Reviewed by
Colin Jacobson

Title: Madonna: Music (2000)
Studio Line: Warner Music

A special 10 minute DVD single featuring two versions of Madonna's fabulous "Music" video, an outrageous "Girls Night Out" romp embracing everything from an animated segment to lap dancing. Shot by Jonas Akerlund, who directed Madonna's MTV Award-winning Ray Of Light. "Music" finds Madonna out for a wild-and-crazy night on the town in Los Angeles with British comedian Ali G., actress Debi Mazar, and backing vocalist Nikki Harris.

Director: Jonas Akerlund
Cast: Madonna, Ali G., Debi Mazar, Nikki Harris
DVD: Standard 1.33:1; audio English PCM Stereo; single sided - single layered; 2 chapters; rated NR; 9 min.; $9.95; street date 9/5/00.
Supplements: Web Links.
Purchase: DVD | CD album | Limited Edition album

Picture/Sound/Extras: A-/A-/F

It's time for my shortest review ever! Actually, since I'm just starting, I can't say that for sure, but I do know that the program in question undoubtedly is the briefest DVD I've ever seen.

The piece in question is a DVD single for Madonna's new hit "Music". The content of this disc weighs in at a whopping nine minutes and 10 seconds, since the DVD includes two different versions of Madonna's "Music" video: one lasts 4:44 and the other runs 4:26.

Both are essentially the same video. In this clip, Madonna goes out for a night on the town. Her limo driver is played by British comedian Ali G, who adds a little (very little) humor to the piece. Basically, we see Maddy as she romps about town: she hits a disco and a strip joint, plus she lip-synchs the tune in the limo.

It ain't a classic, but it's not bad. The light tone of the clip fits the frothy techno-disco of the tune itself. Frankly, there's not much to say; it's a well-produced music video but not anything extraordinary.

Why the two cuts? The mix of the song remains the same for both; I'd thought perhaps an alternate remix might have appeared on one, but that's not the case. Instead, the "Extended" version simply adds a non-musical interlude at about the 3:10 spot; for those 18 seconds, we see a short bit of wackiness from Ali G as he tries to convince Maddy to put him on her next album. As far as I can tell, the two versions differ in no other ways; I saw no evidence of anything "naughty" on one but not the other, and they seemed identical in most ways.

"Music" isn't the first DVD single. I know Bjork's "All Is Full Of Love" has been available for almost a year, and I think I've heard of at least one other similar piece, though I'm not positive. However, "Music" clearly is the first high-profile release of this sort, and I'm sure it'll be used as a test for the viability of the format.

The DVD:

As a production, the DVD is basic but well-executed. "Music" appears in a couple of different aspect ratios on this single-sided, single-layered DVD. It fluctuates between standard 1.33:1 to something that looks to be roughly 2:1. Due to those varying dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture looks wholly solid from start to finish, with no significant concerns.

Sharpness appears crisp and clear at all times, without any hints of softness. Moiré effects and jagged edges were not issues. There are no defects to be found in the source material, which seems clean and fresh.

Colors are often stylized and artificial-looking, but that's obviously due to the techniques used for the video. Overall, the hues seemed bright and bold and they fit well within the image. During the (cheaply) animated segments, some of the colors appeared a little heavy, but these were the exception, and I generally found the hues to be quite strong. Black levels looked deep and dark, and shadow detail was smooth and clear. Overall, the video offers a very positive picture.

Also terrific is the video's PCM stereo audio. The song provides compact disc-caliber sound, with clear highs and midrange and some solid bass. The only minor flaws I noticed came from the dialogue during the snippet added to the "Extended version"; the speech seemed a little edgy at that time. Other dialogue and effects were clean and crisp, however, and the song sounds very good. Note: make sure you turn off the soundfield on your receiver; otherwise the clip will not provide optimal audio.

"Music" includes virtually no supplemental features. We get "web links" which allude to the possibility of extra material available through DVD-ROM, but I think all we'd discover if we plopped this sucker in the computer are a few web addresses. Frankly, I didn't expect more, though it would have been nice.

It's the lack of "more" that will make this DVD single of limited interest to most consumers. Since I'm a serious Maddy-phile, there was no question it'd enter my collection; as I've noted previously, I would have bought The Next Best Thing just to get the video of "American Pie" it features, so there's no doubt I'd shell out for this single as well.

However, $10 is a lot to pay for less than 10 minutes of material, especially since both videos are virtually identical; as far as I'm concerned, we really only get one clip on this DVD. Some remixes or at least a "behind the scenes" feature would have added a lot to the desirability of this DVD, but unfortunately, nothing like that appears. As such, "Music" is a must-have for the die-hard Madonna fans, but everyone else should skip it.

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