While waiting with anticipation this week for the “world premiere” of Madonnaʼs “Celebration” video (the Jonas Akerlund-directed clip of the lead single from her new remastered greatest hits compilation of the same name, BTW) I reflected back to the very first time I saw her magnificent black and white video clip for “Oh Father,” very late one Friday night that turned into very early Saturday morning in the late Fall of 1989. I had stayed up to record this on our familyʼs sole VCR, as this was advertised as being shown on “Friday Night Videos” (you remember that show donʼt you? The ʻalternativeʼ source for those of us who didnʼt have MTV, that was popular in the 80ʼs and 90ʼs). Since there was no Internet then, Iʼm imagining that either they announced this as being on the show that night or had shown a clip during a commercial. As one of my favorite tracks from “Like A Prayer,” I was especially excited. I was not disappointed and I remember getting goosebumps while watching the beautiful imagery of a young Madonna at her motherʼs open casket, and later, spinning in the snow. I was so inspired by what I had just witnessed, I actually woke up my sleeping little sister to share the experience with someone else; this is how powerful this video was to me. Iʼm sure we watched it twice.
Twenty years later not much has changed in my excitement of this particular art form that Madonna is the master of. I donʼt mean to say that Iʼve been there for every video premiere, whether on TV (where youʼll be happy to learn our family eventually graduated to cable) or the Internet, but I always seek out her videos as they truly are “events” and usually spectacular. This is one of the reasons that her forthcoming double DVD (also entitled “Celebration”) is so enticing: it contains many videos that have never been commercially released before and I cannot wait to own this collection in physical form, including the videos for “Erotica,” “Youʼll See,” and “Deeper & Deeper,” to name but a few.
The preview snippets of the “Celebration” video have indeed been “teasers” leading up to last Tuesdayʼs premiere, which actually started when the song and its remixes were made commercially available these past few weeks. When I learned Jonas Akerlund (“Ray Of Light,” “Iʼm Going To Tell You A Secret” and “The Confessions Tour”) had directed it, I was even more anxious to see it. Since the title and its lyrics imply a party mood (“come join the party”) and this is an overview of her incredible career (and incidentally her last release for Warner Brothers) I just knew I would love it. Like his dazzling “Ray Of Light” video, “Celebration” is punctuated by very quick shots interlaced together, culminating in a gathering/party of the dancers of her recently wrapped “Sticky & Sweet Tour.” Madonna, of course, is center stage throughout.
She looks absolutely stunning in her black and white mini with those thigh high boots and sunglasses. The fingerless gloves are a nice touch too, and remind us of her early years, ALA “Holiday.” Nobody, and I mean nobody, moves like Madonna and yet she always manages to make it look so effortless. Like all of her best dance music,“Celebration” is hypnotically enticing. This Oakenfold co-written/produced track is just ripe for being remixed, and this videoʼs Benny Benassi mix works perfectly here. I also love the nod to her classic “Into The Groove” in the line “step to the beat boy,” and yet the track is completely modern and difficult to resist.
I confess (off of the dancefloor) that I donʼt follow Madonnaʼs private life as thoroughly as some friends accuse me of doing, so I didnʼt really know what current boyfriend looked like until he shows up as the DJ and they start to get their groove on. This works for me, as Madonna looks hot. The press release also states that daughter Lola makes a cameo, and I think I see her in the party scenes at the end, but being cut so quickly, it is just a glimpse. Madonna always picks such interesting and talented dancers and the real draw of this video is the dancing; it doesnʼt disappoint.
Madonnaʼs vision and message seems to always be the same and whether found in one of her many great ballads, or her incredible pop songs, or here, with a another genre she does best--dance music--the resounding “be true to yourself, respect yourself, love yourself” shines through. Let the “Celebration” begin! Respect.
“Celebration” the music video is available now at iTunes. “Celebration” the CD, double CD, various digital downloads and double DVD is released on September 29th, 2009.