The gun control disco anthem shows Madonna and friends in a packed, Studio 54-esque nightclub, when a lone shooter opens fire, killing dozens.
The epic eight-minute video for the song, the latest cut to be lifted from Madonna’s new album Madame X, comes with a warning: “The story you are about to see is very disturbing. It shows graphic scenes of gun violence. But it’s happening everyday. And it has to stop.”
The shocking scenes that follow unflinchingly depict the sort of horrors inflicted on revellers at sites like Orlando’s Pulse LGBT nightclub — where a gunman killed 49 people in June 2016 — and the Bataclan in Paris, where 90 people were murdered while attending a 2015 rock concert.
Watch the video at your own discretion below:
The song’s sweeping disco strings may seem out of place with the brutal actions played out on screen, but as Madonna’s explained, that was the point: “Some people say, ‘But why a disco song?’ Because shootings happen in discos!” she reveals in a new interview with Mojo Magazine.
The video ends with a montage of real-life gun control protests, and another message from Madonna: “Every year, over 36,000 Americans are killed in acts of gun violence, and approximately 100,000 more are shot and injured. No one is safe. Gun control. Now.”
Releasing the video this morning, she also tweeted a call to action:
This is your wake up call. Gun violence disproportionately affects children, teenagers and the marginalized in our communities. Honor the victims and demand GUN CONTROL. NOW. Volunteer, stand up, donate, reach out.— Madonna (@Madonna) June 26, 2019
Fans have praised the confronting clip, some declaring it Madonna’s best work in years:
The video for Madonna’s God Control has just dropped.The right and the Gun Lobby are going to lose their shit over it, but it is stunningly executed. One of the most powerful messages of her career. Well done #Madamex— Andrew (@geordielump) June 26, 2019
Madonna is literally 37 years in the game and continues to make controversial art. I am beside myself. No one can or ever will. #GodControl— ❌AVIER (@xavierlferreira) June 26, 2019
#GodControl is an uncomfortable watch. It won't sit well with a lot of people, but I suppose that's what happens when a light is shone on controversial subjects. #Madonna doesn't pull any punches in the video. It's a strong message. #GunControl, NOW. No excuses. #MadameX pic.twitter.com/fUz3PghGXT— ɢᴀᴠɪɴ ❌ (@gavinworby) June 26, 2019
God Control Video had me in tears the time Madonna and friends get shot in the nightclub in music video is around the same time gunman opened fire in Orlando nightclub three years ago! We need to wake up! R.I.P ❤💙💜🧡💛 #GodControl #PrideMonth #pride #Pride2019 pic.twitter.com/KdMUJbDR19— ❌ Chris Chandler ❌ (@amaterial_boi) June 26, 2019