After setting the standard for pop multihyphenates 25 years ago, Madonna continues to break the mold as she nears the half-century point.
Last fall she parted with Warner Bros. Records, the label that launched her, and transferred her entire music franchise to Live Nation, her concert promoter, in a lucrative deal that was the first of its kind. In a 10-year pact worth $120 million, Live Nation would not only continue to handle Madge's tours, but her albums as well.
Or as she sings so aptly on her new album Hard Candy, "I'll be your one-stop Candy Shop."
Since linking up with Madonna, Live Nation has made $400 million from her performances and has already sold out more than 90% of this year's Sticky & Sweet Tour.
A style icon, the erstwhile Material Girl also continues to catch her critics and fans off guard. For example, a recent New York Times piece knocked the singer for not touting a "breakout Madonna look" in her public appearances nor on her album cover where she dons a leather "American Gladiator" get-up.
No matter. With Hard Candy, Madonna secured her seventh No. 1 album, with a first week's sales figure of 280,000 copies. Featuring collaborations with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, Candy has Madonna's standard urban disco sound laced with hip-hop flourishes. Reviews have been positive, with the Times exclaiming that "Candy is devoted to the instant gratification of a musical sweet tooth."
On the opposite side of the Madonna franchise lies her recent film credits as a producer with the Malawi AIDS doc I Am Because We Are and with her helming debut on Filth and Wisdom about the fringe lives of three London flatmates. Filth has yet to find a U.S. distrib, however, while I Am will receive a run on the Sundance Channel.
Age hasn't fazed Madonna, it's only made her more determined. Columnist Liz Smith recently witnessed the singer's stamina during a dance rehearsal for the Sticky Tour:
"Watching this star go through her paces, she seems not to have a care in the world," says Smith, "except to perfect her show."
Career mantra: "My career mantra and personal mantra are the same: Don't let anyone tell you your dreams can't come true."
Fansite MadonnaTribe reports that according to reliable sources, Miles Away is the definite choice for the 3rd single of Hard Candy. There's no info on video or release date yet.
We, at Mad-Eyes consider this as a wise decision from Madonna/Warner, after 2 heavy dance tracks, the breezy Miles Away would open the album to new audiences in the fall.
Our personal guess is that the video will be tour-related and the single release could coincide with the end of the European leg or the start of the North American leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour.
Also interesting is that last month Mad-Eyes held a poll about the 3rd single and Miles Away easily won by getting 30% of the total votes!
According to fansite Drownedmadonna, one of their readers asked Live Nation about the upcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour filming for DVD and they revealed that the October 11th & 12th shows in NYC would be filmed for a DVD release.
We think this totally makes sense, as Madonna on the past 3 tours filmed her tour tv broadcast/DVD in cities that had multiple dates. Not to mention NYC raises the chance of her recent collaborators joining her onstage! ;-)
Madonna's manager is writing a book about her.
Guy Oseary is following in the footsteps of Madonna's brother Christopher Ciccone by documenting the singer's life in a 224-page book, entitled Madonna: Confessions, containing exclusive photographs from her 2006 world tour.
Unlike Christopher's tell-all book Life With My Sister Madonna, Guy's tome was made with full cooperation from the 4 Minutes singer, who handpicked the photographs and provided quotes and annotations.
Guy was the only person given full and unlimited access to Madonna during the tour.
Madonna: Confessions is the first book authorised by the star since her controversial 1992 coffee-table book Sex.
It will be released in October, just before Madonna starts her Sticky & Sweet Tour.
The book's publishers, Powerhouse, are also working on another Madonna book, to accompany her documentary I Am Because We Are, about the orphan crisis in Malawi.
The book will feature black and white photos by celebrated American photographer Kristen Ashburn.
Everybody has a bad angle, even Madonna.
The singer, 49, was photographed Friday leaving the Kaballah Center in New York looking gaunt and tired. But pictures can lie, says her publicist.
"I just think the photographer got a bad shot of her or it was touched up to make her look bad," says her rep Liz Rosenberg. "I saw Madonna two days before at her rehearsal and she looked amazing – glowing skin and working really hard on her show."
"She may look a little thinner than usual," continues Rosenberg, "but she was dancing and singing better than ever and ate a nice healthy meal."
Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffery Hoefflin says weight loss can make for sharp cheekbones.
"From a physician who has never evaluated or treated Madonna, it's my impression that if she has lost significant weight, that you're seeing a good amount of facial fat loss in her face," he tells PEOPLE.
"The cheekbones can often stand out, appearing as [though] someone has undergone some form of mid-face enhancement," he adds.
As for the expression on Madonna's face in the photos, her rep joked, "Maybe she was getting ready to hurl a spitball at somebody."
Could it be the stress of the recent the rumors about her marriage? No, says Rosenberg.
"She's working hard rehearsing eight hours a day for her tour," says the rep, who also called rumors that the singer ghost-wrote parts of her brother's tell-all book "ludicrous."
"If she had anything to do with that book, it would have been better written and more eloquent," says Rosenberg. "To say Madonna needs publicity is insane. Her ticket sales are amazing. And she's in a great space."
Madonna.com has just included Seville, Spain on the tour schedule of the European leg. Madonna is going to perform in the Estadio Olimpico on Tuesday, September 16th.
Ticket sales are starting on Thursday, July 31st @ 10 am local time (ICON presales are tomorrow @ 9 am).
With this date added, now the European leg of Sticky & Sweet tour is full. This tour is easily Madonna's most extensive European tour as she's visiting 16 cities in 11 countries!
Several fan clubs are taking fun initiatives during the tour and organizing special events for the fans. One of them is the official Madonna fanclub of The Netherlands & Belgium, Madonna.nl reveals that after the Amsterdam show on September 2nd, 2008 there's an afterparty to be held at the Heineken Music Hall.
This is a collaboration between Dutch record store Fame and concert organizer Mojo. Madonna.nl will soon reveal more details (thanx to GertJan).
UK channel BoxTV is organizing a poll to find out Madonna's most loved songs for a special to be broadcast on Madonna's birthday next month. You can vote here. Note that you can only vote for Madonna singles that were released in the UK.
"Holiday, celebrate!" How fitting are Madonna's most famous lines from her self-titled debut album, which officially came to life exactly a quarter of a century ago! On July 27th, 1983 something incredible has happened: the very first full length LP of an ambitious female artist hit the shelves, which soon exploded into a phenomenon that forever changed the landscape of pop music.
The 8-track record is the first incarnation of the brilliance of the woman, who's the best selling and most influential female artist ever that set a foot on our planet. Madonna's message was crystal-clear from the start: she wanted to make us dance.
Simple as that, but the world was in need of a confident yet still lovable pop singer who'd take us away from our everyday lives, put us on a grand dance floor and made sure we were all stars. The first single Everybody demonstrated this goal the best: "I know you've been waiting/I've been watching you/I know you wanna get up."
Then, there's the single that put Madonna in the spotlight, Holiday, her first chart hit, which became a Madonna classic and a concert staple for the next two decades. The sound of the all-dance record is based on synthesized music, an innovative mix of disco and new wave, which became a template for female artists and is easily Madonna's most influential recording ever. In the new millenium many female artists would pay homage to the sound of Madonna.
Other highlights include Burning Up, the rock influenced track where Madonna yearns to be taken serious and claims "Unlike the others I'd do anything/I'm not the same/I have no shame" which would go on to become her other trademark message.
Our personal favourite is the gorgeous mid-tempo tune Borderline with a fantastic instrumentation and and an amazing melody which would be the first of many Madonna songs where she's unsatisfied with her lover and wants the best for herself.
The 5th and last single of the album was the catchy Lucky Star. Its accompanying music video became a fashion statement and create a horde of Madonna-wannabes that propelled Madonna into the status of a fashion icon as well.
Madonna, the album spent an astonishing 168 weeks on the Billboard album chart, was certified 5 times Platinum and got a re-release in Europe in 1985 under the name 'The First Album'. It got a lot of critical acclaim as well, not long ago Entertainment Weekly named it the 5th best album of the past 25 years.
Madonna started it all for our favourite female artist, she'd go on to record a lot more albums, 25 years later she has exactly a dozen under her belt. While the message of making the people come together and dance would remain a recurring theme in her work, it wasn't until 2005's Confessions On A Dance Floor and 2008's Hard Candy where she went back to her roots and recorded 2 albums that harken back to her self-titled debut, being retro and contemporary all-dance records.
As she sings it in her very first hit Holiday, let's take out one day in our life and just celebrate the 25th anniversary of an unstoppable woman, who's posed to entertain us with her fantastic music until the end of time. Thank you, Madonna!
On next week's Billboard Hot Dance / Club Play chart, Give It 2 Me ascends to #1 and becomes Madonna's whopping 39th #1 on the chart! No other artist is expected to match this remarkable feat, Madonna is truly our Dancing Queen! This is the second dance #1 from Hard Candy, maybe she can score one more chart topper from this album to reach 40?
Here's a recap of Madonna's #1s on the Hot Dance / Club Play chart:Holiday / Lucky Star (1983)
Like A Prayer (1989)
Express Yourself (1989)
Keep It Together (1990)
Justify My Love (1990)
Deeper And Deeper (1992)
Bedtime Story (1995)
Don't Cry For Me Argentina (1997)
Ray Of Light (1998)
Nothing Really Matters (1999)
Beautiful Stranger (1999)
American Pie (2000)
Don't Tell Me (2000)
What It Feels Like For A Girl (2001)
Impressive Instant (2001)
Die Another Day (2002)
American Life (2003)
Me Against The Music (2003)
Nothing Fails (2003)
Love Profusion (2004)
Hung Up (2005)
Get Together (2006)
4 Minutes (2008)
Give It 2 Me (2008
Film director Guy Ritchie broke his silence on Friday over rumors that his marriage to Madonna is on the rocks, telling People magazine it was "fine."
"My marriage is fine as far as I'm aware of," the British director was quoted as telling People in an interview.
Rumors have been circulating for months that Ritchie's 8-year marriage to Madonna, 49, is on the rocks, despite several denials by the singer that the couple are planning a divorce.
Ritchie, 39, who found fame with his 1998 movie "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," said Madonna had allowed him to look at his hometown of London with fresh eyes.
"I live vicariously through my wife, so I was once a spy and now I've become a tourist, and it's much more fun to live in London as a tourist than it is as a spy," he told People.
Ritchie is in Southern California promoting his new movie "RocknRolla," while Madonna is rehearsing in New York for her upcoming world tour starting in August.
"RocknRolla" which opens in the United States in October, is set in the London criminal underworld of Russian gangster and stars Gerard Butler as a street-smart mobster, along with Thandie Newton, Jeremy Piven and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges.
His recent efforts, Swept Away starring Madonna, and "Revolver" were both critically panned.
Ritchie's next movie is "Sherlock Holmes" a drama based on the English literary detective and starring Robert Downey, Jr., which is slated for release in 2010.
Timbaland still can't find the right category to classify his smash album Shock Value. He better figure something out quick - the producer is planning to go into the lab and make another one.
"It be hot for the world," he boasted of the 2007 album. "I really do focus groups. I get reports, readouts. I'm not gonna talk about it. If you ask for documentation, I got it. I'm a businessman and at the same time a CEO. But I looked at the charts: I went platinum in 16 different countries. Africa? Double platinum. Ireland? Double platinum. New Zealand? Triple platinum. London? Platinum. London is the hardest place to go platinum. France? Platinum. They don't like nobody unless you French, but they like me."
The LP's follow-up, Shock Value 2, already has a few tracks in the can but no release date yet. Tim said he wants to stay away from working with some of the same folks he included last time, just to keep everyone guessing.
"Shock Value is really like the Now [That's What I Call Music!] compilation," he said. "That's my goal for this - not [to showcase] me as an artist. Of course I'll do my little part, introduce some people. It gives me room to go tour across the world. People request me. I put on a show. I put on a musical show.
"Right now, I have a song with Madonna that I didn't put on her album. I saved [it] in case I wanna do one for me," he revealed. "Of course I'mma do one with Beyoncé. Of course I'mma do one with Jordin Sparks, Rihanna. It's a lot of people. I'mma do one with Jonas Brothers. I'mma try to have 10 major ones."
On the hip-hop side, Timbo said he's looking at T.I., already has T-Pain and expects Jay-Z. "Jay was really on the last one, but he wanted to change [the song]," he said. "I said, 'Look, man, I gotta put out an album. You're killing me.' "
Aside from Shock Value, Tim said he might be producing one of Jay-Z's next LPs in its entirety. Next up for the super-producer are LPs from Missy Elliott and Chris Cornell.
~ Madonna had recorded around 10 tracks in total with Timbaland and Justin but only 5 made the final cut. Maybe the long-discussed La, La is the one to be featured on Timbaland's Shock Value? Timbaland is more likely to release a Hard Candy outtake than Madonna on her upcoming compilation album, so we might have a new Madonna song by the end of the year after all!
Give her a record and she'll break it: Madonna racks up her 61st Top 10 hit single in the UK as Give It 2 Me jumps to #7 on the UK singles chart. That's still the most ever among female artists!
The Give It 2 Me-effect is impressive: Hard Candy climbs back to the Top 10 of the UK album chart! Congratulations to Madonna, who has proven her relevance yet again, and don't forget to check out our chart news page for more!
Madonna is reportedly eager to reunite former couple Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake for her upcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour.
The Holiday hitmaker has already roped in Spears to film a short cameo which will appear on screens at the shows and has asked the singer to appear in person at some concerts.
And the 49-year-old is allegedly desperate for Timberlake to sing on the tour too, as he recorded tracks on her latest album Hard Candy.
A source tells British newspaper The Sun, "Madonna is always trying to raise the bar and Britney and Timberlake on the same stage would be perfect.
"They have both been asked but I think both are a bit reluctant. Britney would find it all a bit emotional and JT might not fancy it. More likely is that they both appear on different dates. But if anyone can make this happen it's Madonna."
Spears and Timberlake dated for four years but split up in 2002. Timberlake is currently romancing Hollywood actress Jessica Biel.
We are happy to confirm that French DJ Bob Sinclar will be the opening act for Madonna's Sticky & Sweet shows in Paris on September 20 and 21.
After European hits such as 'Feel For You' and 'The Beat Goes on', back in the late 90's, Sinclar also released the amazing 'Love Generation' and 'World Hold On' singles, which hit the top of the charts in most European countries.
Make sure to join him in September for some exclusive sets! While the September 20 show in Paris is sold out, a few tickets are still available for the September 21st one. Just click here to access the tour page.
We are happy to announce that Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour will stop at Valencia's Circuito Ricardo Tormo Cheste on September 18.
Tickets will go on sale Friday, July 18th at 10 am local time.
A devoted Fan Club presale will start today, Wednesday, July 16th, at 2PM, local time.
Meryl Streep has denied the existence of a feud with Madonna over the movie musical Evita in 1996, blaming the continuation of the rumor on the internet.
The legendary actress, reportedly annoyed at losing the lead role to Madonna, allegedly lashed out at the pop star in an interview with the New York Times in 1991 saying, "I could rip her [Madonna's] throat out. I can singbetter than she can, if that counts for anything."
However, Streep denies ever making the comments telling USA Today, "No, I didn't say it. That's one ofthose things you can never erase from whatever it is, the Internet. Why would I say that?"
She explains, "I was out of the running by the time they got the movie together. It's a fabulous story, though. Oh, and I don't think I can sing better than her. And I certainly can't dance better."
~ Meryl Streep is currently enjoying success in the ABBA based musical Mamma Mia! which is coincidentally being promoted by the song that was sampled by Madonna for her megahit Hung Up in 2005, 'Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)'. In the 2008 version of the ABBA track, for a strange reason, we hear the Hung Up bassline during the chorus! ;-) Check it out here!
Madonna's brand new release, Give It 2 Me, the second single from the fantastic new album Hard Candy, written and produced by Madonna and The Neptunes is out now in the UK and several European countries in 3 different physical formats: a 2-track and a 3-track CD plus a UK exclusive 12" picture disc.
A 8-track CD maxi-single is going to follow in the USA and selected European countries on August 1st/5th (buy on Amazon). The single was remixed by a host of cool DJs so fans are getting a great set of remixes this time!
The list of physical/digital formats (remix titles differ):
UK/EU 2-track single
1. Album Version
2. Oakenfold Extended Mix
UK/EU 3-track single
1. Album Version
2. Oakenfold Drums In
3. Eddie Amador House Lovers Remix
UK Picture Disc
A1. Oakenfold Extended Mix
A2. Oakenfold Drums In
B1. Eddie Amador Remix
UK Digital EP
1. Eddie Amador House Lovers Edit
2. Eddie Amador Edit
3. Jody Den Broeder Edit
4. Paul Oakenfold Mix
5. Paul Oakenfold Drums In Mix
6. Fedde Le Grand Remix Edit
7. Album Version with Fade
US Digital EP
1. Eddie Amador House Lovers Mix
2. Eddie Amador Club Edit
3. Jody Den Broeder Club Edit
4. Paul Oakenfold Drums In Mix
5. Fedde Le Grand Remix
6. Sly & Robbie Bongo Mix
US/EU 8-track maxi-single (out on August 1st/5th)
1. Fedde Le Grand Remix
2. Oakenfold Extended Remix
3. Oakenfold Drums In Mix
4. Eddie Amador Club
5. Eddie Amador House Lovers Mix
6. Tong & Spoon
7. Jody Den Broeder Club
8. Bongo Joe Mix
The remixes on UK iTunes can be bought either separately or together as a bundle. On US iTunes the UK Digital EP is also available without the album version and several the remixes separately. Don't forget to buy your copy to support one of Madonna's best ever dance tracks!
Give It 2 Me is predicted to become Madonna's 61st Top 10 hit in the UK, but how high can it go? Be sure to check our chart news page all week to learn more on the chart position of Madonna's latest single! Give It 2 Me is already a #1 hit for Madonna in The Netherlands, congratulations!
Just Jared has posted a couple of pictures from Britney's video shoot for the Sticky & Sweet Tour:
"The video will be very deep," a source in the Spears camp has told E! News. "You've never seen Britney like this before. It will blow your mind."
As you can see, the 26-year-old pop princess is in an elevator wearing a black hoodie. Another shot of Britney has her with black pants and a white tanktop.
This footage will air during Madonna's upcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour, which kicks off at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales August 23rd.
Click here to see all the pictures!
2008 marks the 5th anniversary of the infamous American Life album. A year after revisiting another controversial piece, now Slant Magazine makes an attempt to look at the concept and failure behind American Life:
Entertainment Weekly inexplicably placed Madonna's debut LP at #5 on its list of modern classics last month, aptly calling the eight post-disco, post-punk dance songs that comprise the record (six of which could be described as hits, depending on your definition of the word) "scrappy" but failing to acknowledge that Madonna (and Madonna) would likely have been forgotten along with jelly bracelets and headbands fashioned out of torn scarves had the album not been followed by at least a decade's worth of some of the most captivating pop music ever recorded. Madonna herself even likened the album to music for aerobics classes and was eager to shack up with Chic's Nile Rodgers and flex her creative muscle for her career-defining follow-up, Like A Virgin.
This summer, Madonna turns 25, but 2008 also marks the fifth anniversary of a wholly different Madonna album, one that couldn't possibly be any further removed from that scrappy debut: American Life. You'd never even know the same artist made both records. Aside from Holiday, a song she didn't write, Madonna seemed more interested in ruling the world than saving it back in 1983; two decades later, American Life found the pop singer at her most political, confrontational and, to many, abrasive.
It was her first and, to date, only flop, scanning less than a million copies despite its platinum certification and sporting no hits besides the forward-thinking Bond theme Die Another Day, which cracked the Top 10 the previous fall and was-dubiously, at least it seemed at the time-tacked onto the track list in a move that ultimately insured that American Life wouldn't be Madonna's only hitless album.
As with almost every Madonna album, save for the first one, it's nearly impossible to talk about the music without addressing the cultural and social context that produced it. Some have claimed that's why the singer's image and marketing has always been the focus of her career, at the cost of fairly assessing the actual music, but I think this fact only strengthens the case for Madonna as a true artist.
Art without cultural context is like war without a political one. And this time around, politics and war itself played a pivotal role in the construction, marketing and ultimate perception and consumption (or lack thereof) of American Life-despite there being very little in the way of political commentary throughout the album.
More so than any other artist who emerged in the video era, Madonna's songs can't (and shouldn't) be divorced from the images she assigns to them, and American Life's failure can be traced directly to the video for its title track (we'll ignore, for a moment, the quality of the actual song). American Life may have been the first time in Madonna's career where she voluntarily censored herself; moreover, it may have been the first time she made a creative choice out of fear.
In the original unreleased version of the video, directed by Jonas Akerlund, Madonna and a band of unconventional beauties storm a fashion show that includes models dressed in military garb and gas masks, Middle Eastern children modestly strutting their stuff, video screens depicting scenes from war, and limbless soldiers trailing blood down the catwalk. Madonna and her fashion terrorists pummel the paparazzi with water from an industrial-size hose while the audience continues to hoot and holler at the spectacle.
The backlash Madonna likely would have suffered from an already-emboldened and not-so-far-anymore far right would have made the whipping she endured following Sex seem like harmless roleplay, but the video turned a trite, self-aggrandizing and often awkward song about privilege into a startling comment on the obscenity of war and materialism-one that would have undoubtedly been looked back upon as brave. Following up American Life with Hollywood was nearly as ballsy: "Music stations always play the same songs/I'm bored with the concept of right and wrong,"
Madge sings during the bridge before declaring that "this bird has flown" and instructing her audience to "flip the station, change the channel." Likewise, she rejects tabloid culture's "social disease" on Nobody Knows Me, denouncing both TV and magazines. These weren't the kinds of statements you expected to hear from the biggest pop star in the world-especially one whose most recent hits, Music and Don't Tell Me, were being played ad nauseam on pop radio and MTV just 24 months earlier. (Incidentally, Hollywood became Madonna's first single in 20 years not to crack the Billboard Hot 100.)
That American Life and Hollywood were made with a half-Afghani Frenchman probably only further aggravated American patriots. Most of American Life was co-written and produced by Mirwais Ahmadzaï, who lent the album an often ugly, lo-fi demo quality and, following his superior work on 2000's Music, made Madonna's ever-evolving sound seem suddenly stunted.
Subsequent remixes highlighted (and in some cases, revealed) the strength of the songs on American Life: the dull Love Profusion was reinvented into a vibrant piece of guitar-driven pop-rock by Ray Carroll, while the title track and Hollywood were turned into entirely different songs by Felix da Housecat and Stuart Price, respectively.
But the original album's ugliness has been vastly misunderstood and unappreciated; its stripped down, deconstructed aesthetic perfectly complements Madonna's subversive messages. Beats abruptly stop and start. Guitars stutter. Synths drop in and out. The late Michel Colombier's gorgeous string arrangements are sliced and diced. Madonna's voice is left bare and unaffected-that is, when it's not twisted and deformed until it sounds unrecognizable, even inhuman, like a Stepford wife on the fritz.
Madonna couldn't possibly have intended to make a pop album. American Life is a folk album in the purest definition of the term-and it's reflected right in the title. Though it owes plenty to the protest folk of the 1960s, the album's anti-capitalist bent presented a dichotomy that's been endemic in Madonna's work since she co-opted "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and transformed it into an anthem for self-empowerment back in the '80s.
"What I want is to work for it," she sings nakedly on Easy Ride, "feel the blood and sweat on my fingertips." It's the complete antithesis of what it means to be a Material Girl. American Life is deeply personal (she writes candidly about her relationships with her husband, children and God) but only immediately relatable if you just so happen to be grappling with what it means to be one of the most famous people in the world. In other words, it's profoundly truthful but its audience is limited by design.
On the hymnal folk ballad X-Static Process, Madonna sounds almost childlike when she begs: "Jesus Christ, won't you look at me/I don't know who I'm supposed to be." Mortality is a key issue on American Life, an inevitable existential crisis for an artist who reached godlike levels of idolatry and fame and stayed there longer than anyone else in modern pop culture history without self-destructing.
Questions like "Why am I here?" and "What is the purpose of all of this?" were inescapable. Madonna's vocals are reminiscent of her pre-fame days on the guitar-driven I'm So Stupid, a track with a decidedly punk-rock sensibility on which she reassesses the value of the material world: "Please don't try to tempt me/It was just greed/And it won't protect me," a sentiment she reprises on the wall of a bathroom stall in the American Life video.
Rap music is, in a sense, an inner-city adaptation of the folk tradition, serving the same purpose in the 1980s and today as the political folk of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell in the 1960s, but it doesn't make Madonna's use of the form any less gawky or grating, nor does it make its cheekiness seem any less out of place on a track as dour and robotic as American Life.
It does, however, work on the inventive, electro-folk/rap hybrid Mother And Father, in which Madonna employs a schoolyard-style chant to recount the isolation she felt as a child in the wake of her mother's death. It's a demon she's famously attempted to exorcise before (and more successfully), but one that continues to haunt her into midlife, and it illuminates the motivation behind her abiding drive to remain relevant in a youth-obsessed industry.
In hindsight, American Life isn't the masterpiece that Erotica so quickly revealed itself to be. It's frequently self-indulgent, misguided, unpleasant, difficult to listen to, silly yet somehow humorless, but it's also consistent, uncompromising and unapologetic. The album is a testament to the artist's willingness to take risks and her refusal to stay inside her comfort zone.
In the grand scheme of things, the album might rank as one of the weakest in Madonna's extensive catalog, and the ones that followed have been as good, if not better, but American Life stands as the last time Madonna seemed to make music without the primary objective of scoring a hit. It's interesting to imagine what Madonna's career would look like today had American Life been a success: For better or worse, that pink leotard and Justin duet might never have existed. [3.5 out of 5 stars]
~ What more can we add? We disagree with Erotica being a masterpiece compared to American Life and Mirwais surely didn't lose his touch after Music, but the review cleverly points out some highlights of the record and gives us great arguments why the album and its singles had to fail. We disagree that Madonna seemingly made American Life without wanting to score a hit: Mirwais' work made Music a big hit so she was at least aiming to continue that level of success. All in all, it definitely remains an interesting chapter in Madonna's impressive career.
Italians fans, we are happy to announce that one of the most successful Italian DJs will be the opening act for Madonna's Sticky & Sweet show in Rome.
Benny Benassi, the guy behind club hits like 'Satisfaction' or 'Make Me Feel' will perform an exclusive live set at Rome's Olympic Stadium on September 6th!
If you've already ordered your tickets, then you took the right decision as the Rome show is now sold out. See you at the show!
The last time Madonna and Britney Spears shared a stage together, the pop stars locked lips at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards in a kiss that shocked and delighted their fans.
But now, Access Hollywood has learned the music powerhouses will once again share the stage in Madonna's upcoming Sticky & Sweet world tour - though not exactly live.
Despite rumors that Brit would join Madge onstage, the blonde duo will appear together, but only through a taped video performance, Access has confirmed.
"Britney's doing a video piece this week for Madonna's new tour," Brit's manager, Larry Rudolph, told Access.
The duo filmed a portion of the video Sunday that will be used during the concert, a rep for Madonna said.
"Britney shot some footage with Madonna yesterday that will be used during Madonna's upcoming tour," the Material Mom's rep, Liz Rosenberg, confirmed to Access.
As for a surprise appearance by Brit on stage alongside Madonna, fans should not hold their breath, according the rep.
"I do not believe that Britney will be appearing live on the tour," she added.
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet, with Britney on video, kicks off October 4 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
~ Give us your opinion in our brand new poll! If you want to know for which song M & B are filming the video, you can find it on our spoilers page.
Give It 2 Me breaks into the Top 20 of the UK singles chart this week, which means *all* of Madonna's 66 singles entered the Top 20!
Even if one of Madonna's next singles end this unbelievable record, it is very unlikely that there would be any other female artist ever who could match this feat.
Also, it's the first time since 1985 that Madonna occupies 2 consecutive positions in the Top 20 as 4 Minutes is #17 while Give It 2 Me is #18.
On top of all this great news, chart watchers point out that Madonna has just gathered her 700th (!) week on the UK singles chart, the 4th among all artists. Not to mention that by next week, she's expected to pass 16 million copies of singles sold, which is also the 4th highest among all artists.
Needless to say only male artists are above Madonna in both categories (as with the total number of chart-topper singles), which means Madonna is undoubtedly the most successful female artist ever in the UK, and it is no exaggeration by any means to call her the Queen of the UK chart!
You can read more chart news or you can check out the chart runs of Madonna's latest album and singles on worldwide charts!
Madonna has released an exclusive statement to People, denying that she is divorcing Guy Ritchie or having an affair with Yankee star Alex Rodriguez.
In it, she says: "My husband and I are not planning on getting a divorce. I know Alex Rodriguez through Guy Oseary, who manages both of us. I brought my kids to a Yankee game. I am not romantically involved in any way with Alex Rodriguez. I have nothing to do with the state of his marriage or what spiritual path he may choose to study."
Alex Rodriguez's wife Cynthia blamed the rumored affair for the demise of her marriage to the slugger, sources say.
Amid growing buzz of divorce, the singer's rep had earlier issued a denial that the singer and her husband of over seven years, Guy Ritchie, were splitting.
The singer, who is no stranger to rumors, also says: "I have learned over the years not to take accusations and the many false reports about me very seriously. I also appreciate how fiction and fact seem to be perceived as one and the same by people who read both newspapers and the internet."
Very exciting stuff were revealed about one of the upcoming tour performances, that promises to be a highlight of the show. If you want to know, click here to read it on our spoiler page.
Fansite Madonnatribe has revealed a lot from the Sticky & Sweet Tour setlist. If you don't mind being spoiled before the tour kicks off, then you can read it on our tour spoilers page!
After a long discussion and anticipation, Madonna.com finally makes the Montenegro stop official. Madonna is going to perform at the Jaz Beach in Budva on Thursday, September 25th.
Tickets will be available from Friday, July 11th at 10 am local time and the ICON presales are set to Wednesday, July 9th at 10 am local time.
The European leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour is almost complete now, with one or two possible dates missing between Lisbon & Paris. At this point, Madonna is going to perform in 10 different European countries, which is the most ever for any Madonna tour.
Madonna's spokeswoman has released an exclusive statement to People rejecting reports that the singer's marriage to her film director husband Guy Ritchie is on the rocks.
"Madonna's husband Guy arrived in New York last night to be with his wife and family (not in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage which does not need saving)," Liz Rosenberg told People. "There are no plans for Madonna and Guy to divorce."
Rosenberg also denied a published report of a relationship between the singer and New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
"Madonna and Alex have the same manager, Guy Oseary," Rosenberg says. "They have met. They know each other and Madonna took her kids to a Yankees game last week. There's really not anything to comment on beyond that."
Adds Rosenberg: "It's nothing new that people are airing tons of dirty laundry Madonna's way lately – much of it untrue." She joked: "By the way, rumors of Madonna and Lil Wayne are quite exaggerated as well."
'Uhhh... I can't jump rope in high heels!"
"Well, not that high a heel."
OK folks, who do we know who would jump rope (double dutch, too) in heels? Of course! It is our old friend, the indomitable Madonna.
La Ciccone has been rehearsing her Sticky & Sweet tour in a massive space in New York. Her latest troupe of beautiful dancers is present, as is every other member of a massive Madonna undertaking. When the boss works, everybody works! It is 80 degrees and humid outside. Inside, it's a steam bath. Madonna does not enjoy air conditioning. (Audiences tend to leave her concerts having lost about 10 pounds in water weight.) Everybody looks whipped. Not Madonna.
Without makeup, her long blond hair lank, dressed in funereal black rehearsal togs, she looks fresher, younger and more vital than she does on the red carpet. (She also looks less muscular. Concert lighting and flash photography tends to over-emphasize her toned sinew.) She certainly shakes a tail feather like she is still writhing along the canals in Venice for the Like A Virgin video, filmed before most of her dancers were born.
People close to Madonna, those who love her, are always saying, "Why don't you relax more, have some fun?" Sometimes she will agree. But most of the time she doesn't bother to give concerned parties her life memo: hard work - pushing herself to the limit and most of all, dancing is her fun and relaxation. So many of her songs celebrate the power of dance and how it can free you - perhaps just temporarily - from immediate care.
Watching this star go through her paces, she seems not to have a care in the world, except to perfect her show. "That sucked!" she declares after failing to execute her double dutch without error. "I have to be better." Madonna pauses and gives a mock scowl to her dancers, "And so does everybody else."
Later, she painstakingly explains her vision on one of the numbers. The choreographer is working only from an e-mail he just received from Madonna. She has her vision, now she has to communicate it. The number will feature four girls who are dressed up in various iconic versions of Madonna images past. She's laughing at her old "looks" and discussing the particulars. "At first I thought mannequins, then no, real girls would be better.
Truthfully, I wanted drag queens - who does me better? But I figured that might be too much drama, you know - those girls love their scenes. And I provide enough of that!"
As Madonna recruits the dancers who'll stand and strike a pose, each holding or wearing a prop, the star will snatch away, the choreographer beams, "Oh, this is getting so wickedly weird. Now I'm really loving it!"
Throughout the afternoon and evening, Madonna never flags, and never loses her sense of humor or the maternal camaraderie she always shares with her dancers.
Happily lost in her greatest love - her work - it doesn't seem the time or place to bring up her supposedly failing marriage or the betrayal of her brother, Christopher Ciccone, and his tell-all book. (Poor Christopher. He has made his bed, and already the peas in his mattress are the size of boulders. In the end, he will have helped sell a gazillion more tickets to his sister's concerts.)
Will Madonna and Guy Ritchie separate? I don't know. I do know they have been deeply in love, very much in sync (certainly at one time), and both these strong-willed people have tried hard to accommodate the other. The last time I saw Guy and Madonna together they couldn't have been more convivial and affectionate. They were in public, of course, so we take the proverbial grain of salt on that one. I don't think the towel is thrown in yet. It's damp and well used. It's hanging crooked on the shower stall. But it's not quite ready for the hamper. She has three children. She is not cavalier when it comes to divorce. (Remember, this is only her second marriage.)
Certainly Madonna does not look or behave like a woman whose marriage is on the rocks. She wouldn't show that face anyway; that's a great part of her appeal. She doesn't beg her audience for love or understanding. You either understand or you don't. Seen through the oft-distorted prism of the media, her ambition and "manipulation" is not always admired. Still, many do admire her, without really admitting she has talent. Millions more worship her as a figure of empowerment and forging success in a man's world on a man's terms. She's the music industry's Hillary Clinton, jumping rope in high heels.
Endquote: From supermodel Gisele Bundchen in GQ: "This is exactly how I would describe my work: I get there, I put on clothes, I leave it on the hanger and I go home. And that's what I do."
Bundchen - whom I liked very much based on this Q&A with Nate Penn - also said she resists showing her vulnerability in photographs because "When you are out there with the wolves, you gotta play with the wolves... I learned pretty quickly. I burned myself."