When Madonna masturbated on a bed during the Blond Ambition Tour (you know, the one in Truth or Dare) all of her fans cheered because it was scandalous, well-choreographed, and rather moving. When she got up on a disco ball crucifix on her Confessions Tour, it was a bit of an empty gesture to try to provoke a response from the Catholic Church (it got one) but it looked really cool so we went along with it. But now, on her MDNA tour, all the stunts she's pulling are just looking... well, sad.
Monday night in London, Madonna brought some loaded guns out on stage and pointed them to her head and other body parts south of the border. This is after she's flashed her butt, her nipple (more than once), and a swastika. Really, Madonna, just knock it off.
I'm not saying she shouldn't be political and provocative (that's sort of like asking a doughnut to not be delicious) it's just that there are certain behaviors that are above Madonna, including these. I mean, really? Guns to the head? Oh, that's trying so hard to edgy that it is as edgy as a kitten in a basket of fresh laundry. And Hollywood's most desperate starlet Lindsay Lohan just did it. You know when you're copying Lohan that it's really hard up. It looks like the ad for the Material Girl's new fragrance... if she had a perfume called Desperation. When she shows off her body like this, she doesn't look like the sexual provocateur like she did back in the days of the Sex book, she looks like an old lady trying to hang onto her relevance with bland stunts. It's like she sees Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and the rest of the world knocking at the door and she feels like she needs to up her game. How? With cheap ploys designed to get headlines. Or maybe this gun stunt was just to distract fromt he fact that she cancelled her Australian tour dates without reason.
Madonna has always gotten headlines, whether it was for her "Justify My Love" video that was so raunchy it got banned from MTV or for having a crying African-American Jesus in her Pepsi-sponsored "Like a Prayer" video. But those headlines were always to further her art (yes, music videos can be art too). Her pre-planned nip slip is not only kind of gross, but also seems to be provocation for provocations sake.
Maybe it's just the preponderance of attention-grabbing stunts that are turning me off. Before Madonna had a message and stuck to it, whether it was an anti-Catholic sentiment, sexual liberation, or a very graphic sort of self-love. Now it just seems like the message is attention, any way she can get it. Madonna is the goddess of reinvention and one of the few pop icons left in this sad and lonely world. This look-at-me, look-at-me flailing is something befitting someone just coming up in the industry (hey, Ke$ha, how's your dollar sign doing?), not a veteran who has proved that her envelope goes a whole lot further than the rest of ours. All of this other nonsense is taking away from what might be the hottest moment of the show: when Madonna takes her much younger boyfriend out on stage to bump and grind on him for a bit. Not only is that a message we can get behind (older women are sexy too!), it also has a little something to do with the real reason we will always love Madge: the music.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo credit: Wenn.com]