With shock value appearing to be an ever-increasing trend in current pop culture, perhaps no one should be surprised that Madonna has just released a nearly 20-minute long cover of Elliot Smith’s “Between the Bars” by way of performance art piece. But we are.
The new video, which she performed live on September 24 at New York’s Gagosian Gallery as a promotion for her upcoming secretprojectrevolution, has been billed as a performance art piece targeting the prison-industrial complex.
In reality, however, the film achieves little outside of managing to transform Elliot Smith’s gorgeous lament into something that is at best ridiculous – with the ultra-rich pop star spouting several bohemian-chic rants claiming that “creativity is being crushed beneath the wheel of corporate branding…[but] it’s important to have a good looking ass” – and at worst horrific – with multiple scenes depicting sexual violence and torture. And while, yes, the video attempts to address important issues, those issues are deemed completely trivial through Madonna’s failed delivery and unfortunate decision to hold having “a good looking ass” at the same level of importance as, say, government corruption, sexual violence and torture.
Spin discusses the general absurdity of Madonna’s cover stating, “Okay, sure, Madonna is still in fine voice here, theatrical touches recalling her Evita work as she sings sans Auto-Tune, backed by piano. But gonna go out on a limb here: The MDNA heroine’s connection with Smith’s downcast lament is not a deep one.” The people have spoken, Madonna: time to hop off the social/political activist bandwagon – you don’t quite seem to know how to drive. Have a look at the “Between the Bars” video, below.