Ugh. I don’t know how to feel about this. Madonna is an artist I respect and in some cases admire because of the boundary pushing work she’s done in her past. The present she seems to be courting controversy on purpose to try and keep her name in the headlines. Well, these days she’s crafted a 17-minute film that’s being called SecretProjectRevolution, which is intended to “further freedom of expression” and “to respond, address and protest persecution around the world.” Um, okay I guess. I don’t know that it’s going to actually succeed in its mission, but it’s something to try. Anyways, Madonna held a launch event for it at a New York gallery the other day, and it included a piece of performance art. Dragged into the room by two “prison guards,” she wound up singing Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars”. First of all, I wasn’t even aware that Madonna even knew who Elliott Smith was, and it was kind of cool that she covered one of his songs. Of course if you know anything about Elliott Smith and the “Between the Bars” song itself, there are a couple things wrong with this scenario. The main problem has to do with the song’s original intention, which had absolutely nothing to do with prison. Madonna’s prisoner performance seems to imply that (or, as I’m sure she would say, re-contextualizes it). If Smith were alive today, I don’t think he’d approve how it’s being used and by whom. Still, there’s hope that by singing the song, Madonna did bring some attention to Smith and his legacy, which is very important. So like I said, I don’t know how to feel about it. Feel free to pass your own judgment though. That judgment will come in handy for today’s Pick Your Poison. Allow me to recommend cuts from Absolutely Free, Bestial Mouths, Hair Thing, Lizzie Davis and Sleigh Bells’ remix of Phoenix’s “Chloroform.” In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Anna Calvi, Peace (covering Disclosure), Tessela and Yuck.
Phoenix – Chloroform (Sleigh Bells Remix)
Anna Calvi – Suddenly
Claire – Games (Passion Pit Remix)
Peace – White Noise (Disclosure cover)
Tessela – Horizon
Thumpers – Unkinder (A Tougher Love)
Yuck – Memorial Fields