Madonna Under The Covers – independent release (includes order link)

Under The Covers is an independent release by Leftfield Media Productions. It brings a welcome change in the continuation of various well known live recordings and TV broadcasts releases.

This release puts the focus on the ‘songs she didn’t write’ and includes 20 tracks, most being performed live. The majority of these have never been officially released and therefore make for a great listening experience. The quality varies, but is mostly very good and makes quite a nice addition to your Madonna CD collection. 

Order through Bol.com here

 

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Madonna in 2000: Reinventing Pop ‘Music’

Madonna Music
Courtesy Photo

Madonna, “Music”

Following our Billboard staff-picked list of the 100 greatest songs of 2000, we’re writing this week about some of the stories and trends that defined the year for us. Here, we look back at the way Madonna, arguably the most iconic pop star of the ’80s and ’90s, entered her third decade: with an album that pushed both music and her own songwriting into new and unexpected places. 

The year 2000 was a good time to be Madonna. Through the ups and downs of the ’90s, she’d followed the musical standard she’d set on 1989’s Like a Prayer, extending her range as a singles artist into a more personal, album-driven format. The birth of Lourdes Leon, her first child, sparked the creation of 1998’s Ray of Light — still her most critically acclaimed album, which led to her first four Grammy Awards all at once the next year. 

But most importantly, Madonna’s influence on the next generation of musicians had begun to manifest. Maverick Records, her imprint under Time Warner, was in full swing, releasing albums by acts as big as Alanis Morissette, Marilyn Manson, and The Prodigy. In the mid-’90s, the Spice Girls had kicked off a new wave of teen pop, branding pop-feminism as Girl Power, and the likes of Britney, Christina, and Destiny’s Child were now taking up the reins in America. These were self-possessed, ambitious young women who knew their potential, singing over dance beats and R&B grooves, not guitars — all of whom looked up to Madonna, whether she liked it or not. In 2000, she said to Rolling Stone (with an apparent eye roll), “I’ve been told that I have inspired Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. So maybe it’s not so strange that I could be in the mix of them. I’m not sure.”

Seventeen years after her self-titled debut album, Madonna had come full circle. Enough time had passed that even her biggest skeptics had to concede to her body of work, but she remained a driving force within popular culture. Into the new millennium emerged her eighth studio album Music — a concise title that would come to speak volumes. Though the album cover (along with the subsequent “Don’t Tell Me” video) suggested a cowgirl reinvention, Music was in fact a globalist, Warholian pop-art take on Americana — largely recorded in London, with exclusively British and French collaborators.

But half a year before Music, in March 2000, came a red herring — a cover of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” At the behest of her co-star Rupert Everett, Madonna recorded her version for the soundtrack to their film The Next Best Thing, a romantic dramedy from Midnight Cowboy director John Schlesinger. The film was critically panned and soon faded from memory, but “American Pie” — released as a single the same day — became a polarizing global hit

As an unapologetically pop interpretation of one of the defining symbols of baby boomer nostalgia, many considered it sacrilege. Ironically, the most positive review came from Don McLean himself, who called Madonna’s version “sensual and mystical… a gift from a goddess.” Produced by William Orbit, her lead collaborator on Ray of Light and “Beautiful Stranger” (her psychedelic 1999 single from the second Austin Powers soundtrack), the “American Pie” track is colorful, almost gaudy — the theremin-like synths and marching snares threaten to tip over into kitsch. 

Madonna’s voice sounds richer than usual, yet the song’s allegorical lyrics, so tied to Don McLean’s memories of the late ’50s and ’60s, simply don’t carry the same weight coming from her. Ultimately, Madonna’s “American Pie” was a similar sentiment dressed up in pop clothes — and arguably, a less radical reinterpretation than “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “The Saga Begins,” his Phantom Menace parody released the year prior.

 

In the music video, Madonna seemingly becomes an avatar for America itself. Between shots of her dancing in front of the flag, she showcases a diverse cast of working-class, queer, ordinary Americans. “American Pie” was unusually patriotic and nostalgic, two words rarely associated with Madonna. At the behest of a record executive, it was a bonus track on international editions of Music — a decision she’d later regret. Don McLean’s recording, and many listeners’ relationship with it, was simply bigger than Madonna herself.

Like it or hate it, the inescapability of “American Pie” only increased the anticipation for Madonna’s next reinvention. When the Music campaign began in earnest, the domino effect was immediate. On August 11, 2000, Madonna gave birth to Rocco — her second child, and first with director Guy Ritchie. Five days later, she turned 42; a week after that, an unfinished version of the album leaked on Napster — and she released the single and video for “Music,” debuting her new sound with producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï. 

A journeyman musician in his native France since 1978, Mirwais’ influences were unlike anything in mainstream American pop at the time. “Music” was a blunt, escapist dance track, but its hyper-intelligent production was just as obvious — looking back towards Kraftwerk, and to the future of what would become electroclash. Mirwais’ sonic palette is all extremes: razor-sharp treble hi-hats, sawtooth synths, and enormous sub bass, not so much complementing each other as fighting for prominence. 

Madonna had long been considered the postmodern pop star, following in the footsteps of David Bowie. “Music” defined her ethos anew: to unify the cutting-edge underground with the world of pop. “Music makes the people come together/ Music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel!” She wasn’t just telling the listener to get up and dance, but offering a winking cultural commentary too. Singing through a vocoder, she asks, “Do you like to boogie-woogie?/ Do you like my acid rock?” — as if daring you to disagree.

The video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, casted Madonna as a kind of hip-hop mack-daddy, with Ali G her feckless limo driver. It was simultaneously low and high-concept, fusing ’70s disco aesthetics with psychedelic animation — vibrant enough to appeal to kids, jaded gen X-ers and longtime fans alike. “Music” became Madonna’s final song to date to top the Billboard Hot 100, though it was far from her last pop hit. At both the MTV Europe Music Awards and the Grammys, she performed the song in front of a montage of her past music videos, yet without a hint of nostalgia, singing “Don’t think of yesterday, and I don’t look at the clock…”

Madonna was never one to repeat herself, but especially not after Ray of Light’s most direct musical successor arrived through another source: All Saints’ “Pure Shores,” a dreamy William Orbit production that, earlier in 2000, was a megahit seemingly everywhere but the U.S. Though Madonna was reportedly displeased that she hadn’t recorded the song herself, she continued to work with Orbit, but largely forged ahead with Mirwais as her lead collaborator.

Music’s stakes feel much lower than Ray of Light. The mood is more relaxed, playful, yet Madonna had plenty to prove. Track two, “Impressive Instant,” followed “Music” with her weirdest sonic excursion ever — a psych-rock take on electro house with lyrics like “I like to singy, singy, singy/ Like a bird on a wingy, wingy, wingy.” Absurd, yet strangely moving, “Impressive Instant” was the first song Madonna and Mirwais worked on — it alone was enough to justify their partnership.

Music is alternately restless and contemplative. “Nobody’s Perfect” is an apology largely sung through auto-tune, predating Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak“Paradise (Not for Me),” inspired by Édith Piaf, is a haunting lament for lost loves and memories. But the album’s true emotional core is “I Deserve It.” Over Neil Young-like acoustic guitars and sparkling synths, Madonna confesses that she might finally have found unconditional love. “I Deserve It” couldn’t be further from the likes of “True Blue” or “Cherish,” but more than any other song, it shows how she’s matured — not as a star, but a human. Those moments of vulnerability put not just the rest of the album, but her whole career into perspective.

Curiously, the album’s William Orbit co-writes are the weakest of the bunch. “Amazing” and “Runaway Lover” flow too smoothly, like water, next to Mirwais’ jagged, alien soundscapes. There’s a sense that she’s not pushing herself as hard, still in her Ray of Light comfort zone.

Perhaps no producer has challenged Madonna more than Mirwais on “Don’t Tell Me,” which was released as the second single on November 21, the day before Madonna’s wedding to Guy Ritchie. “Don’t Tell Me” takes one kitschy genre — country-pop guitar twang, as depicted in its video — and filters it through Mirwais’ glitchy IDM programming. It’s the rare pop hit that’s danceable, yet constantly throwing rhythmic curveballs, spinning off-balance. Dig deeper, and the lyrics read more like a Zen koan than anything in pop: “Tell the bed not to lay/ Like the open mouth of a grave, yeah/ Not to stare up at me/ Like a calf down on its knees.”

Those words came from a demo of the song “Stop” by Joe Henry — Madonna’s brother-in-law, and a cult Americana singer-songwriter in his own right. Most importantly, Madonna’s overlapping lead vocals are naked, free of any reverb — a choice Mirwais called “the most important thing that we did to her voice on the album.” “Don’t Tell Me” is as catchy as it is inscrutable, a three-way collaboration that seemingly transcends time and space itself.

“What It Feels Like for a Girl” was an immediate highlight, yet it took a strange path to becoming the album’s third single. On the album, it was beautifully melodic, yet unsettled — the album’s lone co-write with Guy Sigsworth, frequent Björk and Imogen Heap collaborator. “Girl” was as openly feminist as “Express Yourself,” but introspective, articulating the complexities of modern womanhood on an intuitive, spiritual level (“Good little girls, they never show it/ When you open up your mouth to speak/ Could you be a little weak?”).

In early 2001, it was released as the album’s final single and music video; Madonna’s first collaboration with Guy Ritchie. Instead of the album version, Above & Beyond’s upbeat trance remix — which reduced the song to no more than its opening Charlotte Gainsbourg sample and chorus – was used instead. In the video, infamously banned by MTV and VH1, Madonna and an elderly female companion commit grand theft auto and robbery on male bystanders, before ramming their stolen car into a street pole. 

Ritchie’s signature style is thrilling and frenetic, but too blunt for its own good — the ironic, female-empowerment-through-violence concept doesn’t fully translate. Still, taken together, Music’s three singles formed a perfect triptych of Madonna’s career. “Music” — postmodern, escapist dance-pop; “Don’t Tell Me” — high/lowbrow pop kitsch; “What It Feels Like for a Girl” — defiant, vulnerable feminism. 

Like Ray of LightMusic found broad critical acclaim upon its release, and was even voted number 452 on Rolling Stone’s original Greatest Albums of All Time list. It seemed to be Madonna’s definitive artistic statement for the new millennium — but in the years since, it’s become equally fascinating for all the ways in which it didn’t point the way forward for her.

In 2000, the winds seemed to be blowing in Madonna’s favor. By 2003, they were not. As both American and worldwide politics took a darker turn, she recorded American Life — a direct continuation of Music’s palette with Mirwais, but a complete 180 in its combative stance towards pop culture and music. She hit reset with 2005’s blockbuster Confessions on a Dance Floor, but never recaptured Music’s experimental spirit… until last year’s Madame X, which reunited her with both Mirwais and her curious, globalist muse.

The early new millennium was a time of flux. The dominant sounds of ’90s pop culture — teen pop, R&B, hip-hop, country-pop, electronica, alternative rock — had all come of age, and were colliding in new and unfamiliar configurations. Music, inspired by both the underground and the mainstream, existed between the two, impossible to pin down to any one movement.

In 2020, Music now marks the halfway point of Madonna’s career. It’s arguably one of her best albums, yet rarely the first one fans or casual listeners reach for. But it’s to her, and Mirwais’ credit, that Music still feels like recent history. It’ll be remembered not just for the cowgirl outfits and choreography, but its restless, adventurous spirit, looking backwards and ahead to find a sense of belonging in the present.

More at Billboard

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Madonna’s Coronavirus Diary Is Her Best Work in Years

Madonna might not have had the most graceful transition into the modern era, evidenced by her recent album Madame X. But the coronavirus pandemic seems to have brought out the best in the queen of pop — a flare for drama, comedy and reinvention — just when we needed her most.

The 61-year-old artist has been documenting her time in quarantine with a series of heavily edited Instagram montage videos. Typically, they see her disembodied voice narrating her own diary entries musing about COVID-19 or the philosophy of art, as she punches them on a typewriter surrounded by candles and flowers. All the while smooth jazz vinyl twinkles in the background like a noir film scene or at very least, a Wes Anderson parody of one. Occasionally, the diaries include cameos from her 25-year-old boyfriend, dancer-rapper Ahlamalik Williams, who she’s quarantining with in London along with her daughter Mercy James.

Perhaps in a nod to current trends experimental autobiography, Madonna switches between her own (ostensibly) non-fiction narrative with that of her alter-ego, the Carmen Sandiago-esque, femme fatale-woman of mystery Madame X. Some of the entries seem to take place under a different global crisis altogether, one that has impeded the health or resources of a celebrity millionaire, as she refers to rationing food or being too weak to pick up her children.

“Madame X did not die in Paris,” she begins one entry. “Her journey continues on self-quarantine in honor and respect for COVID-19. I am still in pain with no cure in sight, thanks to all the borders being closed. I shall learn from this and grow stronger. “Ironically, the brand of this this typewriter is Corona,” she adds wistfully. In another, “I am home. Isolated. Artists are here to disturb the piece, but how shall I disturb it now?” Queue a martini order addressed to an alleged off-screen butler.

The entries are incredibly entertaining, reminiscent of a selfie-video character bit you might find on a Brooklyn comedian’s Twitter. Madge always keeps you guessing as to whether there’s a wink between her long dramatic sighs.

“Tonight at the dinner table we talked about our favorite painters, Surrealism versus Cubism. It’s a toss-up for me, I love Frida and Dali, I love Picasso, I love Léger, I love Leonara Carrington… What would I do without art? Perish for sure,” she waxes in Sunday’s entry.

Occasionally, the ambiguous level of parody is off-putting. For instance, in yesterday’s now-deleted diary Madonna delivered a soliloquy nude from a milky bathtub full of rose petals about how coronavirus is “the great equalizer.” “That’s the thing about COVID-19, it doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell… what’s terrible is it’s made us all equal in many ways, and what’s wonderful about is that it’s made us all equal, in many ways,” she says, shaking her head in wonder, with a quiet laugh to herself.

This is all of course, absurd and factually false, given wealthy people’s disproportionate access to medical care and safeguards from the volatile economy. But hey, while most celebs are livestreaming their basic DJ sets or yoga routines, Madonna is crafting a narrative arc, even if it goes off the deep end sometimes. This is the quarantine content we deserve.

Photo via Instagram

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Madonna’s “Vogue” Turns Thirty; A Retrospective Of An Iconic Single

Look around, everywhere you turn is heartache,It’s everywhere that you go (look around)

You try everything you can to escape, The pain of life that you know (life that you know)

x

When all else fails and you long to be, something better than you are today                              

I know a place where you can get away, it’s called the dance floor, & here’s what it’s for

It’s with those four bars that one of the most anthemic tracks in musical history was born. Thirty years ago this month, Madonna’s single Vogue premiered on radio stations everywhere and three decades later, remains one of the most culturally relevant songs to ever be crafted. It has been recreated everywhere from the hit television show Glee (Jane Lynch’s vocal recreation was stunningly hilarious) and served as a major storyline arc on Season 2 of the Pose. (In reality, Madonna was inspired by vogue dancers and choreographers Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza, direct out of the the Harlem “House Ball” community, where the style of dance originated. They introduced “Vogueing” to her at the legendary Sound Factory club in New York City and an anthem was born). 

Behind the scenes, Vogue was the highlight of her musical partnership with musical impresario and legendary musical architect Shep Pettibone. After remixing several of her other tracks, Pettibone was approached to create a brand new song for the Material Girl. With vocals that he recalls Madonna laying down as “efficient” (with Madonna rapidly tracking all the verse and chorus vocals in order, in single takes). It was Pettibone that suggested the idea of a rap to fill the middle eight portion of the track. He suggested name-checking classic film stars, so he and Madonna came up with a list of names, recording it immediately. Pettibone also came up with the vocal coda (“Ooooh, you’ve got to, let your body move to the music”). Madonna then returned to Los Angeles & Pettibone added both piano and altered the bassline to fit the vocals. Pettibone and Madonna continued an ultra successful partnership through several songs (including “Rescue Me”) culminating in the critically acclaimed and Golden Globe nominated ballad “This Used To Be My Playground”. Pettibone has moved on to open the famed Paradise nightclub in Asbury Park, N.J., for which he is largely credited with bringing back the LGBT community of Asbury Park. On the rare occasion that he spins and plays “Vogue”, it remains an absolute event. Pettibone himself paid homage to the track on his social media late last week; 

All these years later, the song that had everyone cheekily repeating the lyric “Rita Hayworth gave good face” remains prominent in the American lexicon. The numerous homages that Pose paid it during Season 2 remains some of the most popular moments of the season, and Madonna herself continues to perform the song on her various tours, and even performed an interesting version of the track on her Instagram several days ago. Even during a quarantine, the Material Girl knows that one of her most famed anthems will eventually, still bring us all to the dance floor. 

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Through the Years: Madonna’s Iconic “Vogue” Turns 30

From MTV to Madame X, the queen of pop’s ode to voguing continues to endure three decades later.
 

 

Madonna, Vogue

Photo: Warner Bros.

Released in March of 1990, Madonna’s “Vogue” wasn’t just a hit single—it was a cultural phenomenon. Ironically, no other song better exemplifies both the singer’s influence on pop culture and the accusations of appropriation that have been lobbed at her over the years. The track, produced by Shep Pettibone, is at once a musical map of disco, shamelessly ripping MFSB’s “Love Is the Message” and Salsoul Orchestra’s “Ooh, I Love It (Love Break),” and an enduring prototype of its own, spawning countless copycats and spoofs in the early ‘90s and inspiring covers by more contemporary acolytes like Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Katy Perry. The queen of pop herself has even paid homage to her own hit, erupting into the song’s refrain at the end of her 1992 single “Deeper and Deeper” and sampling elements of the track on 2015’s “Holy Water” and her most recent club hit, “I Don’t Search I Find.” Like the Harlem drag balls that inspired it, “Vogue” is about presentation, and unlike, say, “Like a Virgin,” the queen of reinvention has found little need to fuss with perfection. Sal Cinquemani

Music Video (1990)

Look closely when that butler brushes off the bannister. Nope, no dust there; the finger pulls clean. Those who objected to Madonna’s co-opting two vibrant New York scenes—ball culture and the house underground—had every reason to cast any available aspersions once the instant-classic music video for “Vogue” hit the airwaves. Directed with diamond-cut precision by David Fincher long before he became the fussiest of the A-list auteurs, the already plush song became a plummy fantasia of Old Hollywood luxury, and an actualization of the sort of glamour Paris Is Burning’s drag queens and dance-floor ninjas openly longed for. And it came with a steep price tag. “It makes no difference if you’re black or white,” goes the familiar refrain, but it’s unclear whether Madonna realized to what extent the clip’s flawless, monochromatic cinematography would underline the point. To some, the video (like New York’s ball scene) represented the ultimate democratization of beauty. To others, a presumptuously preemptive eradication of the racial question entirely. Eric Henderson

Blond Ambition Tour (1990)

Compared to the spectacles Madonna would go on to stage for the song over the next quarter century, the premier live performances of “Vogue” were surprisingly quaint. Stripped down to the bare basics (aside from the dancers’ headdresses, even the costumes consisted solely of simple black spandex), the Blond Ambition version of the song came closest to capturing the essence of the gay ballroom scene the lyrics were inspired by: presentational, preening, and all about the pose. Cinquemani

Rock the Vote (1990)

Along with “Vogue,” this year also marks the 30th anniversary of Rock the Vote, the nonprofit organization aimed at mobilizing and registering young voters. In 1990, the group made its national debut with a TV spot featuring Madonna and two of her Blond Ambition dancers harmonizing to a cheeky, revamped version of her then-recent smash. In what might seem tame by today’s standards, the sight of the world’s biggest pop star draped in the American flag, comparing freedom of speech to sex, threatening to give non-voters a “spanky,” and name-dropping Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., all while dressed in red lace lingerie, twisted more than a few panties among the Moral Majority. And that was before it was revealed she wasn’t even registered to vote. Cinquemani

MTV Video Music Awards (1990)

Indulging in a cheeky bit of dress-me-up make believe, Madonna’s performance at the 1990 VMAs gracefully elided politics altogether in favor of lace-front cosplay. Borrowing liberally from Dangerous Liaisons, specifically costume designer James Acheson’s cleavage-crushing bodice, Madonna and regalia flitted around a rec room, taunting a bevy of eligible suitors in short pants, punctuating every tease with an audible snap of fans that sounded more like trashcan lids. Sandwiched as the song was between “Like a Prayer” on one side and “Justify My Love” and Erotica on the other, it was nice to see at least one performance of the song that revels in the simple thrill of innocent ribaldry. Henderson

The Girlie Show Tour (1993)

Not by any stretch the most iconic performance of the tune, and in fact very likely the most rote of the bunch, especially when you consider its place in context with the surrounding Erotica-heavy content, against which “Vogue” can’t help but sound just a smidge “Let’s All Go to the Lobby.” The Mata Hari headdress promises subversion that never really materializes, which is hardly a surprise given Madonna—clad in a boy bra and chunky platform military boots—has probably never looked more rectangular. This marked the last time she would perform the song in concert for more than a decade, and the vague sense that an increasingly doom-obsessed Madonna was vaguely bored with the song’s escapism is palpable here. 

 

Re-Invention Tour (2004)

Madonna took an eight-year break from touring in the late ‘90s to concentrate on films and family, but her 2001 comeback tour’s focus on newer material meant it would be 11 long years between the Girlie Show performance of “Vogue” and this show-stopping show-starter from 2004’s Re-Invention Tour. Still in the thick of her yoga years, the singer merged her past and present, enlightenment and artifice, by turning “strike a pose” into a spiritual mantra. If not her greatest performance of the song (the mimed vocals are particularly irksome given that the tour boasted some of her best), it was certainly her most athletic. Cinquemani

Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008)

More than once during the Hard Candy-fied incarnation of “Vogue,” the track drops out to allow Madonna to check her ticking watch. It’s awfully tempting to be, ahem, reductive and compare the lasting influence of her 1990 house blockbuster unfavorably against the instant irrelevance of “4 Minutes,” a song which even in its own title falls well short of the Andy Warhol promise. While Madonna’s sinewy, hip-heavy choreographed combinations are a welcome deviation from the on-tiptoe strutting that usually accompanies “Vogue,” the decision to replace those immortal piano chords during the chorus with Timbaland’s clumsy faux-tuba blasts affirms the song’s message that beauty is “not just where you bump and grind it.” Henderson

Super Bowl XLVI (2012)

Leave it to Madonna to open her performance at the Super Bowl in 2012, arguably the most heterosexual audience she’s ever appeared in front of, with the gayest anthem in her catalogue. Drawn into the stadium on a throne by about 75 buff-bodied gladiators, the Queen of Pop took to the stage to perform her ode to glamour accompanied by holograms of moving fashion magazines and a multi-ethnic troupe of dancers who looked like they picked up their Egyptian-themed gear from the leather aisle at a sex shop rather than the local sporting-goods store. Cinquemani

MDNA Tour (2012)

The MDNA Tour was frequently, for many of the Material Girl-era dressed fans in the St. Paul audience I attended the concert with, a perverse experiment in avoiding simple “greatest hits” pleasures. (You haven’t witnessed truly radiant disappointment until you’ve seen packs of Gen X’ers trying in vain to sing along to Madonna’s sad cabaret version of “Like a Virgin.”) Which is why it was out of character for Madonna to open up the second half of her show with such a highly to-the-roots staging of “Vogue.” The dancers’ contortions howled, “Opulence!” The couture was a spendier version of the video’s untouchable monochromatic finery (with a bonus nod to the conical bra). The song, a note-for-note reproduction of Pettibone’s original bones. In its every detail, borderline in-concert karaoke. And yet, when those giant monitors flashed the song’s title in a font ripped from “the cover of a magazine,” there could no longer be any denying that Paris Is Burning’s “You own everything” had now officially been overshadowed by a Gaultier-flashing Madge: “I own everything.” Henderson

World Pride (2019)

When rumors started swirling that Madonna would be making a long overdue appearance at New York’s annual pride celebration in 2019, fans speculated that the infamously irreverent gay icon might give her oldies short shrift. But the queen arrived at Pride Island aiming to please, opening her set with what is arguably her queerest hit. Accompanied by a troupe of dancers dressed in identical platinum wigs and black trench coats, Madonna once again fused past and present, performing the song in her spy persona from Madame X (she went on to use this staging of the song on her world tour for the album). Only Madonna could make the sounds of a typewriter sound so fabulous. 

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‘MDNA’: How Madonna Created A Dance Record With Something To Say

Madonna’s first album of the 2010s, ‘MDNA’ found her balancing creative and business demands to create “music I can dance to”.
 
 
Madonna MDNA album cover 820

No wonder, then, that the music she was recording strove to be upbeat, energising and as cutting-edge as everyone expected. “Its official! I need to move. I need to sweat. I need to make new music! Music I can dance to,” she announced on social media in the months preceding MDNA’s 23 March 2012 release. “I’m on the lookout for the maddest, sickest, most bad-ass people to collaborate with…”

Listen to MDNA on Apple Music and Spotify.

Entering a new decade

It was obvious Madonna had found her dream team when Martin Solveig, Benny Benassi and Robyn collaborator Klas Ahlund were revealed to be signed to the project. Even William Orbit, who had so successfully steered Madonna’s greatest reinvention, on 1998’s Ray Of Light, was back, appearing on credits for half of MDNA’s tracks.

Her entry into a new decade was assured when a record-breaking, critically-lauded turn at the Super Bowl at the start of the year powered launch single ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’’ (featuring Nicki Minaj and MIA) into the US Top 10, making it her 38th single to hit that mark. Then there was a Golden Globe win for the beautiful, underplayed ballad ‘Masterpiece’, from WE.

The strong dance anthem ‘Girl Gone Wild’, however, remains the hit that should have been. Composed with the Benassi Bros team and Jenson Vaughan, it was largely overlooked by pop radio while its Mert & Marcus-shot promo clip was censored by streaming platforms, despite the video being one of her best. The song became a major club success, but further plaudits eluded it.

An exuberant dance record that has something to say

That was plainly unfair. Though MDNA is an unapologetic dance record, softer moments, like the sweeping ‘Falling Free’, with its echoes of ‘Frozen’ and other great Madonna ballads, and the spirited summer uplands of ‘Turn Up The Radio’, issued as a single that June, just as MDNA’s supporting tour began its global trek, are classic Madonna. Even on the album’s bonus tracks, there’s much evidence of her effervescent charisma: there’s the jaunty pop cut ‘Beautiful Killer’; the MIA duet ‘B-Day Song’ is a gem; and ‘Best Friend’ is a superb, tuneful lament.

Somewhat overlooked today, it’s worth remembering that MDNA topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Madonna’s previous divorce record, Like A Prayer, had been her masterpiece, cementing her status as a musical icon and confidently straddling the divide between true pop and pop-art. MDNA may not have aimed to do the same, but today it stands up as a bold attempt to create an exuberant dance record that also has something to say.

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Coronavirus: Forget Nostradamus, people think Madonna predicted the COVID-19 pandemic

CORONAVIRUS was foretold by the pop star Madonna, not Nostradamus, conspiracy theorists have bizarrely claimed online.

The novel (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 284,000 people since it appeared unannounced last November. The virus’ sudden appearance in China and its rapid spread across the globe has led many to speculate about its origin.

Many have claimed the coronavirus disease (.

Others have claimed the self-titled psychic .

But the conspiracies have now been taken to a whole new level, with people claiming coronavirus was predicted by the Like A Virgin singer, Madonna.Scores of people have commented under a YouTube video of Madonna’s performance of the song Future at the 2019 Eurovision song contest in Israel.

 

Coronavirus: Madonna at Eurovision 2019

Coronavirus: Why are people saying Madonna predicted the coronavirus in 2019? (Image: GETTY)

Coronavirus: YouTube conspiracies about Madonna

Coronavirus: People on YouTube are saying Madonna knew of the virus (Image: YOUTUBE)

The live performance, which featured Madonna wearing an eye patch, and dancers in gas masks, was branded by viewers a forewarning of COVID-19.

One YouTube user said: “Her singing ‘Not everyone is coming to the future, not everyone is learning from the past.’ while pointing her finger at the audience, while wearing a crown (corona in greek is crown) while the dancers around her are wearing gas masks and massive fires and burnt buildings are shown on the screen behind her just hits different during a COVID-19 pandemic after massive fires in Australia and the Amazon rainforest… My inner conspiracy theorist is shook.”

Another commentator said: “This is evil. And people dancing around and clapping. Disgusting. She is telling you, not everyone is going to make it to the future. Coronavirus…”

A third person said: “So Madonna actually predicted 2020 Coronavirus calamities #coronavirus”.

She knew all along. She knew what was coming

YouTube comment

One YouTube user also said: “When I first saw this, it felt off. Almost sinister. She knew all along. She knew what was coming.”

But, the outrageous claims are not unique to Madonna and people have been trying to explain the coronavirus outbreak with unsubstantiated conspiracies since its outbreak in China.

Many evangelists and hardline Christians have said .

Coronavirus: Madonna and dancer in a gas mask

Coronavirus: Madonna performed with dancers wearing gas masks (Image: GETTY)

Coronavirus symptoms: What is COVID-19 explained

Scientists do, however, know what they are dealing with and it is a member of a large family of viruses.

SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that emerged in China’s Hubei Province last November.

Although this particular strain has never been seen before in humans, coronaviruses have caused health scares in the past.

In 2003, for instance, some 8,000 people were infected with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV).

A new strain then emerged in 2012 in the Middle East and has been dubbed Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Full article at Express.co.uk

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Madonna, 61, to make first hip-hop track alongside wannabe rapper boyfriend, 25

Madonna never fails to amaze her fans, and this latest news is no exception.

The 61-year-old has been dating dancer Ahlamalik Williams for a number of months now, and the 25-year-old is set to release his very first rap track in the very near future.

According to The Sun, the Vogue singer’s iconic voice will appear on the aspiring rapper’s brand new release.

In the new hip-hop song, Madonna will sing her part in the beautiful French language.

The tune will also borrow lyrics from Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose which is a song that the Queen of pop has covered many times throughout her career.

 
Madonna with her 25-year-old boyfriend Ahlamalik Williams

The songstress can be heard chirping the lyrics “Je voie la vie en rose”.

This ­translates in English to: “I see life through rose-tinted glasses”.

Dancer Ahlamalik has been on tour with Madonna since 2015.

Despite this, fans only began speculating about their relationship this year.

The 25-year-old appeared in Madonna’s music video God Control, which depicts a mass shooting in a nightclub that closely resembles the Pulse attack in 2016.

There’s no denying that Madonna has a history of dating younger men.

She has previously been linked to dancers Brahim Zalibat, then 23, and Timor Steffens, then 26, as well as model Kevin Sampaio, then 31.

The news comes as the singer is currently keeping herself busy and entertained while in self isolation.

he Papa Don’t Preach singer took to  Twitter  to share a little home video of a show she put on in her bathroom.

 

Holding a hairbrush in place of a microphone, the 61-year-old songstress danced around her cream-coloured bathroom, and sang about the current situation life has landed us all in.

Hoping to lift the spirits of her fans, Madonna made a jibe about bulk-buying groceries and the global lack of pasta.

Thanking God for her imagination in these “special times”, the singer free-styled a song about her dinner.

Re-creating her classic number one hit Vogue, Madonna decided to spice things up and make it fit to the times she’s living in right now.

Alongside the short video clip, she wrote: “Living in Special Times…………thank GOD for imagination and fried fish”.

More at the Mirror

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Quarantined Madonna Reimagines Hit Song ‘Vogue’ to Include Fried Fish

madannacoronavirus1
Twitter/Madonna

A stumbling and spinning Madonna is breaking out in song in an impromptu Coronavirus concert, reimagining her hit “Vogue” to include lyrics about eating fried fish.

“Come on! Go! Let’s go eats some fried fish, fried fish. Come on. Go! Let’s go eat some fried fish,” Madonna sang, using a hairbrush for a microphone in a video she posted to Twitter Friday.

“Living in special times…. thank GOD for imagination and fried fish,” she captioned the tweet. “Imagination” is likely a reference to the “Vogue” lyrics “All you need is your own imagination.”

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The bathroom based Coronavirus concert lyrics from Madonna are remixed from the original “Vogue” lyrics, which include:

Come on, vogue
Let your body move to the music (move to the music)
Hey, hey, hey
Come on, vogue
Let your body go with the flow (go with the flow)
You know you can do it

Even Madonna’s bathroom video dance moves mimic those from her iconic “Vogue” music video.

The worldwide health crisis caused by the coronavirus has resulted in a slew of celebrities breaking out in song and Shakespeare, with many of them posting videos of themselves doing so. Earlier this week, Gal Gadot, Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, Mark Ruffalo, Amy Adams, Chris O’Down, Maya Rudolph, Jimmy Fallon, James Marsden, and Sarah Silverman all sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Full article at BREITBART

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Madonna Calls Out Trump on COVID-19

Madonna
Steven Klein

Madonna

 
 

Madonna has taken a shot at Donald Trump and his ineffective leadership during the coronavirus pandemic without even uttering a word.

The pop superstar posted a powerful clip to her social channels which tracks the president’s word soup on COVID-19 and pins it to a fast-moving calendar.

A montage of Trump’s false claims set-up the video like a bad joke, from his boasts the virus could die off in April “with the hotter weather,” to his “close to zero” comments on nationwide-infections, to his infamous line that “one day, it’s like a miracle it will disappear” to misleading tales of vaccines for all, to “it’s really working out” and his assessments on “the new hoax” and “our country is doing great.”

The video concludes on a stark graphic on the numbers of infections stacking up as the emergency surges on.

 

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It’s not the first time the Queen of Pop has popped Trump with a jab. Her criticisms of the divisive Republican leader have come thick and fast in recent times. In 2017, she spoke of the “nightmare” that was Trump’s election. And on another occasion that year, she was quoted as saying, “He’s actually doing us a great service, because we have gone as low as we can go. We can only go up from here, so what are we going to do? We have two choices, destruction and creation. I choose creation.”

Trump has faced a storm of criticism for his indifference to the health crisis and for spreading misinformation.

With the live music scene all but shut down and cash-flow drying up, Zac Brown tearfully released most of his crew this week. “We’re late to the game. I’m pretty ashamed of the way that our leadership has handled all of this,” he said. “We can’t rely on our government to tell people what they need to do…we’re less protected than a lot of those countries (with mass infections).”

More at Billboard

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We’re Stuck at Home, but Let’s Still Be Cultured (Strike a Pose)

From left, Kevin Stea, Gabriel Trupin and Oliver Crumes III, three of the dancers who performed in Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” tour.
Credit…Lisa Guarnieri/CMT Docs

I’m not in a “La La Land” kind of mood. These strange times call for real life, so I found myself landing on “Strike a Pose.” Watching this 2016 documentary about the dancers who performed in Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” tour — one called it a show “about freedom, freedom as an artist, freedom as a human being” — the word I’m left with is resiliency.

The movie, which is available on NetflixTubi and iTunes, checks in with the dancers in the documentary “Truth or Dare” 25 years later. One, Gabriel Trupin, has died of AIDS; the others made it out alive, but have lost some glitter along the way. Armed with life experience — a couple have rebounded from rock bottom (drug and alcohol abuse), others are H.I.V. positive — they are defined by determination. “Strike a Pose” can go to dark places with rivers of tears, but, again, it’s real.

The dancers in “Strike a Pose” are no longer the boys they were in “Truth or Dare.” They’ve grown up, and they’re looking outward, still dancing and also teaching the next generation — watching it is a painful reminder that dance’s oral tradition of passing on knowledge, body-to-body, is in jeopardy.

The men perform solos in their apartments; poetic dances, considered and raw that somehow get to the essence of their art form: don’t stop, which is particularly apt now. For a companion piece there is this performance of “In the Upper Room” on YouTube. Twyla Tharp’s remarkable 1986 ballet set to music by Philip Glass, grainy or not, is another reminder of bravery. This, like, “Strike a Pose,” is a demonstration of courage: through bodies, tenacity and sweat.

Full article at NYTimes

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In Honor of Women’s History Month, Here Are 10 All-Female Collaborations in Latin Music

Madonna & Anitta “Faz Gostoso” (2019)

After feeling inspired by her move to Lisbon, Portugal, Madonna covered the Portuguese track “Faz Gostoso” by local singer Blaya for last year’s Madame X album. For her version, the Queen of Pop enlisted the help of Brazilian superstar Anitta. The Latina gives extra credibility to Madonna’s stab at Portuguese as they fight their feelings for a hot homewrecker. Together the two women turn up the heat with this irresistible baile funk banger.

Full article at BILLBOARD

 

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5 weird collaborations Madonna ever did

Now six decades old and with ups and downs in his career, Madonna She continues to be the Queen of Pop even though millennials do not want to believe it; yes, there is Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé or Rihanna, but there is no one to put on you for a goddess like her on stage.

More than 500 million records sold, dozens of surgeries and beauty treatments, vegetarian diets, endless scandals and controversies, and much more than that, a great legacy in music, that’s why there is and there will never be anyone like her in the entire history of pop. But among all their successes there are collaborations that border on the bizarre, some were with ex-boyfriends, others with the daughters of filmmakers and some more with promises on stage that would end up being legends in their genre.

1. No one remembers the romance with Vanilla Ice

Does anyone remember Vanilla Ice beyond Ice Ice Baby? Very few remember that he managed to link up with Madonna and even collaborate with a low profile in a video with high sexual content (the mere mass of the Queen of Pop). A gem where Isabella Rossellini, Big Daddy Kane and Naomi Campbell (the sensation of modeling in the nineties) also appear.

2. A lost track with Tupac Shakur

Another one in the singer’s long list of loves. The relationship with Tupac went as far as the rapper’s proposal to have a child with her before he was killed. The best evidence of their romance is the letter she planned to auction and Madonna wanted to prevent, which the rapper wrote to her from prison and reveals why she broke up with the pop star.

3. Ozzy Osbourne, Madonna, and Was (Not Was)

The strange thing about this version is that Madonna and Ozzy were never together in the studio; she recorded those in the 80s, when she was not famous. A decade later, Was (Not Was) asked permission to relaunch ‘Shake your Head’, but the singer refused and Kim Basinger stepped in for her.

To make a long story short, in a 1992 remix Madonna’s voice was ‘accidentally’ used and heard in the part that says ‘and you can’t put your finger on the truth’. They never paid royalties for this ‘collaboration’.

4. Sofia Coppola and her partying with Madonna

Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter loved to party with Madonna, both decided to bring their pachanga to reality in ‘Deeper and Deeper’ where they show their debauchery in the purest style of Studio 54. Another controversial video featuring porn director Chi Chi LaRue and actress Debi Mazar.

5. The weirdness he did with Björk

A collaboration of the Icelandic swan with Madonna in 1993 and with bizarre touches that characterize her. Just because she was the queen of pop, it was one of the rare times that Björk only wrote the song and was not involved in the recording process. A jewel!

More at Explica

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Should Have Been Bigger: Madonna’s Anthemic “Girl Gone Wild”

“Girl Gone Wild” is far and away Madonna’s best club banger from the 2010s. (The only other song that comes close is “Bitch I’m Madonna”). It might even be the Queen of Pop’s best single in the last 10 years, but “Crave” and “Ghosttown” would definitely be in the mix too. Given that the song was in non-stop rotation in gay bars for what felt like an eternity, it might comes as something of a surprise to learn that it was a major commercial disappointment. The pop icon doesn’t give a fuck about charting in the age of streaming, but, in 2012, she still did.

That was a huge year for Madonna. The 61-year-old sex symbol performed at Super Bowl XLVI and promptly landed her 38th top 10 hit — still a record — with “Give Me All Your Luvin’” featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. Despite the flurry of controversy that seemingly accompanies every release, MDNA debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. She seemed destined for a Confessions-like resurgence, particularly given the strength of the album’s second single. After all, “Girl Gone Wild” was the club banger fans had been hungering for.

After beginning with a prayer, the song veers straight to the dance floor. “I got that burnin’ hot desire and no one can put out my fire, it’s coming right down through the wire,” Madonna sings over Benny Benassi’s thunderous beats. “Here it comes, when I hear them 808 drums — it’s got me singing hey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey, like a girl gone wild.” This defiant dose of club-pop perfection felt like classic Madonna, lyrically as well as sonically. It even had an iconic, vastly ahead-of-its-time visual featuring her signature wall choreography (see the “Me Against The Music” video) and viral Ukrainian dance troupe Kazaky.

What went wrong? Well, there was the threat of a lawsuit for Girls Gone Wild porn mogul Joe Francis and the fact that radio refused to play the song. It certainly went a lot harder than most EDM fare on top 40 stations, but the truth is that programmers had already turned their back on the Queen of Pop. A fact that would be confirmed again and again with each subsequent release. Happily, in the age of YouTube, internet memes and Stan Twitter, “Girl Gone Wild” lives on as a cult classic and fan favorite. Revisit Madonna’s sorely underrated bop below.

Do you love this song? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

More at IDOLATOR

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Lucy Liu dresses up as David Bowie, Prince, Madonna and more for Marie Claire China

Actor Lucy Liu might already be an icon, but she stepped into the shoes of a few other legendary entertainers for a shoot with Marie Claire China.

Recreating classic pictures of David Bowie, Prince, Madonna, Blondie and more, she revealed on Instagram that the shoot was the “most creative” one she had ever done.

Liu posted a number of pictures to her Instagram which she said she hoped was a “temporary distraction” from the coronavirus pandemic.

Dressed in a Gucci suit and covered in David Bowie’s signature lightning bolt make-up, she posed with a microphone and orange hair.

She also shared a behind the scenes video where she channelled the energy of each star on set.

Another striking picture saw Liu practice her best purple rain as she wielded a pink guitar, dressed in a violet suit and a wig reminiscent of Prince’s curly locks.

Complete with an over the top floral ascot and ruffled sleeves, she said, “Yes that’s me!”

The actor also tagged singer Madonna in a black and white shot, recreating her promotional pictures for Desperately Seeking Susan.

Wearing a sheer lace top, black cropped blazer, an oversized hair bow with a curled fringe, The Defenders actor Mike Colter hashtagged the post #materialgirl in the comments.

She was completely transformed in a close up portrait of herself as Boy George, complete with a bright red lip, defined black eyebrows and blue eyeshadow.

 

Wearing colourful braids, a hat and oversized black hat, she again tagged Boy George in the description.

Full article at Standard.co.uk

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IMPORTANT NOTICE – COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS Mega Record & CD Fair April 2020

Since Thursday 12 March, all meetings with more than 100 people throughout the Netherlands have been cancelled. This also applies to public locations such as museums, concert halls, theatres, sports clubs and sports competitions. For the time being, these measures apply until 6 April 2020, but will in all likelihood be extended. These measures affect all of us and more than ever we will have to appeal to each other’s support and solidarity so that we can get through this time together as well as possible.

As a company, we feel responsible for the well-being of our customers, our visitors and our employees. In order to keep the risks for everyone as low as possible, it was decided in agreement with Jaarbeurs not to organise the 53rd Mega Record & CD Fair on 17, 18 and 19 April 2020. At this moment we are investigating with Jaarbeurs what possibilities there are to hold the event at a later date or in another form. We hope to be able to give you more information about this as soon as possible.

The most important thing for now is that the 53rd Mega Record & CD Fair WILL NOT BE HELD on 17, 18 and 19 April 2020.

We wish everyone good health and a lot of strength in these difficult and unusual times!

Recordplanet

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