I like "4 Minutes" ok, but it's definitely in the second tier of her singles. The chorus is a graduate class in pop craftsmanship, and for young Justin an internship in iconicity -- don't think that for all the nimble two-stepping and well-deployed squeals he isn't keeping a sharp eye on the boss, hoping to break her own 36-Top-Tens streak after he's become an event instead of a person. Mariah, meanwhile, has shown little interest in celebrating herself; she likes mirrors, sure, but she uses them to find her private parts, thanks (Stephen Thomas Erlewine has a nice line in his review of E=MC2: "she's not about longevity, she's about being permanently transient"). Mouthing gibberish about roads to heaven and good intentions, Madonna halfway convinces that "Sorry" and "Hung Up" weren't the real "4 Minutes," i.e. felt statements about what pop's supposed to feel like when you're under the illusion that the whole world is dancing with you. Instead, this "4 Minutes" sounds like what pop does to you if you stick around long enough. We'll dance if we want to, and we left our friends behind years ago.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
It's inevitable to compare Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" and Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake's "4 Minutes" (yes, an intentional mistake, calm down); when two women break two different Elvis records it deserves mention, no? Where Carey still manages a commitment to brain-free sultriness no matter how many keyboards and triple-tracked harmonies blow up her skirt and stimulate an overstimulated cooter, Madonna jumps hither and thither, a frenzy of elbows and hips and something that looks like hair, kinetics without erotics. Since she long ago shed human skin (Justin coos "Ma-DON-na" in the voice of Robin Williams' queen in The Birdcage as if to remind us of how long she's been a mere icon), all she can rely on is a barely pliant self-reflexiveness, which either reminds her to submit to the beat like a good dance diva (Confessions On A Dancefloor) where before she used to ram against it with that blowtorch squeak, or make herself into a subject worth celebrating, worth the adulation.
Posted by Alfred Soto at 8:55 PM