Madonna's Midlife Crisis on Video: An Extremely Detailed Breakdown

No, Madonna. No.

The 53-year-old pop star's new video for "Turn Up the Radio" is terrifying. And this has nothing to do with some outmoded idea that women shouldn't be sexual when they, like Madonna, are only a couple months younger than Alaska's statehood.

No. What's wrong with this video is that Madonna is parading a mid-life crisis through Italy, a country long-ravaged by war, earthquakes, volcanoes and centuries of garlic farts. They have suffered enough.

There's a difference between people being carefree and exciting in their later years and an old perv with a bad dye job cruising for babes in a rented convertible. The latter is what happens in this video. It's people like Madonna that had our mothers calling from the front door, "Now, you kids stay where I can see you."

There are no laws against Madonna committing her atrocities to video (cf. Madonna's film career). Nevertheless, we here at Crossfade offer an extremely detailed breakdown of Madonna's extreme breakdown.


OK. First of all, we're calling bullshit on Madonna traveling with only one bag. But more importantly, carrying it on her own to her car outside her hotel. The opening shot of the video is a close up from behind of someone in high heels carrying that suitcase through the hotel lobby. It's trick photography, like how in contemporary Steven Seagal movies, you see insert shots of someone else's kicking feet and then they cut back to ol' Stevie sweating.


Show business is a cruel machine, one that makes a person shy away from the spotlight while also hiring actors to take her photograph in a music video. It's really hard to be Madonna. All she's trying to do is sell millions of albums and concert tickets. Or maybe spend a nice quiet evening exposing her nipples and bare ass to 30,000 people. And yet, people keep trying to take her picture.


After over a minute of Madonna bumming out about the people who have gathered around her because they like her, the song actually begins: "When the world starts to get you down..." Right into the ear of her driver. Which is really, really annoying if you're trying to drive. This has nothing to do with a midlife crisis, but it's worth pointing out.


Here, Madonna has her driver pull over so she can stop a pair of street dancers from earning a living. She drags one of them towards her car, because obviously this dude wants to get in a car with some strange person dressed like a drag queen dressed like Madonna.

Part of getting older means accepting that new people are going to be relevant in ways you once were. When you're a baby, everyone pays attention to you. Then you're ignored more and more until a gypsy cons you out of the last of your savings. Then one day, there's an empty chair at the bingo table and everyone else around it is too senile to notice.


OK, now Madonna isn't only unbuckled. She's not even properly sitting in a seat. Forget dating anger bomb Sean Penn -- this is just dangerous. Young people make dumb decisions. It's their job. Old people are supposed to know better. When old people purposefully make bad choices, it's supposed to be embezzlement or war crimes, not getting gum in their hair while they sleep. This is just stupid.


Be thankful that you are looking at still images, the equivalent here to Perseus peering at the Gorgon through the reflection of his shield. Madonna's cinched and cajoled bosom is jiggling with all the erotic possibilities of a bowlful of zabaione in the back of a market-bound wagon.


First, she glamorized taking ecstasy. Now she's encouraging youngsters to hitchhike. We've seen enough late-night movies ... If you're on a lonely country road and a stranger pulls up with skin that's been through a fire and wearing all leather, things are not going to end well.


When Crossfade was just a wee blog, it took some ballroom dancing lessons at the local rec center. The dance instructor, an obese man who smelled of rubbing alcohol and spoiled citrus, spent the last ten minutes of the final class teaching what he called "modern dance." These were moves that we could do when we got old enough "to go to the crazy parties you kids go to." One of the two dances he taught us is the dance Madonna is doing right here.


Remember all of those photographers from the beginning? Does Madonna really think we've never seen her before? Her face looks like it's been digitally treated à la Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. What works for one robot teleported in from a futuristic dystopia works for all of them, perhaps.

What do we learn here? By 2029, it will be too late. Madonna must be stopped! Do you really think that just because she'll be 70, she'll stop letting her boobs fall out of her shirt? That's the age where you're supposed to start doing that kinda stuff.


Madonna and her carful of victims has happened upon three men by the side of the road. Before deciding which of the three will be allowed to ride with her, Madonna has them spin so she can inspect them from all angles. What a heartless thing to do!


Psyche! Everyone is allowed in Madonna's deathtrap, especially if it means people have to ride on the windshield.

How is this remotely fun? Also, where was Madonna going in the first place? Where are these people going? Will any of us ever get there? Were they all really dead from the beginning?


This is shot in slow motion, so you watch her chest roll like an angry sea from which few sailors ever return. It's about as sexy as an oiled-up nostril. Again, not because of Madonna's age or because a woman's liberated sexuality is threatening in a patriarchal society. It is gross in the way that can only be understood if you have watched your twin explode inside a hyperbaric chamber.


The guy on the right, holding Madonna's hand, is her boyfriend, Brahim Zaibat. This is now a person I know to exist and whose name I know how to spell. Fuck you, Madonna. That was a part of my brain I was hoping to kill by huffing paint or something else worthwhile. Sorry, brain. That was no way for you to go.


Pretty sure this is a continuity error. We spared you a sequence beginning around the 2:30 mark where Madonna encounters a futuristic pimp wearing a cape and carrying a hookah. We are led to believe that she makes off with his women and leaves him chasing her dust trail. Apparently, during her many stops to pick up drifters, he has managed to catch up. He appears to have picked up speed by ditching the cape and hookah.

At this moment, it becomes clear that what could have been seen as some kind of social commentary about the commoditization of sexuality was really just some inane shit that doesn't mean anything.


Something has happened here. It's unclear. But either Madonna's heretofore loyal driver has turned off the radio or the radio stopped working. Recall that the title of this video is "Turn Up the Radio" not "Turn Off the Radio" or "Improperly Service the Radio." As a result, the driver has been stripped down to his sock garters and expelled from the car.

This hardly seems just. It's reasons like this that everyone things Madonna's a snooty jerk.

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