×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Madonna Revives Nightmarish Imagery of Orlando Nightclub Massacre in New Music Video

"Guns need to be made illegal," she flatly declared in a teaser for the joltingly violent "God Control" video.

Any thoughts that Madonna’s provocative streak might be taking a time-out in 2019 were put to a halt with her release Wednesday of a new music video for her song “God Control,” which portrays a bloody massacre in a nightclub and is peppered with slogans advocating for gun control.

Filmed by director Jonas Åkerlund largely in downtown L.A. at the Globe Theater, the clip clearly means to reference the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016, when 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded by a lone gunman.

 

“The story you are about to see is very disturbing. It shows graphic scnes of gun violence,” reads a crawl at the beginning of the video. “But it’s happening everyday. And it has to stop.”

The eight-minute video is filled with initially confusing time-shifts and time stamps, getting to the on-screen massacre fairly early in the clip, with blood-streaked and lifeless (but sometimes still visibly breathing) bodies strewn across a disco’s dance floor and bar. Squibs are used as a bespectacled, long-haired gunman shoots down everyone in his path. Eventually, the video concentrates on the hours leading up to the bloodbath, although even there, no one is safe in Madonna’s vision, as she’s shown being robbed at gunpoint on the street outside the club.

Other shots include a children’s choir accompanying a funeral with multiple coffins, and what appears to be real footage of anti-NRA protests and tearful student vigils. Madonna appears in the less violent scenes — set to a rap that on record reminded many music critics of “Vogue” (“People think that I’m insane / The only gun is in my brain”) — as a blonde dancer, while in the framing sequences she’s a brunette writer tapping away at a typewriter in lace gloves, tapping out the song’s lyrics and eventually shedding a tear of her own.

Although the video ends with the on-screen words “Gun Control Now,” in a pre-release teaser, she went further and explained just what level of control she’s advocating, flatly declared: “Guns need to be made illegal.”

“If you’re sitting alone in your apartment all day and you’re writing about the downfall of humanity, it tends to get you down,” Madonna said in the earlier teaser. “After a while, you need to have fun. So, where does a girl go? She goes to a disco! … I tried to bring the world of disco and freedom, and having that joy silenced by a small thing made of metal that can end someone’s life.”

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Music Chief Rob Stringer on Sustaining Growth and Recovering From the 'Dark Times'

    The Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, now in its 28th year, gives top executives at major companies the opportunity to make their case to investors — and the Goldman analysts the opportunity to keep things on the up and up. While the analysts don’t necessarily grill the executives, they don’t lob softball questions either. That was [...]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "119 (Grand Finale)"

    Ryan Seacrest to Return for 'American Idol' Season 3 on ABC

    Ryan Seacrest will return as the host of “American Idol” for the music competition’s third season on ABC. Seacrest will also continue hosting and executive producing “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” his nationally syndicated L.A. morning drive-time radio show. He also serves as co-host and executive producer on ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” as [...]

  • Nicole Scherzinger71st Annual Primetime Creative Arts

    Pussycat Dolls Reunion Coming Sooner Than Expected

    According to a source close to lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, the Pussycat Dolls will be reuniting sooner than previously expected — she’ll be back in the studio to record new music for the group starting today. Another source says that Scherzinger bought part of the rights to PCD from choreographer Robin Antin, who founded the [...]

  • Exclusive Preview: The Rolling Stones' 50th

    Exclusive Preview: The Rolling Stones' 50th Anniversary Edition of ‘Let It Bleed’

    A debate over which Rolling Stones album is the best can have felonious results, but this near-lifelong fan will make the case for 1969’s “Let It Bleed” — the second in the group’s grand-slam of consecutive classics that began in 1968 with “Beggars Banquet” and concluded four years later with “Exile on Main Street.” Unlike [...]

  • Halsey, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane. Singer Halsey

    Emmys: Halsey to Sing In Memoriam Tribute at Sunday's Ceremony

    Pop star Halsey has been tapped to perform during the Emmy Awards on Sunday, while comedians Adam Devine and Thomas Lennon will also contribute to the telecast. With no Emmy host this year, producers Don Mischer Prods. and Done+Dusted are relying more on presenters and other contributors to keep the show moving, Halsey, whose hits [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Bebe Rexha Unveils New Single from 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil'

    Elton John did it. Christina Aguilera did it. Beyoncé did it. And now Bebe Rexha did it, becoming the latest pop singer to join a Disney soundtrack. Rexha dropped the track “You Can’t Stop The Girl,” which will be featured in the upcoming Disney sequel “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.” The song, which she co-wrote, follows [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content