Madonna news - March 2003


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31 March - Video premieres on Viva
The American Life video seems to have premiered on German music channel VIVA. Check out some screengrabs at MadonnaPower.

31 March - Another great album review
Check out another great review of the album from gay magazine The Advocate at fansite Madonna-Online.ch.

31 March - Not the diva of old?
The New York Times seems to believe that Madonna has lost her touch with the audience, who like "younger female pop artists, like Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, Avril Lavigne and Christina Aguilera, who dominate the music world, making Madonna appear less and less commercially relevant these days". They even go as far as stating that these singers sold more than Madonna, though Madonna is still clearly the best selling female artist in the business. However, you can read the article here.

30 March - Details on limited edition
The American Life Enchanced CD is presented in a 2-piece telescoping box that is covered in White "leatherette" fabric and silk-screened in Black and Red ink. The inside of the box top is lined in red paper and the bottom is covered in Black "linen" fabric. (source: Madonnarama)

30 March - Steven Klein on X-STaTIC PRo=CeSS exhibit
Don't ask photographer Steven Klein to explain his aggressively baffling new art collaboration with Madonna at SoHo's Deitch Projects Gallery. "I never have any special meaning to my work," the artist announces while walking through the installation with his dog. Klein prefers enigmatic assessments. "I see this as a platform to bring Madonna's ideas to life — or to death," he says with a Cheshire-cat smile. "It's really just about provoking people to think — or not to think." At the very least, it's about making people reconsider their use of capital letters. Klein and Madonna have titled the piece "X-STaTIC PRo=CeSS."
The show grew out of a much-publicized photo shoot Klein conceived with Madonna, which eats up 44 pages in the latest issue of the fashion magazine W. The gallery version lands far closer to performance art than to anything from the world of runway models. Viewers attending the show, at 18 Wooster St. through May 3, can wend their way through five distinct sound and video installations. Since the area around each illuminated piece is pitch-black, the gallery winds up seeming like the world's most pretentious peep show — or like some house of horrors, as designed by Yoko Ono.
Each piece has its own sound effects — gurgles, murmurs, a gunshot — heard at the same time, the better to "provoke" you. To accompany the gunshot, there's a still of Madonna twisted up like a pretzel and positioned next to an unidentifiable internal organ which pulsates at inexplicable intervals. Another piece features a voice-over of Madonna reading six minutes from the Book of Revelations, matched to a video still of her in a gas mask, flanked by a coyote and something on fire. Klein says the internal organ "gets beneath the surface of Madonna." The architectural firm that designed the space has compared the visuals to Caravaggio paintings — though they're more likely to remind you of something by Hieronymus Bosch. Whether the result draws giggles, gasps or just the sound of head-scratching from Madonna fans, it's okay by Klein. When a reporter asks, "What's going on with these images?," he answers, "It all depends on what's going on with you." (source: NY Daily News)

29 March - More on AL video edits
Sometimes art imitates life, and other times art is changed by life. In light of the war in Iraq, Madonna has made some last-minute edits to her upcoming video for American Life. "We have our dream version, but it's not the right time for it," she said Thursday. "We've been planning the video for months and months and months, and we didn't know everything that was going to be happening in the world [when we first did it]."
Director Jonas Akerlund shot the video with Madonna in Los Angeles the first week of February (see "Madonna Defends Her Violent 'American Life' Video"). While the clip was always supposed to feature Madonna and overweight dancers in military fatigues creating chaos at a fashion show, and while Madonna was always supposed to toss a grenade at the end, there were several endings filmed. "It turned into a [short] film," she said. "The original version was like 10 minutes long. We had lots of stops in the music and lots of car chases and conversations with people, and it kept going on in the end. And we realized we were getting a little carried away. So we had to edit it for time. Then we had to get rid of all the 'F' words."
The biggest challenge for Madonna was reshaping the video in a way that was entertaining, thought provoking and didn't compromise her artistic integrity. Many have interpreted the video to be an angry protest of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but that's not exactly the case. Madonna considers herself a pacifist, but like many Americans she's conflicted about U.S. military action in Iraq. "Saddam Hussein is a guy we just want to get rid of," she explained. "So there's a part of the video where I'm carving 'Protect me' into the wall, and you could almost feel like I want to go there and kick some ass and protect all those beautiful children and innocent families and people that have been tortured for years. But do I have the solutions? No. Do I have the answers? No. I'm just completely freaked out by what's going on there like everybody else."
There are three points Madonna hopes to make with the video for "American Life." The first and most obvious is that regardless of whether or not she supports Bush, war is a cosmic bummer. "War is a manifestation of everybody," she said. "We have our personal karma and we have a global karma. So for me, it's about trying to get a message out that if we want peace and love in our life, then we have to make it happen in the world. "The ending of the video is really important," she continued. "I throw this hand grenade... But it gets caught. And the one who catches it takes something that could be violent and destructive and takes the destruction out of it by turning it into something else. That's my hope for an alternative, not only to this war, but all wars. Also, I hope that I've also gotten across [the idea that] the soldiers that have gone over there are flesh and blood. They're real people, and my heart goes out to them, and I want them to all come back in one piece."
The second idea the former Material Girl wanted to express is that materialism is superficial. "We chose the setting of a fashion show because that's the epitome of superficiality. They're not trying to be anything except 'Let's celebrate the surface.' Fashion is fun, and I respect that, but at the end of the day people take that stuff a little too seriously. So it is easy to poke fun at that, especially when you juxtapose it against the real things that are happening in the world. "No matter how many distractions we put up for ourselves, whether it's a fashion show or reality TV shows or a hot contest, what's happening in the world is still going on, and the ugliness and the chaos and the pain and the suffering is immense. So it's a statement about our obsession with the world of illusion."
Such commentary may seem absurd coming from someone who was once the biggest icon of pop culture, but Madonna said she's learned some valuable lessons over the course of her career. "I fought for so many things," she said. "I tried so hard to be number one, stay on top, look good - to be the best. And now I realize that a lot of the things that last and the things that matter are none of those things." Madonna intentionally chose chubby dancers for "American Life" because she wanted to show that conventional ideas of beauty are flawed and even damaging. "The girls I used are big, real, voluptuous girls, and they're beautiful," she said. "I wanted to explore that taboo as well, because you don't know people that have fat rolls as attractive. You just don't see that, and that was important to me. There are people going, 'Will you love me more if I'm thin? Should I remodel myself for your approval?' That's so crazy. I have fat rolls. When I first started out, everyone was like, 'Wow, she's chubby. That's cool.' And then I started getting really into working out, and there were a lot of people that were bummed out because I think I was a role model for chubby girls. And now I'm a role model for chubby girls again. I've gone back to my roots." (source: Absolute Madonna)

29 March - Q Mag interview
American Life video From fansite Madonnalicious: "The May 2003 issue of the UK music magazine Q features Madonna on the cover and a total of 8 pages inside featuring an interview by Paul Rees and photographs by Craig McDean. The magazine also features a full-page advert for the single and album release of American Life. Madonna talks frankly about her life at the moment, including her thoughts on living in London, 'I love my Mini Cooper, I was too scared to drive a big car in London, the roads are too narrow and I'm always afraid I'm going to hit people on both sides.' The magazine also gives some hints of the new songs on her album, A gospel choir arrives out of nowhere to propel the dreamy ballad Nothing Fails to a rousing climax, the stripped down Nobody Knows Me erupts in a barrage of electronic effects. A full-page is also dedicated to Madonna's single releases during her 20-year career, and a mini-review accompanies each song. Read the transcript of the interview here. High quality pictures are available in the 2003 Gallery."

29 March - AL video ends with image of Bush with grenade in his lap
A final American Life videoshock scene in the video of AOL Time Warner recording artist Madonna's upcoming release -- is that of the singer throwing a grenade in the lap of President Bush! "It is not me being anti-Bush, it's me being ironic and tongue in cheek," Madonna explains to NBC's Access Hollywood this weekend. "My kind of wish for peace and my desire to sort of turn a weapon of destruction, which is a grenade, into something that is completely innocuous." Madonna uses a Bush look-alike in the final scene of American Life. The "president" picks up the lit grenade that Madonna throws -- and lights his cigar with it! The image is "my wish to find an alternative to violence to war and destruction," the singer says. Last month the Drudge Report first revealed how Madonna was hoping to cause maximum controversy with the new video. (source: The Drudge Report)

29 March - All lyrics available
We now have all the lyrics of the American Life album. Madonna shows off some of her best songwriting, seemingly blending the best of Like A Prayer, Ray Of Light and Music! Check our album page and click on the track title to read.
Also check out some fantastic album reviews from the listening parties that were held in London and Paris last week.

28 March - American Life chart action
Madonna's American Life single debuts on the April 5 Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales Chart at No. 4, selling over 4,000 paid downloads. The single debuted early on this chart, because the single was sent to the consumers on Sunday, March 23 (one day earlier than originally planned). Therefore, that placed the sales information into the April 5 Sales chart, and not the April 12 list, as previously predicted. The single also debuts on The Billboard Hot 100 at No. 90 this week. This chart is Billboard's overall pop singles chart, which combines airplay and sales data. It is Madonna's 49th chart entry on The Billboard Hot 100. The single's debut on this chart was mostly due to the fact that the sales of the digital download single were reported to SoundScan for this week. SoundScan is the company that collects and reports record sales data, and the information is used in compiling the Billboard charts. (With only two days worth of airplay for the April 5 tracking week, American Life wouldn't have debuted on The Billboard Hot 100 without its sales points.) Expect American Life to make a huge leap up The Billboard Hot 100 chart in the April 12 chart, once a full week of airplay kicks in. (source: Billboard, through Madonna.com)

28 March - Album review: American Life blends the best of Ray Of Light and Music
"I went to a listening party at the 4 Seasons Hotel in LA yesterday to hear the AL album in full. a friend of mine is a journalist and snuck me along, and as they were not checking any names at the door i just went right in and sat and listened to it. they passed out lyric sheets, but collected them at the completion of the album. When i first heard the single for AL, i was HUGELY disappointed. now though, in hearing it a few more times and in the context of the record, i like it a lot more. it makes sense thematically, and when heard on a proper stereo (vs a computer) the bass kicks you in the head. its a good track, but by far the least interesting on the album.
- HOLLYWOOD is a number 1 single. it is madonnas top down, convertible, driving in the sun song. its her "our lips are sealed"... lots of pretty, jangly guitars and electro beats. mid tempo, and very sing songy. excellent.
- I'M SO STUPID lyrics about wanting to be "like all the pretty people" and "thats why i'm so stupid" and she sings the phrase "stupider than stupid". its fast and dancey, and fun.
- LOVE PROFUSION dont really remember this one. guess that says something right there...
- NOBODY KNOWS ME is a really pretty ballad, with lots of spare guitars and beats. simple, straightforward. think GONE from MUSIC.
- NOTHING FAILS is the highlight of the record. it is most similar to the song LIKE A PRAYER. when the chorus comes in at the end, with the choir, it made a bunch of us in the room tear up. it is absolutely the best thing she has done in 10 years, in my opinion. thunderous and gorgeous.
- INTERVENTION i barely remember because i whispered through the whole track about the previous one. sorry!
- X-STATIC PROCESS is very rocky and ballad like. almost like a musical number, like out of Jesus Christ Superstar, but not as silly. its very dramatic and honest, and obviously about falling in love with guy. she says something about "forgot i was the best too" or something... its really sweet.
- MOTHER AND FATHER has very sad lyrics, that go "once i had a mother and she died when i was five. and i cried and cried and cried." it's devastating lyrically, but it's not slow. It's a fast song, and at the end she repeats over and over "i've gotta let it go" or something like that... it's excellent.
- DIE ANOTHER DAY we all know, and it works even better in the context of this record. makes you forget about the silly bond shit right away.
- EASY RIDE closes the album and talks about how she wants to "enjoy the good life but she doesnt want an easy ride". mid tempo, and pretty.
Overall, in MY opinion, after only one listening, this is the perfect merging of RAY OF LIGHT and MUSIC. the style and fluidity and solidarity of MUSIC, with the song styling of RAY OF LIGHT. i personally though MUSIC was a better album, but RAY OF LIGHT had better SONGS. this album combines the two to make, what i think...after only one listening...is her BEST album ever." (source: Sayhey, thanx to Dotmusic's JSA74)
~ Click here for more album reviews

28 March - Lyrics Easy Ride and Mother And Father
Fansite Madonna-Internet has obtained the lyrics for Easy Ride and Mother And Father, which are absolutely beautiful and make the new album even more promising! (Click the song title to read them.)

28 March - Madonna accused of kidnapping her daughter
Madonna was accused of kidnapping her own daughter from school by another parent who didn't recognise her. Madge had just dyed her familiar blonde hair brown and was picking up Lourdes in Los Angeles. She made the confession when she was asked about the last time she went unrecognised. The Queen of Pop said: “When I went to my daughter's school the other day to pick her up. I hadn't been brunette for long. "Someone stopped me and went, "Where's her mother?" They thought I was kidnapping my daughter." In an exclusive interview with music mag Q, out this week, Madonna said she can't wait to return to the UK because she and hubby Guy Ritchie find the US a yawn. She says: "The irony of all that stuff coming out about me supposedly slagging off England is that all I've done since we've been here is say to Guy, "Let's go back to England - it's so boring over here". I love my Mini Cooper. I was too scared to drive a big car in London, the roads are so narrow and I'm always afraid I'm going to hit people on both sides."
The mum-of-two also spoke of her love for her film director hubby. She said: "Before I met Guy, I really had my head up my ass as far as relationships go. I wasn't a very giving person. Having children, really falling in love, head and shoulders, it changes you. There's no time for nonsense. When nitwits go on about how, "We're so in love" I think, yeah, right. Wait till you've been with them for four years. I felt I knew what love was when I was married for the first time. That's the other dream I've woken out of. Love isn't what you think it is. Giving just for the sake of giving, and not getting anything in return, that's what I've come to understand unconditional love as. It's not just a crush, it's not something you can have fun with, it's not simply feeling sexually attracted to someone or digging what they do. It's so much more."
Madge, in LA to appear in TV comedy Will & Grace, said she was sceptical about manufactured pop. She said: "I came up before the time of svengalis holding massive talent searches, finding a girl that looks right and can carry a tune, then figuring a way to market her. "I'm not saying those girls can't grow into something, but I really don't know where we're going with the world. Everything's becoming so homogenised. All everyone is obsessed about now is being a celebrity. That's bulls***. You get slapped enough times and you realise you've been a buffoon and an idiot. And I was a buffoon and an idiot until the age of 40." (source: The Sun)

28 March - Blender: 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die
The April 2003 edition of Blender features the 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die, and separates them into categories: Classic Rock, Alternative Rock, Blues, Country, Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Hio-Hop, World and Jazz. It also has side categories, such as The Best of The Beatles, the Best of Folk, etc. Classic and Alternative seem to have the most citations. Anyway, Madonna has 2 entries in the Pop category, and they're no surprise:
The Immaculate Collection: Little more than an escalating series of sexual challenges (Like a Virgin, Like a Prayer, Justify My Love), Madonna's first best-of is brazen, gaudy, tush-wiggling fun of the furst order. Funny how she seems to take it all so seriously, isn't it? Standout track: Into the Groove
GHV2: Few artists manage to fill a second best-of collection with legitimate hits, but as everyboy knows, Madonna is no ordinary pop singer. This is the post-'80s stuff- from the weepy Don't Cry For Me Argentina to the cutting-edge electronica of Music. Standout track: Ray of Light

28 March - Felix Da Housecat remix
Check out a better soundfile of the Felix Da Housecat remix.

28 March - Madonna on ET
Madonna is scheduled to appear on Entertainment Tonight this Friday - March 28th in the U.S. She is set to talk about the CD release and her appearance on Will & Grace. (source: Madonnarama)

28 March - Tracklisting Australian / UK American Life CD single
2003 UK 6-track 2-CD single set released 14th April 2003:
CD1 (W603CD1)
1. American Life (edit with rap)
2. American Life (Missy Elliot remix)
3. American Life (Peter Rauhofer's American Anthem) (Part 1)

CD2 (W603CD2)
1. American Life (edit with rap)
2. American Life (Oakenfold Downtempo remix)
3. American Life (Felix Da Housecat's Devin Dazzle Club mix)
Note that the following mixes (which are present on the Canadian maxi) aren't on the UK set:
- Die Another Day (Quayle afterlife mix)
- American Life (Peter Rauhofer American Anthem Part 2)
The Australian 2-CD single release has the same tracklisting as the UK one.
(source: Madonna Information Report)

28 March - Madonna critisizes homogenised pop culture
Madonna has criticised the trend for manufactured pop acts and the recent stream of TV talent searches.
She said the pop world had become "homogenised", and accused record companies of putting marketing ahead of talent. In an interview with Q magazine, Madonna, 44, also criticised the idea of craving celebrity status for its own sake - rather than achieving it through ability. Referring to shows like Popstars and American Idol, she said: "I arrived at a different time - before the time of svengalis holding talent searches; finding a girl that looks right and can carry a tune and then figuring a way to market her." Discussing Pink, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, she said: "I'm not saying those girls can't grow into something, but I really don't know where we're going with the world. "Everything's so homogenised." It was wrong to seek fame for its own sake, she added.
Madonna is the most commercially successful female artist of all time, with worldwide record sales of more than 140 million including albums True Blue, Immaculate Collection and Ray of Light. But her acting career has not reached the same levels of success, with critical acclaim proving harder to come by. Last week she swept the Razzies for the worst film of the year, with Swept Away which was directed by her husband, Guy Ritchie. (source: BBC)

27 March - First Will & Grace pictures
Madonna in WIll & Grace Madonna in WIll & Grace Madonna in WIll & Grace Here are some preview pictures of Madonna's appearance (with blond wig) in the American sitcom Will & Grace (source: NBC, thanx to The Missus)
Karen of "Will & Grace" will have met her match when Madonna makes her small-screen debut as a guest star on an upcoming episode of the comedy, which she just shot in Los Angeles, according to an NBC spokesperson. Madonna's character, Liz, rocks Karen's world as her new roommate, who happily shares many of her eccentricities, including her taste in men. The high-maintenance Liz also shares many of Madonna's attributes — including her love of music — as she works as a manager of a CD distribution center which specializes in "Hits of the '80s"-type compilations. Madonna was joined on the set by her gal pal "Sandra Bernhard". The episode, called "Dolls & Dolls," airs April 24 at 9 p.m. (source: MTV)

27 March - American Life scores early debut on Hot 100
All eyes are on the single that debuts this week at No. 90 - Madonna's American Life. While not an impressive debut by any stretch of the imagination, it's still groundbreaking as it's one of the 1st digital singles to debut on the chart (Fleetwood Mac quietly beat Madonna to the punch last week by debuting at No. 93).
In a perfect world, the downloaded single would have hit the sales chart on Monday and Madonna would have had a full week of airplay before debuting on the Hot 100. But the label kept their promise of sending the purchased download out if it leaked to the Internet early - which actually happened on Sunday, the sales cut-off for the Hot 100. So Madonna debuts early...
And how many people bought the digital download - 4,177. Not an amazing number but really too early to judge... all new formats take a while to catch on and it's a promising start good enough for a No. 4 debut on the sales chart. The download is about 100,000 to 150,000 less than most Madonna commercial singles would sale - so it will be really interesting to see how the commercial release does in the coming weeks with the format so hard hit at retail, etc (source: DJ Rico Mixshow, thanx to AbsMad)

27 March - Steven Klein exhibit features Madonna animations
In cooperation with Sublime Films, Mantron Corporation has completed work on five HDTV resolution projection animations of Madonna for the artist/photographer Steven Klein. Adam Martinez and Matthew Wallin of Mantron Corp were contacted by Steven Klein to bring still images of Madonna to life in the form of HDTV resolution simulations of fire, cloth, a coyote and a pulsing kidney. Chris Seguine of Sublime Films constructed servers and encoded the still and video material to be projected at Deitch Projects in New York City. The projections will be accompanied by audio design work incorporating some lyrics by Madonna. The show will open in New York on March 27 at Deitch Projects, located at 76 Grand St. in New York City, and it will run for six weeks (source: uemedia)

27 March - The Androids sing and Madonna responds
The Androids have sung and Madonna has responded. Their hit 'Do It With Madonna' is a big hit with Madonna. "What we got back was she loves it" lead singer Tim Henwood tells Undercover News. The song 'Do It With Madonna' was the Australian summer hit of 2002 / 2003. The reaction in Australia filtered all the way to New York and grabbed Madonna's attention. "Someone from her record company emailed our record company and asked top be sent the single" Tim says. "They did and they got an email back saying she loves it". 'Do It With Madonna' is the first single from the debut album for The Androids due next week. [...] "We are going to England first, then to America" says Tim. "We will play in New York, Boston and Miami. We'll do a few TV shows in England, mainly promo". Note to Madonna… when they get to London, your name will be on the door. (source: Undercover)

26 March - Video to be banned?
Music stations in the US and the UK are censuring videos with explicit war content or references. MTV hasn't yet decided if it will show the American Life video or not. The video is expected to premiere on VH1 next week.
Meanwhile, the single is causing extreme differences between fans and music listeners. Some radio stations are raving about the song, while others refuse to play it. Tell us what YOU think by voting in our poll and don't forget to let your local radio station know if you like the song by requesting it.

26 March - Swept Away director's cut shows cut nude scenes
The release of a "Director's Cut" of Madonna and Guy Ritchie's Swept Away has been met with hoots of derision in some quarters. The director's cut has nude scenes that were stripped from the version shown in theatrical release. DVD buyers "get to see Madonna romping on a beach with her naked male co-star Adriano Giannini, and in another shot she has her legs wide open while lying on the floor," notes one source. "These sexy scenes were not included in the original version of the movie but adding them to the DVD will, [Madonna and Guy] hope, grab the attention of the home movie market." "Additional scenes? In the case of Swept Away, I'd think less is more," chuckles Razzie Awards founder John Wilson, who recently dubbed the flick the worst of the year. He told the Scoop: "I'm assuming that the director's commentary was a constant mea culpa." (source: MSNBC)

25 March - Tracklisting maxi single
American Life maxi single1. American Life (Missy Elliott remix)
2. American Life (Oakenfold downtempo remix)
3. American Life (Peter Rauhofer American Anthem Part 1)
4. American Life (Felix Da Housecat Devin Dazzle Club mix)
5. Die Another Day (Quayle afterlife mix)
6. American Life (Peter Rauhofer American Anthem Part 2)
(source: play.com, thanx to MIR)

25 March - More on 'Will & Grace'
The day before war broke out, I got a call asking if I'd like to see Madonna tape her episode of Will & Grace. Sigh - is my work NEVER done? Let me tell you first that I went in anticipating the worst - I expected a Material Girl who showed up late, didn't know her lines, and treated people like crap. Happily, nothing could be further from the truth. Madonna was on time, completely prepared, and a team player. In fact, she spent most of her down time chatting with Megan Mullally (who was in 90% of Madonna's scenes) and Debra Messing - including meeting Deb's handsome hubby. But her most frequent companion on the set was the special friend Madonna brought as her cheerleader, supporter, and comedic godmother - Sandra Bernhard! Yes, the rumors are true - the terrible twosome are back together. A bit older, a bit wiser, but both still looking mighty fierce.
Since I've got a gag order (and, unlike Madonna, a gag reflex), here's what I can tell you. Madonna plays a character named Liz (a tip of the hat to Maddy's mouthpiece, La Rosenberg), wears a blond wig (her hair is as dark as mine should be), brought in her own make-up person, and decided she didn't like the wardrobe, so she opted to wear her own D&G outfits (virtually demolishing a black blouse in the process). She's in the whole episode (kinda like Demi Moore - but significantly funnier), dances a bit, and has an inadvertent sexual situation with someone of the same sex. Have I said too much? There's nothing more I can think of to say to you. (source: filth2go, thanx to AbsMad)

25 March - Maak 'em of Kraak 'em
Photo by McDean - thx to Madonnarama Photo by McDean - thx to MadonnaramaFor all the Belgian fans (and those who understand dutch): American Life is put to the test on Radio Donna's "Maak 'em of Kraak 'em". Until tomorrow 5.30pm you can vote in favour of the single on the website of Donna (click "Bumpershow", then "Maak 'em of Kraak 'em"). Tomorrow between 5pm and 5.30pm you can also vote by sending an SMS ("bumper maak") to no. 3233. If more than 50% of the listeners vote in favour, the single is played. Vote now!! To all the other fans: don't hesitate to contact your local radio station to request American Life! Together we have to make this a hit!

25 March - W Mag portfolio
Check out fansite Madonnalicious for scans of the complete portfolio as featured in the april issue of W Magazine.

25 March - AL digital single marks revolution in online distribution
Monday marked the first time pop singer Madonna's music went out digitally to her legion of Net fans--and with the move, the Material Girl broke a little new online ground for major artists. Madonna is selling her new antiwar single, American Life on her Web site, charging $1.49 for the download of a high-quality, wholly unrestricted MP3 file. Her publicists started taking preorders a week ago, and in a novel move for a high-profile recording artist, enlisted fans to help sell the single on their own Web sites.
The so-called Madonna Project program--drawn directly from Amazon.com's and other Web sites' affiliate strategies--saw banners and advertisements for the single pop up on fan Web pages and blogs last week. Sites whose advertisements resulted in sales of the single would get credit toward Madonna prizes and merchandise. "The Madonna Project is a top-secret initiative to revolutionize how music is distributed on the Web, and Madonna wants you to join," the singer's site read last week. "The more singles sold through your site or links, the better your chance to win a pat on the back, a gold star and some serious Madonna prizes."
The release of a high-quality, unrestricted MP3 single online marks a significant turnaround for Madonna, and helps underline how far the big record labels have come in their steps toward online distribution. Madonna was one of the first artists to make a public stink about her work slipping onto Napster before its official release date. In more recent months, she has been one of the major artists to block distribution of most of her work through online subscription services such as Pressplay or Listen.com's Rhapsody service.
Word went out a week ago that fans signing up on her Web site, and paying $1.49 though the Paypal service, would be able to download the single Monday. The high-quality MP3 format meant that fans would be able to burn it to a CD or transfer it to a portable device without the restrictions usually imposed on authorized major-label downloads. If the single slipped out on file-swapping networks before that time, fans would get the single in their e-mail box, the singer's Web site promised. Predictably, the tune found its way online Sunday, and the record label e-mailed it to fans that day. In the ensuing week, "thousands" of people signed up to be Web affiliates, a Warner Music representative said. The single was also simultaneously released on several of the online music subscription services, the first time Madonna's major-label work has appeared on any of the legal music services. (source: Cnet)

24 March - Album credits
Warner - Chappell has added the writing credits for the songs on the American Life album to the database:
American Life video American Life video - American Life - Madonna (Ca)/ Ahmadzai, Mirwais (Ca)
- Hollywood - Madonna (Ca)/ Ahmadzai, Mirwais (Ca)
- I'm So Stupid - Madonna (Ca)/ Ahmadzai, Mirwais (Ca)
- Love Profusion - Madonna (Ca)/ Ahmadzai, Mirwais (Ca)
- Nobody Knows Me - Madonna (Ca)/ Ahmadzai, Mirwais (Ca)
- Nothing Fails - Madonna (Ca)/ Sigsworth, Guy (Ca)/ Griffiths, Jem (Ca)
- Intervention - Madonna (Ca)/ Ahmadzai, Mirwais (Ca)
- X-Static Process - Madonna (Ca)/ Price, Stuart (Ca)
- Mother And Father - Madonna (Ca)/ Ahmadzai, Mirwais (Ca)
- Easy Ride - Madonna (Ca)/ Pittman, Monte (Ca)
(source: MadonnaMad)
~ On the right, you find two amazing video stills by Daniel Smith (thanx to Madonnarama)

24 March - American Life goes live
Finally! Today is the big day: all across the world, radio stations are premiering the single American Life (and personally I think it sounds GREAT!!). American fans who pre-ordered the digital single (which is the radio edit of the song) got it delivered in their mailbox. Those who still want to get it delivered, can purchase the single here. If you purchased the single and have not yet received the email or misplaced it, you may get your single here. Downloadable copies of the MP3 can be found on several fansites and forums.

24 March - X-Static Process lyrics
Click here for the amazing lyrics of X-Static Process, written by Madonna and Stuart Price

24 March - X-Static exposition
Word is that Madonna might show up for the opening of her photography show at Deitch Projects in SoHo on Thursday. "Ecstatic Process" is based on photos taken of her by Steven Klein for W magazine. The exhibition space, designed by Giuseppe Lignano and Ada Tolla of LOT/EK architecture, will feature large moving projections of the photos. Talk about cross-promotion: Ecstatic Process is also a song on Madonna's album American Life, due out next month. (source: Daily News)

24 March - Madonna is big 'winner' at Razzies
"Madonna" at the razziesMadonna and husband Guy Ritchie have been the big 'winners' at the 23rd annual Razzie awards on the eve of the Oscars which honour the worst of the worst in Hollywood. Swept Away, a remake of the 1974 film about a woman shipwrecked in the Mediterranean with her yacht's cook, swept the board. It received nods for worst film, worst performance by an actress, worst remake, worst screen couple and worst director for Guy Ritchie. Madonna had to share the honour of worst actress with fellow popstar Britney Spears. Spears also grabbed the worst original song honours for 'I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman' from the film. Madge, not to be outdone, was also on the receiving end of the worst supporting actress award for her fleeting cameo in the James Bond movie Die Another Day. 'Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones' bagged awards for Hayden Christensen as worst supporting actor and worst screenplay for George Lucas himself. (source: ITV)

22 March - American Life pre-order store
Madonna.com is proud to announce that the "American Life" General Store is open! To commemorate such an event, Madonna.com has configured four exclusive ways for you to get the new CD. First, you can order the regular enhanced CD, or secondly pick up the Limited Edition CD release. The third and fourth way is to simply add a t-shirt to your current CD packaging choice. This t-shirt is exclusive to the Madonna.com store. Also, If you pre order the CD you will be automatically entered to win signed Madonna merchandise. Make sure to check back in the near future for more e-store specials at Madonna.com. Click here to get your "bundle" now!

21 March - AL release details
From Dotmusic: new AL official facts as of March 18:
  • Limited edition CD is limited to 14,000 units wholesalers and retailers will be allocated due to such a small amount being made.
  • It is confirmed that the limited edition will have the "PA" logo on the shrink-wrap (PA = parental advisory).
  • There is no DVD with the limited edition release.
  • Limited edition packaging: 2 pc. "telescoping" box, clear foam tray, exclusive poster, wrapped with a white leatherette fabric ribbon
  • The DVD-single: cancelled
  • The maxi-singles (12" and CD-maxi)... Still not officially solicited in the US. The release date is now looking to be April 29th for these. The CD-maxi is going to be a first for Warner Brothers in that it is going to be a CD-maxi + DVD (2 disc set). I think he said the list price will be $11.98. I don't think there will be a regular CD-maxi. This configuration is the first one that WEA has done and is the reason that there is the maxi-single delay.

21 March - Madonna re-working her AL video? *rumour*
Madonna is re-working her vividly violent anti-war video for "American Dream," slated to come out next month in conjunction with her new album. There were rumors that she might completely redo or even pull the video, which was said to depict the "catastrophic repercussions and horror of war." But her rep Liz Rosenberg tells PAGE SIX it's merely being "fine tuned" in light of current events. "Madonna is being sensitive to what's going on in the world right now," Rosenberg tells us. "There will be some minor alterations. What might have looked right two weeks ago might not look that way now. But she's not re-doing the whole video, and it will still be out the first week of April." (source: PageSix)
~ Of course they got the single title wrong. No confirmation yet on the truth of the story.

21 March - HQ W Mag pix
From  W Mag Fansite MadonnaDrownedWorld has some great high quality scans from the W Magazine photo shoot; check them out!

21 March - Madonna has balls
NME wrote a great article on American Life, and its place in Madonna's controversial career. You can read the complete article at Madonnalicious. Here are some highlights:
....her new single, 'American Life' is a magnificently addictive confection of glitchy techno and creamy pop with a daft comedy rap on the end. Then there's the video, which starts as a fashion show and ends in hand grenade, dead baby-strewn carnage. At a time when anti-war sentiment, particularly in the US is unwelcome, 'American Life' shows that Madonna's balls are steelier than the rest.
....she doesn't have to put herself through the pop mill now, let alone antagonise half her own continent. She does it because she is, in the end, an artist. An artist who's brought the most avant garde ideas and influences into the mainstream since The Beatles and transformed the landscape of pop culture for good.

21 March - Salma Hayek grateful to Madonna
Actress Salma Hayek says she dreamed for years about playing Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Unfortunately, she says, American studios were not interested in making a film about her until Madonna said what a huge fan she was of her work. "I had them working on this project six years before," Hayek recalled, adding that their were several other Frida projects in the works at that time. "The truth is that Madonna was going to do it way before and then gave up on it. I'm really grateful to Madonna because she took interest in this Mexican artist very early on before people knew about Frida. And because everyone wants to know what Madonna is doing, it brought a lot of attention to this character that later on helped us get this movie made, so if anything, I am grateful for her appreciating her art and her culture." "Frida," which earned Hayek an Oscar nomination and co-starred Antonio Banderas and Ashley Judd, was released in theaters in late 2002. (source: UPI)

20 March - More American Life samples
Tension is rising as the radio release for American Life, scheduled for next week, is coming closer. On the website of HBO you can listen to a 1'10 sample of the song, which sounds magnificent. For an acapella sample (9 seconds), check this link. And finally, there's a message from Madonna, presenting her new single.

20 March - Michelle Branch wants to leave Maverick
19-year-old Grammy winner Michelle Branch wants to disassociate herself from former mentor Madonna. Branch filed a petition with the California Labor Commission this week claiming she should be let out of her contract with Madonna's Maverick Records because they signed her up for sponsorship she didn't want. "She claims one of [Maverick parent] Warner Bros.' entities got 'tour support' without her permission," Maverick's lawyer Bert Fields tells us. "She says they acted as unlicensed talent agents. We think there's no merit to the case, and both sides hope this can be resolved." "This is all about money," sniffs a Maverick spy. "She wants more. Record companies face this stuff all the time and every now and then an artist pulls a [James] Gandolfini." Branch's rep did not return calls. "Madonna needs to keep Michelle," an industry source opines. "Maverick hasn't had a big act like her since Alanis Morissette [and] all the other labels are all lining up to sign her if she leaves." (source: NY Post)

20 March - No American Dance Awards for Madonna
Yesterday the winners of the American Dance Music Awards were announced. Despite two nominations, Madonna didn't win any award. For 'Best Chart Act' Justin Timberlake was the favorite. For 'Best Remix', the Deepsky remix for Die Another Day lost out to Fischerspooner's remix of Kylie's Come Into My World. In the category 'Best Soundtrack' the Die Another Day soundtrack had to bow down for Blade 2.

20 March - Copycat Gwen irritates Madonna
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But for pop queen Madonna, actress Gwyneth Paltrow's craze of imitating her, is turning to irritation for the singer. There are even rumours that this has cooled off the friendship between the two because Madge is so fed up with having a double. Some facts prove that Gwyneth actually imitates the singer- actress. Madonna, 44, married British film director Guy Ritchie in December 2000. Less than two years later, Oscar-winning Gwyneth, 30, linked up with British pop star Chris Martin. She is set to wed the Coldplay lead singer - five years her junior - next year, according to a report in TeenHollywood.com. Six months before Madge married Guy, she bought a 10 million pound, six-bed mansion in Belgravia, central London. Within 18 months Gwyneth announced she wanted to settle in London and then plumped for a one million pound, two-bedroom pad in a redbrick mansion block in nearby Kensington. The two even share a mutual friend - designer Stella McCartney. The pair have also used the same health clinic in posh Knightsbridge, West London. More interestingly, Madonna visited the Linda Meredith health and beauty clinic for a spot of yoga in November 2001. The following summer Gwyneth did the same. Both stars follow the same macro-biotic diets, based on whole- grains, vegetables, beans, seaweed and fermented soya products. (source: newindpress)

18 March - M plays no guitar on album *rumour*
American Life video According to fansite Madonnarama: "Fans may be a little upset to hear that Madonna plays no guitar herself on the new album. Despite competant playing on her Drowned World Tour, Madonna has left all the strumming to Mirwais, who plays guitar in the following tracks: American Life, Hollywood, I'm So Stupid, Nothing Fails, Intervention, X-Static Process, Mother And Father and Easy Ride. Mirwais also plays guitar AND sings on Love Profusion."
On the right you see a new screenshot from the American Life video, by still photographer Daniel Smith. More pictures from the video at MadonnaCenter.

17 March - Single and album cover
Madonna.com has updated their discography pages, which seems to confirm the earlier seen art work: the machine gun picture is used as single cover; the other one is the album cover. You can see them on the American Life page.

17 March - Complete W Mag interview
Click here to read the complete interview that will appear in the april issue of W Magazine.

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