Madonna is back. And here’s what we know about how she’s feeling about life, based on the astonishing visuals in Medellin, her first music video in four years.
Shared by the 60-year-old on her social media accounts and released on Wednesday (US time) via live telecast on MTV, the song – her first single from upcoming album Madame X – features Colombian pop star Maluma, a recurring riding crop and two catchprases: “Cha cha cha” and “Slow down Papi.”
Explaining the song and album, Madonna said it was born in Portugal. “Basically I moved to Lisbon to be a soccer mum, and that’s where Madame X was born.”
With all that downtime on the sidelines, Madonna came up with a plot that sees her as Madame X, a dance teacher with dominatrix moves in her playbook.
Doing the lambada with Maluma, 25, in the studio is all too much, and sparks a racy romance that ends in an outdoor wedding and some horse riding scenes reminiscent of Dynasty.
“I wanted this video to look like a painting,” Madonna said on the MTV broadast, citing inspiration from artist Frida Kahlo.
Helmed by Barcelona directors Diana Kunst and Mau Morgó, Medellin kicks off with Like A Prayer vibes. Let’s take up the story there.
Madonna still takes herself seriously
Put your mind at ease: at the start of Medellin, we get our dose of both religious and unflagging pretentiousness.
Madonna is seen praying/monologuing, rosary beads in hand.
“Dear God,” she whispers. “How could I trust anyone after years of disappointment and betrayal? How could I not want to run away again and again? Escape. I will never be what society expects me to be.
“I’ve seen too much. I cannot turn back. I have been kidnapped, tortured, humiliated and abused.”
And all this time the world has been worried about Melania Trump.
Her feet are clean enough to eat off
Madonna has done a lot of out-there things – her pig tails and that blow-up kiddie’s swim ring in the tremendous 1992 coffee table book Sex are hard to unsee – so she had to come up with something new in Medellin.
And she does: sucking her own toes while lounging in bed with Maluma. Super hot, as you can imagine.
Crucifixes are out
And eye patches are in!
In Medellin, Madonna reinvents pirate chic and comes up with something that will have $2 shops under siege globally. She sports the eye patch in a range of colours, all without explanation or context, which makes the whole thing cooler.
She’s turned into Doctor Seuss
When she eventually starts singing after the downer monologue – which turns out to be apropos of nothing, or maybe everything but it’s hard to say – Madonna lightens the mood with some rhyming lyrics.
“We built a cartel just for love. Venus was hovering above us,” she sings (while Maluma murmurs “My queen” in Spanish.)
“I took a trip. It set me free. Forgave myself for being me.” But has she eaten green eggs and ham?
Looks like she’s relaxed the strict diet
Once derided for taking a team of personal trainers and her own treadmill to Africa on a holiday, not to mention wearing pretty much nothing but an Adidas tracksuit for years, Madonna looks to have loosened up on the fitness regimen.
In Medellin, she tears through the champagne and looks playful, like she wouldn’t have said no to any form of complex carbohydrate. Love.
Someone might need to explain fire dangers
Dancing on a table at her outdoor wedding, Madonna seems oblivious to the fact that she’s ringed by more candles than a single date on The Bachelor.
Look, I adore a rule bender as much as the next suburban matron and I do know it’s art, but the Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial debacle of 1984, when his heavily gelled hair caught fire, has made us all just that little bit leery of mixing fun and fire.
If the video isn’t enough, Madonna and Maluma will perform Medellin live for the first time at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards on May 1.
Madonna last appeared at the Billboard Music Awards in 2016, where her tribute to the late Prince drew mixed reviews.