Load Previous

8. "Vogue" (1990)

Madonna's third collaboration with then-wunderkind David Fincher is an eye-popping kaleidoscope of classic movie star iconography and an energetic display of the titular dance which had emerged in the underground gay club scene. Of course, voguing is no ordinary dance, consisting as it does of highly mannered movements, baroque hand gestures and sharply struck poses — the catwalk ethos taken to absurdist extremes. That gives Fincher's camera the chance to move elegantly around statues, paintings and frozen, statuesque humans, bringing out the curious melancholy undercurrent to a song that, at first listen, seems like pure bubblegum. Watch the infectious way the video develops – from unsettling stillness to sinewy movements to full-on dance freakout. It's structured like a vogue dance itself. (And, really, did anyone shoot Madonna's back better than David Fincher?)

Remarkably, this iconic video was prepared in record time, as the song was not originally considered a single and was only belatedly put out into the market. "We cut this thing together as quickly as we could," recalled Fincher to The Guardian. "It was one of those things where the DP, Pascal Lebegue, who's brilliant, literally showed up off the plane with his light meter and it was semi-pre-lit and he walked in and said, 'This, this, this, this,' and we shot the video for like 16 hours and we were done, that was it, she got on the plane and went on her world tour." 

Madonna had quickly auditioned hundreds of dancers in Los Angeles for the clip, whittling them down within a matter of days and inviting them out to clubs to make sure they could deliver. "I'd just finished ballet school, and this was my second video," dancer Salim "Slam" Gauwloos said. "I remember David said, 'Put him in this tuxedo jacket. So I wore that, and they put me on some steps, and I was doing some poses, and it took like 15 minutes, and I was like, 'OK, is that it?' I thought, This is not a good beginning. But then when the 'Vogue' video came out, I was like, 'Ah OK! Now I get it!'"