Madonna enlisted the talent of gender-bending YouTube sensation Kazaky for her Girl Gone Wild video, which sees the aging pop star take on religion and sexual identity like its 1984.
The Girl Gone Wild video -- a 180-degree shift from her Super Bowl-themed bubblegum pop video for Give Me All Your Luvin -- premiered on E! Tuesday night and is already provoking mixed reactions. The S&M-infused video is chocked full of sexual images interspersed with strong religious symbolism. Madonna starts by reciting the Catholic Act of Contrition. She later calls in a group of stiletto-stomping, crotch-grabbing boys (Kazaky), one of which dons a crown of thorns.
Of course, this is nothing new. If anyone wrote the handbook on the subject it's Madonna herself. In Girl Gone Wild the Queen of Pop pays homage to her Erotic days and controversial book, Sex - not to mention Like a Prayer.
Perhaps the most talked about part of the new monochromatic video, shot by fashion photogs Mert Atlas and Marcus Piggott (AKA Mert and Marcus), is Madonna's backup dancers, the Ukrainian quartet Kazaky.
Kazaky gained international fame in 2010 with the highly stylized video for their song Love, which garnered roughly five million hits on YouTube.
The name Kazaky comes from the Russian pronunciation for the Cossacks, who played a prominent role in shaping Ukraine's national history and culture. The group, which describes its mission as the next phase of the cultural process, is known more for its dramatic techno beats, tiny outfits, sky-high stilettos, and jarring fusions of masculine and feminine attributes than for its singing.
Gender rebels Artur (Art) Gaspar, Oleg Zhezhel, Kyryll Fedorenko and Francesco Borgato (who replaced Stas Pavlov last fall) put on some of the best dancing in heels since Beyoncé's Single Ladies (which they cover).
Together, they encircle Madonna in a sort of anti-gravity room as she claims that she's like a girl gone wild. However many say the singer is just up to old tricks, running out of ideas and rehashing her own back catalogue. Others say she is borrowing elements from Lady Gaga's Alejandro - or, moreover, re-borrowing ideas that Gaga borrowed from her.
Have a look at the Girl Gone Wild video below and let us know what you think in the comments.
Mark Johanson is the travel editor at the International Business Times. He has traveled to and written about more than 30 nations and territories on every continent except...