In "Bitch, I'm Madonna," Cameos Kill The Video Star

Photo: Courtesy of VEVO.
When MTV launched in 1981, the very first video it aired was The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." It was an appropriate choice for the channel, which billed itself as a rebel and an upstart, aiming to take over and revive a flagging industry. In reality, the network was more interested in good old-fashioned capitalism. Specifically, the music industry's evolving revenue streams that caused video to kill the radio star. MTV was getting ahead of the game as the only place to watch your favorite artists' videos.

Now, of course, there are a million places to watch them, from YouTube and Vevo to Facebook. Fans have long griped that MTV rarely plays videos anymore, but really, what's the point? The internet has cannibalized its viewership, and that's what gives rise to hungry, desperate videos like "Bitch, I'm Madonna." Everything from its early, exclusive release to Tidal subscribers, to the fact that it is one big parade of cameos from Tidal's management team carries the whiff of insincerity — and even desperation.

There was still a chance that "Bitch, I'm Madonna" could be a fun romp and a return to Madge's dance-heavy videos of days past, like "Hung Up." Unfortunately, the cameos are its ultimate downfall. The song is supposed to herald her iconic status, with everyone from Miley Cyrus to Kanye West dropping by to proclaim, "Bitch, I'm Madonna." Instead, Madonna gets lost in the shuffle of endless, hot-second pop-ins. And they are just that for Beyoncé and Katy Perry — even Nicki Minaj, who's actually featured on the track with Madonna, only shows up in the video via a third-party TV screen. None of them actually make it to the club for Madonnafest 2K15.

The video also arrives too soon after Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." There, the cameos serve a purpose and tell a story. In "Bitch, I'm Madonna," the paper-thin narrative — Madge's famous friends showing up to celebrate her — gets overpowered by the cameos. Even a group of sock puppets performing in black light (which is eerily reminiscent of Pitch Perfect's Sockapellas) grabs the focus away from her. Nothing about the video feels original or fresh, and it has the cumulative, in-your-face feel of the type of big-budget, celebrity-heavy commercial that might air during the Super Bowl.

That, of course, brings us back to Tidal — or the tidal wave of new subscribers that "Bitch, I'm Madonna" hopes to cause. Following its launch, the streaming service was hit by reports that is was an immediate failure. Jay Z and Tidal's other owners have tried to course-correct by releasing exclusive content to subscribers. But "Bitch, I'm Madonna," with its Tidal-heavy roster of cameos, feels more like an ad than an authentic, genuine effort from an artist. If video killed the radio star, then cameos just might kill the video star — against the backdrop of the ongoing battle for revenue and control in the music industry.



Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celeb goodness, insider intel, movie and TV news, and more on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page!

More from Music

There's a time in every young singer's life when a very important decision must be made: to record a country collaboration, or not to record a country ...
Drake just released his short film "Please Forgive Me," and there's something missing. The 23-minute video appeared on Apple Music early Monday morning...
Whether you think he's a rap god or a rapping jackass, you can't deny that Lil Wayne has a way with words. How, exactly, you describe that "way" is ...
Alice Tan Ridley's powerful voice is finally getting some time in the spotlight. After years of singing in New York City subway stations to support her ...
You might know Emily Blunt as the actress who is starring in The Girl on the Train and the live-action Mary Poppins movie. But at one point, people had a...
Yesterday, Demi Lovato took the stage at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City with one particular message in mind. Before her performance, she ...
surprise number 1 @mileycyrus @billyidol #iheartfestival A video posted by Ryan Seacrest (@ryanseacrest) on Sep 23, 2016 at 8:24pm PDT Miley Cyrus...
Is anything better than plugging in your headphones, firing up your music app of choice, and jamming out to that brand-new song you're obsessed with? Don...
The Ronettes had it all wrong. The best part of breaking up is not the making up. That rarely happens, and when it does, it often leads to more breaking up...
Have you ever thought of a celebrity — whether it's your celebrity crush, celebrity best friend, or celebrity foe — and imagined what it would be like to ...
It might be hard to believe that 2000s nostalgia is a thing. As in, people are yearning for some brightly colored, faux-leather flared pants. People miss ...
Solange is taking a page from her sister's book. The singer, designer, and younger sister of Beyoncé is teasing mysterious brand-new content on her ...
Adele is here for you, Brangelina. The singer dedicated "two hours of misery" (her words, not ours) to the divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at her...
You probably have at least one friend who always knows the newest and most amazing music. Said friend likely has headphone hair and takes more pride in her...