I.A with her minimalistically pop way in which she doesn't appear to be trying too hard but makes it look like Madge and Minaj aren't trying hard enough.
"Give Me All Your Luvin'" wouldn't be a 21st Century Madonna single, though, without reference to time and aging. So instead of chucking a few lyrics in about approaching her 54th birthday, Madonna chronology nods come in the form of random baby references not entirely out of place in an otherwise wacky video. We see Madge push a stroller initially, looking like a Desperate Housewife of pop proportions, and later we see her coddle a plastic baby to her breast for a few seconds (blink and you'll miss it at the 1:45 mark). Neither really makes sense, but then again, it's certainly not meant to.
When the "Give Me All Your Luvin'" video is stripped down to its bare bones and you take it segment by segment, you wouldn't think it would work. Because its plot doesn't make sense and it feels like a nearly four-minute-long plug for Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show performance. Yet somehow, in the same way that "Telephone," though equally crazy, made sense in the world of Gaga, the video for "Give Me All Your Luvin'" works for Madonna. Too bad M.I.A and Nicki Minaj are forced to play waterboys to Madonna's quarterback -- they deserve more game time and certainly more "luv."
Collaboration Bonus: M.I.A also premiered her new single, "Bad Girls," this morning. It's the antithesis of "Give Me All Your Luvin'" in every way, and it's simultaneously everything you'd expect from M.I.A.
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