'ME AND ELVIS? Are you kidding?! I'm gonna tell my dad. Maybe that will impress him."
That was Madonna's reaction when we told the Queen of Pop that she has now tied the King of Rock 'n' Roll with the most top-10 singles ever — 36 each. (Her latest being the crazily infectious Hung Up.) M had not heard the news yet. I guess she really does stay away from media! And at 47, touchingly, she still looks for Daddy's approval. The star called from London. I wanted her reaction to Confessions On A Dance Floor reaching No. 1 status in 25 countries, including the good old United States of America.
"It was my husband, Guy, who told me the album was No. 1 in America. I was shocked, stunned, happy. I said, 'We have to celebrate.' So we opened a bottle of champagne — not something I usually do, though I probably should do more of that — I had a glass, and then I sat and cried for 20 minutes. Really. So many conflicting emotions, but basically tears of joy. Don't let anybody tell you commercial success doesn't matter."
M ("everybody calls me M now, I never hear my own name!") is busy planning her next video for the second single, Sorry. She says, "I want it to be a sequel to the 'Hung Up' video — what happens after she dances the night away because her boyfriend is so unavailable." And M is thinking about her "Confessions" concert tour, which might include smaller venues "where I can hear myself singing; I can see the faces!"
Madonna also wants to build a film around her current troupe of dancers, which includes the phenomenally talented Cloud and Hypnosis. "They are not just dancers. They're filmmakers and artists. Creative cyclones. I adore them." We spoke of broken bones — I recently shattered a wrist, she quite a few more — and she said it was terribly difficult coming back from that, to dance again. "Your 46th comeback!" I joked. She laughed, "Yes, I've lost track of how many times I've been written off." She paused. "Maybe that's the reason I cried when I heard about the record. Here's a big scoop. We're human, too."
Madonna spilled the beans on Kabbalah, motherhood and making it when her documentary I'm Going To Tell You A Secret was released this week.
The Material Girl arrived for Tuesday evening's screening at a West London cinema in a knee-length black, silver-trimmed dress with husband Guy Ritchie on her arm. For the premiere she'd packed the movie theatre with celebrity pals, including actress Gwyneth Paltrow - who was luminous in a pale gold satin number - Sharleen Spiteri and Stella McCartney.
The documentary - the singer's first since 1991's In Bed With Madonna - gives new insights into family life with the Ritchies. During one scene, the American superstar and her children try out the bed in her suite in a Paris hotel. "Who's the Queen, Rocco?" she asks her five-year-old son. "You, you, you!" Rocco replies.
In another, daughter Lourdes, nine, tells the camera she's looking forward to the end of her mother's tour so she can see more of her. At one point Madonna is shown sulking in a limo because Guy has attended so few of her gigs. "My husband did not turn out to be the person I imagined him to be," she reveals. "It is not easy having a good marriage, but I don't want easy."
The two-hour film will be shown on Channel 4 on Thursday, before being released on DVD.
Pop superstar Madonna has cemented her position as the queen of pop in Europe as she sits atop both the continent's singles and albums charts.
The 47-year-old's dance anthem Hung Up, which samples ABBA's 'Gimme Gimme Gimme', remains the number one single in Europe for a second week, while her latest album Confessions On A Dance Floor is a new entry at number one.
Elsewhere, the top five European singles remain the same as last week - The Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes are at number two with 'Don't Cha'; Robbie Williams' 'Tripping' is at number three; Sugababes' 'Push The Button' is at number four; and Westlife are at number five with 'You Raise Me Up'.
In the European albums chart, Williams falls a place to number two with Intensive Care, while operatic boyband Il Divo re at number three with Ancora.
Kate Bush falls two places to number four with Aerial, and German rockers Rammstein's latest Rosenrot drops a place to number five.
Even when she's not hanging off a glitterball, Madonna can't help making a dazzling impression. The disco diva did just that when she arrived to switch on the Christmas lights in one of London's trendiest shopping zones. The Material Girl had been invited to do the honours at Bruton Street, just a stone's throw away from her Marble Arch home.
Despite the chill the singer looked in high spirits at the festive engagement, laughing and joking with her assistants, funnymen David Walliams and Matt Lucas.
The Little Britain stars turned up in character, with David as carer Lou and Matt as his supposedly wheelchair-bound charge Andy. The comedians had spiced up their on-screen personas by dressing up as Santa and his elfin helper.
Fashion designer Stella McCartney, who has a shop on the street, also popped along to see her famous pal Madonna light up the capital.
The American superstar had added reason to look pleased with life - she's currently riding high in the charts with her latest dance tunes. After three weeks her single Hung Up is still in the top spot, while her album is enjoying its second week at number one.
The book SECRET CONFESSIONS FROM THE MADONNA RE-INVENTION TOUR is to coincide the release on DVD of the long-awaited Madonna tour movie I'm Going To Tell You A Secret. Therefore this book is a recommendation for every true Madonna fan.
It confesses the whole story of Madonna on tour from Manchester to Lisbon and is illustrated with never-seen photos on tour. What you didn't see in the movie, you'll find in this book.
Madonna has become the first artist to have a simultaneous number one hit across Europe in every music format: single, album, download single and mobile phone ringtone.
The news, based on charts for Europe as a whole, points not only to the popularity of her single, Hung Up, and her album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, but also to the growing importance of new electronic media.
Warner Music, the US group behind Madonna, is placing more and more emphasis on so-called digital revenues from internet downloads and ringtones.
Its most recent results show that digital revenues grew to $44m (£27m) in the three months to the end of June, accounting for 6 per cent of revenues, and up by 26 per cent on the previous quarter.
Madonna says she would like to follow the lead of her husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, and direct a movie of her own.
The pop singer will appear in a documentary about her life, I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, which will air Dec. 1 on Britain's Channel 4 television.
"I would love to direct a film. I felt very inspired by making this movie, and I learned a lot about filmmaking and storytelling. I would like to do it on my own next time," she said in an interview broadcast Sunday with Channel 4.
Madonna said her 9-year-old daughter, Lourdes, is a good singer and dancer, and would one day follow in her footsteps.
Asked about her horse riding accident in England this summer, which broke her collarbone and cracked three ribs, Madonna said: "I don't want to go there. I get flashbacks. I'm just starting to feel better."
Superstar Madonna has been reportedly accused of using a disco sample without permission on her hit new album Confessions On A Dance Floor.
Composer Dominic King tells The Sun newspaper the Material Girl allegedly used his disco riff on her album track Get Together.
King claims he originally lifted the riff from Chaka Khan's track Fate - with permission - and used it for the hit dance anthem Music Sounds Better With You, by Stardust.
King says, "I know her song uses my riff and I'm surprised myself and co-writer Frank Musker didn't get a call.
"It would have been nice to have been asked.
"I am almost certain a discussion about money will happen with her people. These things can be settled in retrospect and something will definitely be happening, believe me."
Apart from the 12 album tracks on Confessions On A Dance Floor, there are 4 other new song titles registered for Madonna. We've already heard of Super Pop and Fighting Spirit, which are used as bonus tracks for ICON members and the limited edition respectively.
Both were co-written by Mirwais, as was a third track called 'Triggering'. Finally there's also another Stuart Price track, with the title 'History'. Whether the two latter will ever be heard is unknown for now.
Several sources reported a first-week sale of 4 million albums. However, this is actually the number of albums SHIPPED. According to Media Traffic, the number of actual sold copies is at 1.233.000 worldwide. That makes it the second biggest weekly sales by an album this year after Coldplay's 'X&Y', which sold 1.643.000 copies in week 25.
UK: Album and single are both dominating the UK charts for a second week in a row, which is quite unusual.
Belgium: In this weeks Ultratop, the album is at #1 in the Ultratop 50 albums (both Flanders and Wallonia) as well as in the StuBru Top 50. The single is at #1 in the Ultratop 50 singles (both Flanders and Wallonia) as well as #1 in the Top 30 dance.
Canada: The album is at #1, selling 74.000 copies in its first week.
Denmark: The album is #1 and certified Gold. The single goes down from #1 to #2 in the singles chart, but stays steady at #1 in the dance chart for a 3rd consecutive week.
Finland: The album debuted at #1 in the Top 40 albums, while the single is still #1 in the Top 20 singles and in the airplay chart.
Germany: Both album and single are at #1.
Ireland: The album drops from #4 to #3. The single is still #2 behind Westlife, though it's #1 in the dance chart and the airplay chart.
Mexico: The album stays at #1 for a second week.
Poland: Both album and single at #1.
Sweden: The album is at #1, selling 60.000 copies in its first week.
Frozen, the single for which Madonna was accused of plagiarism by a Wallonian judge, is now gaining popularity again, especially in Wallonia [southern part of Belgium]. The album Ray Of Light is raising rapidly in the Wallonian album chart. Flemish people [northern part] who want to get hold of Frozen, prefer to download the song.
Ray Of Light, the album which had Frozen als lead-single, rises to #9 in the Wallonian mid-price album chart of the Ultratop [the official Belgian chart]. One week earlier the same disc wasn't anywhere to be seen in the sales list. It's clear that many Wallonian buyers want to get hold of Frozen before the ban on the song starts. After the court ruling of last friday, the record company got two weeks to stop sale and distribution of the song.
Buying Frozen on single is no longer possible 7 years after its release. If you only want the song, you can still download it, and that has happened significantly more in the past few days. In the download charts of the Ultratop Frozen rises this week to #16. Before the ruling the song was only at #210. The download chart, that only represents a few percents of the national sales, contains other classic hits "But I've never seen a jump like this one" says Sam Jaspers of Ultratop.
The fact that Frozen hasn't sold more in Flanders is no coincidence: music store Fnac already removed all albums and DVD's that contain the track, even though customers keep asking for them. Also at Mediamarkt there's no Frozen to be found anymore. "You can hear customers talking about it, but that doesn't mean they'll buy it" they say, "Especially the new Madonna album is doing well." Madonna's new single Hung Up and the album Confessions On A Dance Floor are both at number one in the Ultratop charts of Flanders and Wallonia.
Most Flemish radio stations regret the court decision to ban Madonna's Frozen, but they'll respect the ruling.
Q-Music, radio channel of the Vlaamse Mediamaatschappij (VMMa), and Studio Brussel played the song immediately after the announcement of the court ruling. "We're waiting for a notice from the record company", says Johan Notenbaert, representative of Q-Music.
The judge demanded the record companies to send out a notice to all different media within 15 days communicating the court's decision. "In the meantime we played Frozen, also to let our listeners know which song it was about." Notenbaert calls the ban on the Madonna song a regrettable case, but stresses that the judge is always right.
That's also the opinion of Bart Brusseleers, general manager at 4FM. "We're following the court's decision and we've already removed Frozen from our playlist. Plagiarism is a delicate thing. It's not impossible that certain people get to the same music structure, independantly from each other, but if the judge made this decision on friday, it must've been researched very well", says Brusseleers.
Gerrit Kerremans, music coordinator at Studio Brussel, compared Frozen by Madonna and "Ma vie fout le camp" by Salvatore Acquaviva and noticed the singing lines resemble a lot. "Whether that's worth a court case, is a different matter. We don't care much really.", says Kerremans.
Studio Brussel, which doesn't have a large Madonna fan base, will remove Frozen from its playlist as soon as it received the notice. "Suing big artists for plagiarism seems to become a trend. There's also a court case of two Italians against rapper Eminem", adds Kerremans.
Sabam is careful with comments.
The authors organisation knows about the court ruling and will take the necessary steps. "I can't add much to that, because we haven't received notice of the court's ruling. We're waiting for the official notice and will execute what's been told", says communication representative Thierry Dachelet.
The record company don't want to comment at the moment. All communication goes via lawyer Fabienne Brison. Right now, she's debating about whether or not she'll make appeal against the court's ruling.
By moving up 14-7 on The Billboard Hot 100, Madonna's Hung Up (Warner Bros.) generates a great deal of chart news this week. The most important feat is matching Elvis Presley's 36 top 10 hits, the most for any artist in the rock era.
Madonna racked up that tally in 21 years, five months and three weeks, counting back to the week that Borderline peaked in the top 10. Presley scored his 36 top 10 hits in 16 and a half years, from the first week in 1956 that "Heartbreak Hotel" made the top 10 of the Best Sellers in Stores chart until the week in 1972 when "Burning Love" entered the top 10.
Hung Up is Madonna's highest-charting single in almost five years, since Don't Tell Me reached No. 4 in February 2001. It is her first top 10 hit since Die Another Day bonded to the No. 8 position in 2002. Madonna already held the record for the most top 40 hits by a solo female artist; she continues in first place as Hung Up becomes her 45th top 40 hit, out of 51 chart entries. Aretha Franklin is in second place with 43.
The parent album to Hung Up debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. Confessions On A Dance Floor is Madonna's sixth album to achieve pole position. Her No. 1 albums to date are:
Like A Virgin, three weeks (1985)
True Blue, five weeks (1986)
Like A Prayer, six weeks (1989)
Music, one week (2000)
American Life, one week (2003)
Confessions On A Dance Floor, one week to date (2005)
As is her wont, Madonna will be stuffing plenty of stockings this holiday season.
The Material Girl scored her third consecutive chart-topper with Confessions On A Dance Floor, selling 350,000 copies in the U.S. for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures.
Thanks to a worldwide marketing blitz backed by MTV, the disc opened at number one in 25 countries, including the U.K., Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Australia and - despite protests over her invocation of a rabbi in the Kabbalah-inspired track Isaac - Israel. All told, Confessions moved 4 million copies worldwide, per Warner Bros. Records.
The 47-year-old superstar's previous album, American Life, topped the charts in '03 with a substantially fewer 241,000 copies, and the disc became her first not to yield any Top 10 radio hits. Consequently, Madonna went back to her dance pop roots with Confessions and landed another huge radio hit with the ABBA-sampling Hung Up, which also topped the singles chart this week.
The current Rolling Stone cover girl, who has already sold more than 250 million career copies, now has three straight number one albums for the second time in her career. Before 2000's Music kicked off the second set of number ones, she had gone 11 years--the entire '90s--without hitting the top spot.
Confessions is also part of a larger streak. Madonna's debut marks the 10th consecutive different album to open at number one on the Billboard 200 in as many weeks, a run that began back in September with Paul Wall's The People's Champ. It beats the previous mark of nine straight weeks of number ones in 2003, of which American Life was a part.
With Madge on top, American Idol babe Carrie Underwood had to settle for the undercard. Her debut disc, Some Hearts, sold 315,000 copies at number two, making her the second straight Idol champ to miss the top spot. Source: E Online)
~ Confessions is well on its way to become Madonna's best selling album ever! How many times can we say "Congratulations Madonna!" in one week? ;-)
British music store HMV is listing Sorry as second single from Confessions On A Dance Floor, with a release date of 20 February, 2006. Please remember this date hasn't been confirmed by official sources yet and can still be subject to change. (thx to Madonnalicious)
Mad-Eyes reader Suzy has made a cool Madonna quiz. How good is your Madonna knowledge? Test yourself here! Thx for that, Suzy!
Online store Barnes & Nobles have a teaser picture of the limited edition of Confessions On A Dance Floor, which will be released on December 13th.
It will include a picture book, a dairy book with some entries by Madonna, fanclub membership, and the album with an extra bonus track called Fighting Spirit.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, I have many blessings for which I am thankful. High on the list are you, my fans, whose devotion and passion have not gone unnoticed. Although my career has been filled with many highs, I do not take having a Number One album for granted.
Confessions On A Dance Floor was a joy to make but having it debuted at No. 1 all over the world brings that joy to a whole new level. You may be proud of me but trust me, I could not be more proud and grateful to all of you for your continuous loyalty and support.
I wish you all a beautiful Thanksgiving and I give thanks to each and every one of you.
Madonna's photographs have been re-invented as wall art and are being sold in Z Gallerie furniture stores around the US. Give your home the Madonna touch it deserves with a canvas that is 47x47 inches! Go to Zgallerie.com to check them out.
Madonna notched another No. 1 album in Canada, but unlike her last effort, the sales figures were very impressive.
Her 14th disc Confessions On A Dance Floor debuted at the top of the charts on sales of 74,000, easily surpassing the numbers of 2003's American Life, which sold 18,000 copies in its first week.
Madonna's previous albums, 2000's Music and 1998's Ray Of Light, also debuted at the top of the charts with sales of 50,300 and 59,900 respectively.
Confessions On A Dance Floor surpassed Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons" (60,000) as the second best debut this year. Coldplay's "X&Y" continues to be the 2005 champion with first-week sales of 105,000.
Madonna also grabbed the No. 1 spot south of the border, selling 350,000 of Confessions in the U.S.
It's not all that surprising that Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor — the Material Mom's first collection of fresh music in more than two years — opens atop the next Billboard albums chart, but it is something of a symbolic conquest. A top player in the game for more than two decades, Madonna has secured a spot among the most resilient pop-culture icons.
But icon or not, bubbly "American Idol" victor Carrie Underwood and sultry diva Mariah Carey weren't about to just step aside and hand Madonna the Billboard championship belt. She was going to have to earn the win.
While Underwood came close, the latest "Idol" winner simply couldn't take the heat as Madonna scores her third-straight #1 debut (2000's Music took the top spot with close to 420,000 scans, while 2003's American Life finished at #1 with 240,000 plus).
According to the latest SoundScan figures, Confessions sold close to 350,000 copies during its first week on record-store shelves, besting Underwood's debut, Some Hearts, by about 35,000 albums.
Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi - Ultra Platinum Edition boosted the disc to #4 with 185,000 copies sold, right behind last week's #1, Kenny Chesney's The Road and the Radio, which slips to third with 191,000 plus scans.
Madonna was blown away by her first visit to a New York City nightclub in the early 1980s, because she had no idea people could dance to music in public on their own.
Despite being a professional dancer at the time, the Like A Virgin hitmaker was naive to the idea that clubbers could dance the night away without a partner.
And she credits the experience with giving her a new found feeling of freedom and independence which helped her force her way into the music industry.
Madonna says, "I met this guy, as one does, and he brought me to a nightclub, and I was like, 'Wow.'
"It was called Pete's Place. In one room was John Lurie and The Lounge Lizards and all these guys who looked like 1940s movie stars, and all the girls looked like 1950s movie stars and had perfect eye-liner.
"I thought, 'Oh my God, are there other places like this?' I didn't know you could just walk into a club and start dancing by yourself. I thought someone had to ask you.
"You can just dance for six hours and nobody will bother you and you don't have to drink. I felt an incredible sense of liberation and I felt happier. That sense of freedom and feeling independent."
Charts in Belgium are divided for Flanders (northern part of the country) and Wallonia (southern part).
Hung Up is already at #1 in Wallonia, while it's #2 in Flanders, behind Bob Sinclair's Love Generation. It's at #3 in the Top 30 Dance (for both areas)
Confessions is at #4 in Wallonia and at #3 in Flanders. In the Top50 StuBru (Flanders) it's at #2 right behind Robbie Williams' Intensive Care.
Sales are indicating that next week both single and album will be at #1 in both Flanders and Wallonia, so also counting for the entire country!
Fansite Madonna Electronica reports that Confessions On A Dance Floor has sold over 140.000 copies in its first week on sale in France, which means a well deserved #1 on the French album chart! Hung Up is also #1 single, #1 downloads and #1 airplay!
The album is now #1 in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, UK and US. Worldwide it has already sold over a million copies in only a week time! Way to go, girl!
CNN is holding a poll to know who is the real Queen of Pop. Madonna is up against Mariah, Beyonce, Britney and Kylie. Right now, she's NOT at the lead and we all know she should be!
So get your ass over to the CNN website and cast your vote NOW! (thx to Joni and NH who brought this to our attention)
It was a close call with the album of Carrie Underwood, but Confessions On A Dance Floor won the #1 spot on the Billboard album chart! HitsDailyDouble mentions the sale of 344.061 copies so far, while Underwood sold 303.300 albums.
It's Madonna's 6th album that reaches #1 in the US. Once again, congrats Madonna!
Belgian media are still full of the unexpected (and quite absurd!) ruling in the plagiarism case between the Belgian songwriter and madonna. Several journalists are looking for evidence that Madonna actually lived in Belgium in the late 70s.
Residents of local village Aalbeke and Moeskroen claim they remember her when she lived there as she was a background dancer for Patrick Hernandez. However, in a 2003 interview with Belgian television, Madonna denied ever having been to Belgium.
The songwriter Acquaviva has expressed interest in taking his case to other countries in order to have Frozen forbidden there as well. Meanwhile, the lawyers for Madonna and Warner hasn't decided yet if they'll appeal against the ruling.
Radio stations stopped playing Frozen already. Music stores didn't receive a notice yet, but that should follow shortly. Ironically, the song is among top downloads on iTunes now.
Sunday evening, 11.30pm. I'm grinning ear to ear as I step off the Eurostar in Brussels; Let It Will Be is testing the boundaries of the speakers in my MP3-player. It was on friday late afternoon that I took that Eurostar in the opposite direction. Much like when I went to queue at Selfridges one year ago, I rushed immediately from Waterloo station to the place to be: the G.A.Y. Bar.
As I arrived there around 10pm, there were only a few queueing. One queue for the G.A.Y. regulars with a voucher; another one with the real Madonnafans. Pretty soon I got some good company in our "non-voucher" queue: my mate Marcin, Josh from Brazil and a whole Italian gang from DrownedMadonna: Francesco, Cleo, Anna,... Together, the 24 hours waiting in the freezing cold got more bearable and we actually got to have a good time (btw, thx for that guys! :-)
We tried not to bother too much about the segregation of the queues, even though club owner Jeremy didn't make an effort to cover up the fact that for him this was a G.A.Y. event meant for his boyfriend-regulars rather than a Madonna event for Madonnafans. We put up with the humiliations and the endless favouritism of Jeremy and his assistant boys with the idea we'd soon get to see our Queen.
As that moment neared, the atmosphere among the fans got more and more energetic and enthusiastic. An hour before the opening of the doors, we found ourselves singing both new and old songs out loud in the London streets. Not to mention the screams when Madonna's car passed us by. On top of that, I got to talk to 2 of the dancers who confirmed to me that they had been hired for next year's tour, which is definitely happening. YAY! :-)
Once inside the club, that held about 2.000 people, the DJ heated up the anticipation by playing Madonna songs all the time. As we jammed in front of the T-shaped stage, we recognized Cloud and some other dancers inside the club. At 0.30am sharp, the DJ stopped Who's That Girl.
Everyone screamed and watched the video wall in front of us. Stuart, Monte and Steve got on stage in white 70s suits. Then the video screen opened up and out stepped Madonna in her pink disco outfit! The dancers joined her for the high energy Hung Up choreography that we recognized from tthe MTV Awards and the KoKo performance. I immediately noticed how small the venue actually was.
There were two guys in front of me but everyone pushed so much that the stage was only half a meter away from me. When Madonna came over to us, I could notice every detail: the twinkling diamonds on her eyelashes, the sweat drops on her skin, the tensed up muscles on her perfectly toned body. She was in fantastic shape and more importantly, she was having a good time!
She interacted a lot with the crowd (although the sound was sometimes so bad that she was hardly understandable). She joked "It's so hot in here; I should've worn my bathing suit. Oh wait... I am!" She then took off her blouse and ordered everyone in the club to do the same. Naturally, many followed her request and one even had the audacity to throw his shirt on stage to which she snapped "I didn't ask you to throw it at me; I don't want your dirt".
As she kicked into the clubby Get Together, she called the KoKo performance only a warm-up for this gig. She asked if we liked the album coz "coz I made this record especially for you, f*ckers!". Before I Love New York, she apologized for the title and explained that it was only a "figure of speech". "Of course I love London; I live here! And the best fans are here!" (or did she say "fags"? ;-)
The remix of Let It Will Be was a huge success with the crowd going balistic, as Madonna danced in front of cool video imagery. At one point, she provocatively stuck her hand down her pants and kept dancing like this. She again played with the audience when a fan had thrown some water on stage. As an assistant quickyl cleaned the floor, Madonna demanded who had done that. When I fan confessed his sin, she asked him to stick out his hand for a spanky and she playfully slapped it.
Naturally, everyone started shouting "I did it! I did it!", much to the delight of our diva (/dita). She introduced Everybody as her first single, and did the fantastic disco dance while the crowd was singing "Dance & sing, get up and do your thing".
Those who knew the setlist of KoKo expected the end of the show when all of a sudden she launched into the chorus of Jump. And jump we did, in total ecstacy! Then it was really goodbye and she boogied her way out through the video screen doors.
Like A Prayer sounded through the speakers and for a moment, we expected this as an encore but then realised it was the DJ who had again taken over. Completely exhausted but on a natural high, Marcin and I searched our new friends and collected our thoughts on this incredible Madonna experience.
~ Check Marcin's amazing pictures in our gallery.
The Observer Music Monthly (OMM) features a great interview with Madonna and Stuart Price. Here are some of the highlights.
Madonna wanted to write the new album mostly with Mirwais, but the few songs she did with Stuart gave her a much better vibe, which made her decide to have him produce the entire album. She talks a lot on the production process of the album.
She says she has abandoned her musical Hello Suckers (at least for now)
She talks about her early disco years in New York
She discusses her career and the way she's grown throughout the years. "God doesn't give a shit about how many records I've sold or how many hits I've had. All he cares about is how I behaved, how I treated people."
The reporter mentions some highlights from the documentary
Madonna admits that Guy thought some of her new tracks were 'shit'; "he likes Irish folk music..."
Next year's tour is definitely confirmed! It'll probably be called "Confessions Tour" or "Confess Your Sins Tour".
Madonna sunday (Nov. 20) added a ninth U.K. No. 1 album to her career tally, joining her 11th No. 1 single to complete her domination of the British sales charts. Confessions On A Dance Floor (Warner Bros.) went straight to No. 1 on the new album survey, while Hung Up started a second week at the singles chart peak.
Confessions is the fifth of Madonna's last six album releases to reach the U.K. summit, the only exception being the 2001 compilation GHV2: Greatest Hits Volume 2, which stalled at No. 2. Her first British album bestseller was 1984's Like A Virgin.
On the singles chart, Hung Up continued to rule ahead of Westlife's former chart-topper "You Raise Me Up" (S/Sony BMG), which is still No. 2, and Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" (A&M), which arrived at No. 3.
Madonna is poised to confirm her Queen of Pop reputation by topping both the singles and albums charts this weekend. Her hot new LP, Confessions On A Dance Floor, has sold nearly 250,000 copies since going on sale on Monday and is poised to become the biggest-selling album of the year.
Meanwhile Madonna's single, Hung Up, has sold nearly twice as many copies as Westlife's You Raise Me Up, confirming her superstar status. Gennaro Castaldo, of music retailers HMV, said Madonna's achievement was a fantastic double and showed that she was worthy of her place in the pantheon of pop royalty.
He said: "Both the album and her single Hung Up have been a massive event in the shops. We have struggled to fill the shelves back up quickly enough. She is a real superstar, the mere mention of her name causes a frenzy.
~ Congratulations Madonna!
A Belgian songwriter has won a court battle against pop star Madonna after accusing her of plagiarising one of his songs for her 1998 hit single, Frozen, his lawyer said on Friday.
Salvatore Acquaviva's lawyer said a court in the southern Belgian town of Mons had ordered the country's music stores to withdraw the record from their shelves within the next 15 days.
The court also ordered radio and television stations to stop playing the song, he said.
"(They) cannot broadcast the work Frozen ... under pain of a 150,000-euro fine," he told the local radio network, RTBF.
It was not immediately clear if damages were awarded to Acquaviva.
The single comes from Madonna's Ray Of Light album of the same year.
It's all over the Belgian media now: Madonna has lost the plagiarism suit, which means that the distribution of Frozen is now forbidden in Belgium. Warner or Madonna's team hasn't yet reacted to the court decision, but they can still file protyest against it. Here's an artikel from Gazet Van Antwerpen (translation by Mad-Eyes):
"The court judge of Bergen has decided today that the song Frozen by Madonna contains plagiarism. He has forbidden to sell or play the song any longer on Belgian territory. With this decision, the judge agrees with the point of view of the plaintiff Salvatore Acquaviva.
Salvatore Acquaviva from Moeskroen has always claimed that Frozen was plagiarism from a song he composed, "Ma vie fout le camp". According to the judge, four bars of the track are indeed plagiarised by the American pop singer.
The judge has forbidden the sale and the distribution (on the radio) of the song starting today. The decision is valid for the entire Belgian territory.
The song Frozen was released by Warner, EMI and Sony. The judge has ordered them to send within 15 days a notice to all media in which the court decision is communicated, with two separate fines of 125.000 Euro each. The first fine is for the ban on the sale; the second for the ban on the distribution.
Judge Xavier Hiernaux doesn't just confirm the "original" character of Salvatore Acquaviva's song. He also judges that there are non-coincidental similarities between his song and the one of Madonna.
According to the judge, Madonna definitely had "access to musical information allowing her to make Frozen". He also said that the argument of the plaintiff - that Madonna would have been in Moeskroen at the end of the 70s and that she got to know the song as a backup singer - is reasonable.
The judge didn't believe the claim of Madonna that she wasn't involved in the writing of the four bars in question. Patrick Leonard, the man who wrote several hits for Madonna, would have done it.
At the end of the trial Lawyer Victor-Vincent Dehin, counsellor of Salvatore Acquaviva, said that this decision is only the first step. According to the lawyer there have to be talks about the copyrights that were missed by Acquaviva. "It could be about a reasonable amount of money. But first there needs to be made an accounting expertise", says Dehin.
Today the plagiarism court case of a Belgian composer against American pop singer Madonna starts in Bergen (Belgium).
Belgian Salvatore Aquaviva has been claiming for eight years that Madonna stole music from his song "Ma vie fout le camp" to produce the song Frozen.
Aquaviva says that Madonna was in Belgium in the late 70s, when she was still unknown, and heard the track as a backup singer. "Madonna got the tape from the producer himself", says Aquaviva.
"The two melodies resemble a lot, two parts that form half of the song Frozen, are stolen from me".
Madonna denies that she's ever been to Belgium and says she has never heard of the Aquaviva song and also that she composed those song parts herself.
Madonna won't attend the court case herself; she'll send a representative.
"The judge will have to decide. It's not because you're small, that you shouldn't act", resumes Aquaviva in his interview with "Voor de dag". Source: VRTnieuws.net; translation by Mad-Eyes)
~ Check VRTnieuws.net and click on the link under "Geluid" to hear a comparison of the two melodies. Judge yourself. Seems to me someone smelled easy money... (note that as a Belgian myself, I've never heard of the song nor the singer...)
Madonna will join a host of stars to help raise money for BBC Children in Need on Friday night.
The singer will perform live during the seven-hour telethon, which hopes to beat the record total of £34.2m raised last year.
The evening also features a special broadcast of Doctor Who and performances by Craig David and Texas.
Presenter Terry Wogan said: "It's another show jam-packed with money-raising madness."
The evening will be co-hosted by newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and Top of the Pops presenter Fearne Cotton.
As usual there are a number of events taking place around the country including Status Quo opening a fundraising show headlined by Girls Aloud in RAF Brize Norton and the Sugababes performing live from a concert in Wrexham.
The fund-raising begins with Liberty X performing the Children in Need charity single A Night to Remember.
Every penny raised goes directly to children and young people in need across the UK. The casts of Casualty, EastEnders and Emmerdale are also taking part.
BBC news presenters including Natasha Kaplinsky and Dermot Murnaghan will perform rock band Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on the night.
The BBC Children in Need Appeal begins at 1900 on BBC One.
Material Girl turned pop queen, Madonna, may be picky about her pals, but once she has picked them, she sure knows how to spoil them.
And that was blatantly obvious at her post-gig bash at super-hip West End club Kabaret's Prophecy, on Tuesday night, where she treated her exclusive clique of pals, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Bob Geldof and former Spice Girl Mel C, to the "mother of all parties".
The party, thrown by the star to celebrate the release of her 11th album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, reportedly cost her over 75000 pounds, and included two giant bottles of Cristal champagne costing 10,000 pounds a piece alongwith the finest cuisine provided by flash restaurant Nobu.
"The guests were feasting on rock shrimp tempura and black cod and it was all polished off within minutes. It was an absolutely no-expense-spared bash.
"The canapes alone cost #15,000, the Cristal flowed all night, plus mojitos and lemon drop cocktails - but Madge stuck to vintage red wine and Kaballah water.
"The club even hired 50 extra staff just to valet park the guests' cars. It was a really incredible night," The Mirror quoted a source, as saying.
A new documentary about Madonna gives fans an insight into the mixture of hard work and spirituality which drives the singer - but despite its title, there are few fresh revelations for fans.
I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, which will be screened on Channel 4 next month, follows her 2004 tour from the dancer audition stage through to the final performance.
The two-hour film is directed by arty pop video director Jonas Akerlund and executive produced by the singer herself, more than 20 years after her first hit.
It gives an authorised perspective on her personal life, including her interest in philosophy and theology.
Some of her favourite passages, from sources as varied as the Old Testament and her own pen, punctuate the film.
"Light is immortality," Madonna - a student of the mystical Jewish teachings of Kabbalah - says in a voiceover at one point.
"It's a place where there is no pain or suffering."
The documentary opens with Madonna reading a section of the Book of Revelations about "the coming of the beast", over images of wolves and the singer herself being restrained.
This will be the opening film for her stage show.
A renowned perfectionist, Madonna, 47, takes the preparations very seriously.
"When you are putting together a show, it's like being in wartime," she explains. "There's a unity."
She sits in on the dancer auditions to have her say on the selection.
After watching the hopefuls, the former full-time dancer realises how far she has come.
"I'm glad I'm not a dancer any more," she says. "It's a dog's life."
Prayer is clearly an important part of Madonna's preparations.
She gets her dancers to join hands in a circle shortly before they take to the stage.
She tells them to lead the audience: "I want you to inspire them to be a better version of what they are already."
The backstage footage is mixed with live performances of hits like Vogue and Like A Prayer, along with newer material like Hollywood.
Madonna's more politicised stance sees her dancers perform American Life in army uniforms in front of a backdrop film containing images of war and religion.
Backstage, she explains she feels the urge to "wake people up". "You've got to give people solutions or they will fall asleep again," she explains.
Away from the stage, fans get an insight into her improved relationship with her father, with whom she often battled after her mother died in 1963.
Father Sylvio even gives his view on Kaballah: "I've read some of the books she's given me and there's nothing in it that isn't in the Scriptures."
Madonna's own children appear throughout, with daughter Lourdes saying she wished she saw her mother more when she was touring.
The singer admits her relationship with British film director husband Guy Ritchie is not "easy" at times.
"I thank God every day I am married to a man who makes me think," she says.
Ritchie appears regularly, wrestling with Madonna's bodyguards in the gym, hiring a London pub for his birthday or singing along to his favourite Irish folk songs.
Elsewhere, she is shown writing poems to thank her personal assistant and taking her dancers for a character-building evening watching classical pianists in Paris.
"I feel like I know so much more than I knew before," she reveals. "Sometimes fun is over-rated."
Those hoping for shock revelations about media-savvy Madonna may be disappointed by the film but she clearly wants her audience to know she is more responsible as she nears 50.
"I've a huge ego and I need to change," she says at one point. "Knowing is the beginning."
I'm Going To Tell You A Secret will be shown on Channel 4 on 1 December at 2100 GMT
Madonna has urged US citizens to turn against President George W Bush over his failure to provide adequate aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in August.
The Hung Up singer was "devastated" when Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 didn't stop Bush winning the 2004 election and insists America must now realise his incompetence.
She says: "I was just frigging devastated, It was a real sad day. I don't get how people can have all these facts and still turn away from them.
"9/11 was too ambiguous. You couldn't prove how the government was somehow in on the deal. You could say 'Oh that's just Michael Moore'. New Orleans was undeniable irresponsibility."
She used to be the mother of invention. Now, Madonna is content to be the mother of reinvention.
But who can disparage her for channeling her inner ABBA -- literally, on the smooth Hung Up, which samples the Swedes' "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" -- considering club land is where she has always thrived?
Not that Confessions On A Dance Floor, Madonna's 14th release in 22 years, is a return to her roots, because this is really her first intense commitment to full-on mirror-ball thumping. Getting a crowd to "Vogue" is one thing.
Serving up a dozen tracks of buzzing, weaving synthesizers and soft electronica beats that seamlessly segue without coming up for air is an entirely different endeavor.
Does she succeed? Well, does Madonna ever fail?
If you believe the soft sales of 2003's American Life and the critical drubbing she received for being outspoken and political -- such a shock coming from her, you know -- then yes, that album is the asterisk in her footnotes. But closer listens extracted plenty of vintage Madge, with Hollywood, Love Profusion and Nobody Knows Me as worthy of positive spin as Secret or Rain from her early'90s output.
Perhaps that first experience with musical failure (obviously she's encountered the feeling, given her string of movie flops) triggered a retreat to a comfort zone and a desire to reshape classic disco. As lovely as some of her ballads (Live To Tell, Take A Bow), Madonna is always most comfortable when rhythm is chasing her thin vocals.
The highlight of Confessions Sorry -- is a relentless sonic whir that, just when you're being lulled by its monotonous beat, explodes with an arena-ready chorus. Confessions could have used more of that structure.
Even with their sophisticated pulsing, I Love New York, Let It Will Be and Forbidden Love tumble into that chilly anonymous cavern that swallows most dance music. Fitness instructors, however, will be forever thankful she has provided these stable tempos that work so well during step class.
Confessions' lone musically adventurous offering is Isaac, Madonna's deliberate nod to her religious beliefs that is lightly dusted with strings and chanting. Its chorus alludes to Frozen much like the staccato strings that open Let It Will Be reference Papa Don't Preach, an obviously intentional move given the latter's reflective lyrics ("Now I can tell you about success, about fame, about the rise and fall of all the stars in the sky").
Many have already claimed this album as Madonna's purest since, if not her debut, then 1989's Like A Prayer.
Not so fast.
Those albums contained actual songs, with storytelling and melodies at the forefront. Confessions, as enjoyable as it is, is just a flighty dance partner.
"Short but oh so sweet Madonna" read the headline in London's Evening Standard, one of many British newspapers hailing the singer's brief return to the stage.
Madonna sang five songs, including four from her new album Confessions On A Dance Floor, at the Koko club in north London, the venue where she gave her first British performance in 1983.
The final song was Everybody, the song she performed that night.
"The promised brevity only made the show more desirable," the Standard said.
Fans queued outside overnight Monday to be one of the 200 let in for free to join the 1,500 ticket winners and celebrities, including actress Gwyneth Paltrow, singer-turned-activist Bob Geldof, and the groups New Order and the Pet Shop Boys.
The 47-year-old fell off a horse on her birthday in August, cracking three ribs, breaking a collar bone and fracturing a hand.
However, there was no sign of the singer taking it easy on stage.
"Madonna gives it her all", The Independent said. "She does, you have to admit, look fabulous."
The Guardian said: "She's a remarkably compelling performer".
Madonna trated the crowd to Hung Up, Let It Will Be, Get Together, I Love New York from her latest album.
"The last time I played Camden Palace was 22 years ago," she told her fans.
"It was my first show in London and I've got to tell you it's so great to be back.
"I feel like I'm really out of shape right now -- I don't like falling off horses."
Hung Up, the first single from her new album, is currently topping the singles charts giving Madonna her 11th British number one hit.
Music retailer HMV said the album is outselling the current number one by two to one and is expected to top the chart on Sunday.
In it's 4th week in the US Hot 100 Singles chart, Hung Up is expected to rise again to (20 => 21 => 27 =>) #14. This is mostly due to sales.
Although Z100 has now (finally) added the song to their playlist, airplay is still only average. US fans: keep requesting! The video is back on #1 on TRL, which should give some extra exposure.
Meanwhile, the album has sold in a range between 325.000 and 350.000 copies. This could be enough for a #1 on the Album chart, but it depends how much Idol artist Carrie Underwood will sell. So, it will be a battle between #1 and #2. (thx to Krissy for the info ;-)
Update 17/11: it is now confirmed: Hung Up rises to #14. Now let's get it into the Top10 next week!
Madonna's career, as multifaceted as a mirror ball, gets a fresh shine and a retro spin with a dense and dizzying return to the club culture that hatched her 20 years ago.
The 47-year-old Kabbalah student, yoga pretzel, kiddie-book author and lady of the English manor rediscovers her inner disco diva in the feverish Confessions On A Dance Floor (* * * ½ out of four).
Out Tuesday, it's a giddy rebound from the stern political and spiritual turn she took on 2003's American Life.
At the moment, she isn't protesting or proselytizing. Her aim is to entertain. And maybe mop the dance floor with a few pop ingénues trespassing into her groove.
The ballad-free Confessions opens with the smashing Hung Up, cleverly built around a sample from ABBA's Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight). The song is an exceedingly rare instance of the Swedish supergroup granting access to its pop goldmine, and the track sets the tone for an electronic dance-pop bonanza.
Let It Will Be has a radiant psychedelic vibe reminiscent of Ray Of Light. The synth-heavy Future Lovers is a trippy delight, and Kraftwerk knockoff Forbidden Love is a knockout.
Isaac, splicing a Hebrew chant to sonic shimmer, succeeds as global-pop exotica despite fuzzy lyrics and a clunky spoken-word coda. (Madonna denies the charge of some kabbalists who say the song exploits one of the Jewish sect's ancient mystics.)
The music is passed off as "future disco," but it really is a vibrant flashback spiked with the contemporary precision-tooled wizardry of co-producer Stuart "Les Rhythmes Digitales" Price, the musical director on Madonna's Drowned World and Re-Invention tours.
Madonna isn't so much reinventing herself as reinforcing her royal status in pop as the Queen of Clubs.
Her voice, vastly improved since that '80s squeak, sounds pretty and unfettered (even when computerized) as it rides over tense waves of blip-whoosh-thrum technoise and blissful snap-crackle beats.
Like an extended club mix, each song segues into the next, creating a shifting hypnotic pulse.
The music is so heady and charged that the lean melodies, which can get trampled under throbbing rhythms, are forgivable.
There's no excuse, however, for clichés, nursery-rhyme simplicity and tired topics, such as the price of fame in How High. Surely Madonna is capable of wittier couplets than "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your names will never hurt."
Yet such missteps scarcely impede the furious momentum, and it's unlikely listeners will be pondering Madonna's self-empowerment mantras as she's causing a commotion on the dance floor.
Madonna turned back the years with a one-off gig for just hundreds of fans at the same spot where she first performed in Britain 22 years ago.
The 47-year-old star launched her new album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, in front of 1,500 people at London's Koko Club.
The undersize venue -- formerly known as the Camden Palace -- was where Madonna gave her first live UK performance in June 1983.
Fans camped out for more than 24 hours to get into the club -- once an old-style theatre played by Charlie Chaplin and where the BBC, in the 1950s, recorded the Goon Show. Most of the crowd consisted of contest winners.
When she last performed at the north London venue -- two miles from London's center -- she was an unknown singer who had just released the underground U.S. club hit Everybody.
In 2005 the gig by the woman dubbed "Queen of Pop" was described by British media "the hottest ticket in town."
Of the 1,500-strong audience, 200 had queued overnight in freezing temperatures to bag the last batch of free tickets.
British newspapers admitted to being star-struck. "She is still the Dancing Queen -- live and at her glittering best," said the Times. "Pelvic thrusts, high kicks.. they went wild," said the Daily Mail calling the show "noisy, panting and mildly pornographic."
"Never let it be said Madonna doesn't work for her millions," said The Guardian, adding that the star "is certainly one of the few forty something women on earth who could stand onstage playing air guitar."
Four of Madonna's songs were tracks from the new album, including her current and 11th number one hit Hung Up. The fifth was Everybody -- the song that started it all.
She told the audience: "The last time I played Camden Palace was 22 years ago. It was my first show in London and I've got to tell you it's so f......ing great to be back."
Among the crowd were celebrities including Stella McCartney, Bob Geldof and his daughter Peaches, and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant.
The club was a far cry from the huge venues Madonna normally plays -- her last London performance was at Live 8 in the capital's Hyde Park before tens of thousands.
After arriving on stage 40 minutes late, Madonna emerged from a giant glitter ball to sing the first number dressed in an all-purple ensemble of jacket, velvet pedal pushers and knee-high boots.
She took off her jacket to reveal a tight vest and when one fan threw his shirt at the stage she remonstrated: "Don't throw your clothes at me -- I took my shirt off, I don't want to put another one on."
Confessions On A Dance Floor is a return to Madonna's disco roots and she performed with a four-piece band dressed in Saturday Night Fever-style white suits.
Introducing her last song, Everybody, she referred to the riding accident three months ago when she suffered three cracked ribs, telling the crowd: "I feel like I'm really out of shape right now, I don't like falling off horses, so I'm going to do one more song."
One of the new songs she performed was I Love New York -- a title which prompted her to apologize to the audience at the north London club. She explained: "This next song is called I Love New York.
But I love London too -- if I didn't, why do you think I'd live here? I wrote a song about New York because New York for me was about survival. It is more a state of mind than a place." And she added: "I want to thank all of my fans who camped out all night in the freezing cold so they could see me. That's what I'm talking about. That's a New York state of mind."
The gig was broadcast live on the Internet to a worldwide audience.
British media were quick to point out that the performance was also a chance for Madonna to prove she could sing live.
Elton John sparked a war of words at the Q Awards when he accused her of lip-synching during her last tour -- a charge she denies.
According to The Guardian, this was no place to find the answer.
Wrote its reviewer: "A guttural scream in the middle of I Love New York certainly suggests that her microphone is switched on, but, in reality, no one comes to see Madonna in a venue this small in order to marvel at her vocal prowess.
Madonna without the marriage, the children, the British estate? Such is the fantasy world conjured up in Confessions On A Dance Floor.
Madonna never completely deserted clubland, of course, but she hasn't made an album this consistently beat-driven since 1992's Erotica. Once again, she's the restless soul aching to connect, this time by way of fluid Ibiza techno (Jump, Get Together) and a robo-voiced Kraftwerk homage (Forbidden Love); Hung Up shows how effortlessly she can tap into her petulant inner teen.
Unencumbered by the freneticism and unevenness that marred her last few albums, Confessions glides on a jet stream; for that extra rave-new-world touch, the songs segue into one other.
For all its pretenses of being giddy and spontaneous, though, Confessions is rarely either. Madonna is no longer the free spirit of her youth, which is plenty obvious when she ponders the spiritual "place where I belong" (Let It Will Be) or indulges in further self-pity over the price o' fame (How High). It's as if a rain cloud has settled over her nightclub.
Yet Brit techno whiz Stuart Price, her new co-producer, overrides her cliches by focusing on the beats. The disingenuous I Love New York wants us to believe she feels like "a dork" when she's not in that city and that she's down on London, her new home. But damn if that chorus won't make for a perfect jingle for a tourism commercial.
Like so many Madonna albums, this one eventually runs low on gas; not even Price can make sense of her Kabbalah parable, Isaac, which evokes older, better Madonna hits. But she's smart enough to know that dulcet dance music for grown-ups is a worthy niche waiting to be filled.
EW Grade: B+
This time the fans are really getting what they deserve! ICON members received today a bonus track and it was not Fighting Spirit, the bonus track of the limited edition, but yet another song called Super Pop, a track with a high discofeel, with hilarious lyrics (including a stab to Bush: "If I was the president, i'd be different"). Read the lyrics here.
Madonna just performed at KoKo nightclub (former Camden palace) in london. The AOL website offered a great webcast service, which made it possible for those many unlucky who couldn't attend to still follow it live.
Madonna came on stage at 10pm GMT sharp and appeared out of disco ball similar to the MTV Awards choreography. She brought her entire band (Stuart, Monte, Steve, Marcus,...) and her dancers (Cloud,...). She sang Hung Up live. Then she greeted the hysteric crowd: "It's been 22 years since I performed here at Camden palace. And it's so fucking great to be back".
She then started Get Together, one of my favorite songs and totally awesome when performed live. Before I Love New York, she explained "I wanna make one thing clear. In the next song I say I love New York. But I love London too. When I sing about New York, I'm singing about an attitude. An attitude of showing you have something to say!" During the song, when she sings "New York is not for little pussies who scream" she actually screamed very loud.
"I'm only getting warmed up" she warned the crowd before getting into an awesome remix of Let It Will Be. She ended her showcase with the same song which she performed in 1983: Everybody, even though it was a cool re-invented disco version. They did a fantastic group choreography, with an added line in the background "Let the DJ shake you!".
She then asked the crowd to sing ("Dance and sing, get up and do your thing) while she was dancing. Naturally, the audience went crazy. As soon as she had appeared, she disappeared again behind the videowall, leaving the crowd in amazement.
After the live webcast, they showed a documentary "Confessions on a promo tour" which went behind the scenes of this promo tour, showing Madonna with her band and dancers rehearsing and having fun.
Hung Up hit #1 in the UK charts! It's the 11th Madonna single topping the UK chart; congrats Madge!
Meanwhile, it's already a #1 in Australia, Canada and most European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. However, in some countries it dropped after one week, so keep on buying and requesting the single!
It's doing fantastic in the clubs. Myself, I went out in Brussels last night and heard Jump, as well as two remixes of Hung Up!
"Hi. I am contacting you and Madonnalicious because you're the sites I visit often. We here in the wonderful US need some help. I'm confident a lot of US Madonna fans visit your sites, so I'm hoping to reach these fans. There is some sort of boycott going on here. Her single is selling very well and her video is doing great on VH1 and MTV. She is not getting the airplay she deserves here.
Clear Channel radio stations refuse to play her for the most part. There is a clear channel radio station here in Boston where she is getting some air play, and the song continues to be between number one and number two most requested song each night consistently. Yet however, the song seems to be losing airplay on this radio station, Kiss FM Boston.
There has to be some creative ways for fans here to get her music out and kind of force the hands of these radio stations to start playing her again. I was thinking about creating web pages (nothing like these of course), but smaller ones with links to her music and to radio stations that need to be made aware of how good she still is.
And also creative ways to get these sites out. That is just my idea. Maybe some other fans have ideas as well. The point is to get her music to the places where it isn't getting heard. It makes me mad to think that she is being treated this way here. Radio stations would never comeo ut and admit they are banning any artist, but it is too obvious. Thanks!! ~ Anne"
Thanks for your mail, Anne! Unfortunately we've received many similar mails over the past two weeks. It's totally unacceptable that US radio DJs are keeping up the American Life boycott. It's time for US fans to get their voice heard and express themselves the way Madonna taught us!
If we all keep on requesting Hung Up, at one point they just can't ignore it any longer and they'll have to play it. It's more than worth it! So call and mail your local radio station to request Hung Up! Also don't forget to vote for the video on TRL, because this is important exposure!
Madonnafan Simon (@ DrownedMadonna) has compiled a list of websites and mail addresses of US radio stations where you can send your request. If we all make a few requests every day, we CAN make a difference! Make sure this is not only an European but also an American smash hit! Check here for the list of US radio stations and start requesting!
Today Confessions On A Dance Floor is released internationally! Go out and buy the album for yourself ann why not buy it as a gift for your friends! ;-)
To celebrate the release, we've given Mad-Eyes a revamped look with a brand new navigation and some new sections; be sure to check out our shop and our video list! Also give us your vote on the album.
To say there's Madonna madness these days would be quite an understatement. Promotion for a Madonna album has never been this huge. Even for a Madonna webmaster it's difficult to follow all the different interviews, reviews and performances of the past few days.
Madonna has been in London, performing Hung Up and Get Together on the Parkinson show, after which she was interviewed by the talk show host. She performed the same two songs in Paris on Star Academy.
In the meantime she showed up at the Paris premiere of her documentary. While the press discusses bits and pieces of the several interviews she has given, they have now also heard the album and spread their reviews in papers, magazines and on websites. Generally those reviews are raving too.
Here in Belgium, Madonna is hot too. Especially Radio Donna fuelled the anticipation for the album. They interviewed me about the new album on tuesday and again on friday, after which they launched a full Madonna Day, giving away copies of the album during several competitions. Their website noted "We called with big Madonnafan Bart about Madonna's new album. His opinion: a super dance record. And we couldn't agree more."
Apparently commercial TV channel VTM had also found Mad-Eyes, coz they asked to have a camera crew accompany my mate Krissy and me while buying the album during the midnight sale. As if we were not already nervous enough!
So after months of waiting, we saw the music store opening that would deliver us that long awaited disc. We were in front of the queue with about 60 people behind us. Most crowd stood in front of the store in Brussels, where a few B-celebs were attending as well. Rest of the fans were divided over the other 12 stores in Belgium that opened their doors that night.
Extrazone had to play the album (as they had agreed with Warner), so we previewed Get Together while being in the store. We quickly rushed home to have the rest of our Official First Listening, which gave us the exciting feeling that our expectations had come true. From beginning to the end, a thumping beat obliges you to move on the music. The camera guy eagerly filmed my hands and feet as they instinctively moved on Confessions.
Hung Up, although not the best track on the album, turned out to be a perfect choice for first single. We continued with Get Together and immediately I opened my eyes in amazement. I pictured myself at a late-night summer party on a beach in Ibiza, dancing and trancing to this song.
Like Hung Up, it has this fantastic bridge, where the music fades to one single beat and starts building up again, only to come back with an even bigger bass. Cool strings bring us to Sorry, already confirmed to be the second single [the album sticker mentions Hung Up, Sorry and Jump], again a strong track, and indeed a good single choice. Too bad her 3 words in Dutch are completely screwed: even if she had pronounced it "droeviG" instead of "droeviK", it still has the wrong meaning "I'm sad". "I'm sorry" would be "Het spijt me". Oh well, the addictive chorus and "heard it all before" line more than make up for that mistake.
The Donna Summer sample, less obvious than the Abba sample but still recognizable, sets a trancy feeling for Future Lovers. After one and a half minute, the bass becomes heavier. Four songs into the album I'm starting to wonder how many catchy songs you can put in a row. I guess only Madonna can. ;-)
I Love New York is the only song that blends the disco with some rock. A song with an attitude. The 'get off my street' is the catchiest part. Strings make the transition to Let It Will Be, which in the beginning has a typical Mirwais sound. A sound that first appears a bit dull. But this song grows stronger and at the end you're shaking like crazy again
.What could've been a bridge in this song, is actually the beginning of Forbidden Love. Heavy vocoders on the chorus and once again an addictive beat in the background. The entire album has a feel-good vibe, and the perfect example is Jump, which will probably be the third single (and again that's a good choice). Madonna has a few verses in spoken words too.
After Jump comes How High - Madonna is always in for a play of words - which starts with a very industrial sound and HEAVY vocoders. Still good, but gives me less satisfaction than the beginning of the album.
Much more original is Isaac, which blends chants with... well, future disco! Like Paradise was for Music, is Isaac for Confessions: not radio-friendly but a magnificent song. Naturally, this would do it good in eastern countries. Push on the other hand would be good for US radio. The pace however is a lot slower than the first songs of the album. Like It Or Not adds an acoustic guitar and wraps up a great feel-good album.
I'm more than satisfied with the album. Like announced, there's not much message in it, and the lyrics aren't exactly deep, but instead it emphasizes on the music. It's an album that has to be played LOUD and preferably... on the dance floor! Especially the beginning of the album is very catchy, such as Get Together, Future Lovers, and the future singles Sorry and Jump.
My rating for now: 8/10.
Now let's get dancing! ~ Bartie
Madonna is among your busier superstars. On Nov. 15, Warner Bros. will release her latest studio album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, an upbeat, disco-savvy set that may bring her back to the touring stage.
Ever the businesswoman, she partnered with Motorola to premiere Hung Up, the new album's lead single via a commercial for a mobile phone. She has also finally made her catalog legally available digitally through Apple's iTunes music store. And she's been working on a documentary, "I'm Going To Tell You A Secret."
Madonna being Madonna, controversy tends to follow much of what she does, with the latest being the branding of a Confessions song as a blasphemous tribute to a 16th century Kabbalist for which she should expect "punishment from the heavens." Additionally, the sometime actress and wife of filmmaker Guy Richie, wants to direct.
On an October afternoon in a suite in New York's Essex House hotel, Madonna discusses all that and more with Billboard. Ready. Set. Go...
It seems you've found a perfect match in Stuart Price, who produced the bulk of the album. What does he bring to Madonna's table?
He's hysterical and a real character. He has that dry English humor and he's not obviously emotional about things and typically not too expressive. He's a bit shy, a bit held back. But once you get to know him he's not like that. Now, I'm the opposite. So, we work really well together.
Was the recording process a give-and-take situation?
Absolutely. I love him because he's a tireless workhorse. He's willing to stay up all night working on stuff. Because he does a lot of DJing, he's used to staying up till six in the morning. It allowed me to work on other things at the same time. We wrote a lot of songs together on the road last year.
The bulk of the album was recorded in his home studio, right?
We did a lot of recording at his house. I'd come by in the morning and Stuart would answer the door in his stocking feet -- as he'd been up all night. I'd bring him a cup of coffee and say, "Stuart, your house is a mess, there's no food in the cupboard." Then I'd call someone from my house to bring food over for him. And then we'd work all day. We're very much the odd couple.
You've worked and collaborated with many people. As you've toured with Stuart, did anything surprise you about working with him in the studio environment?
It was more relaxed because we've toured together. We've also been in many rehearsal situations together. We've been on planes, trains and automobiles together. And stuck in hotels. He's like my brother. I feel very comfortable with him. Usually, I work with people in the studio and we have a slightly more formal relationship. That's not how it is with Stuart and me.
I interviewed Stuart during the recent Billboard Dance Music Summit. During our chat, he mentioned that you wanted the new album to start at 120 beats-per-minute and only go up...
It's true. I wanted a record with no ballads. I wanted there to be no breaks, with one song segueing into the next -- just like in a disco.
Was this "Madonna the DJ" at work?
It was. But the thing is, whenever I make records, I often like the remixes better than the original versions. So I thought, screw that. I'm going to start from that perspective. I want to hear all these songs in a club. I approached the album from more of a DJ's point of view, but Stuart is a DJ. That really influenced the vibe -- the dance aspect -- of the record.
The album has a definite retro feel. It could've been so easy for someone like you, who came out of the '80s, to simply make an '80s-sounding record - like numerous others have recently done. But you didn't. Instead, you reference the past, but push the sound forward.
Our intention was to give a nod and a wink to people like Giorgio Moroder and the Bee Gees. Stuart and I didn't want to remake the past, but make it into something new.
Was any of this a reaction to American Life?
I wouldn't say it was a reaction. But I was in a very angry mood when I wrote that record. I was very upset with what was going on in the world -- America going to war with Iraq. [Producer] Mirwais is also very political, seriously cerebral and intellectual. All we did was sit around, talking politics all the time. So, that couldn't help but find its way into the music. I think there's an angry aspect to the music that directly reflects my feelings at the time.
But because I got a lot of that out on that record and because I was working on my documentary [I'm Going To Tell You A Secret], which is also very political, I think I needed a release from the seriousness of it all.
I was running back and forth, literally, from the editing room with [the documentary's director] Jonas Akerlund to working with Stuart, who was also mixing the music in the film. We were together, non-stop, all of us.
Cutting 350 hours of film down to two hours. There are a lot of serious aspects to the movie. I needed a release. When I would go to Stuart's, and we'd go up to his loft, it was like, "Honey, I want to dance." I wanted to be happy, silly and buoyant. I wanted to lift myself and others up with this record.
So, yes, the new album was a reaction to all the other stuff I was doing, which was very serious in nature. I hope that doesn't imply that I wanted to make a superficial record, because it's not. I want people to smile when they hear this record. I wanted it to put a smile on my face, too.
I like how the album follows the musical arc of a DJ's nightly set. The album starts out light and happy-go-lucky and becomes more intense as it goes on, becoming more and more personal - confessional, if you will.
That's exactly it. I was only hinting early on, but then I tell it like it is. It's like, now that I have your attention, I have a few things to tell you.
Controversy always seems to surround you. This time, you have the ire of rabbis who are rather upset with the album track, Isaac. What's going on?
You do appreciate the absurdity of a group of rabbis in Israel claiming that I'm being blasphemous about someone when they haven't heard the record, right? And then, everyone in the media runs with it as if it's the truth. And that's a little weird.
But what's even weirder is that the song is not about Isaac Lurier, as the rabbis claim. It's named after Yitzhak Sinwani, who's singing in Yemenite on the track. I couldn't think of a title for the song. So I called it Isaac [the English translation of "Yitzhak"]. It's interesting how their minds work, those naughty rabbis.
What exactly is he singing about?
He's saying, "If all of the doors of all of the generous peoples' homes are closed to you, the gates of heaven will always be open." The words are about 1,000 years old.
How did he become a part of the album?
He's an old friend of mine. He's never made a record. He comes from generations of beautiful singers. Stuart and I asked him to come into the studio one day. We said, "We're just going to record you. We don't know what we're going to do with it." He's flawless. One take, no bad notes. He doesn't even need a microphone. We took one of the songs he did and I said to Stuart, "Let's sample these bits. We'll create a chorus and then I'll write lyrics around it." That's how we constructed it.
I toyed with the idea of calling the song "Fear of Flying," because it's about letting go and people who are afraid to fly obviously have control issues. We all have fears in many areas of our lives. Some people can't commit to relationships. The song is about tackling all of that. "Will you sacrifice your comfort? Make your way in a foreign land?" In other words, will you go outside of your comfort zone?
When you're in the studio, behind the mixing boards, what's going on in your head when it comes to special effects and vocal processing?
I'm playing with the idea of the post-modern world that we live in. The technological world we live in. I'm trying to find the soulfulness in technology and playing with that. I would prefer to not have back-up singers. I would rather take my own voice and layer it and change it and put affects on it so it sounds like a lot of different tones and timbres.
The album's lead single, Hung Up, was first heard in a TV spot for Motorola's iTunes-enhanced ROKR mobile phone.
I still haven't received my ROKR phone, by the way. I mean, where is it? See, they said they were going to give me a phone when I did the commercial and I didn't get it yet. Where is my ROKR phone? [laughs]
As I was saying, the song appeared in a TV ad. And you're partnered with other brands to help spread the word about the new album. How important is brand marketing for an artist in today's music landscape?
I'm a businesswoman. The music industry has changed. There's a lot of competition, and the market is glutted with new releases -- and new 'thises and thats.' You must join forces with other brands and corporations. You're an idiot if you don't.
Any truth to the rumor that there might be a Madonna pink Nano in the future?
I wish there would be. That would be cool. I like that.
You have a new relationship with Apple. For the first time, you are permitting your songs to be sold through the iTunes Music Store. Why now?
It's all about royalties - how much they're getting and how much we're getting. It was just a crap deal then. It's safe to say it's better now.
MTV cameras were following you around yesterday for its mtvU series, "Stand In." You actually surprised film and media students at Hunter College. What was it like being a "stand-in" professor?
The experience was amazing. I want to do more of it. I loved it. The students didn't know I was coming. They thought it was just going to be Jonas. They seemed shocked to see me there.
I stood at the podium and talked to them for a while. Then I answered some questions. They had a lot of good questions - a lot of good technological questions.
It confirmed for me that there are a lot of kids out there who want to know more, who want to be inspired, who aren't satisfied with being couch potatoes that think like robots. It was inspiring to hear what they had to say, to hear their comments, their concerns for what's going on in the world. They earnestly wanted to know what they could do to help.
What's the possibility of a "Confessions" tour -- and what would it entail?
I'm currently exploring the possibility. If I go on tour, it would be next summer. And it would be all out disco, with lots of disco balls. I would focus on dance music and the new record. I already did the older stuff on my Re-Invention Tour.
Any interest in starting a label again?
No. Too much work. I don't want to be the CEO of anything.
What about film work. Any roles on the horizon?
I want to direct a film. I'm currently looking at things, checking stuff out. I had a great experience working on I'm Going To Tell You A Secret. I was much more involved than on any other film I've made. From every aspect -- pre-production and filming to film stock and cameras used to editing and post-production -- I loved it.
I worked on it with Jonas, so his input was important and vital. So was the input from my investors. Everyone had a say. Sometimes we disagreed vehemently. And sometimes I'd come around to their way of thinking after stomping my feet and saying, "Absolutely not, I'm not changing that. That's the worst idea I ever heard in my life." Then two weeks later, I'd be like, "You know, this isn't such a bad idea."
Making a film is a lot harder than making a record. In addition to more people being involved in the process, there's also the visual element -- all the grading, color timing, off- and on-lining and special effects. Oy vey.
You once said that you were tired of making videos. Is that still the case?
I still am. At this point, I'd rather be directing it. But it's difficult to star in and direct something. Between hair and make-up -- it's not like I wake up looking like this, with my hair permanently pressed.
What music are you listening to these days?
I love the new Goldfrapp record. It's my main record. And I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks. Have you heard the soundtrack to "2046" [from director Kar Wai Wong, soundtrack released by Virgin France]? I can't stop playing it.
"She was once the undisputed Queen Of Pop, a woman whose blonde ambition made her unstoppable. But in recent years, many fans had begun to say a little prayer for the musical health of Madonna.
The singer's last two albums, 2000's Music and 2003's American Life, were wayward affairs, bedevilled by poor lyrics, tentative rhythms and a lack of hummable tunes. Even last year's Re-Invention Tour seemed like a desperate attempt to halt the slide.
But fear not. Madonna is returning to reclaim her dance-pop crown with a record that pushes her, feet-first, back into club culture.
Confessions On A Dance Floor, out Monday, is not only the former Ms Ciccone's best album since 1998's Ray Of Light. It's a non-stop, rhythm-driven tour de force that ranks alongside anything she made in her chart-conquering heyday.
Madonna, her self-confidence surely dented by the cool reception of American Life, has gone back to basics. That means a return to the spirit of the New York clubs where she cut her teeth.
She describes the new album as 'future disco', but there's a strong retro feel to the 12 tracks here.
Some will claim that dressing up in a pink leotard and stilettos and getting down and dirty 'neath a disco ball isn't a particularly dignified way for a 47-yearold mother-of-two to behave.
That won't bother Madonna, who has never been one to grow old gracefully. Singing with assurance, she carries off this latest reinvention with aplomb.
Part of the credit should go to her latest creative partner, producer Stuart Price. As musical director on her last two tours, Price knows Madonna better than most, and his electronic rhythms dovetail perfectly with her distinctive voice.
Madonna and Price also observe one of the basic rules of great dance music: people might shuffle their feet to throbbing rhythms, but a barnstorming dance anthem is nothing without a decent tune - and Confessions On A Dance Floor is chock-a-block with them.
Current single Hung Up, a souped-up cover of Abba's 'Gimme Gimme Gimme', sets the tone. Kylie-esque, it might be aimed at Madonna's large gay following, but its slick, sexy appeal is universal and it's no surprise that it is almost certain to top the charts this Sunday.
From that point on, the highlights come thick and fast. Get Together is a trance-like number which marries ambient keyboards to a strong hook. Sorry, a future single, borrows the bassline from 'Can You Feel It' by The Jacksons.
Future Lovers finds Madonna repeating the phrase 'give me evidence of its brilliance' against an undulating synthesiser backing reminiscent of Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love'.
The singer's nostalgia for her roots is also evident on I Love New York: 'I don't like cities, but I like New York/Other places make me feel like a dork/Los Angeles is for people who sleep/Paris and London, baby, you can keep.'
Given that all but two of the tracks here were recorded in the UK, one should take her dismissal of London with a large pinch of salt.
Elsewhere, Price's layered electronic instrumentation returns on Let It Will Be, Forbidden Love and Jump - the latter another surefire hit in the making.
The momentum slackens only in the album's final third, with the ponderous Push and the Eastern-influenced Isaac.
But Confessions rallies to end defiantly with Like It Or Not, the only track to blend acoustic guitar into the mix.
'This is who I am/You can like it or not/You can love me or leave me/'Cause I'm never going to stop.' You have been warned."
Madonna made several revelations in an interview taped for British TV and joked she may be a "gay man trapped in a woman's body." Madonna, 47, will be the only guest on Michael Parkinson's ITV 4 talk show Saturday night, Scotland's Daily Record reported Thursday .
Claiming she has mellowed with age, the Michigan native who now lives in England told Parkinson it is possible she has so many homosexual fans because "maybe I'm a gay man trapped in a woman's body." She said she loves being married to filmmaker Guy Ritchie and mom to Lourdes, 9, and Rocco, 5.
She also admits her wild reputation was well-deserved, but she has worked on keeping her more dramatic side in check. "I'm a dramatic person and I probably had some spectacular tantrums," she said. "But not now, I'm more in control of my big fat ego."
Madonna certainly has been the embodiment of the adage, "There's no such thing as bad publicity." For years, she expertly used controversy as a sales tactic, as she challenged sexual and social mores with her outlandish antics, defiant attitude, outspoken nature - and, of course, her music.
And it always seemed to work - until she got political.
Her last effort, 2003's American Life, trumpeted the star's opposition to the Iraq war, complete with a violent video that included a spoof of President Bush. It drew the usual cries of outrage from her detractors, but for the first time in her two-decade career, sales were lackluster.
"Of course I was disappointed," she says, the bitterness still present in her voice and her eyes. "I sort of knew it already, but if you're an entertainer, you're not allowed to have an opinion. ... if you go against the grain, you will be punished. I thought there would be a lot of people who agreed with me."
Madonna is decidedly less opinionated on her new record, Confessions On A Dance Floor, out Tuesday. An effervescent celebration of club life, the disc recalls the exhilaration and exuberance of some of her biggest hits, like Music and Vogue.
But while some may see the album as her attempt to re-establish herself as a pop queen, Madonna - who at 47 has become an icon, selling more than 60 million albums in the United States alone - says the quest for more fame is a low priority. What's paramount to Madonna now, besides her family and spirituality, is creating music that reflects her evolution not only as an artist, but as a person.
"I'm constantly changing and growing, and hopefully my work will always reflects that," she says. "Some things people will be able to relate to and they'll be popular and accessible, and other things they won't, but I'm not going to let that stop me. I didn't get into this business because I wanted people to like me instantly and be my best friend."
While becoming Miss Congeniality may not have been Madonna's goal when she entered the business, her quest for success was undeniable - and well-documented. Her 1991 documentary Truth Or Dare was a testament to her blond ambition, which she pursued with reckless abandon.
But on her new CD, the former Material Girl expresses disillusionment with celebrity. On the song How High, she wonders how much fame is enough - and what it's all worth in the end. And her new documentary, I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, which premiered on MTV last month, shows a Madonna more interested in her family life and the lives of her dancers and friends than in living in front of the cameras.
"I'm a totally different person now," says Madonna. "It's the natural progression - most people just grow up (after) having children, being in a grown-up relationship, having so many years of life in the spotlight ... having fame and fortune (and) realizing it's not what everyone thinks it is, and what it's all cracked up to be."
Not that she doesn't still play the part of the trendy pop star. On this day, she looks like a fashionista, dressed in a stylish outfit accented by golden pumps. And the blitz to promote the album is as massive as her previous efforts - she blanketed MTV's airwaves and has made high-profile appearances on behalf of the disc.
But this time, there's no major reinvention from the woman who has made it her career - from Madonna the disco queen to Madonna the vamp to Madonna the mother to Madonna the spiritual goddess and back again.
"I think for her, this record is sort of a retrospective of her career ... it's very self-referencing," says Stuart Price, who wrote and produced much of the record with Madonna. "I think the reinvention this time is not so much of a reinvention as an embracing of what it is and what she does."
MTV Networks President Van Toffler says Madonna still matters to the MTV audience and beyond.
"I remember probably about a year or so ago, Madonna was here and 50 Cent was in the studio. And 50 was dying to get introduced to her, and then he walked away and said ... `She kissed me!'" he recalls.
But while Madonna remains keen on keeping up with trends, it's clear it's no longer her focus. She's unlikely to be in the clubs these days because she has to get up early and tend to her family. Married to director Guy Ritchie, Madonna spends most of her time with him and their two children at home in Britain; her free days revolve around her kids' activities.
"My daughter (Lourdes) dances, she loves ballet," Madonna muses. "I like to go and watch her dance. My son (Rocco), he does martial arts, because that's what my husband does. ... They're pretty busy, they do lots of afterschool activities. I like to do those things with them."
She says her children get much of the credit for the kindler, gentler Madonna that's emerged in recent years (the former "Sex" author has even penned children's books).
But her devotion to Kabbalah, the Jewish mysticism that has gained popularity in recent years, also has been a factor.
Her ties to it have drawn skepticism, and some people have even labeled it a cult - which makes Madonna bristle.
"I think that people are bothered by it because it's unfamilar to them," she says. "If you're someone that people look up to, and you're doing something that doesn't fit into the expected behavior of a pop star, some people are going to be suspicious about that. But, you know, it's not like I've joined the Nazi party!"
Instead, she says it's only added to the continuing development of Madonna - the person, not the superstar.
"It's made me grow up and it's made me ask more questions and made me understand that I have a responsibility in this world that goes beyond me," she explains. "It's the realization that we're responsible for each other in the world (and) we're not accepting that as a sound bite but living it."
Madonna went to extraordinary lengths to protect her new album at a top secret media preview this week, by making sure the CD was destroyed after it was played.
Confessions On A Dance Floor was played in full at a release party in Hollywood, Florida, on Tuesday night, before an audience of journalists, reviewers and record executives, ahead of it's release next week. According to US TV show The Insider, a CD was flown into the state's Fort Lauderdale airport under armed guard.
It was then picked up by Madonna's brother Christopher Ciccone who handed it in person to DJ Tracy Young, who played the LP at the party at the Pangaea nightclub. The CD was reportedly destroyed after the party to make sure it didn't fall into the wrong hands.
Madonna was so determined to ensure the recording sessions for her new album Confessions On A Dance Floor were productive she ordered food to be delivered to her producer's house. The singer recorded the disc at music producer Stuart Price's house and was appalled to discover how messy and unstocked it was.
So caring Madonna decided to transcend her superstar status and also took to bringing coffee with her each day. She says: "I'd come by in the morning and Stuart would answer the door in his stocking feet - as he'd been up all night. "I'd bring him a cup of coffee and say, 'Stuart, your house is a mess, there's no food in the cupboard.'
"Then I'd call someone from my house to bring food over for him. And then we'd work all day. "We're very much the odd couple."
Madonna loves using the word 'f**k' - because it has a multitude of meanings and she relishes how annoying swearing is to many people. The Music star, well known for her controversial stage performances and outspoken language, loves the release of bad language and the fact it always irritates people. The 47-year-old says, "It's fantastic... it means so much.
"I love the fact that it used to mean one thing and now it means a thousand others. "It just feels so good to scream it out loud, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. "And I just love how it irritates everyone."
US pop star Madonna admitted she fell for British film director husband Guy Ritchie when she saw him bare-chested and discovered his sense of humor and movie talent, according to excerpts of an interview.
"I saw him with his shirt off playing tennis and that was a big plus and then I sat next to him at a lunch and he was incredibly witty and that was another big plus," Madonna said in an interview with Michael Parkinson of ITV television.
"I think sense of humor is important and finally I saw his first movie and I thought God he's incredibly talented. So those three things put together were a huge aphrodisiac," the so-called Queen of Pop said.
Parkinson dedicates the whole of his program on Saturday to Madonna ahead of another expected Number One chart success with her latest single, "Hung Up."
Madonna, 47, said she can still throw the "odd temper tantrum" but she had calmed down and was "much more in control of my big fat ego".
She said: "I'm a very dramatic person and when I do things I can do them in a very big and spectacular way, so yes I probably had some very big spectacular tantrums."
The mother of two also revealed her secrets of domestic bliss.
"There is a lot of one-upmanship going on, I have to say. You do have to learn to say I'm sorry, even when you don't mean it and I'm telling you, if you say it even when you don't mean it, it really gets you a long way, okay? Just a little secret for everybody."
Madonna knows what people are thinking.
She's well aware that plenty of eyes roll, or glaze over, every time she talks about politics or war or her parental duties or, most of all, her spiritual quest through kabbalah. But because she has insisted on addressing these subjects so often -- both during interviews and in her music -- the media have come to consider the grown-up Madonna to be as preachy as the younger one was thought to be dangerous.
"What do you call 'preachy'?" Madonna asks. "Having an opinion? Guilty as charged!"
As Madonna holds forth in her Manhattan hotel room, she's obviously in no mind to go back to playing the party girl of old. She may be here to promote her new CD, Confessions On A Dance Floor, which returns her to the rousing beats and frothy exuberance of early hits like "Holiday." But she says her motivation for recording such an album wasn't simply to make fun music again, or even to shore up her wobbly recording career.
Instead, it seems, she wanted to, ahem, help mankind.
"It's that old cliche," the Michigan native explains. "When the world gets you down, you need to be lifted up. Look at the state of the world. People need to be inspired and happy."
It's not the only time Madonna serves up a lofty sociopolitical theory for what many might consider a simple musical issue.
Asked why her last CD, American Life, became the first disappointing seller of her career (barely going gold), she doesn't acknowledge any possible artistic deficit. Instead, she asserts that the cool reception was "because I was critiquing America. We had just gone to war in Iraq, and I was criticizing George Bush's decision. People were saying, 'You're not supporting the troops.' 'You don't care.'
"Which is bull. ... I care a lot. That's why I didn't want it to happen. I said the wrong thing at the wrong time."
Back then, the singer made a very un-Madonna-like move by withdrawing her controversial video for American Life, which equated Bush with Saddam Hussein.
Now she asserts that the only reason she yanked the video was "because I was worried for my children. I saw what happened with the Dixie Chicks. I didn't want people to throw rocks at (my kids) on the way to school."
Not that Madonna's retreat lasted very long. She addresses politics again in her new documentary, I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, which aired recently on MTV and VH1. Though the film covers some of the zippier moments from 2004's terrific Re-Invention Tour, it finds Madonna pontificating about the importance of "going against the establishment" and of taking "responsibility for the world around you."
At one point, she even dresses down her makeup man for not being registered to vote.
Originally, the "Secret" documentary was supposed to come out in movie theaters. Though Madonna did shop it at the Cannes Film Festival, she says she was turned off by the idea that "unless you're Steven Spielberg, distributors take all your DVD rights."
The new documentary contrasts tellingly with her previous one. In the 1991 Truth or Dare, Madonna comes off as a flip and provocative fun-time gal. This time she says things like "Sometimes fun is overrated."
While "Truth" painted her as an outrageous Lady Madonna, "Secret" reveals her to be a cross between Joan Baez and a singing-dancing Mother Teresa in training.
The media have had a field day with the transformation. Long ago, it become a staple of gossip columns to giggle over the contrast between the sassy young Madonna and the prim children's author.
Madonna, who's now 47, sees no contradiction.
"Obviously, my tastes and my priorities have changed," she says. "But I am still asking the question 'Why?' Just because I'm a mother doesn't mean I'm not still a rebel and that I don't want to go in the face of convention and challenge the system. I never wanted to think in a robotic way, and I don't want my children to think that way, either. I think parents should be constantly questioning society."
Some critics, however, assert that Madonna is being reactionary, or even (gasp!) conservative, in her oft-stated refusal to let her kids (Lourdes, 9, and Rocco, 5) watch television.
"It's not conservative," she says. "It's actually very punk-rock to not watch TV."
But let Madonna talk long enough about pop-culture excess, and she ends up sounding not wildly dissimilar to Pat Robertson. "It's very surface-oriented and of the moment and disposable," she says. "You have to constantly up the ante. (Celebrities) just have to keep getting more extreme to get attention. It's crap. It's scary. We are obviously creating our own demise."
Eeyow! Are things that bad? "Look at the world we live in," says Madonna.
In reaction, the singer has spent more and more time exploring the inner life through her faith. The shift has inspired more hostility toward her than anything in years.
"It would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party," Madonna says of kabbalah, a Jewish mystical school of thought.
" 'What do you mean you study the Torah if you're not Jewish?' " she asks rhetorically. " 'What do you mean you pray to God and wear sexy clothes? We don't understand this.' It frightens people. So they try to denigrate it or trivialize it so that it makes more sense.
"I find it very strange that it's so disturbing to people," she continues. "It's not hurting anybody."
On that level, she relates to Tom Cruise, who has taken endless flak for being a Scientologist. "If it makes Tom Cruise happy, I don't care if he prays to turtles," Madonna says. "And I don't think anybody else should."
The accusation that her participation in kabbalah makes her part of a cult irks her even more. "We're all in a cult," Madonna says. "In this cult we're not encouraged to ask questions. And if we do ask questions, we aren't going to get a straight answer. The world's in the cult of celebrity. That's the irony of it."
Certainly, Madonna should know a few things about that particular cult, having worked its tenets to a T. The difference, she says, is that "I hope to utilize (fame) to make things better, to help people come to their senses."
Even if we, the benighted, fail to heed Madonna's call, at least she can still get us to pay attention to her more routine controversies. Apparently, she has the ability to stir some up even when she's not trying.
A song on the new album titled Isaac, which uses Jewish musical motifs, has outraged some kabbalist rabbis. They claim the song is about Isaac (or Yitzhak) Luria, a 16th-Century Jewish mystic. "Jewish law forbids the use of the name of the holy rabbi for profit," said Rabbi Rafael Cohen, who heads a seminary named after Luria.
Madonna insists that her song is not about Luria at all but about Yitzhak Sinwani, who sings on the track. "They're saying I'm committing a blasphemy, but that's not what the song is about," she says. "What are they doing commenting on pop songs? Don't they have synagogues to pray in?"
The album may provoke some milder criticism for another song: I Love New York, in which Madonna lionizes the city while singing that "L.A. is for people who sleep / London and Paris, baby, you can keep."
"It's just that feeling of 'God, I love" New York, Madonna explains. "I'll always have a special fondness for this place, because this is where I learned how to survive. This is where I went to the school of hard knocks, where I found myself. Believe me. I love London and I love Paris. But in that song I don't."
Madonna emphasizes the point in the new song Let It Will Be. In one moment, she sings about having done whatever it took early in her career to become famous. In the next, she sneers at the culture of fame. "I'm posing the question to everybody: How far are you willing to go?"
As far as acting, Madonna feels she has gone just about far enough. All those who've winced through films like Body of Evidence and Swept Away will be thrilled to know that Madonna says she's not interested in acting in movies anymore. "I want to direct," she announces.
Pop superstar Madonna refuses to buy newspapers and magazines because she is sick of the inaccurate stories they print about her. The Hung up hitmaker, who is a devout follower Kabbalah, is determined to protect her children Lourdes, nine, and five-year-old Rocco from the media circus which surrounds her.
And the 47-year-old doesn't have enough spare time to waste trying to set journalists straight. She says: "I find it frustrating because my life is always misinterpreted through a filter of misinformation. "It's simple. I don't want to be influenced by the gossip and the press and one inevitably is if you read it.
"I get to the third page of a paper and there's a hideous article about me, my husband or my children or somebody in my circle, and I end up getting irritated and I'd rather not have that in my life."
Guy Ritchie wooed pop queen Madonna by debating the questions surrounding the evolution of life on Earth. The Like A Virgin hitmaker was bowled over by Ritchie's impressive intellect, and she still loves to share in depth discussions with her husband.
She says: "When I first met him he was reading voraciously. "His thing was Darwinism versus Genesis. I had never had these conversations with anyone before. And I found them thrilling and he taught me things I didn't know, which I also found thrilling."
It was my commitment to Madonna, not Roman Catholicism, that moved me to petition my parents for a cross - not a tiny, delicate one that would nestle in the hollow of my throat, but a conspicuous, wards-off-vampires cross. My parents' response was to buy me a Star of David only slightly smaller than the hood ornament on our Buick.
A cross, as any fan in the early 1980's knew, was the essential accouterment of those determined to dress like Madonna. But I was 8 and not brazen enough to borrow one surreptitiously from a friend. I was also vaguely concerned about being struck down by a higher power.
To make matters worse, I was not permitted to wear black, the color Madonna donned from head to toe in her Lucky Star music video. ("There will be plenty of time to wear black when you're an adult," my mother said.) When I tied my hair back with a scrap of fabric, as Madonna often did, my mother employed the Yiddish word for rag and advised, "Take that shmatte off your head."
Hence my devotion to Madonna was expressed solely in my bedroom, that pastel cocoon of wicker and whispers where I danced among the Cabbage Patch Kids and sang Like A Virgin. Never mind that I didn't know what a virgin was. When I danced to Madonna, I felt as if I were 18, not 8.
Like countless girls of my generation, I was captivated by her style (the fingerless gloves, the navel-baring shirts, the armloads of bracelets, the forbidden cross) and awed by her cocky defiance of gender conventions. Never had we seen someone so bold, so powerful, so sexually aggressive who was not a man. At times she was crass. At times she was mean. But she made us consider the kind of women we wanted to be.
On Tuesday, Madonna's 10th studio album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, will be released in the United States. MTV's Web site began playing an advance copy late last week and last month the station showed the premiere of I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, a documentary about Madonna's 2004 Re-Invention world tour and trip to Israel.
Visitors to the recently revamped Madonna.com site can find links to her new MySpace.com page and a toll-free number to call and confess their "secrets."
Here's mine: after more than 20 years of discovering unsung heroes in the women around me - mentors and friends who are tough and sexy in ways that do not require peroxide and cone bras - I still love Madonna.
Even as I write this I am listening to the first single from the album (Hung Up), my right leg twitching to its hypnotic thump. It is only fitting: Madonna's music has been a soundtrack to my life from the time I threw on a blond wig and went trick-or-treating to the time I organized an all-Madonna college dance party to which women wore very little and men wore bras fashioned out of plastic cups from the dining hall.
In 1989 my friends and I got a crash course in censorship when Pepsi canceled a television commercial featuring Madonna after learning that consumers had confused it with her Like A Prayer music video, which included stigmata, burning crosses and interracial love scenes. We were educated again in 1990, when MTV banned her orgiastic Justify My Love music video, and again in 1991, when the documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare revealed that she was threatened with arrest in Toronto on obscenity charges during her Blond Ambition tour.
Those were the Madonna moments that helped me to crystallize my views on freedom of expression. Then there were the moments that my friends and I created for sheer escapism: driving an hour in the rain to see Madonna in the film Evita on the day it was released in 1996; singing Holiday a capella on road trips in a Dodge Colt with a busted radio; hightailing it out of a Taco Bell before we received the food we purchased because someone said Madonna was down the block.
I felt betrayed when Madonna moved to the English countryside and began writing children's books. I had long outgrown my desire for a supersize cross, but the buttoned up woman with the pseudo-English accent was not the dance floor spitfire with whom I came of age. Still, she continued to be a sharp businesswoman with a biting sense of humor. And she stayed true to the one thing she has always been - a chameleon.
Madonna has transformed herself so many times that nearly every fan has seen a glimmer of herself, or himself, reflected in her at some point. Whether she was celebrating interracial relationships, gay club culture or S-and-M, the spirit of her work has always been inclusive. To see even a part of yourself embraced by her, especially a part that you feel is marginalized, can be a heady validation.
So imagine my delight during Madonna's Re-Invention Tour last summer when, while slicked with sweat and lost in the music, I suddenly looked up at the stage and saw imposing Hebrew letters floating across a scrim. It took a moment for me to register that I was looking at the language of the Torah. After years of chasing Madonna, she had finally come to me.
Her form of kabbalah may be controversial, but she has said that it has helped her to explore answers to questions like "Why am I here?" and "What is my purpose?" And in truth, my preoccupation with Madonna has always been less about her life choices than mine. Whether I liked what she was doing or not, she pushed me to consider the choices I made for myself.
It has been more than two decades since the release of Like A Virgin. And as any fan knows, the essential Madonna accessory these days is the red string kabbalah bracelet. Yet such particulars are unimportant now. I no longer dress like Madonna. I dress like my mother, all in black. Around this time last year we were poolside in Orlando.
I pulled my hair back with a bandana as I applied sunscreen and grooved to the Madonna track pumping out of my headphones. My mother was reading, but I interrupted her to ask if I had failed to blend in the goop on my face. "Do I look all right?" I asked from behind my big black shades. "You look beautiful," she said, peering over the top of her even bigger black shades. "But take that shmatte off your head."
On her new album Confessions On A Dance Floor Madonna speaks Dutch. Really. It's only three words and they're pronounced badly, but in the song Sorry she clearly says: "Ik ben droevik". On her new album, the pop diva of 47 picks the cards of pop and disco. She collects some samples and producer Stuart Price has made a swinging remix out of it. Our opinion: damn surprising!
Hung Up: Good choice for first single, because this song is irresistable, even though that has to do with the Abba sample from Gimme Gimme Gimme. After The Fugees, who sampled The Name of the Game for Rumble in the Jungle, Madonna is only the second artist that receives permission from Björn and Benny to sample from their oeuvre. Madonna has done a good job at that. The song swings from beginning to the end. (9/10)
Get Together: Starts with some kind of school bel and high voices, followed by a very thumping disco bass after which the Queen of Pop sings 'Do you believe in love?' and other mellow verses. The track resembles heavy trance, but doesn't quite make it because Madonna strolls a bit too 'flat' through the song. (7/10)
Sorry: Fantastic song in which Madonna speaks a bit of Dutch. 'Ik ben droevik' she says in a way our previous pope would have done. Unfortunately she meant 'Het spijt me', which she says in half a dozen other languages. The track is catchy, even though you could label it 'flat dance'. (8/10)
Future Lovers: Madonna samples again; this time a Giorgio Moroder sample that Donna Summer used in 'I Feel Love'. The ambiance of this song is mysterious and makes the song better at each listening. (9/10)
I Love New York: "If you don't like my attitude, then you can F-off Just go to Texas, isn't that where they golf?" Madonna bashes George Bush and praises New York. Coz New Yorkers think they've got little to do with the rest of America. A song without much pace. (7/10)
Let It Will Be: Here it's clear Madona has again worked with Mirwais, who also collaborated on American Life. A little too repetitive. (6/10)
Forbidden Love: Kraftwerk and The Human League were the inspiration for this song, that uses a lot of filtered sounds. This mystic song is one of the better ones. (8/10)
Jump: This song already begs for a remix, because this version sounds a bit lame in our opinion. Technopop might be trendy again, but trendwatchers don't mean this plastic melody. (5/10)
How High: Fantasticly heavy, a catchy chorus and lyrics about how high you can place your bets in life. Very good, although there's a bridge missing that could make it a tat more surprising. (8/10)
Isaac: The exception on the album, in which Madonna sings on her Kabbalah belief. Isaac Luria is the person that gets loved and worshipped. Musically this song is either 'quatsch' either 'top'. For us, Isaac (the song) is more than okay. Combining chants with good techno: congrats! (9/10)
Push: Since the album is one large remix, Push continues on the exotic sounds from the previous track, adding some steeldrums. Not a highlight, but it doesn't always have to be so spicy. (6,5/10)
Like It Or Not: Not, we'd say, because this song in which Madonna sings quite often 'Better the devil you know', is one of the weaker songs, that lyrically is a metaphore for the earthly paradise combined with Matahari and Cleopatra. (5,5/10)
Actor Ronn Moss, better known as Ridge Forrester from "The bold and the beautiful" will be selling Madonna's new album on thursday in multimedia store ExtraZone in Brussels.
Moss will get some help from Belgian singer Hadise. The new disc Confessions On A Dance Floor will not only be for sale in Brussels; at midnight 13 stores of ExtraZone will open their doors for one hour.
The official release date for the album is November 14th. The first single Hung Up is already for sale. It promises to be a very danceable album. "I don't like to repeat myself and i wanted to dance" says Madonna about the album.
The singer hopes the album will score better than American Life, her previous album of which "only" four million copies got sold.
Yours truly was interviewed last tuesday by Belgian Radio Donna. Presenter Leen Demare chatted with me about Madonna, Kabbalah and of course the new album. We also discussed the Dutch phrase "Ik ben droevig" in Sorry, which actually means "I'm sad" instead of "I'm sorry".
Donna will call me back tomorrow morning to ask my opinion on the album (which will go on sale here tonight at midnight). That will be the kick-off of a full 'Madonna Day' on their station. They'll be handing out free copies of the new album to their listeners, so Belgian fans should stay tuned tomorrow!
Meanwhile, a camera crew of 'Het Hart van Vlaanderen', lifestyle show on commercial tv channel VTM, will be following me and Kris (my Madonna partner-in-crime) tonight while we queue in front of the ExtraZone store in Ghent. Expect a lot of Madonna madness on the screen this saturday eve ;-)
Madonna's documentary I'm Going To Tell You A Secret is to receive its British TV premiere on Channel 4 next month.
The film, which follows Madonna on her 2004 Re-Invention Tour, will be shown on Channel 4 on 1 December and repeated on digital channel E4 eight days later.
Directed by Jonas Akerlund, it received its US premiere in New York in October.
The documentary - which features her husband Guy Ritchie and the film-maker Michael Moore - is the singer's first since In Bed with Madonna in 1991.
Viewers will see behind the scenes footage, live concert highlights and film of the performer relaxing at home with her children, Lourdes and Rocco.
They will also see her giving her make-up man a dressing down for not being registered to vote.
In an interview with the MTV website, Madonna said she had considered releasing the film in cinemas but was put off by what it entailed.
"Unless you're Steven Spielberg distributors take all your DVD rights," she said.
"It was thinking outside the box to have it shown on TV."
Madonna's latest album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, is released on 14 November.
Network LIVE, a joint venture between America Online, XM Satellite Radio and AEG, today announced that the Company will produce and distribute Madonna's international album launch event for Confessions On A Dance Floor live from KoKo's in London on November 15th at 10 pm GMT / 5 pm ET to a worldwide audience of millions of music fans via AOL Music LIVE, XM Satellite Radio and multiple wireless providers internationally. This is the first international production and broadcast for Network LIVE, following Live8.
"This event demonstrates that Network LIVE is shifting the model for the music business in a real and significant manner, "said Kevin Wall, CEO of Network LIVE. "It is an honor to work with Madonna to deliver her music to millions of fans across the world, and ensure that people across the globe can experience this intimate show on demand, or when they want, through the device of their choice."
The performance follows the highly successfully and critically acclaimed Live8 model of live music content production, distribution and marketing, and Kevin Wall, CEO of Network LIVE and Executive Producer of Live8, will be in London to produce the event.
The KoKo's show will feature Madonna's acclaimed band including music visionary and DJ guru Stuart Price who also served as Madonna's co-producer on her new CD, which is scheduled to be released around the world on November l4th and l5th.
"Just as the record is where pop meets dance, the show is where live musicians meet the DJ world," stated Price. Madonna originally played KoKo's, formerly Camden Palace, at the very beginning of her career in June l983 following the release of the underground club hit Everybody.
An exclusive behind-the-scenes segment will take fans backstage with Madonna right before the show begins. The on-location audience for the show will consist of 1500 Madonna fans who will receive tickets through radio contests in more than 40 countries around the world.
Madonna, the best selling female artist ever in the UK, has international album sales of over 200 million.
Her eagerly anticipated Confessions On A Dance Floor is one of the most anticipated albums of this year and features the debut smash single Hung Up. Her new music once again establishes Madonna as the most exciting and innovative artist of her time and once again reminds fans what sets her apart as a dance music pioneer for the last two decades.
The Material Girl has had 58 Top Ten UK hit singles, including ten Number 1 singles, eight Number 1 albums and close to 2000 combined weeks on the UK charts. The raves for Madonna's new album are arriving fast and furious
"Anyone who thought Madonna might have abdicated as the Queen of Pop can kneel at her feet once more," glowed the Sun about her new record. "Her tenure at the top has just been extended indefinitely," added Uncut Magazine.
The book SECRET CONFESSIONS FROM THE MADONNA RE-INVENTION TOUR is to coincide the release on DVD of the long-awaited Madonna tour movie I'm Going To Tell You A Secret. Therefore this book is a recommendation for every true Madonna fan. It confesses the whole story of Madonna on tour from Manchester to Lisbon and is illustrated with never-seen photos on tour. What you didn't see in the movie, you'll find in this book.
Hung Up is at this week's
no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay
no. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles
no. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay
no. 9 on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs
no. 19 on the radio Top 40 Mainstream
no. 17 on the radio Top 40 Adult
no. 1 on the UK Airplay chart.
no. 1 at Radio Donna's download chart
no. 1 at the Dutch Mega Top 50 (no. 10 in Top 40)
As reported before, Belgium and Holland will be the first to receive the new album. In Belgium the album will be sold this thursday at midnight in the ExtraZone shops. That same night there will be an official release party at Le Cabaret in Brussels; where the album will be presented at 10pm. Click here for details.
In Holland there will be an official release party at FAME music store in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the fanclub MadonnaNed. Check here for details.
Ticking clocks. Sirens. Pounding, nonstop, irresistible beats. And somewhere in the midst of it all, things — particularly a voice — that sound familiar, but also don't sound much like anything you've heard before ...
Madonna's new album, Confessions On A Dance Floor (out November 15) borrows from the past — even from her own past — to create a sound that's classic but also new. And it works.
The album merges elements of '70s disco, '80s electro-pop and present-day club burners, but it also allows us a peek into Madge's mind, with her thoughts on love, religion and fame bubbling into the album's frothy mix. "Ergo Confessions,' " she says. "Is [the title's meaning] coming together now?"
Heavily self-referential, the album might find Madonna singing about the weighty topics that informed her last LP — Kabbalah, questioning fame and the material world — but the lyrics come with the sweetener of thumping, pulsing, shimmering dance beats.
You can understand the words, but the songs aren't diatribes like those on her last album, 2003's American Life. (There's also, thankfully, no rapping.) The beat is paramount: The songs are even segued together, so that one runs seamlessly into the next.
"When I wrote American Life, I was very agitated by what was going on in the world around me," Madonna says. "I was angry. I had a lot to get off my chest. I made a lot of political statements. But now, I feel that I just want to have fun; I want to dance; I want to feel buoyant. And I want to give other people the same feeling. There's a lot of madness in the world around us, and I want people to be happy."
Fair enough. Madonna started writing the material with collaborator Stuart Price (who also works under the noms du disco Jacques Lu Cont, Les Rhythmes Digitales and Thin White Duke) with the intention of scoring a movie musical. But the movie ended up not happening, so she turned the beats around. "That's how it all started," she says. " 'Let's go disco!' "
She brought aboard Mirwais Ahmadzaï, her collaborator on the 2000 Music album, but after recording two songs, she ended up making the bulk of the album with Price. "I tried several different things when Stuart brought me music," she says.
"And it was like divine inspiration. It just clicked, like: 'This is the direction of my record.' That's what we intended, to make a record that you can play at a party or in your car, where you don't have to skip past a ballad. It's nonstop."
Fun music requires serious research, so they studied the classics. Together, they soaked up vintage disco hits by Donna Summer, the Bee Gees and, she says, "ABBA, ABBA, ABBA! That's all we ever played."
In fact, the album's first single, Hung Up, uses a sample of ABBA's 1979 disco hit, "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)," and in other songs, she weaves in snatches of the Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls" and "Being Boring" and Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," along with elements from songs by Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, Erasure and Kylie Minogue.
And "self-referential" doesn't even begin to describe Get Together, which incorporates Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You" — which, in essence, is a rewrite of her own Holiday.
Bits of Madonna's musical history have been incorporated as well. Hung Up, for instance, contains lyrics from Love Song, her 1989 duet with Prince. Isaac, the song that had some Israeli rabbis in a lather last month, resembles a slightly sped-up Frozen.
Jump is like a sequel to Keep It Together, and the lyrics for How High (which is cleverly sequenced after Jump) reference two song titles from Music: Nobody's Perfect and I Deserve It.
And there are now two (totally different) songs in the Madonna canon called "Forbidden Love": the lush ballad with Babyface from 1994's Bedtime Stories, and the Erasure-esque perculator on Dance Floor.
"I did all of that on purpose," she says. "I mean, if I'm going to plagiarize somebody, it might as well be me, right? I feel like I've earned the right to rip myself off. 'Talent borrows, genius steals,' " she laughs. "Let's see how many other clichés I can throw in there."
Hardly cliché, even the big love song on Confessions has a twist. Push, a tribute to her husband, Guy Ritchie, picks up where Borderline left off by thanking him for challenging her. And although spiritual matters are still on her mind, they're tempered by the beat and by experience.
"I continue to ask questions," Madonna says, "hoping there's a sense of hope and happiness in the record as well." Even the prayer-like Isaac, which features Yitzhak Sinwani of the London Kabbalah Center chanting religious lyrics in Yemenite-Hebrew, has a pulsating rhythm.
Yet the album's strongest track might be the second single, the Pet Shop Boys-esque Sorry, which is punctuated with Madonna singing the title in about 10 different languages, and wistfully evokes the sounds of the '80s-era dance clubs that first lofted her toward stardom.
As if to hammer the album's old-but-new theme home, I Love New York finds Madonna lyrically shunning her adopted hometowns to praise the city that made her a star. "Los Angeles is for people who sleep/ Paris and London, baby, you can keep." (This coming from a woman who now lives in England.)
"Can't I love New York the best?" she says. "There's enough room in my heart for other cities, and there's also a bit of irony in the song, you know. I actually wrote that while I was on tour and in New York, and I was loving the energy of being here and just feeling like I stuck my finger in an electric socket. I can't wait to do it live — I'm going to throw my hair around!"
And she probably won't be the only one: Confessions is likely to please anyone who's been longing for a Madonna album like the ones she used to make. And if it doesn't, well ...
"People might think I'm cuckoo, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it," she says. "I hope that I reach people, inspire people. Not everyone's going to agree with my point of view, and they shouldn't. That's what makes the world go round."
On the cover of her new album, Madonna is striking a pose. She's clad in Eighties-via-Noughties club bunny couture, almost breakdancing. The 'o' in her name has been replaced by a mirrorball.
The title seals the deal: here is sleek, electronic dance music, it says, the like of which we have not heard from Madonna since the best bits of 1998's Ray Of Light. There are nudges and winks here and there that suggest, moreover, that this is the kind of frothy Madonna confection we haven't enjoyed since the Eighties, when hot pink was last considered flattering.
Artists hate admitting that their old stuff is usually better than their middle period, but here is Madonna, quoting snatches of her old lyrics and rediscovering the rap-chat last heard on Vogue. On I Love New York, she begs the forgiveness of the city she forfeited for a large estate in Wiltshire and a new life as Mrs Guy Ritchie.
You get the distinct impression, too, that the sometime Queen of Pop has taken stock of reactions to her last couple of albums - 2000's not-exactly-epoch-making Music and 2003's poor-selling American Life - and has decided to give the people what they want: a high old time. Gone is the self-imposed task of opposing war or writing the Great American Album; back is the imperative to entertain. To paraphrase the Arctic Monkeys, she's remembered that she looks good on the dancefloor.
A retrenchment it may be, then, but Confessions is, on balance, a solid success. Inside, the 12 tracks flow seamlessly, in what used to be called an extended disco mix. The first single, Hung Up, sets the throbbing agenda. It's a monster of a tune, arrayed in homage around a sample of Abba's 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!'.
This is only the second time ever the Swedes have allowed their pop motherlode to be mined in this way, and Madonna and her new sonic fixer, Stuart 'Jacques Lu Cont' Price have made disco gold with it. Regrettably, nothing afterwards quite matches Hung Up's tight exuberance, but Mrs Ritchie, Price, Mirwais and a brace of latterday Swedish pop manufacturers such as Murlyn and Bloodshy & Avant make a good fist of trying.
The sounds on this record are deliriously saturated, the dynamics piquantly tooled. There are songs about falling in love and having a good time. The only major glitch on the ears is the way Madonna and her henchmen rely overmuch on synthesised string rushes, the kind of thing that makes trance records so cheesy.
You wish, too, that the melodies were a little tougher and that you weren't so pleased when recognisable references (such as the Giorgio Moroder throb that animates Future Lovers, or the Daft Punk nod on Forbidden Love) jump out at you.
But these are minor details. The next single, Sorry, sees Madonna taking a lover to task over an insistent dance-pop rush. Let It Will Be, meanwhile, is a kaleidoscopic track whose subtle synth hook and percolating equanimity make it an obvious candidate for single number three, if the pop law didn't state that third singles must always be ballads.
Spendidly, there are no actual ballads at all. The nearest thing is Isaac, the controversial song of praise to a kabbalah figurehead that has reportedly dismayed kabbalahists. It's the album's most glaring mis-step. Not for its subject matter per se, but for the shonky world-pop fusion instigated by the Hebrew chant that underpins the track.
The ballad-shaped hole on Confessions is also filled by How High, a spot of pumping self-analysis that does the thoughtful work of the album. It does this very well, with Madonna pondering the value of her fortune and fame.
We should hastily move past Push, a clunky vocal melody passed off as a love song to Guy, and celebrate the final track. Like It Or Not adopts the glam stomp currently owned by Goldfrapp and runs with it, ending Confessions on a jaunty, jubilant not.
You might wonder what a spiritually inclined mother of two who rides and hunts and insists on being called Mrs Ritchie at film premieres is doing making a record for decadent, metrosexual night creatures to jack their bodies to. But hang the contradictions; these confessions are worth taking.
The Times Online has a preview of the interview Geordie Greig had with Madonna and which will appear in the December issue of Tatler. They talk about the new album, the documentary and about marriage. Click here to read.
Madonna will not let a few cracked ribs and broken bones spoil her party. Weeks after falling from her horse on the grounds of her English estate, Madonna is in the mood to dance. Not surprisingly, she wants the world to know.
After the serious tone of her last album, 2003's American Life, Madonna wanted this collection to be happy and buoyant. "It was like, honey, I want to dance," she told Billboard during an interview in her New York hotel suite.
"I wanted to lift myself and others up with this record."
The new album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, is due November 15 from Warner Bros. (one day earlier internationally). A special edition, which includes a picture book and bonus track, arrives in December.
"I wanted a record with no ballads," Madonna says. "I wanted there to be no breaks, with one song segueing into the next -- just like in a disco."
The 12-track album was inspired by the many remixes her songs have received over the years. "Whenever I make records, I often like the remixes better than the original versions," she says. "So, I thought, screw that. I'm going to start from that perspective."
Confessions closes on a deeply personal note, with Madonna singing, 'This is who I am. You can like it or not." In this way, the album follows the musical arc of a club DJ's nightly set, which becomes more intense as the evening progresses.
Consider it Madonna's way of reeling in the listener. "I was only hinting early on, but then I tell it like it is," she says of the album's song order. "It's like, now that I have your attention, I have a few things to tell you."
For her 10th studio album, Madonna collaborated primarily with producer Stuart Price, who was part of her touring band for the Re-Invention and Drowned World treks.
Together they took Madonna's music back to the place where she first made her mark in the early '80s: the clubs. But they did so in a way that, while wickedly retro, pushes the beats and rhythms into the future.
"Our intention was to give a nod and a wink to people like Giorgio Moroder and the Bee Gees," Madonna says. "Stuart and I didn't want to remake the past, but make it into something new."
The album was recorded in Price's London flat. "I'd come by in the morning and Stuart would answer the door in his stocking feet -- as he'd been up all night," Madonna says with a smile. "I'd bring him a cup of coffee and say, 'Stuart, your house is a mess, there's no food in the cupboard.' Then I'd call someone from my house to bring food over for him. And then we'd work all day."
Pausing for a moment, she laughs and says, "We're very much the odd couple."
Whatever the approach, Warner Bros. Records chairman/CEO Tom Whalley likes the fact that Madonna returned to her roots for the album. "It is a tribute to dancing and having fun, which is very needed right now," he says.
Lead single Hung Up is off to an explosive start. The energetic, ABBA-sampling track first appeared in September, in a TV spot for Motorola's iTunes-compatible ROKR mobile phone that features Madonna and other artists jammed into a phone booth.
This week, the track moves 38-29 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart and 30-21 on the Adult Top 40 chart. It also reaches the summit of the Hot Dance Airplay chart and climbs to No. 5 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. It resides at No. 21 and No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Pop 100, respectively.
On November 7 and November 9, the catchy song will be featured in episodes of "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: NY," respectively. Hung Up also has been made available worldwide as a master ringtone with various mobile providers.
"We are off to a better than good start," Warner Bros. executive VP Diarmuid Quinn says. "Because her last album (American Life) didn't do quite as well as we had hoped, we really weren't sure what the reception would be this time around."
The interest in the new album underscores Madonna's place in pop culture. "With her last album, many naysayers were questioning her relevancy," Whalley says. 'This new album puts all that to rest."
In signature fashion, Madonna has not escaped controversy with Confessions. Album track Isaac has drawn the ire of some rabbis and religious scholars, who claimed the song is about 16th-century Jewish mystic/Kaballah scholar Yitzhak Luria.
Madonna only sighs. "You do appreciate the absurdity of a group of rabbis in Israel claiming that I'm being blasphemous about someone when they haven't even heard the record, " right?"
According to Madonna, Isaac -- which is about letting go of and tackling your fears -- is named after Yitzhak Sinwani, the track's featured vocalist, who sings in Yemenite.
Madonna, who needed a title for the song, chose the English translation of Sinwani's Hebrew first name. She adds, with a twinkle in her eye, "It's interesting how their minds work, those naughty rabbis."
Madonna, who is considering a "Confessions" tour for next summer, also has her sights set on the big screen. "I want to direct a film," says the singer, who is married to British filmmaker Guy Ritchie.
She credits this newfound interest to the "great experience" she had working with director Jonas Akerlund on her new documentary, I'm Going To Tell You A Secret. The film, which chronicles the 2004 Re-Invention world tour, debuted on MTV, with subsequent airings on VH1 and Logo. A DVD release is expected next year.
Madonna says she was very involved in the filmmaking process, from preproduction and filming to editing and postproduction. "It's a lot harder than making a record," she acknowledges. "All the grading, color-timing, off- and on-lining and special effects. Oy vey!"
She may be pushing 50 but pop queen Madonna is in the best shape of her life. Toned, tanned and with legs to die for, Madge looked stunning on stage at the MTV Europe music awards this week.
The 47 year old singer's energetic performance - and her figure - would put most teenagers to shame. So how does she keep herself looking so great? Obviously having an army of personal trainers, stylists, nutritionists and health gurus on the payrollmust help.
That's not forgetting the two French nannies she's just hired to take care of her kids Lourdes, nine, and Rocco, five, so she can concentrate on perfecting that star quality.
But the good news is there are things you can do to tone up and glow with vitality even if you don't have millions in the bank. LISA ADAMS takes a closer look at the Material Girl's regime
Madonna follows a strict healthy diet and refuses to touch junk food. She sticks to low calorie meals and only eats when she's hungry.The regime follows a mainly vegan diet based on organic vegetables, pulses, porridge, nuts, soy products and white fish. Meat, dairy products and sugar are avoided.
There are some bizarre rules attached to the diet too including chewing all your food 50 times and never cooking with electricity. For more information contact the Macrobiotic Association of Great Britain on www.macrobiotics.org.uk or 08707 200504
You'd think Madonna spends her life in the gym to get a body like hers. The truth is she's a devotee of Ashtanga Yoga which she practices for two hours a day, six days a week.This ancient form of yoga was used by warriors before going into battle and is extremely challenging. It is fast moving with an emphasis on explosive breathing, a noisy technique which together with set moves gets you sweating as much as you would with a conventional workout.
The results are lean and powerful muscles minus the bulk people get with weight training. It helps with suppleness and flexibility which is a reason why Madonna makes all her dance moves look so effortless. It is also considered to be a good way to helpyou focus. Madonna also goes horse riding regularly which may explain her contoured thighs.
Riding reaches the deep postural muscles of the trunk and pelvis and the adductor muscles of the thighs. It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and burns between 315 and 480 calories an hour. But if you don't have the cash to go riding then jogging is every bit as good afat burner. Contact the British Wheel of Yoga on www.bwy.org.uk or 01529 306851.
One of Madonna's key beliefs is that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. She follows Ayurvedic medicine, which is 5000 years old and uses herbs, diet and massage to harmonise the body. Christy Turlington, Demi Moore and Goldie Hawn are all fans of this approach to health and beauty. Madonna will have been given tailor-made guidelines on which foods to eat based on her personality.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, Pitta types are ambitious, passionate and irritable, vatas are quick, creative and anxious and kaphas are loving, calm and needy. In perfect health, a person will be a balance of all three doshas, but for most people, onetype will dominate. As an ambitious, high achiever, it is likely Madonna is a pitta type which means she'll be given foods to help calm her down. Contact the British Complementary Medicine Association on 0845 345 5977 or www.bcma.co.uk
Madonna follows the 2000 year old mystical Jewish Kabbalah religion.
You can spot followers by the tiny piece of red string around their left wrists, worn as a subtle declaration of their faith and to ward off evil spirits. A central part of the faith is a conviction that we'll find happiness if we reach out to each other and break down barriers in our everyday life.
The children's books Madonna has written are inspired by the faith. She has also praised the faith for helping her marriage to Guy Ritchie remain strong. Contact Kabbalah UK on www.kabbalahuk.com or 020 8944 1581
Madge's favourite tipple, an occasional pint of stout gives a glow too In fact a pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as an aspirin to prevent blood clots that raise the risk of heart attacks, according to scientists at Wisconsin University. They have previously stated that in tests, the most benefit they saw was from 24 fluid ounces of Guinness taken at mealtimes.
Stout also contains antioxidant compounds, which may help keep cancer at bay. And when Madge does fancy a treat, she goes for a tub of plain popcorn or a scoop of green tea ice cream. Green tea is known to contain cancer fighting properties. She is also a fan of the herb yerba. Taken from trees in Argentina, it is meant to fight stress, boost the immune system and burn fat. Find out about yerba on www.yerbamate.com.
Beauty sleep is actually a fat burner. It is possible to lose weight by spending just an extra hour a night in bed. One of the chemicals released during sleep is leptin, which helps suppress the production of fat cells. Madonna gets her sleep with the help of the latest health craze, turned fashion accessory, the Philip Stein Watch. It looks like an ordinary wristwatch which displays two time zones but its makers claim those who wear the watch will get a more restful sleep, increased energy and improved concentration.
Two discs on the back of the watch work in tandem with the body and change your energy from negative to positive.The range cost between pounds 600 and pounds 2000. For a cheaper way to a great night's sleep, contact the Sleep Council insomnia help line on 020 8994 9874
Even if you have a near perfect body, some clever trickery can help you look even more magnificent. The hottest new trend in celeb land is body shading.This beauty treatment contours the body with darker patches of fake tan to give the illusion of an enviable six-pack, a stronger jawline, leaner limbs or even a larger cleavage - all in an instant.Special stencils can be used for "six-packs", pecs and bottom tone.
Those fish-net tights which Madonna was wearing when she opened the MTV awards in spectacular style are also extremely forgiving.They are this winter's new trend and are a cheap and sweat- free way of flattering your pins. St Tropez body-shading starts at pounds 25.To find your nearest salon contact 0115 983 6363
MUST-HAVE CDs - MADONNA and Il Divo (its second). There are two CDs you have to watch out for in November. The first is Queen of Pop Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor. It is scheduled for release worldwide by the second week of November. Those who have heard the album have been gushing about it.
Critics and fans say its a cross between ABBA and the '80s. Madonna is actually sporting a '70s cut reminiscent of Farrah Fawcett, and if she is sporting the hair and clothes, can fashionistas be far behind?
The album is pure dance, like listening to Ministry of Sound or Hed Kandi, but one that is so addictively danceable. The buzz is that for anyone who has ever thought of her as a has-been, this album will make those naysayers kneel at her feet!
I caught up with Sting last night at the big charity dinner for Food for Life/Soil Association. He was surprised to learn that Madonna had sampled his hit "Every Breath You Take" in her new song Push, as we reported yesterday.
"Really? They didn't call us," he said, then added, "but good for her." Well, good for Sting, really. Madonna's nod to him means money in the bank.
Madonna's new album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, is scheduled for release on November 15, and the pop diva is already looking ahead to a possible summer tour. Madonna told Billboard, "I'm currently exploring the possibility. If I go on tour, it would be next summer. And it would be all out disco, with lots of disco balls. I would focus on dance music and the new record. I already did the older stuff on my Re-Invention Tour.
Madonna decided to do a dance album because she's enjoyed the many club remixes of her songs over the years. She said, "Whenever I make records, I often like the remixes better than the original versions. So, I thought, 'screw that. I'm going to start from that perspective.'"
Hung Up, the lead single from the album, is already Number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Figuring out ways to promote her songs and CD long before the release has been keeping Madonna busy.
November 15 is fast approaching, which means Confessions On A Dance Floor will soon be available. The first single off the album, Hung Up, has already reached #1 on the Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay Charts and will be making its appearance on CSI: Miami and CSI: New York on November 7 and November 9, respectively.
Now comes word that Madge may tour. "If I go on tour, it would be next summer... I would focus on dance music and the new record. I already did the older stuff on my Re-Invention tour," she told Billboard.com.
The 2004 Re-Invention Tour pulled in a whopping $125 million U.S.
Talking about the new LP, Madonna says she was inspired by the remixed versions of her old songs. "Whenever I make records, I often like the remixes better than the original versions. So I thought, screw that. I'm going to start from that perspective."
She and producer Stuart Price crafted the 12 tracks for Confessions by using a number of sampled beats and rhythms. The first single Hung Up features snippets of ABBA's "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)."
A track entitled Isaac has sparked some controversy from rabbis and religious scholars who claim the song is about a Jewish mystic/ Kaballah scholar from the 16th-century named Yitzhak Luria.
"You do appreciate the absurdity of a group of rabbis in Israel claiming that I'm being blasphemous about someone when they haven't even heard the record, right?" Madonna queried.
She says the song is about tackling your fears and letting them go. Yitzhak Sinwani is a featured singer on the track who sings in Yemenite and Isaac is simply the English translation of his name.
The irony of Madonna addressing how the rabbis haven't heard the track they were criticizing is that there's a chance they may have. According to the London Sun, Confessions On A Dance Floor has been leaked onto the internet. It'll be completely understandable if we hear about Madonna being super-pissed — extreme measures were taken as to prevent a leak because Madge strongly opposes music piracy.
In order to keep the record under wraps, no promotional copies were available for review (in Chart's case, our writer had to visit the label's office to hear the LP). In 2003, Madonna did her best to foil the attempts of eager fans trying to download copies of 2003's American Life by posting fake tracks on illegal downloading networks.
Madonna is said to be furious after it was revealed her forthcoming album has been leaked on the net.
Promotional copies of Confessions On A Dance Floor - released on November 14 - were even held back to stop it appearing online, but these precautions were to no avail.
The Sun claims that they were contacted by Madge fans who had downloaded the alum off the internet.
This has apparently left Madonna fuming, who is staunch opponent of illegal file sharing.
A source told the paper: "She worked really hard on this album and believes it’s wrong that fans can just download it for free."
Thousands of fans including pop star Madonna descended on central London on Sunday for the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth instalment of the hugely successful series of films.
The darkest movie episode yet from JK Rowling's bestselling, seven-book series features young wizard Harry being tested to the limit in a magic tournament and meeting his nemesis Lord Voldemort in a dramatic climax.
With death, danger and the first blossoming of teenage love at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the film has been ruled unsuitable for under-12s to watch unaccompanied by an adult, the first of the Potter films to get such a rating.
Among the stars to grace the red carpet were American Madonna, German supermodel Claudia Schiffer and British actress Kate Beckinsale.
The three teenagers who play central characters Harry, Hermione and Ron in the films also attended. Screaming girls waited hours in the rain for a glimpse of the actors, and especially Daniel Radcliffe, the 16-year-old who plays Harry. One banner among them read "Marry Me".
Goblet cost an estimated $130 to $170 million, but it looks like a sound investment for studio Warner Brothers after the first three movies earned around $2.5 billion at the box office.
Madonna's husband Guy Ritchie was unhappy about the skimpy outfit that she wore for the MTV Europe Music Awards.
The film director asked his wife to choose another dress, but the Queen of Pop ignored his request.
"He wasn't happy and told her in no uncertain terms," a source told The People. "He thinks she's too old to be wearing such skimpy things and that she should have toned it down a bit. Madonna listened to what Guy had to say but chose not to do anything about it.
"She went ahead and wore what she was planning to anyway. It made for a bit of an unpleasant atmosphere backstage."
Madonna has slammed celebrity socialite Paris Hilton for using Kabbalah as a fashion accessory.
The singer is a dedicated follower of the mystical offshoot of Judaism, along with her film director husband Guy Ritchie, and she insists it takes more to be a "believer" than simply wearing a trendy Kabbalah wristband.
Madonna tells website The Scoop, "People like Paris Hilton come into a centre and buy a book or a band and that's it for them. It doesn't mean they study it.
"It's very hard to be a believer. I'm very serious about it."
Pop queen Madonna has vowed to quit shooting pheasants on her English country estate, after maiming a bird left her filled with self-hatred.
The Like A Prayer hitmaker loved the idea of learning traditional rural pursuits at stately home Ashcombe Manor, and invested thousands in suitable tweed outfits.
But after successfully shooting her first prey, the singer admits she couldn't bear to see the pheasant's pain and suffering.
Last saturday, Madonna appeared on Wetten Dass, the game show on German's ZDF. Madonna and her dancers performed Hung Up on the show.
Afterwards, the presenter joked with Madonna: "You never called me Madonna" to which she replied "Well it was you didn't call me anymore!". Then the presenter kneeled down and asked Madonna to put her leg on his shoulder, which she did.
Caitlin Moran muses on the qualities that separate the icon from the merely great
Ah, the video to Hung Up. Can there be anything more pleasurable than watching Madonna looning around a brightly lit dance studio dressed in a baggy pink leotard with her arse hanging out? Really, it's as innocent a joy as watching a dog with its head poked out of the window of a moving car.
Over three minutes and twenty-three seconds, Hung Up has as many sweet treats as a tin of Miniature Heroes. The diverting twist-and-drop-squat dance movement that will account for so many unhappy and rapidly sobering admissions to A&E during the Christmas 2005 office-party season. The bit where Madonna hammers on the huge mirror in the studio like a tipsy tranny trying to get into the video for Take on Me.
The moment where, on third or fourth viewing, you realise that she really is wearing a pair of 10 dernier tights cut off at the knee and a leotard whose Lycra content has been grossly mishandled in a hot tumble-dryer - an outfit last seen on Mrs Overall on the Acorn Antiques Christmas special.
Of course, the most important moment of all is the realisation that, despite 22 years in the business, Madonna still dances as if it's only on the dancefloor that she feels this free, still puts out singles that look like Single of the Year, and still has the ability to stop ongoing pop-culture conversations dead whenever she re-emerges and everyone assesses what the clever old bag has done now.
That she is a pop-culture icon goes without saying. That she has been a pop-culture icon for 22 years is little short of astonishing - especially when one considers the nature of what it is to be an icon.
Being iconic isn't simply about being very famous. If it were, then the BBC's royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell would be an icon and clearly he isn't. This is because one of the primary requirements for being an icon is a great complexity rendered very simply, and Witchell is simply a simple person rendered simply.
As an example of a true icon, consider, say, John Lennon. Your brain immediately returns a picture of him being a Beatle, playing Love Me Do and possibly wearing a hat. You could probably sketch him with five lines of a pencil. Anyone would recognise him from the description: "The gobby, druggy one with a hat from the Beatles."
But of course, there were dozens of facets to Lennon. The sub-Dadaist political activist. The emotionally frail writer of Julia. The leather-clad wife-beater. The breadmaking house-husband. The surrealist author and poet. The bad father (Julian) and the good father (Sean).
The composer of both some of the most accessible (Help!, Please Please Me, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away) and the most experimental (Tomorrow Never Knows, Revolution No 9) popular music of the 20th century. Girl and boy bands traditionally have "one of each type" - the joker, the sensitive one, the rough one, the talented one, the Gary Barlow. Icons have "one of each type" all on their own.
And, of course, each type not only brings with it its own fan base - Dylan fans who are into only the acoustic stuff, Judy Garland fans who liked her best when she was fat and avoided paying hotel bills by threatening to jump out of a window, screaming "Everyone will remember this as the place where Dorothy died!" - but it also keeps casual observers constantly intrigued. There's something in an icon for everyone; they appeal to vastly different ages, cultures and sexual persuasions.
The mark of a true icon is when no one can ever truthfully say "I hate Elvis" or "I hate Michael Jackson". No one really hates Elvis, or Michael Jackson. You might hate dim, manipulated GI Elvis, but you've got to love wearing-a-jumpsuit-getting-a-drug-badge-from-Richard-Nixon Elvis, or In the Ghetto Elvis, or Comeback Special Elvis, or shooting televisions Elvis, or Elvis's face, or just the fact that he seemed to build a world full of screaming teenagers out of nothing but postwar depression and dust.
And so it is with Madonna. I wouldn't trust anyone who said they hated Madonna. What - you hate all 27 Madonnas? It's statistically unlikely that anyone who hated Madonna being, say, True Blue bleach-crop Madonna would also hate Madonna-turning-into-a-murder-of-crows Frozen Madonna, and Madonna-as-Evita Madonna, and Madonna-as-hippy-club-matriarch Ray Of Light Madonna, and Madonna-as-pan-racial-sexual-evangelist Like A Prayer Madonna. The odds must be up there with hating, say, everyone in Cardiff, or everyone call "Jen".
When Madonna was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame last year, no one could really argue the case against. In a list that included Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Queen, the Rolling Stones and U2 she looked eminently at home, despite being both the only woman and the only dance artist. And after this year's ceremony - she will still be the only woman in the Hall.
And she's also starting to look like one of the only icons. The influx of musically exemplary but iconically lacking nominees - The Who, the Kinks, Joy Division/New Order, Pink Floyd - reinforces just how rare Madonna is. For not only is she one of the few artists who could fill three Best Ofs, spanning three decades, with no filler, but she still has so many Madonnas to chose from in her cupboard of heads that you never know who you're going to get next.
This is not something you can say about the three men wearing jeans from New Order, say, or the four men wearing jeans from Pink Floyd, or the two men wearing jeans from The Who. And, of course, none of them has got that arse. Or, indeed, would put it there, like that.
The UK Music Hall of Fame is broadcast on Channel 4 on Thurs, Nov 17, at 9pm
2004: The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Queen, Cliff Richard & the Shadows, the Rolling Stones, U2, Robbie Williams. Honorary - Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell
2005: Jimi Hendrix, the Kinks, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Joy Division/New Order, Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath, the Who. Honorary - DJ John Peel
Superstar Madonna has hailed "brave" Hollywood hunks Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger for portraying gay cowboys in their forthcoming movie Brokeback Mountain.
Madonna was treated to an early screening of the Ang Lee-directed movie, by one of the movie's producers, and is delighted the actors have taken on such controversial roles.
The Material Girl enthuses to British gay magazine Attitude, "I loved it. Shocking. Surprising. The guy who financed my movie did that too. He's a very mild mannered chap from Minnesota and we'd just screened the latest cut of my film and he asked if I wanted to see it.
"I was thinking, 'OK, this really square, straight guy,' and he showed me this movie. It's amazing.
"They're really good those boys and they did a great job. It's very brave of them."
Madonna is going to give an interview and perform her new single Hung Up on ZDF's show Wetten Dass tonight at 20:15 CET. Check the official ZDF site for more info and to watch a new interview.
The site Confessionsonadancefloor.net offers UK fans to win a Madonna goodie bag that contains the Confessions On A Dancefloor framed artwork. You have to play with a dance-mat game while Hung Up is being played. You can also watch the video of Hung Up on the site. Good luck UK fans!
On the heels of her 2004 Re-Invention Tour, which grossed $125 million, according to Billboard Boxscore, Madonna tells Billboard she is mulling another round of live dates. "I'm currently exploring the possibility," she says. "If I go on tour, it would be next summer. And it would be all out disco, with lots of disco balls. I would focus on dance music and the new record. I already did the older stuff on my Re-Invention Tour."
That new record, Confessions On A Dance Floor, arrives Nov. 15 via Warner Bros. First single Hung Up is No. 1 this week on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart and No. 21 on the Hot 100. On Monday (Nov. 7) and Wednesday, the song will be featured in episodes of "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: NY," respectively.
The 12-track album was inspired by the many remixes Madonna's songs have received over the years. "Whenever I make records, I often like the remixes better than the original versions," she says. "So, I thought, screw that. I'm going to start from that perspective."
In tandem with producer Stuart Price, Madonna took her music back to the place where she first made her mark in the early '80s: the clubs. But they did so in a way that, while wickedly retro, pushes the beats and rhythms into the future.
"Our intention was to give a nod and a wink to people like Giorgio Moroder and the Bee Gees," Madonna says. "Stuart and I didn't want to remake the past, but make it into something new."
In signature fashion, Madonna has not escaped controversy with Confessions. Album track Isaac has drawn the ire of some rabbis and religious scholars, who claimed the song is about 16th-century Jewish mystic/Kaballah scholar Yitzhak Luria.
Madonna only sighs. "You do appreciate the absurdity of a group of rabbis in Israel claiming that I'm being blasphemous about someone when they haven't even heard the record, right?" she wonders aloud. "It's interesting how their minds work, those naughty rabbis," she adds, with a twinkle in her eyes.
According to Madonna, Isaac -- which is about letting go of and tackling your fears -- is named after Yitzhak Sinwani, the track's featured vocalist who sings in Yemenite. Madonna, who needed a title for the song, decided to simply go with the English translation of Sinwani's Hebrew first name.
Come on guys! We all have to keep on voting for Hung Up to get it played on TRL. You can call or vote online: 1-800-DIAL-MTV (1-800-342-5688)
Once you get through, press 1 then
if dialing by artist, press 6-2-3 (M-A-D)
if dialing by video, press 4-8-6 (H-U-N)
Phonelines are almost ALWAYS open so you can CALL ALL THE TIME!!
You can also VOTE ONLINE at MTV.com - do it and do it again!!
Also keep calling and mailing your local radio stations and request to play Hung Up!! Common let their telephone ring, ring, ring!!
Forget American Life, disco Madonna is back. And how! Confessions On A Dance Floor is her most dancetastic album since her 1983 debut: thrilling non-stop BPM action making it Madge's very own mix tape, arguably the most anticipated miv tape in the world. Here's a preview.
Joins Into The Groove and Music as her most mindlessly brilliant dance singles. Others have tried but Madonna has cleared a pricey ABBA sample - from 1979's uber-gay disco gem 'Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)'. Granted, take out the still-sounds-amazing ABBA sample and there's not really much left, but as a statemanet of intent, this is the ideal calling cardfor the album. And, like all the other tracks, it sounds best ear-splitting loud.
On Paper, the collaboration with Swedish hitmakers-for-hire Bagge and Peer seems dodgy; Madonna slumming it with people who write hits for all the C- list popstars Madge herself inspired. But Get Together is amazing: a huge housey club explosion mixing strings ans swampy beats. "If it's bitter at the start then it's sweeter at the end" Madge sings. Has to be a single.
Marked as the album's second single and rightly so; this is Madonna's most poptastic single since Ray Of Light. Another collaboration with Stuart Price it starts with Madonna apologising in different languages before banging beats kick your ears in. It's a little robotic like Kylie's 'Can't Get You Out of My Head', but with kitchen-sink production. The chorus is huge, with Madge stating "don't explain yourself 'cause talk is cheap, there's more important things than hearing you speak." Brilliant dance-influenced pop, this will be unavoidable once the album is released.
One of only two collaborations with Mirwais. It's shamelessly pilfers from Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' - all pulsating beats that virtually explode out of your speakers, with Madonna's spoken word lyrics recalling Music's bonkers Paradise (Not For Me).
I Love New York
The precise moment Confessions goes off the tracks. See opening line "I don't like cities but I love New York, other places make me feel like a dork". Yes really. Up there with the cringe worthy rap on American Life and rhyming "I like to singy singy singy like a bird on a wingy wingy wingy" as her most misguided lyrical moments. Guitars crash in but nothing can save this turkey: a huge wall of sound spoiled by lyrics about Texas and "I you don't like my attitude then F Off". What happened to potty mouth Madonna dropping the F word in full?
Let It Will Be
Continues the albums quality dip. This has a Papa Don't Preach style intro with Madonna telling us how rubbish fame and fortune is. Again. Big chorus, low interest. The albums other Mirwais collaboration.
The closest thing to a ballad here, but hardly Live To Tell. Think a mix of Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys and Royksopp - more pile-driving house beats at a slightly less frantic BPM. Not so much a wall of sound as a small fence, Madonna sings about a boy and girls "intertwined hearts".
Co-written with her brother in law Joe Henry, who also made a small fortune co-writing Don't Tell Me. It's a little 80's-ish, more bleeps and beats with a smooth dance sheen, but still feels like filler.
This is more like it. After a lapse the album picks up again with How High. Wierdly produced by R&B kings Bloodshy and Avant, it's far from R&B but totally brilliant. Like the rest of the album it's all about the chorus, with layer upon layer of electro beats and more vocoder vocals. "I spent my whole life wanting to be talked about, was it all worth it, how did I earn it?" Madge asks. Also poses the question "Should i carry on, will it matter when I'm gone?". Answers on a postcard...
Kabbalah alert! Kabbalah alert! Starts with a hebrew chant and sounds like an offcut from Ray Of Light, with Madonna serving up lots of "mmmmmm" vocals a la Secret. Chewed up acoustic guitars against rapid skipping beats and lush strings create an interesting sound.
With call-and-response lyrics about how hubby Guy Ritchie pushes her to be better, it's a little world-musicy and slightly claustrophobic. Producer Stuart Price was a great choice - he makes this album sound amazing.
Like It Or Not
Prowling beat and flow not unlike her cover of Fever, this is a strong closer with Madonna name-checking Cleopatra and Mata Hari. As you do.
Not up with her classics Like A Prayer and Like A Virgin, COADF is still a huge return to form. With her latest surprise-but-perfect collaborator Stuart Price, Madonna again proves she knows how to surround herself with the right people. Tapping in to dance culture , but also reinventing her disco roots, it's the type or record doubters would put past a woman pushing 50. But once again, Madge knows you can dance for inspiration. Come on, she's waiting for you.
Pop queen Madonna regrets signing over the rights to her 1991 documentary to distributors Miramax, because she has since had to pay to use footage from the movie - and made little money from the project.
The singer has learned her lesson and signed lucrative television deals for her new tour documentary I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, after failing to secure a cinema distribution deal at this year's (05) Cannes Film Festival.
She tells the New York Daily News, "Unless you're Steven Spielberg, distributors take all your DVD rights. When I sold Truth Or Dare to Miramax, I got very little out of it. Just to use a clip of it in my new movie, I had to pay them like $7,000. It was thinking outside the box to have it shown on TV."
Madonna has revealed that she wants to become a film director.
Like her husband, director Guy Ritchie, Madonna wants to try her hand at film making.
After a failed attempt at an acting career, the 47 year-old star isn't planning on giving up on the cinema world, saying: "I'm not thinking of quitting. I ain't going nowhere."
At the moment, Madonna doesn't have a film project. She is currently working on promotions for her new CD, Confessions On A Dance Floor, which will be on the shelves on November 14th.
Madonna is asking Camden Town to get into the groove with her gig at Koko this month by decorating the high street with disco balls.
The superstar is launching her album Confessions On A Dance Floor at the high street nightclub on November 16.
A spokeswoman for Koko said: "It is the worldwide album launch so (record label) Warner is taking over the whole venue and dressing it up."
Camden Council at first feared the gig would cause parking problems. But in a bid to appear more in vogue, it retracted its statement and called the gig a "very positive and exciting event".
~ Beware, there are some conflicting reports on the exact date of the Koko gig. It was originally anounced for the 14th. One fansite claimed it was postponed to the 15th and now this article claims it's on the 16th...
Pop group Pussycat Dolls were left disappointed at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) last night (03NOV05), when Madonna declined to take up their offer of a same-sex kiss.
The sexy six-piece were ecstatic to be sharing the same stage as their idol and appealed to Madonna to repeat her infamous smooch with Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in 2003, at the Lisbon, Portugal ceremony.
Before the awards, frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger told MTV News, "We have goosebumps because we're going to see Madonna perform tonight.
"We want to run on out on stage at the end of her performance and kiss her at the end.
"How about it, Madonna? How about all the Pussycat Dolls kissing you tonight? Let's get that controversy going again."
Madonna proved she was still the reigning Queen of Pop with a storming performance at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
The 47-year-old opened the ceremony in Lisbon and showed the younger stars how it was done.
Coldplay and Green Day were double winners and there were prizes for Robbie Williams, Gorillaz and James Blunt. But the night belonged to Madonna, despite the fact she was not nominated for any award.
She performed new single, Hung Up, by bursting from a giant glitterball wearing a purple leotard which revealed her astonishing figure.
The 80s-style leotard was a vintage find which she topped off with £20,000 worth of diamonds on her eyelashes.
Afterwards an awe-struck Robbie Williams - who won Best Male - said: "She looked amazing, I watched with my mouth open all the way through her performance. She's an absolute legend and she makes us all look like amateurs."
And he joked: "I can't believe she's 89 and looks like that." Madonna's muscle-bound figure prompted show host Borat, aka comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, to say: "It was very brave of MTV to start the show with a transvestite."
Coldplay won Best UK Act and Best Song for Speed of Sound, US band Green Day won Best Rock Act and Best Album for American Idiot, and Williams beat 50 Cent and Eminem to the prize for Best Male.
Cartoon band Gorillaz won Best Group and scored a world first by performing as 3D holograms. And ex-army officer James Blunt won Best New Act after notching up the year's best selling album with Back to Bedlam.
Gwen Stefani has laughed off Madonna's claims she copied her style from the Material Girl - insisting everyone from her generation was influenced by the pop superstar.
Madonna took a cheeky swipe at the former No Doubt singer last weekend, saying: "She ripped me off. We work with a lot of the same people. She married a Brit, she's got long hair and she likes fashion."
But Stefani insists Madonna iconic status means she influenced a whole generation of girls.
She says: "Some people say that I copy her. But show me one girl my age who was not influenced by her."
Madonna stole the show at the MTV Europe Music Awards on Thursday with the first live televised performance of her new single Hung Up, emerging from a giant glitter ball wearing purple leather boots and matching leotard.
The 47-year-old queen of pop rocked the Atlantic Pavilion on one of the music industry's most important nights outside the United States, and said she still got a kick out of playing to a crowd.
"After I fell off my horse it was amazing to be able to get up and dance," she told Reuters backstage, referring to a riding accident in August when she cracked three ribs and broke her collarbone and a hand.
She confessed she had feared that energetic performances like the one in Lisbon would no longer be possible because of the injuries.
"Being in front of all the people, waiting for it to come up, and waiting to see the audience, my heart was just pumping out of my chest," Madonna said in a brief interview.
Madonna will be hoping Hung Up, the first single from her new album Confessions On A Dance Floor, puts her back on top of the charts after her last album failed to sell well.
"I've been making records for over 20 years. I've had an incredible run, highs and lows, but I keep going."
Scooping two awards were as pop-punk idols Green Day, who won Best Album and Best Rock categories. Their record "American Idiot" also won at the Grammys this year.
Best Male category went to Robbie Williams, beating competition from 50 Cent and Eminem. Gorillaz was named Best Group and Coldplay took Best Song for "Speed of Sound."
Best Female category went to Colombian-born Shakira, Snoop Dogg snagged Best Hip-Hop, Best R & B was won by Alicia Keys, Best Pop by the Black Eyed Peas, and the Chemical Brothers were awarded Best Video for "Believe."
System of a Down were crowned Best Alternative, and James Blunt took away the Best New Act gong.
Irish rocker Bob Geldof was given the humanitarian Free Your Mind Award after staging what was billed as rock music's greatest day with Live 8, a global anti-poverty concert watched by hundreds of millions of people.
Madonna, handing Geldof the prize, called him "my hero." Gorillaz "appeared" using hologram-style technology to beam three-dimensional, performing cartoon characters on stage.
Billed as the world's most successful virtual band, the human artists behind Gorillaz traditionally appear at live gigs as silhouettes on a giant screen combined with images of their cartoon alter egos.
U.S. actor Jared Leto had the crowd booing, whistling and turning their thumbs down at U.S. President George W. Bush, in a moment of political controversy.
"If you can't criticize the president in our country, who can you criticize?" he said. Williams was in typically exuberant form, taking a dive into the crowd during his performance and joking at the expense of none other than Madonna.
"She's amazing. She's an absolute legend. I can't believe she's 89 and looks like that," he said.
Hosting the event was spoof Kazakh television presenter Borat, a guise adopted by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen who is renowned for his risque, politically incorrect humor.
His opening gag on the night was no exception.
"It was very brave of MTV to start the show with a transvestite," he joked, referring to Madonna.
Madonna's new album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, has been leaked onto the Internet 10 days before its official release.
The album is marked by a defiant self-defense of her whole career, when she sings on the hilarious and forceful Like It Or Not: "You can call me a sinner/you can call me a saint/Celebrate for who I am/Don't like me for what I ain't/Don't put me up on a pedestal/Or drag me down in the dirt/Sticks and stones will break my bones/But your names will never hurt."
And: "Better the devil that you know/This is who I am/You can like it or not/You can love me or leave me/Because I'm never gonna stop. Oh no." She compares herself to Mata Hari and Cleopatra, too.
Warner Music Group is said to not be very happy about the leak. Confessions was being held right until the last minute. Copies aren't even available at the record company's offices yet.
The album contains a song called Isaac, first reported on this column several weeks ago. It's supposedly about Isaac Luria, a 16th century Kabbalah philosopher.
I've listened to it, and there's nothing particularly shocking about the lyrics. It has a good beat, though, and some chanting that's meant to sound Hebraic. It could be anything. I don't think there will be religious concerns.
The lyrics are basic pop stuff: "Wrestle with your darkness/Angels call your name/Can you hear what they saying/Will you ever be the same?" Basically, it reduces Kabbalah to the stuff of T-shirt slogans.
I wouldn't get excited, and neither should any rabbis. She does try and mix some religious gobbledy-gook in other tracks, like the electronica-based Future Lovers, but it's about as benign as a yellow smiley button.
Isaac is not much different from a couple of Sting songs that use Arab chanting, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's where she got the idea. Madonna is nothing if not the great synthesizer of existing material.
One track on the album, Push, out and out samples Sting's "Every Breath You Take." That's what I call a nice friend, since Sting usually demands 100 percent of the publishing rights when other artists do that.
Apart from Isaac, Confessions sounds like a good dance record. Hung Up is already a hit. Get Together is a full-on disco pumper from the early '80s. Sorry starts with Madonna saying that word in different languages, then rocks along with an infectious melody that recalls her best songs from 20 years ago. This is the one that contains a sample from a Jacksons song, "Can You Feel It?" circa 1980. It should be the next single, after Hung Up.
But someone had better tell Jackie Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson and co-author of that song. His rep tells me no one's asked for a sample license so far. Lawyers are already picking up the phone, no doubt.
All in all, Confessions is a return to what Madonna does best: mindless, fun, dance music. There's none of the grenade-throwing politics that got her in trouble last time out with American Life, her lowest-selling album and a total bust for her and for Warner Music Group.
Like Santana's new album, Confessions is mixed to be one hit after another, no filler. It's a great idea, and in a time when nothing is selling and Warner is barely functioning as a record company, Madonna has come riding to the rescue.
I never grade CDs, but let's give her an A- and head for a nightclub. It's just good fun.
Superstar Madonna paid tribute to Live 8 organiser Sir Bob Geldof at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) last night (03NOV05), despite declaring the former Boomtown Rat "drives me crazy, you f**ker".
The Material Girl, who opened the Lisbon, Portugal awards with a performance of her new single Hung Up, prepared a special speech to honour Geldof, who was the recipient of the special Free Your Mind award, which recognises the rocker's campaigning against world poverty and for free trade.
Madonna says, "This special award is for a man whose passion to improve the lives of people all over the world has inspired me and should inspire you. He's also a hero to Africa.
"In 2005, my hero, is someone who has never been afraid to speak his mind, to ruffle weathers, to get the job done, to get down in the trenches and kick some a*s.
"It's not always been considered fashionable to make the world a better place... I've taken some s**t for that myself.
"You drive me crazy, you f**ker! I couldn't be more proud than at this moment to present this award."
Geldof graciously accepted the award, saying, "This means much more to me than many of the other things that are given to me."
In 1985, Madonna's navel ruled the world. That year -- which opened with Like A Virgin perched at Number One, and would later see Crazy for You knock "We Are the World" off the top of the charts -- she boiled down her philosophy, her definitive worldview, to one phrase.
It kicked off Into the Groove, perhaps her most sublime single ever (also the theme to Desperately Seeking Susan, still the only good movie she's been in). Over the most Eighties-sounding synthesizers imaginable, she proclaimed, "And you can dance -- for inspiration."
Twenty years later, the world's most famous Kabbalist has found other ways to seek enlightenment. But as Confessions On A Dance Floor illustrates, Madonna has never lost her faith in the power of the beat. Driven by kaleidoscopic, head-spinning production -- primarily by Stuart Price, better known professionally as Les Rhythmes Digitales -- Confessions comes on like an all-out disco inferno, and takes our girl Esther out of the English manors and yoga studios and back into the untamed club world where she made her name.
This is an album designed for maximum volume. It's all motion, action, speed. The tracks are constantly shifting, with dizzying layers of sounds and samples dropping in and out, skittering and whooshing across the speakers.
Unlike the crystalline precision of latter-day Madonna discs like Ray Of Light and Music, the sonic signature here is a powerhouse density -- on tunes like Future Lovers and Push, it's damn near psychedelic. Not only do the twelve songs all blend together like a ready-made DJ set, it's as if they also come pre-remixed.
Confessions also provides a crash course in dance-music history; aside from the candy-coated Abba sample in the first single, Hung Up, there are fleeting quotes from the S.O.S. Band, the Tom Tom Club, the proto-electro novelty hit "Popcorn." Mrs. Ritchie even nods to her own past, with melodic snippets from Like A Prayer and Holiday peeking through.
For Madonna, the quest for transcendence has always been closely linked to the ecstatic release of dancing. But where her previous efforts at claiming dance-floor supremacy have usually revolved around the subject of music itself (think Everybody or Vogue or Music), on Confessions she shifts her focus to empowerment and self-sufficiency. "I can take care of myself," she sings on the throbbing Sorry, a sentiment restated on Jump as "I can make it alone."
The only time the tempo drops is on Confession's centerpiece, Isaac. The song was reportedly inspired by the sixteenth-century mystic Yitzhak Luria, which Madonna denies; whatever the case, with its Hebrew chanting and Rabbinic, spoken-word commentary, it's the disc's most explicit nod to her spiritual practices.
The galloping beat and cascading acoustic guitar loop create an intriguing dynamic, evoking both African and Eastern European music, but the lyrics are elusive. "All of your life has all been a test," she solemnly intones, and then there's something about "wrestling with your darkness" -- like too much of Confessions, it's too indirect to add up to much.
A few other songs hint at the lessons learned from her religious awakening but fall short of revelation. On How High, Madonna claims, "I spent my whole life wanting to be talked about," and asks, "Will any of this matter?" only to conclude "I guess I deserve it."
The closing Like It Or Not is intended as a bold declaration of independence, but its string of cliches feels lazy ("Sticks and stones may break my bones"? Madge, you can do better than that). On the other hand, her willingness to rhyme "New York" with "dork" on the spiraling I Love New York is a flash of the old Ciccone sass -- the album would have benefited from more.
Madonna's songwriting has always been her most underrated quality. But while Confessions absolutely hits its mark for disco functionality, its greatest strength is also its weakness. In the end, the songs blur together, relying on Price's considerable production magic to create tension or distinctiveness.
Coming off her last album, the tepid American Life, the forty-seven-year-old mother of two wants to show that she can still stay up late. Confessions On A Dance Floor won't stand the test of time like her glorious early club hits, but it proves its point. Like Rakim back in the day, Madonna can still move the crowd.
[3,5 stars out of 5]
Pop queen Madonna is ecstatic to be back on stage, especially so soon after a horse riding accident which she said had threatened her performing career.
Speaking to Reuters after the first live televised performance of her new single Hung Up, the 47-year-old American appeared to have lost little of her desire to please the crowd.
"After I fell off my horse it was amazing to be able to get up and dance," she said backstage on Thursday at the MTV Europe Music Awards, where she kicked off the Lisbon show with an energetic display in purple boots and matching leotard.
The singer cracked three ribs and broke her collar bone and a hand when she fell off her horse in August at her English country estate. She had been celebrating her 47th birthday with husband Guy Ritchie and two children Lourdes and Rocco.
She told Reuters she had feared that performances like the one in Lisbon would no longer be possible after the injuries. Doctors said her high level of physical fitness had helped her recover quickly.
"Being in front of all the people, waiting for it to come up, and waiting to see the audience, my heart was just pumping out of my chest," Madonna said.
She burst on stage from a giant glitter ball, a nod to the disco influences of her new album Confessions On A Dance Floor.
"You don't beat singing live, you don't beat it. Reaching out to a lot of people across the world, I think it's great."
The MTV awards show is one of the music industry's biggest nights outside the United States, and is beamed to millions of homes around the globe.
Asked whether she felt pressure after her last album failed to sell well, the Material Girl replied: "I've been making records for over 20 years. I've had an incredible run, highs and lows, but I keep going."
Madonna has sold more than 160 million albums throughout her career, but her last album sold only an estimated two million.
She said she was still hungry for success, and that personal and spiritual changes went hand in hand with creativity.
"It's first always about the music. The reinvention part is my growth as I move through my life and continue to be an artist, so my soul has been reinvented and hopefully that will affect the music."
Tune into the European Music Awards Thurs, Nov 3rd for Madonna's very special performance of Hung Up. This is the first time Madonna will be performing her hit new single LIVE... you won't want to miss it!
On the site of Wanadoo, two video performances of the Re-Invention Tour are available. Click on "Audio Vidéo" on the site to check out the great videos Burning Up and Die Another Day!
Rubbish Bond themes out. Disco and good times in.
Madonna's last album was a dud. American Life, released in 2003, was phase three of her electronic renaissance, one that started with Ray Of Light (1998) and continued with Music (2000). Belatedly getting down with the trendy dance producers of the day suited her: between them, those two albums sold around 30 million copies.
On American Life, the wheels fell off her disco bandwagon. A rotten Bond theme (containing the immortal line, "Sigmund Freud, analyse this!"), artwork apparently inspired by Frank Spencer and a wishy-washy anti-US stance conspired to produce 5 million sales, a career low. Amazon are currently trading copies for £1.75.
Yet American Life offered prescient words to anyone calling time on her appeal to a pop audience. "I don't want an easy ride," went the final track. "What I want is to work for it/ Feel the blood and sweat on my fingertips." Madonna, a ruthless careerist from day one, has always known when to come out fighting. Anyone who can sit through a Guy Ritchie premiere with broken bones and three cracked ribs is clearly made of sterner stuff than the rest of us.
Confessions... is her strongest album since Ray Of Light. Its relentless drive is marked by an incessant bass drum that doesn't let up for an hour - if your neighbours buy a copy, you'll know about it - and the fact it's mixed like a DJ set: no gaps, no ballads. Mirwais, the producer whose Daft Punk-with-Tourette's sound marked previous albums, is sidelined to a two-track co-write.
Stuart Price, "musical director" on recent tours, takes most of the credits. Best known as remixer Jacques Lu Cont, Price favours a pastiche of '80s electro - his last work accompanied a car advert featuring a breakdancing hatchback. But here he takes Madonna somewhere else: the gay nightclub.
Opening Hung Up sets the pace, a six-minute mash-up of boogie bassline and ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)". You can practically smell the amyl nitrate. Sorry is catchier; a tune that nudges hi-NRG and a lyric of bloke-done-wrong that's equal parts "I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta my Hair" and '90s gay club favourite "Short Dick Man".
I Love New York couldn't be more blatant in its claim to be that city's 3am anthem if it came with an edict from Mayor Bloomberg. Elsewhere, there's Giorgio Moroder basslines, dramatic strings and the sound of marching boots. Thrilling stuff.
It stumbles on Isaac, which may or may not concern Kabbalah teacher Isaac Friedin and marries chanting to a too-fast tune. Jump, likewise isn't quite the copper-bottomed pop song it thinks it is. These are minor gripes. Madonna's 12th album proper is up there with her best. Analyse that. Johnny Davis
Hung up fell only one spot this week on the Billboard Hot 100 to #21. On the Hot Dance Music / Club play, it jumped up to #5 (#10 last week) only after 3 weeks on the chart! Madonna's 3rd entry on the Hot Dance Radio Airplay chart already went to #1 on its 3rd week!
Hung Up also climbs to #59 (#73 last week) on the Hot 100 airplay chart, but falls to #9 (#6 last week) on the Hot Digital Songs chart. (thanx to the Madonnanation forum)
~ Hung Up reaches #1 on the UK download chart.↑ Back to top of page