I'm going to make this a new feature. Kind of filling the musical void since Guilty Pleasure, you know? Each week I'll talk about one of my favorite music videos. I mean, this won't go on forever or anything, but I've got a few in mind that I'd like to share. So without further ado, here's part one, dedicated to my favorite fifty-year-old singer from Michigan:
So much of art is just, well, artificial, of filtering experience through a medium and presenting that finished product to a consumer aware that it's not the real thing. The entire Music album presents this thesis; for all its talk of how music makes the people come together, listen to a sound like "Paradise (Not For Me)" and you'll be hearing a lot of stuff that isn't really music. "Don't Tell Me" is another example of this idea; it takes American country music, already a form of art and therefore once removed from real life, and puts it through another filter. The result is chopped-up country pop, with a dash of techno in the beat.
The video perfectly captures the sound of the song and turns that feeling into something visual. It's Madonna, fully aware of her Western stereotyping, reveling in the mechanized remnants of the glamorized American West. The camera pauses and fast-forwards; it looks at first like she's walking along a highway, but she's really on a moving platform in front of a screen projecting an highway; she rides a mechanical bull; she covers her lap with sand; she dances with hot guys decked out as cowboys; she wears chaps over her jeans. It's the perfect video for this song; totally artificial, totally produced, and totally loving it. Also, her designer-cowgirl look is my all-time favorite. (Thanks, DSquared!)