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    Go Fug Yourself is too funny for this world…yet again. Of course, Jessica Simpson’s an easy target. But still, it’s worth reading and guffawing through to the very end.

    I realize that trying to decide which of the music videos of the last few years has been the absolute nadir of stomach-churning, un-provocative sluttiness is pretty futile; but I did think there was something egregiously demeaning about that “These Boots Are Made for Walking” clip, right about the point at which Simpson was shaking her moneymaker in that orange bikini and whooping, “Can I get a ‘Sooooweeeee!’?” Sheesh. I’ll take Veruca Salt any day.

    Speaking of exposure of dubitable shock or aesthetic value, if you’re the last person on Earth who hasn’t ever seen Madonna’s boobies, she’s decided to take ’em out again, this time for W (via Beautiful Atrocities). Is she afraid we’ve forgotten what they look like?

    I don’t see why a middle-aged woman can’t pose for nude photographs. Madonna has a naturally luscious figure–to my mind at peak attractiveness in the “Open Your Heart” video, when she was sculpted through martial self-discipline at the gym but still had a flirty softness to her. Madge is very shrewd about her plastic surgery, and to judge from the Confessions on a Dance Floor videos, she hasn’t made the mistake of getting clearly fake Mariah-style inflata-dugs, if she’s had work done there at all.

    But sexiness is as much about attitude as about skin, and the attitude Madonna’s been projecting lately is desperation. The woman may have the single most well-tended body on the entire planet, but she seems to know less and less what to do with it. But then, that applies to her work in general.

    A few Sundays ago, I was walking toward Shinjuku for a drink or two with friends. Atsushi had just flown back to Kyushu, so while it had been a good weekend, I was in a somewhat melancholy mood. It was cloudy and a little chilly. Perfect for Madonna ballads.

    Remember when she seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of gorgeous, somber slow songs? There are the famous ones like “Crazy for You” and “Live to Tell” and “This Used to Be My Playground” and “Frozen,” but there are plenty of not-so-famous ones, too. She collaborated with Massive Attack on an unexpectedly wonderful version of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” ten years ago. “Look of Love,” from the Who’s That Girl? soundtrack, doesn’t deserve to be forgotten and should, in my view, have been on her ballad retrospective Something to Remember. On her slow songs, she played the role of a self-controlled diva risking herself to extend an offer of love or reveal sentiment. It was a stately but emotive persona that would have been perfect to mature into through her forties.

    It’s not that she should never sing uptempo pop or disco again, but the frantic look-how-fast-I-can-still-dance vibe shuddering through her new songs and videos does not bode well. And I’m sure it’s distorting her work in other media, too. I find it very difficult to believe that she approached the W photo shoot was as a relaxed matron who still knows how to enjoy being playfully naughty…as opposed to an aging party girl who feels the need to prove she still has sex appeal. That sort of thing always seeps into the final product.

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