The video: Madonna's pulling a U-turn. While she transformed "Give Me All Your Luvin," her first single off her upcoming album, MDNA, into a boppy, candy-colored video, she's gone in a different direction for the new video: Dark, dominatrix-y, and shamelessly self-referential. The predictably controversial clip for the single "Girl Gone Wild" (watch below) opens with Madonna reciting a modified version of the Catholic Act of Contrition, cuts to a man demonstrating his oral fixation with a gun, and then to a group of male backup dancers wearing panty hose and high heels (Ukrainian YouTube sensations Kasaky). But what makes it "bonkers-good," critics say, are the multiple references to Madonna's best videos: From the "Vogue"-like black-and-white close-ups to religious imagery straight out of "Like a Prayer" to the wall-to-wall writhing evocative of "Erotica."
The reaction: Watch out, Lady Gaga, says Rachael Wheeler at the U.K.'s Mirror. Madonna just reclaimed her title as the best "half naked exhibitionist diva in town." The litany of references to Madonna's old material is enough "to make a pop historian smile," says Jeremy Gordon at Black Book. But the music itself "sounds like a warmed over Ke$ha C-side." It all feels stale, says Courtney Garcia at MSNBC. An expediently controversial Madonna music video packed with religious imagery and gratuitous sexual content — "is it the 1980s again?" Judge for yourself: