Friday, April 04, 2008

Madonna... Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Tick Tock

I woke up at an ungodly hour this morning and sat blurry eyed in front of an infomercial. I don't know why. Before I knew it my credit card was in hand and I was punching in the numbers to buy Shaun T's Rockin' Body workout dvds (don't judge). Had I remembered that Madonna's new 4 Minutes (To Save the World) video was ready for me on iTunes I could have saved myself $60 and still be rocking with two heavenly bodies. I watched it nonstop for half an hour.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock


Her co-star in the video is Justin Timberlake who, come to think of it, had a hit single with Rock Your Body (see sidebar video of week). It's all about bodies and even a little influenced by Bodies (the traveling exhibit) since you see internal musculature at a few moments, as if we all could decompose at any moment. We're all going to run out of time.

Madonna's best pop records have always had robust energy and a great sense of urgency. This one literalizes that with its silly chorus. Many outlets will be celebrating her 50th birthday this August and even more will be suggesting she should hang it up --"too old" and whatnot. The clock is always ticking. Everyone gets older. Trust Madonna to always use what's out there for her own advantage.


This is Madonna at 49 literally running out of time. If I look this good at 49 I probably won't live to see 50. I'll die of happiness first.

The video opens with Timbaland who I like to think of as the narrator here, rather than the rapper, playing the alarmist white rabbit (not literally) "I'm out of time and all I got is four minutes" and why not, with Madonna you're always in Wonderland. A huge backdrop of a digital clock ticks down the song's 4 minutes throughout. Madonna and Justin race through bathrooms, bedrooms, and jump around on top of cars before launching into a short but pretty thrilling synchronized dance number on parallel moving walkways. Along the way they lose various layers of clothing. You know Madge is having herself a laugh when in the middle of the big dance number in front of the countdown Justin actually causes one of her last "wardrobe malfunctions". Unlike Ms. Jackson in the infamous Superbowl disaster, this diva returns the favor (pity JT's still wearing something else underneath). Then the pair strut off for the "breakdown" which is yet more mirrored dance moves.

I was so keyed up after watching the video on loop that I ended up dancing around naked in my apartment --a sight that would have frightened neighbors and animals-- as I made breakfast. Who needs workout DVDs when Madonna's always rocking her body?

Excellent song. Excellent video. Excellent choreography: A

This is Justin's pose when he sings the holy name of "MADONNA"


That's the exact pose I do when I name check her. How did he know? He forgets the follow up move though, which is when you drop to your knees and land in genuflecting position.

She's earned it.



She gives good soundtrack to life.
tick tock tick tock she rocks

52 comments:

gepetto said...

You lost me at... well, you lose me (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) everytime you mention Madonna as if you were one of her hard-core fans.

What choregraphy ? They slide, but do they dance ? This is no Usher choregraphy, I'd go as far as to say that even Gwen Stefani's choregraphies are more exciting !

And the song ? Hello, this is nothing new, even hard-core Madonna fans dont' like it. She's a sellout, it looks like she's a back-up singer in a Timberkale video.

Yes, her body looks amazing, but it's so funny to see her face look so spotless and young and then you see her when she's in the street in London after a workout and she really looks like her age

NATHANIEL R said...

you lost me with the "as if you were one of her hard-core fans."

hee I mean. I am. indeedy.

I know it's not a movie post but every once in awhile i just gotta post whatever I'm thinking about

mrripley said...

agree the is is madonna not setting the bar this time,reinvention sorry but nelly furtadoused timbaland 2 years ago and to better effect maneater was classic this sounds like an album track,like darkchild in early 00 he has become repetitive just like madonna who now sounds like a computer rather than the throaty singer from like aprayer which this pales in comparrison too,stick to films nat please that's your true calling but the though of shaking your hairy body made me giggle.

WickedScorp said...

I'm not feeling it yet. She looks great. Justin looks like hell. He has hit a serious wall of fug.

Sid said...

I'm a big Madonna fan but I think the song is mediocre. The video is fun though. Just fun. Nothing special.

amir_uk said...

Oh come on Nathaniel, seriously!?! This is an awful song/video. Not fit to be thought of alongside Madonna's fizziest pop moments, let alone mentioned with them. It's so, well, flat. A career nadir for her and her co-conspirators Justin and Timbaland. I can't believe this is all they could come up with.

As a certain Oscar-winner once said: "Snap outta it!"

mattrett said...

Sounds like a bunch of old-timers on this blog! :0) Madonna's song is hot—as a longtime, hardcore fan (no shame in that, gepetto...being a hardcore fan of somebody or something is what drives people to this site), I can vouch for the fact that most of her fans like or love it. So do most music-buyers, as it's #3 this week on Billboard. As for the video, I think it's silly to compare her dancing to Gwen's. I like Gwen, but there is nothing interesting to see there. That said, this was not a Madonna video that blew my mind as some have in the past, but the creeping doom is inventive, the Bodies reference is cool and strange and the dancing and prancing are on point. She's 49 and a half and still doing things that anti-fans like gepetto used to theorize she'd never be able to do at 35 or 40. It suits her. My main gripe is I'd have kept Madonna plastic surgery free. She's taken the plunge, and while she doesn't look terribly plastic, she's lost some of her offbeat beauty, for me. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Also for gepetto...Madonna looks pretty damned good walking out of her gym in London too considering she is a sweaty mess and wearing no make-up...Everyone looks better with good lighting, and I can assure you that a 25 year-old is lit just as much as Madonna is when filming videos.

Anonymous said...

I love the new song, and video, and I think while lots of people may not like it as much as I do, it is still one of her biggest hits in a while. It is number 3 on billboard, after its third week, and number 1 on Itunes, as well as the video. People like it. Her album will do really well as well. And if those think she is a sell out, wait til her album comes out because I hear 4 Minutes is one of the least exciting tracks on it, and that's saying a lot.

Anonymous said...

she has had bigger hits than this in the uk music,sorry,hung up,beautiful stranger,die another day & american life!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

amir i love the Cher reference but for 24 years I haven't been able to snap out of for Madonna. Love her.

I'm totally confused about people like yourself calling it a career nadir. I mean. come on.

the duet with Britney "me against the music" was totally lame in comparison as collaborations go. They weren't even together when the video was filmed (i hate videos like that)

I may have overstated with an A but it's neat to get excited about a music video again. Nobody bothers to make them cool anymore... and this is a much stronger video than say "Jump" which, as Madonna videos go, was a total phone-in job.

NATHANIEL R said...

also for those who do love it, you should read FourFour's review of the song. He was very impressed and he's not easy to impress when it comes to Madonna.

gepetto said...

Well, I think true fans and especially hardcore fans should be able to realize it's a career-low.
She's not singing, it's a computer who sings, and even the computer is upstaged by Timberlake.

The truth is : she wants kids to know who she is, so she agreed to be a back-up singer in a Timberlake video. And look, it's Timbaland who's producing ! (cut to Madonna thinking : all those kids who think I'm a milf now ! Aren't I great ?)

Then one thing that's also disappointing is the lack of chemistry between her and JT :

1) it was her chance to prove she could seduce a 20-year old male and she doesn't go for it

2) it was his chance to prove he could seduce a mature woman and he doesn't go for it

It would have been more daring to show an attraction between those two, considering the age gap. I mean, since when Madonna become so prude ?

Daemon said...

Funny that you say something about "Jump", because it's not only much more original, it's also much closer to her spirit.

I think you just proved that you're incredibly mainstream when it comes to your music tastes. I don't remember reading as much praise for Confessions on a dancefloor, and it was much more interesting creatively, 'coz it was a contre-courant

frankly, don't you think teaming up with Timberlake is a bit easy ? Like, even Patrick Hernandez would have a hit on his hands if he was teaming up with Timberlake AND Timbaland

lawyer tony fernando said...

Nathaniel, loved this post! When you and justin say the name Madonna are you two doing some vogue moves? Are you saying that both of you are gay? I mean I know JT is gay,but I doubt about you!

NATHANIEL R said...

daemon --this post proves nothing other than that I love Madonna. I always find it so strange when people assume they know my opinion on something that I don't write about.

Confessions is one of my favorite records of all time. I seriously doubt hard candy can live up to it but sue me cuz I think this particular song and video is super fun.

as for how "mainstream" I am. I assume that's meant as an insult. I don't follow music closely so I have very little idea of what's considered "mainstream" and what's considered not. I just know what I like when I hear it.

some of my (still working) favorite recording artists ...

Bjork
Gwen Stefani
Tom Waits
Madonna
Scissor Sisters
Christine Lavin
Missy Elliott
Annie Lennox
Dixie Chicks
Antony and the Johnsons
Fiona Apple
Kate Bush
Magnetic Fields
Cyndi Lauper
Rufus Wainwright
Tori Amos

also am enjoying...
Vampire Weekend
The Killers
Amy Winehouse
lately -- and random other stuff

ryansumera said...

actually, it sounds like a lost track from the "american life" album. i hope she'd bring out drama queen madonna again. i've always thought that the only good acting she does is in the videos for her ballads. especially in "the power of goodbye."

Anonymous said...

The song's awesome, the video's awesome, and so is Madonna. Stop the hate already.

Kamikaze Camel said...

"A career nadir for her and her co-conspirators Justin and Timbaland."

a) "Hey You"
b) Most of N Sync's back catalogue except for Celebrity
c) There's so much crap Timabaland out there it ain't even funny. 90% of Shock Value was dreadful.

I have "cooled" on the song, but I still like it. It's not particularly spectacular or anything, but it's good and Timbaland's intro is epic. I have no problem with Madge working with hot producers for a change. It's like, WOW, she actually wants a career! Shocking!!

Although, "4 Minutes" may be her biggest hit in America in a while it will surely be far from her biggest internationally. "Hung Up" was pretty much her most successful song of all time. That it didn't make #1 in America is quite symbolic. In fact it's ranked as the 43rd most successful song of all time on the Global Chart.

http://www.mediatraffic.de/alltime-track-chart.htm

Again, just proves that America by and large is terrified of dance/pop music that isn't hip-hop oriented (and even that is a stretch considering that hip-hop is generally "quite shit" these days and a pale ghost of what hip-hip used to be, aka "quite amazing").

Also, I hate that so many gay people are criticising Madonna because now it's not seen as "progressive" or whatever to like her or to like dancey music in general because it's "too gay" and wanting to read frivilous gossip stuff is setting back the "gay cause" by twenty years.

Christ, lighten up.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Oh, but I don't care for the video. :)

Madonnasworld said...

this video is AAAAmazzzing!!
madonna always delivers and this time she really gives it her ALL, i mean there is not 1 dull moment and she looks soo good
and she dances soo good
and justin could take a lesson from her, shes got the moves baby, and always will

mrripley said...

i am not sure it is a nadir because folks we have not heard the whole album,but i do think it reaks of lost oppurtunity,she had a chance of working with anybody and she chose the person who's beats are beginning to sound repetitive.

i would've preferred a logical progression on from COADF OR A COMPLETE 180 DEGREE TURNAROUND,we get this which seems to me to be her last oppurtunity to sow the pop scared americans she still has it and the only way for that to happen is to do hip hop/rnb simple.

and nat her worst video is for the uk top 10 single get together,very poor.

madonna always divides opinion but true her glory days are gone!!!

vv said...

My two cents. Used to be a big Madonna fan for quite a while. Then, as with most epiphanies, I realised, in the course of about an hour, that she was (musically and otherwise) full of shit, very cleverly marketed and photoshopped shit, but shit nevertheless. I still like some of her (her?) songs, but I now see most of her music for what it is: bland, hollow, repetitive, trite. And it doesn't help that she comes across as a dumb whore trying to sound deep in most of her interviews.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, this is a terrible song and you know it. The only thing worse is the awful video and its unfathomable "concept."

I have been a huge fan of Madonna since the beginning. The main reason for the love came from the fact that, despite her detractors and limitations, she always knew how to pick/write great pop songs, and then package them with memorable videos/images.

The last two albums have seen her desperately grasp for relevance by embracing the current trend in tuneless garbage. The woman needs to start acting her age, and grow up. Her last huge #1 song was "Take A Bow," a BALLAD with actual EMOTION in it. Her fans WANT her to be the elder statesman in music. Seeing her romping around with twenty year olds is just creepy.

All the gays out there supporting this shit simply because she's Madonna should be ashamed of themselves. Seriously.

Ray said...

Nathaniel, I had the ANONYMOUS comment above. I forgot to enter my user info ... fuck, I despise Blogger.

NATHANIEL R said...

Ray i gotta say this. I couldn't disagree with you more. I was THRILLED when Music and Confessions both leaned so heavily on dance music. That's where she started and I was so relieved that she didn't got the adult contemporary route for too long after the double whammy of Evita and Take a Bow.

let Celine Dion and those people handle the power ballads. I love the song Take a Bow but i'm so proud of Madonna that she didn't age gracefully.

fuck ageism. Seriously. I'm getting older every year (as everyone does) and I HATE that people think I should get more boring with each year. It's so irritating that people have these boxes for what people should and shouldn't do at certain ages. If your body is as good as Viggo Mortensens or Madonna's for example and you're almost 50... show it off.

for christs sakes, you only live once.

can't we embrace the stars who refuse to grow up ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

and hearing Confessions referred to as "tuneless" is odd. That cd had so many catchy hooks.

goldend said...

as much as I would like to appreciate this as a long time Madonna fan I just can't get over the fact that she chose to collaborate with that obnoxious troll of Timberlake, I just can't.

I rather listen the Immaculate collection.

Ray said...

When I said "last two albums," I was referring to CONFESSIONS and this one, not MUSIC.

I definitely disagree with you about the so-called tunes on CONFESSIONS. Hung Up is fun but pointless, Hollywood is okay. Sorry is okay. None of it even remotely touches any of the pop classics in her catalogue. Hell, they don't even touch something weird from her past like Bedtime Story.

As far as aging gracefully, here's where pop culture nutcases have it wrong. Growing old is part of life. We have all seen how fucked up people look getting plastic surgery to look young - it's pathetic and scary.

In Maddy's case, she has had some clever work done, but mostly I watch her cavorting with 20 year olds and I think she looks pathetic. It was fine for her to do so in BORDERLINE, but she was 20 years old then. A woman like her who completely defined pop music and culture for a decade or two now suddenly runs behind it in a sad attempt to be relevant to kids.

I look at someone like Annie Lennox, and I see a woman able to cope with her aging. She actually flaunts her age in photos, daring people to reject her. It shows bravery and depth to do so. She also makes the kind of music dear to her, critics and fans be damned. And, whaddaya know, they STAY WITH HER ANYWAY!

Maddy would do well to look at Annie's example, before she becomes some sort of irrelevant circus freak.

Ray said...

Oh, and as far as the "if you have a great body at 50, show it off" comment ...

Perez and others have shown pictures of Maddy without makeup, lighting, and soft-focus photography. She doesn't look so great in that light. Her body is fit for her age, but she's not 20 anymore.

She looks good with all of the technology thrown in, as we all would. So ... that means she's only doing it to try and look younger, not show off something she actually has.

NATHANIEL R said...

i see what you're saying but I disagree that we'd all look good with the right amount of lighting and such. I mean she is wearing skin tight clothing and she is still in very good shape. she should be a hero to older people, not an embarrassment.

i wish she hadn't done plastic surgery too but it's a small quibble.

I just hate the pervasive ageism in our culture. I reject the notion that people shouldn't be sexual past 40. I hate even contemplating life without that as part of it.

and as daemon says about Confessions that was contre-courant so I don't see how that's Madonna trying to stay relevant? she was following her muse. And sure it's obvious to go with Timberlake and Timbaland but she's always been a mix of commerce and art.

this isn't new.

Madonna IS relevant. No other pop star can touch her for staying power or the ability to get people talking or even the consistency of their recordings.

i'm not about to stop defending her (i've been doing it since the beginning) but it's weird to me that I still have to. I refuse to be mopey about this when she's given me so much for my entertainment dollar. I'll go on dancing.

fwiw ---my favorite Madonna records

1. RAY OF LIGHT
2. LIKE A PRAYER
3. CONFESSIONS...

Her most misunderstood/undervalued record: AMERICAN LIFE

her worst full album: BEDTIME STORIES or I'M BREATHLESS though both have their moments.

my 10 favorite Mo songs
1. LIKE A PRAYER
2. EROTICA
3. FROZEN
4. INTO THE GROOVE
5. OPEN YOUR HEART
6. RAIN
7. VOGUE
8. RAY OF LIGHT
9. CHERISH
10.YOU'LL SEE

dmitri said...

There's something really Carrie Bradshaw-esque about her hair/lingerie/movement in parts of this video. SJP could spoof this pretty easily for an award show or something.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah and it's not a moving sidewalk they're on. It's a check-out center at a grocery store. Much more original.

gepetto said...

See Nathaniel, I completely agree with you on the whole ageism issue. Personally, I lost my virginity with someone 20 years older than me lol , so I'm all for 50-year old naked, whether it's Viggo or Madonna.

BUT Viggo does look his age.. he doesn't try to pass for a 3o-year old. he's sexy because he's a handsome 50-year old, not because his face is smooth or soft or spotless.

You didn't say anything about "Magde" and Timberlake's lack of chemistry.. Don't you think it could have been sexier ?

of course it could, but they didn't want to shock conservative America.

Yet she did not seem to mind when she kissed Britney and Aguilera at the MTV Awards back then.

mrripely said...

ray u don't know your madonna so you are no expert to speak about her here's why

I definitely disagree with you about the so-called tunes on CONFESSIONS. Hung Up is fun but pointless, Hollywood is okay. Sorry is okay!

hollywood was on american life,tunes were what coadf where about how high,like it or not,sorry & jump were all v good potential singles and hung up is simply one of her best ever songs.

i am leaning toward defence of her now like nat.

she is relevent she has to be more now more than ever! more relevent than beyonce or mariah,she pushes everyones button look at this a film blog talking about a bad actress!!!!

she has made some of the best pop records of the last 25 years holiday,vogue,cherish,like a prayer,hing up,express youself,open your heart,secret,like a virgin,angel,material girl,music & hollywood to name a few.

for true examples of her best work check out
true blue best pop album ever
ray of light the best comeback album ever!!!
confessions on a dancefloor best party cd ever.

Ray said...

@ mrripley - You're right ... I made a mistake about HOLLYWOOD.

What has Madonna had to say on the last couple of albums? Let's dance?? Wow ... incredible statement.

HUNG UP is catchy because the song borrows heavily from a catchy song by ABBA; The lyrics, however, leave much to be desired. Nothing else on CONFESSIONS had much to say except perhaps SORRY. And most of it is desperately trying to catch up to the latest sounds. I definitely do not hear her "following her muse." Her pervious album had tanked (AMERICAN LIFE), and so she wanted to make a dance record in order to move more units.

The new album looks to repeat the "try to remain relevant" trick with help from currently-in-vogue producer Timbaland and J.T. on board. I have no problem with this as long as she has something interesting to say - but this FOUR MINUTES bullshit has nothing in its head at all.

Given what she's released since, I actually give AMERICAN LIFE more credit; at least she was attempting to make statements about things that concern her. I still hate that fucking MOTHER/FATHER song, though.

Here are my favorite Madonna Albums:

1. RAY OF LIGHT - Just a marvelous and experimental record. One of the best of the nineties.

2. LIKE A PRAYER - Completely revealed a songwriter beneath the posing.

3. MADONNA - Is there a better pure pop record out there (besides THRILLER?).

4. BEDTIME STORIES - Soft, wet, sometimes scary, and slightly somber, this is Madonna on a cold, hazy winter's day.

5. MUSIC - Wildly experimental, yet still catchy and pop-oriented. A great one/two punch with LIGHT.

My favorite Madonna singles:

1. FROZEN - Terrifying, desolate, radical. Even now I can't believe she pulled this one off.

2. BEDTIME STORY - Freakish, pulsating, and scary. Might be her best video, too.

3. CRAZY FOR YOU - Perfect pop ballad.

4. LIVE TO TELL - The one that showed the world she could write.

5. LIKE A PRAYER - How can you not want to sing along with this thing when it gets movin'?

honorable mention:

6. OH FATHER - Remarkable vocal performance, deep lyrics. Is she talking about her physical father or her spiritual one?

7. SECRET - Cryptic lyrics blend with funky guitars and drums for gritty set of lyrics.

8. EXPRESS YOURSELF - empowering song, well delivered.

9. TAKE A BOW - A song of resignation, dripping with regret.

10. LOVE TRIED TO WELCOME ME - a rarely heard gem. It's a little long, but the perspective and vocal performance are top-notch.

As you can see, I tend to prefer Madonna when she is pushing the envelope musically, while still retaining her melodic sensibilities. This instinct was once her greatest strength, but she has thrown it to the wind in order to try and emulate the garbage currently passing itself off as "music."

Oh - and one more thing. I have no problem with someone 50 years old trying to be sexy at all. And Madonna has the body, the money, and the technical backing to look sexy. However, there is nothing sexy about leaping around on cars in what must be charitably described as her worst video ever. She also isn't sexy doing yoga poses in the videos from the last video either.

Sexy is a quality that comes from within, and is derived from self-confidence. Madonna is not coming off that way these days. She is an elder statesman and a leader in today's music landscape. She should be setting examples and growing up, not crawling around on the floor and copying trends so that 15 year olds might still like her.

Sad.

Glenn said...

"Her last huge #1 song was "Take A Bow,""

Are you talking about in America? Cause I'm fairly sure "Hung Up", "Ray of Light" etc were all extremely popular. Did you not see that I mentioned "Hung Up" is the 42nd most successful single OF ALL TIME!!! America does NOT equal the be all end all.

"What has Madonna had to say on the last couple of albums? Let's dance?? Wow ... incredible statement."

Oh, you're one of those people. So what if Confessions wasn't about meaningful stuff. That's not what she set out to do. Just because it's not deep and meaningful and she didn't just sit around strumming a guitar like so many apparently "meaningful" artists do, doesn't mean it's not a worthy album. It was a DANCE album. Dance music can be some of the most brilliant, euphoric and life affirming music out there. And people who diss it because it's not "important" or whatever are just ignorant.

I'm very firm on that stance.

amir_uk said...

That's the thing - "4 Minutes" is just so retrograde and disappointing as a follow-up to the Confessions project. I mean, even the "tick tock" motif was more intriguingly done in "Hung Up" than it is here.

As for the "career nadir" comment - I still stand by it. The verses are tolerable but that bridge and chorus, I think, are just shockingly poor for a comeback song which is supposed to signal a new direction for Madonna. (I'm not counting 'N Sync work, Glenn, cheeky! - and "Hey You" was never an official release. The much-maligned American Life was actually the final and most interesting installment in Madonna's electrilogy. And this is the same old tired beat that Timbaland's been pimping to his lesser projects these past few years. I know my music! It's even more of an obsession than film, if that's possible!)

And I normally like videos with walking-dancing and fast moves and mirroring - but this one just looks so generic with its black and shinyness. And some of the moves Madonna throws are actually uncomfortable-looking and awkward (see 1:37 and 2:57...), which is strange for her. Again thinking back to what Johan Renck did with Madonna and the self-portrait concept in the "Hung Up" video, this becomes so lame in comparison. There is no sense of irony here - and R&B-pop is definitely not Madonna's thing.

But it's still good to see a pop music post on here inspiring 40 or so responses and genuine polarised discussion.

vv said...

Apart from the shameless, desperate pandering to increasingly younger audiences, the main problem with her music now is that it is totally soulless. The last song of hers with half a heart that I remember was Get Together.

NATHANIEL R said...

here's the thing i don't get: Madonna has ALWAYS been a chameleon and no two records are the same. So why does everyone take each new project as the be all and end all. Why should a collaboration with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland be regarded as desperate pandering. It's just the new thing she's doing. She'll be on to something else on her 12th full studio album, you know?

the truth is that she's always been polarizing, people always want to proclaim she's "over" or "irrelevant" and she never will be any of those things.

she's too experimental, too shifting, and too vibrant as a star to ever be.

she's over when she's dead.

And even then, she's already up with there with The Beatles, Elvis and Michael Jackson so there's no killing her now.

one "sell out" with Timbaland if that's how you want to consider it cannot end a legend. ;)

mrripely said...

it is still funny a film site talking about a bad actress!!!

hugo said...

it's still funny a movie site talking about a bad actress and a bad singer

Hayden said...

Why is it so hard for you to respect the monumental amount the woman has accomplished? You don't have to like her, but you can't deny that she's one of the most influential artists in pop music history.

Especially looking at today's outlook on disposable celebrity and ephemeral popularity, Madonna's one of the truest artists in the business. She's been popular over three decades and she hasn't had to compromise her vision to do it. I mean, you don't see her getting arrested, going to rehab, losing custody of her children--she's so disciplined and focused compared to today's stars.

Madonna doesn't need all of that to be edgy. She just is. And she's the last person in the industry who needs to sell out. She's a magnetic, sexual, engaging performer, no matter what she does. You don't have to like it, but it's foolish not to respect it.

And honestly, who cares what kind of an actress she is? She doesn't presume to be Meryl Streep. And furthermore, who are you to tell Nathaniel what he should and shouldn't discuss on his blog?

gepetto said...

Madonna Fans are really the worst.

Worse than Blanchett Fans.

Do you realize that the only talent of Madonna resides in exercizing (a lot) and marketing ?

She's a bad actress
She's a bad singer
She's a bad songwriter
She's a passable dancer (if you forget her awkward r'n'b moves)

She's considered an artist because people's musical tastes today are truly pathetic. She appeals to people who've never heard music. Who proably can't read a score. Who probably never studied music. Who have probably never heard of other forms of music outside pop and r'n'b.

I saw her on Parkinson two years ago. She couldn't sing if her life depended on it.

Her personality is interesting, obviously, because she embodies what's wrong with America and its culture of ego.

Can she play an instrument, like a professional ? No.

In fact, the best thing she's ever done is writing books for children. I think that's what she does best. Oh, and struting around in a revealing outfit

NATHANIEL R said...

actually Madonna can play both drums and guitar.

but you obviously just want to hate on her gepetto. ;)

Hayden said...

Haha. How does she embody what's wrong with America?
She's healthy.
She's in a stable relationship.
She has a strong work ethic.
She's socially conscious.
She doesn't do drugs.
She's committed to her religion.
She's takes care of her children.
I challenge you to pull a random American off the street and to see if they meet these standards.

gepetto said...

Poor Hayden,

how old are you ? 12 ?

If she was such a daring artist, or a "rebel" as she likes to think she is, she would laugh at your list.

Give her the Nobel Prize already. She's a Saint !!

Hayden said...

Um, I don't think I ever said she was a Saint. I think I merely said that she doesn't embody "everything that's wrong with America." Last time I checked, those weren't the same thing.

And how do all of her virtues prevent her from being edgy? Do you need to look like Amy Winehouse to be a rebel? She doesn't need any of that to be daring. She just is.

I've never even owned a Madonna album--I don't presume to be a big fan of hers. I just have respect for her as a performer and icon, as every music lover should. And of course I'm not twelve. What a ridiculous thing to say.

Kamikaze Camel said...

"She appeals to people who've never heard music. Who proably can't read a score. Who probably never studied music. Who have probably never heard of other forms of music outside pop and r'n'b."

Gepetto, you realise you're being incredibly insulting and condescending right? You realise you're being as ingloriously stupid as you're making Madonna out to be. right? You're saying that the, what? 250 million people who have bought a Madonna record/single/whatever throughout her 25 years don't know music?

And do people need to be able to read music or have studied music in order to appreciate it? By your standards nobody who has never made a film can begin to critique one either. My two favourite artists are Madonna and Bruce Springsteen. Somehow I've managed to own every Bruce Springsteen album despite also liking Madonna. How ever did I manage that?

You obviously just hate Madonna the person because even those who didn't appreciate her in the '80s acknowledge her talent. Artists can have a successful album or two if they're completely untalented as you say Madonna is, but nobody (NOBODY) can have a 25-year career without it.

Are you the same way about movies? Movies that aim to entertain mass audiences are all instantly scum and only depressing russian art films about turtle doves are worthy of acclaim?

steve said...

It seems that Madonna's popularity is the biggest criticism people have - she's popular so she must not be great. That's an odd phenomenon that occurs in the music world. More frequently than in other areas of art/entertainment (although it certainly happens everywhere).

Of course, she doesn't have an amazing voice, but isn't that kind of beside the point? It's not as if Bob Dylan, The Beatles, or any number of other artists have/had world-class pipes. They more than suffice, particularly in conjunction with their formidable gifts on the creative side of music-making.

She's not as edgy now, in the way we like to think of the word. But maybe that against-the-grain mentality is manifesting itself in different ways as she ages (rebelling against expectations regarding the type of music a woman her age should produce).

Either way, it's impossible to deny her importance to the industry and her influence on pop culture. Or that she's stretched herself creatively more than almost any other artist - is there a genre of music she hasn't explored?

I'm no die-hard fan, but I like enough of her stuff (Like a Prayer and Frozen being my favorites). This one does nothing for me, really, though I don't think it's as bad now as I did when I first heard it. The beat/music is killer, but it's the lyrics/singing that bug me.

Glenn, re: American fear of dance, preference for hip hop.

I think you're misdiagnosing, since dance music is often very successful (although America does produce so much music that it's hard for foreign artists to penetrate) and there's nothing particularly anti-dance going on. Hip Hop, R&B, and rap are uniquely American in many ways (for obvious reasons), so the culture obviously embraces that kind of music a bit more. And so, of course, there's a lot more of it here, which ivariably means a lot of is bad. Having spent some time in Europe and, by extension, European bars and clubs, I know that there is as much awful pure dance music as there is awful rap/hip hop/whatever. It's just a function of whatever's popular - people are going to mass-produce it to get rich quick and so there's going to be a lot shit.

NATHANIEL R said...

good points Steve

I hate when people dismiss her like they're superior. One of the reasons that makes me angry is her incredible drive. I mean can you imagine another popstar of her stature learning guitar in their 40s? or taking voice lessons after selling 100s of millions of records?

that's commitment to her own growth artistically.

so many people just coast. actors are the same. Only the best or most committed continue to push themselves after phenomenal success has come their way

gepetto said...

The Madonna Mafia strikes back !

You're wrong, kamikaze camel.

I LIKE Madonna, I even own some of her CD's, I think she's one of the best POP artists that has ever lived.

I like her toughness, her attitude and the fact that not two albums are alike.

That doesn't mean she's a genius or even a great artist. A great POP artist, maybe, but it's not that difficult, considering that someone computerize her voice and make sound and vocal arrangements for her.

She's fun to listen to, I enjoy listening to her songs when I'm working out, but it's not like she's a great/gifted singer/musician.