Madonna returns to Relevance with New Album

Madonna. The name alone releases a flood of memories for the generations who idolized her – from those who wanted to be with her to those who wanted to be her. And at the age of 49, Mrs. Guy Ritchie still has the look, voice and moves to bring her music to the top of the Billboard charts. But did the director of her music video for the song “4 Minutes” have the right vision to make this first single a visual hit?

The video for “4 Minutes” hit air waves April 3 and is the first track off her eleventh album Hard Candy, which will be released on April 29. It features Justin Timberlake and Timbaland who both have appearances in the video.

Madonna herself looks like she is in her early 30s and moves like she is in her 20s. She even looks like the former princess of pop – Britney Spears – in her heyday with her wavy platinum locks, fair skin, natural makeup and extremely toned upper body.

Madonna represents sexuality across all generations – even to the decades younger Timberlake who she seems to have a sexually intensified friendship with.

Both Madonna’s dance and fashion styles are a bit conservative in the video; it’s not necessarily a bad thing, because she isn’t known for her hard dance routines and is no longer known for her outrageous outfits – do we remember her Jean-Paul Guiltier designed cone-shaped bra for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour?

But as for the video itself, the composition is very crisp due to excellent lighting and dynamic and creative special effects. The use of a black, semi-transparent geometric cloud that advances on the artists throughout the video represents what they need to save the world from.

But with each scene, both Madonna and Timberlake appear to be avoiding the cloud; they’re not actually doing anything to save to the world from it. Isn’t that what the song is about?

And while the main idea is easily understood – based on lyrics, the advancing cloud and a gigantic digital clock that is counting down four minutes behind them while dancing – the video’s transitions from one scene to another are a bit unrealistic.

At one point, Madonna is outside pushing a car into the middle of a family meal at a dining room table. She then walks on top and down the side of the table into a bathroom – but does not use a door to enter the room. She just walks into the next scene.

Another example of this is when Madonna and Timberlake are dancing on the hoods and roofs of cars until they decide to walk into the next scene of a grocery store.

I understand the overall theme is that things are deteriorating around them but the poor transitions as they continually run from the advancing cloud just don’t make much sense when you listen to the chorus lyrics.

I was also a little disappointed that Timberlake’s vibrant dancing style wasn’t showcased more – but then again, you can’t outshine Madonna in her own video.

Jillian Moran may be contacted at j.moran1@umiami.edu.

April 28, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.