Madonna has only four minutes. Four minutes to strip down to her nanna’s undies, four minutes to skip down the aisle of a supermarket, four minutes to jump all over a Triumph Stag, four minutes to bust in on some chick’s ablutions, and four minutes to run roughshod over a family’s evening meal with her black patent knee-highs. The clock is ticking, time is of the essence… there’s literally not a single moment to lose. So, if that’s the case, why in the name of all the bling in the hip hop universe does this clip lead off with a 30-second ‘yeah uh-huh’ gratuitous rap intro?! Timbaland is the culprit, and for a rap icon and super-producer of his calibre this has got to be the easiest payday he’s ever had. He just jolts about spouting short-circuit gibberish like some two-bob watch. I’m not sure if he left his little black book of rap lyrics in the glovebox of his other Lamborghini but I’ve never heard anything quite so bereft of content. He even has the temerity to sign off his 30 seconds of bubkiss with a — oh no, don’t do it — ‘break it down’. Mate, you need to actually have something before you can ‘break it down’, as you so eloquently put it.
But let’s not dwell on my pet subject – the Gratuitous Rap Intro will need an eight-page Video Watch special all its own — I’m sure it wasn’t Timbaland’s brainwave, he was probably just swinging by the studio to offer some moral support to his Mr Everywhereman buddy Justin Timberlake (no relation).
That’s right, Justin ‘I survived a boy band’ Timberlake. I’m not entirely sure what a Renaissance Man is, but I’ve got the feeling that Justin just has to be one. Beardy, funky… he’s like some white(r), modern-day, Jacko without the chimps or psychiatry bills. And he’s the perfect foil for the world’s most famous practitioner of Kabbalah — the quintagenarian weightlifter Madonna.
Maddie is looking as predatorily sexy as ever. In fact, there are times when I fear for Justin’s safety — at any moment one feels he could have his neck snapped like a pretzel and be devoured like a praying mantis after a quick roll in the hay.
But it’s not just the Tall Timber and Madonna triumvirate that gets top billing in this clip, there are some ‘avert your eyes now’ special effects that need to be seen to be believed — cadaverous cutaway tongue kissing anyone? It’s enough to send gobfuls of beer spraying across the bar.
Four Minutes checks all the usual Madonna boxes — catchy song with retro moments (in this case a cheeseball brass lick from an ’80s synth), some younger guest appearances (don’t forget she’s three times the age of the average viewer) and a grab-bag of up-to-the-minute, zeitgeist gee-wizardry. And no, she doesn’t look bad for 50… although, is it just me, but ever since that gap in the teeth arrived has she been taking her dance lessons from Hugh Grant? You be the judge. — CH.