30 April - Watch Roseland Ballroom concert online
You can watch Madonna performing at Roseland Ballroom on the MSN site (US) and on the French SFR site (for non-US fans) at 4 am CET. 30 April - Madonna.com gets Candy make-over Coinciding
the Hard Candy album release,
website has received a sticky & sweet make-over. The site
offers an overview of her Music (with audio samples, album info
& liner notes), her Films and her Books. Official Madonna merchandise
can be bought in the Store. The Exclusives and Community sections
are only acessible for ICON members. Very positive about the site
is the video wall (on the home and in the Music section) and the
picture database (Music section). Negative points is that the tour
section only contains 'current tour dates' (so nothing at the moment)
and no info on previous tours. Also disappointing is the total lack
of song lyrics.
~ It's no Mad-Eyes but still worth
a look! ;-) 30 April - Watch Madonna interview at AT&T Blue Room
AT&T presents a really cool and long interview with Madonna, where she talks about her collaboration with Pharrell, Justin &
Timbaland on Hard Candy.
She also discusses several of the new tracks, how they were created,
what they're about, and which she likes to perform on stage. Check
out the streaming video at the AT&T
30 April - Tonight's NYC gig mobile streaming on Vodafone &
Verizon Wireless and Vodafone announced they will team to deliver
a live global mobile simulcast spotlighting performances from Madonna's
April 30 show at New York City's Roseland Ballroom. The simulcast,
which expands Vodafone's exclusive mobile content distribution and
promotion deal with Warner Music International in support of the
new Madonna album Hard
Candy, will feature four live songs from the disc, officially
dropping Tuesday. Verizon Wireless is scheduled to begin the mobile
broadcast at 10 p.m. EST via the V Cast Performances channel, with
Vodafone Live's broadcast beginning at 3 a.m. GMT for subscribers
in the U.K., Germany, Italy, France and close to a dozen other international
markets. V Cast Performances will also archive the performance for
Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless issued an exclusive "mobile
underground remix" of the new Madonna single 4
Minutes remixed by hip-hop mastermind Timbaland, who is also
slated to release an exclusive album via the operator's Mobile Producer
in Residence program. (source: Fierce
Wireless) 28 April - Hard Candy Madonna added to Madame Tussauds
A reworked wax model of U.S. singer Madonna is seen at Madame Tussauds
in London, Friday, April 25, 2008. The wax figure has been brought
in line with the U.S. singer's current image by adding new make-up
and hair style as well as being dressed in a black corset, boxing
title belt and knee high boots. Additionally an illustration of
Madonna's latest album cover, Hard
Candy is seen behind, and is made entirely from jelly beans.
The exhibit will be on display from Monday, April 28. (source: AP) 28 April - Madonna's Hard Candy galore out today!
Today, Madonna's long awaited studio album Hard
Candy, featuring some sticky & sweet collaborations with
Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Pharrell & Kanye West, is internationally
available for sale!
So no waitin' or hesitatin', get
your copy today!
Some European countries had the privilege to get it last Friday
already. US fans have to wait till tomorrow, April 29.
27 April - Hard Candy review: A return
If I had a pound for every Madonna album that has been hailed as
a "return to form", I'd have, ooh, five or six quid by
now. Undoubtedly, you will hear - if you haven't already - that
Hard Candy is a return
to form. The question is, what form? The form of Like
A Virgin? Don't be silly. Like
A Prayer? Nope. Ray Of Light?
Well, no, not quite, but Hard
Candy does feature the best songs Madonna has come up with in
the decade since Ray Of Light,
a stunning trio packed right in the middle of Hard
Candy: Beat Goes
On, the collaboration with Kanye West; the fizzing, rattling
Incredible; and She's
Not Me, a song in which Madonna reminds herself how good she
can be, and which contains the most gorgeous breakdown you've heard
in years. (rating: 3/5 stars, by Sunday
27 April - Supposed
Roseland Ballroom setlist
According to fansite Madonnatribe,
the songs Madonna is going to play next week in Roseland Ballroom,
NYC are: Candy
Away (with Madonna playing the guitar) Music
(Fedde Le Grand Mix) Give
It 2 Me 4
Minutes (featuring Justin Timberlake on video screens) Hung
Up (rock mix)
The event is going to be broadcast here.
27 April - Madonna scores
11th Australian #1!
More fantastic news for 4
Minutes: after conquering many European charts already, Madonna
& Justin now make it to #1 in Australia, getting the
11th Australian chart topper for Madonna!
27 April - Hard
Candy review: It's dandy! Imagine
this: A new Madonna album comprised entirely of brisk, hard dance
anthems, all boldly updating the blissful hits of her club-driven
Now imagine that none of those songs (save the advance single) has
anything to do with world politics, spiritual growth, starving African
children or any lingering mother issues. Instead they present a
wall-to-wall call to the dance floor, fired by ecstatic, innovative,
and propulsive beats, paired to tunes that will make you swoon.
That's what Madonna's last album - 2005's Confession
On A Dance Floor - promised to be, but hardly was. We still
had Kabbalah references, finger-wagging "issue" songs
and lots of cuts that weren't nearly as danceable or catchy as advertized.
Anyone disappointed by that album should take a lick of Hard
Candy, out Tuesday. It's everything Confessions
professed to be - and more: a disc that gorges on catchy choruses,
nagging beats and insouciant vocals. It may be the best album
of Madonna's career. Certainly it's the most consistent (not
counting "greatest hits" cheats).
Plenty of people will carp that Madonna had to haul in some of the
heaviest hitters she has ever collaborated with to pull this off
- including Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, and Pharrell. Hard
Candy represents only the third time in Madonna's long career
when she has relied on top, proven talent as conspirators, rather
than bringing in newbies she can nurture and/or control.
The last time she did this was her ultimate career low, in 1994,
following the hideously reviewed "Sex" book. She bounced
back with Bedtime Stories, produced
by can't-miss guys like Babyface.
It's hard to say why Madonna felt she needed to bring in such headline-making
help this time, unless it has to do with facing the Big Five-Oh
- she hits it Aug. 16. Or the fact that Hard
Candy marks the end of her contract with the only label she
has ever known (Warner Brothers). Either way, Madonna has given
the company the richest possible parting gift.
Where to begin?
The first single - the smash 4
Minutes - is probably the least engrossing track on the CD.
It's the only one that goes for the political, rather than the personal,
though it does so in such a vague way, you can barely tell. Of course,
it's as much a Timberlake song as a Madonna turn but that's the
only track where the star attraction threatens to piggyback on another
That was the worry for Hard
Candy. Fans feared it would find Madonna vampirically sucking
the blood of the latest urban gods to gain back her youth. But the
point turns out to be moot. In fact, Pharrell and Timbaland have
never sounded this frothy, and that clearly comes from Madonna's
talent for zip.
Take Heartbeat. Madonna
co-wrote the cut with Pharrell, and although it benefits greatly
from the hook of his trademark orgasmic moans, Maddy's vocal has
an R&B sheen that cinches it.
The title track kicks off the CD and sets its exuberant tone. It's
got tribal/urban beats, cunning lyrical innuendos, and a chorus
with the R&B-jazz twist of a Kool and the Gang hit from the
In Miles Away Madonna
recycles a neat trick from the past: She uses abrupt guitar strums
as an acoustic contrast to the synthetic clack of the beat. Vocally,
she hasn't sounded as ravishing as she does here since Evita. Incredible has real
bubble gum snap. Beat
Goes On makes sure it does.
I could go on raving about the tracks, but I won't. I want to go
back and listen to them. (rating: 5/5 stars, by New
York Daily News)
~ Check out more reviews: New
York Post, Chicago
27 April - Stuart
Price encouraged Madonna to take the next step
There's no big mystery why Madonna hooked up with such R&B-hip-hop
stars as Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, producer Timbaland
and his protege Nate "Danja" Hills for her new dance-pop
album, Hard Candy, in
stores Tuesday. "Because I love their music and when I
like something I go after it," said the 49-year-old Material
Girl during a recent roundtable interview with reporters from around
the world including Sun Media in a Canadian print exclusive.
"That's it -- not too intellectual," she said before
elaborating. "I was just thinking about what I wanted to do
next. I'd made a dance record -- my last album (2005's Confessions
On A Dance Floor) -- which was mostly house music, and I was
sitting around talking to (previous songwriting-producing collaborator)
Stuart Price one day and he said, 'Well what do you want to do next?'
I said, 'I want to make dance music as always.' And he said,
'Well, what kind of music do you like right now?' And I said, 'Well,
the only records I love are Justin's and Timbaland's.' And he said,
'Well, why don't you work with them?' So I did. It's a great sound,
so why not?"
So if you think the famously chameleon-like Madge, now on her second
marriage to British filmmaker Guy Ritchie and a mother of three
(11-year-old daughter Lourdes, 7-year-old son Rocco and 2-year-old
son David), has settled down since her early days of wanting to
shock the public into thinking by pushing sexual, religious and
social boundaries, think again.
On the album cover of Hard
Candy, she takes on the persona of a female fighter. "I'm
still trying to make those hits," she said of her career, 25
years and sales of 200 million later. "Everybody wants
to make music that people want to listen to; that people want to
hear on the radio. I've never, ever made a record where I didn't
care whether people heard it or not... "I think I probably
wrote about simple, straightforward, let's-just-have-a-good-time
kind of songs when I first started out. And then as I evolved and
changed as a human being, my music has been a reflection of that.
"That doesn't mean I can't still write a song about just getting
up and dancing and feeling good. But I think that my songs have
more of a sense of irony in them or contradiction in them than they
used to. And I'd like to think that they're more complex." Continue
the article here
- Madonna webcast next week
In celebration of the release of Madonna's upcoming album Hard
Candy, Control Room, MSN and Verizon Wireless will present the
one and only Madonna live in New York's famed Roseland Ballroom
on Wednesday, April 30th.
The show will be available live on MSN Music In Concert and will
also be available for viewing post-show. - You
can watch it here (source: antiMusic)
26 April - Chart beat chat:
Why isn't 4 Minutes #1 on Billboard Hot 100?
As always, I have been a fan of your column and with time I have
enjoyed watching the changes as the charts are adjusted to [keep
up with] the ever- changing music industry.
That said, how in the world is "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne
No. 1 when it is not No. 1 in airplay or sales? Madonna (yes I'm
a little biased here) has had the best-selling digital track for
a number of weeks and I know airplay is picking up, but can you
explain what combination of numbers helped "Lollipop"
become No. 1?
New York, N.Y.
Glad you enjoy Chart Beat and thanks for your question.
The answer lies not in any changes in chart policy or the technology
used to compile the charts. The answer is as old as the Hot 100
itself, and for anyone who is counting, that is 49 years and nine
The Hot 100 was conceived as a chart that combined sales and airplay
information and while the formula has been changed many times, it
has continued to be a chart that blends sales and airplay information.
So it is not uncommon for a song that is neither No. 1 in sales
or airplay to be the No. 1 song of the week once sales and airplay
figures are combined. Whichever song has the largest grand total
of sales and airplay figures is No. 1 on the Hot 100.
It is an objective figure, not influenced by any personal feelings
for or against any artist, as some other readers have suggested
in e-mails I have received over the last few weeks.
The only way "Lollipop" could be No. 1 is that when you
add its sales and airplay together, the number you get is larger
than any other combined sales and airplay total for the week. And
that is exactly what happened this week and you can be sure that
is what happens every week, no matter which song is No. 1.
Lately I've been following the charts closely, expecting Madonna's
new single, 4 Minutes,
to reach the top of the Hot 100. Sadly (yeah, I am a huge Madonna
fan), the song has already started dropping down. Too bad for my
On the other hand, the song has topped the Canadian Hot 100 chart
for three weeks in a row now. Personally, I thought Madonna would
be more popular in the United States. Why do you think the new single
hasn't been such a hit in the United States?
I love reading Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat every Thursday. Thank
Quebec City, Quebec
Like I told Jorge above, I'm glad you enjoy my columns, and thanks
for your question. I have had a lot of inquiries from readers over
the last three weeks, mostly from Madonna fans, asking why 4
Minutes hasn't achieved pole position on the Hot 100.
From my reply to Jorge, you already know the answer – when
you combine the sales and airplay figures for 4
Minutes, the song doesn't have the largest grand total, even
with the single being No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs tally.
What's keeping this Madonna song out of first place is its airplay.
The spins have been increasing each week, ever since the single
debuted at No. 51 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart dated April 5. Since
then, the single has climbed 51-41-30-27-16. But 4
Minutes needs more airplay of it is going to climb to the summit.
If airplay does increase, it will need to keep its sales figures
up to move into the penthouse.
The largest sales week for 4
Minutes to date was its first week, when it debuted at No. 2
on Hot Digital Sales. The figure dipped slightly the second week,
although that reduced number was the largest sales figure for the
week, allowing the single to move up to No. 1. Sales then took a
bigger drop the third week when the single dipped to No. 2, and
increased slightly in the fourth chart week, helping 4
Minutes to return to No. 1.
(source: Fred Bronson's Chart
~ For more speculation, visit our chart
news page, dedicated to the chart performance of Madonna's current
26 April - Hard Candy
review: by Billboard
Madonna makes producers, producers don't make Madonna. The diva
plucked William Orbit, Mirwais and Stuart Price from electronic
music obscurity, meshing her own pop sensibility with their sonic
specialty. But for Hard Candy,
Madge hooked up with name-brand guys like the Neptunes and Timbaland,
and even brought on Justin Timberlake as a writing partner. What
results is, expectedly, of-the-moment and radio-ready. 4
Minutes, with Timberlake, is already a top three Billboard Hot
100 hit, and harmonious ballad Miles
Away might be some of her best work yet. But it feels familiar.
Miles is a close
cousin to Timbaland's "Apologize," Spanish
Lesson is a dead ringer for N*E*R*D's "She Likes to Move,"
Wouldn't Recognize You instantly recalls Timberlake's "Cry
Me a River." That's par for pop acts when they collaborate
with producers who are bigger stars than they are. But for a vanguard
artist like Madonna, it feels like a bit of a concession. - Kerri
Mason (source: Billboard.com)
25 April - Madonna chews on work,
love, Hard Candy
More than a quarter-century after debut single Everybody
got everybody dancing, Madonna has yet to be demoted to Immaterial
Girl, even in this age
of flash-in-the-pantheon stars. "Don't stop me now,
don't need to catch my breath," she defiantly sings on
her new track Give
It 2 Me. "I can go on and on and on."
So it seems. It's one of a dozen cuts on her Hard
Candy disc, out Tuesday with assists from Justin Timberlake,
Timbaland and Pharrell Williams. She also has directed the comedy
Filth and Wisdom and produced
and written a documentary, I Am Because We Are, about AIDS orphans
in Malawi. That's where she found David Banda, the 2-year-old she
and filmmaker husband Guy Ritchie are adopting.
Madonna chats from her London home:
Q: Why these collaborators?
A: I love their records, and they bring out the best in other people.
I thought we could play to each other's strengths. I decided to
work with singers, songwriters and producers who are artists in
their own right and see what that would manifest.
Did you instantly click?
A: No, I don't think you do with anyone. I'd met them before in
social circumstances. It's quite different when you sit down and
say, "Let's write a song." You're putting yourself in
a vulnerable position. Will they think my ideas are stupid? Can
I speak freely without hurting anyone's feelings? That's awkward.
They're personable, and nobody was unprofessional.
What inspired Hard Candy's
urgent, mobilizing fervor? A:
We don't have the luxury of thinking someone else is going to take
care of our problems. Obviously, I've been focused on the world
around me and taking responsibility for the past few years. (Candy)
also is about life's surprises and trust and disappointment, about
finding out that people I thought were my friends weren't. It's
staying flexible, not being married to any fixed idea and not taking
anything too literally.
Not Me could be a response to Madonna wannabes.
A: I wasn't thinking about that. I'm very happy if what I do and
what I've accomplished has inspired other women or given them a
sense of ownership of their destiny. I don't think anyone is trying
to be me. To me, (She's
Not Me) is the ultimate jilted lover song. The follow-up to
I Will Survive, maybe a little angrier.
Q: Work often
separates you and Guy, which you address with some sadness in Miles
A: That's the drawback of two artists living together. We have to
make sacrifices, and there's always a trade-off. It's about long-distance
relationships in general. After I wrote it, the guys in the studio
were like, "I can totally relate."
Q: Is the
media spotlight less welcome now that the cameras are on your family?
A: Attention on the adoption bothered me because it will filter
down to my other children (Lourdes, 11, and Rocco, 7), and it's
hard for them to understand why anyone would get mad at me for saving
someone's life. We have a basic understanding in this house that
most things written in newspapers and magazines aren't true.
Q: What's your reaction to the microscope Britney Spears
has been under the past year? A:
I have a lot of compassion for her. People are being entertained
by her suffering. I don't condone it, and it makes me sad.
Q: You turn 50 on Aug. 16. Any dread about that milestone?
A: I love birthdays. You get to have a party and people give you
presents. I don't think this year is any more significant than last
Q: Reports keep surfacing that you've had cosmetic
surgery. Sharon Osbourne rather indelicately said, "I went
into shock at Madonna's new head." Do you want to respond?
A: There's something undignified about commenting on someone else's
commentary. I don't mind what she says or doesn't say.
Q: As someone on the cutting edge of trends, do you think the
best music gets heard?
A: Not necessarily. If a fire engine's blaring in my ear, I'm not
going to hear the fantastic mandolin next to me. Everything is about
instant gratification and shorter shelf life. Someone who's offering
subtleties won't make an impact. We live in a world full of distractions.
Q: Did your induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
last month feel a bit premature?
A: Kind of. I was thinking: "But I'm not done yet. I don't
want to be in a museum." I had to stop and look at it as an
acknowledgement of the work I've done. The footage they showed was
predominantly from the first 10 years of my career, and it seems
like centuries ago. I've gone through a million revolutions and
evolutions since then. (source: USA
Dance floor queen Madonna is like a kid in
You might expect sober plaints from a singer devoted to motherhood,
Kabbalah studies and activism for African AIDS orphans. But Hard
Candy's frenzied blast of hard beats and candy-coated grooves
verifies that Madonna is still expressing herself on the dance floor.
"People love to dance, even if they only rock back and forth,"
Madonna says, explaining her refusal to abandon the genre on her
new album. "It's a primal
force people are drawn to."
The same could be said for Her Madgesty. Candy,
arriving Tuesday, earned a four-star rave
in Rolling Stone. Entertainment Weekly's B+ review
dubs it "an unpretentious, non-stop dance party." First
single 4 Minutes,
featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, is the top-selling digital
track (847,000 downloads) and a YouTube video sensation that has
spawned endless fan spoofs and remakes - and prompted Madonna's
amusing "Message to YouTube" response.
The superstar's 11th and final studio album for Warner Bros. marks
a transition to her monster deal with Live Nation. Announced last
fall, the 10-year partnership, worth an estimated $120 million,
entails recordings, touring, merchandise, online and fan club endeavors,
DVDs, TV/film projects and sponsorships.
As CD sales plummet and the industry struggles for footing in the
digital age, Madonna says she stepped into the future. "I have
to feel optimistic," she says. "Whenever there's shift,
things break down and people find new ways to operate. It's a natural
evolution, and you can't fight it or feel sorry for yourself. Thank
God, I don't have to rely only on record sales. I know how to put
on a show."
Madonna plans to bring Hard
Candy's sweet and edgy grooves to the stage this fall. At 49,
can she still cause a commotion? "Madonna may have made
a deal with Live Nation, but that does not mean she's the ubiquitous
cultural icon she once was," writes industry blogger Bob Lefsetz.
"If (young fans) go to the show at all, it will be with their
parents, as nostalgia. Give Radiohead and Trent Reznor props. They're
living in the now. Madonna is living in the 20th century."
But Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts, says Madonna
has legs. "She still has the ability to debut at No. 1,"
he says. "She'll tour longer than a lot of other pop artists
might. She has a huge fan base. There are people that age I wouldn't
bet on, but I'd never bet against Madonna." (source: USA
25 April - Hard Candy
review: A hint of vintage Prince & Jacko
She may be fast approaching her half century – which arrives
in August – but Madonna is not about to gracefully step aside
and become a shy retiring elder
stateswoman of pop.
In the past, (very) old boyfriends – Warren Beatty –
were embarassed by her antics. Now it's the turn of her daughter
From the opening title track of Hard
Candy, it sounds as if one of the great British cultural legacies
she has readily clasped to her bosom is that of the Carry On movie.
While producer Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes cranks up the sugary
beats, she plays the ever-attentive Italian Mama. But when she offers
up her sweet and sticky confection and sings "Don't pretend
you're not hungry because there's plenty to eat", you get
the idea Madge's kitchen isn't strictly in Delia Smith or Nigella
Humour and sex have long been Madonna staples and they run naturally
through the creamy harmonies, nutty rhythms and state of the art
dance manoeuvres of Hard Candy
like lettering through a stick of rock.
With a phalanx of heavy hitters – Timbaland, Kanye West and
Justin Timberlake – onside, Hard
Candy takes no chances.
Sticking to the disco/R&B pop script of the career- reviving,
10 million-selling Confessions
On A Dance Floor, it's hardly groundbreaking in the way Madge
once was. But that's no crime.
The insatiable Give
It 2 Me is classic Madonna, and elsewhere other pleasures abound.
There's multi-layered majesty on Devil
Wouldn't Recognize You, a clammy tale of desire, and the sussed
and wry putdown of She's
Not Me, where La Ciccone is in tunefully vengeful mode.
On Dance 2Night,
she doffs a tweed cap to the wonders of vintage Prince and Jacko
in a song that's at least 100 times better than the recent Sir Paul
Macca tune of the same name.
No matter how virulent the campaign becomes to make Madge, ahem,
"act her age", the lady holds her own. How many other
near-fiftysomethings – of either gender – are sufficently
in tune with their inner mojo to invite you to "see my booty
get down" and still sound sexy?
Putting its nailfiling moments (the aptly named Miles
Away) aside, Hard Candy
is a mouthwatering proposition. It's just a pity she didn't think
to provide promotional napkins to mop up after all the drooling.
~ Check out more reviews by Time,
Sun & Los
25 April -
Madonna launches Malawi Aids film
Madonna's documentary highlighting the plight of Malawi's estimated
one million Aids orphans has been given its world premiere in New
The film, which the singer produced and narrated, tells the story
of several children, many of them born to mothers who have died
of Aids, most of whom lead desperate lives.
On the red carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival, Madonna told reporters
how I Am Because We Are contains a message of obligation. "We
are responsible for each other and that if we can help in any way,
shape or form, we should," she said.
The documentary includes some excruciating scenes showing the agonising
grief of a mother who has just lost her child to Aids.
There is also a harrowing moment when a young boy - a victim of
genital mutilation - is being treated by medical staff.
But director Nathan Rissman said the idea was not just to shock
audiences. "We decided, if we were going to wake people
up, we were going to try to point them in the direction of how we
can solve these problems. "There are so many solutions
out there and I think that the more that we discuss this, the more
that we have a dialogue about what to do, the better," he said.
The film is being launched just as Madonna waits for her adoption
of a young Malawi boy to be finally approved by a court in the country.
The documentary shows the pop icon in a very positive light, but
Madonna says she was ambivalent about appearing on camera. "In
the beginning I wasn't in the movie at all, but then I realised
because I was narrating that it was important that I let people
know that it was my personal journey and my experience. "So
I think and I hope and pray that I found the balance of myself in
the film as well as the stories of the children," she said. The
film's director has been referred to as "Madonna's gardener"
or "Madonna's nanny's husband", while Rissman acknowledges
that he is very much part of Madonna's inner circle. "Both
my wife and myself have worked for Madonna and her family for the
past four years, and my wife has a relationship with the family
that pre-dates mine, but I wouldn't necessarily say that's how I
got the gig," he says.
One aspect of Rissman's talents that impressed Madonna was the home
movies he shot of her children, which may have played a role in
him landing the job as her documentary director. "I think
I proved myself to Madonna and her family as a trustworthy colleague,
co-worker, somebody that would share Madonna's creative vision,
and I think that she just believed in me, and she saw something
that she realised that we can get something done together."
He may be a first-timer, but there is an intensity to the way Rissman
has made this film, with much of it shot in cinema-verite style. His
camera does more than just convey the tragedy of the Aids orphans,
but also shows optimism in the midst of the crisis.
In addition to extensive filming with the orphaned children in Malawi,
the documentary includes interviews with Archbishop Desmond Tutu
and former President Bill Clinton.
It also propagates the view that Malawians cannot just rely on outsiders
for help - they have to take some responsibility for their own problems.
For many of the participants in the documentary, Madonna's efforts
are being seen as a laudable attempt to bring attention to a humanitarian
crisis that much of the world ignores. (source: BBC)
25 April - Hard Candy sets sex, relationships
to hip-hop, trip-hop, disco beats
'Her work ethic is different from everybody else's,' says producer
Is it her Confessions on an Urban Dance Floor? Madonna dabbles
in hip-hop on her latest album, the recently leaked Hard
Candy, coming out with tracks of almost every flavor.
Candy Shop, the lead
track, sets the agenda, alerting us amid bongo-like paint-can beats
that "my sugar is raw." In case you haven't already
guessed, with Madonna, candy is a metaphor for sex. So is dance.
So are a lot of other topics repeated throughout
Hard Candy, on which the
actual sex itself is reduced to lines like "Sex with you
is incredible." The same sentiment sounds a lot better
in song when it becomes "Come into my store/ I've got candy
galore." Produced by Pharrell Williams (who actually helmed
the bulk of the tracks that made the album), Candy
Shop is designed to generate heat. "We were just in
a studio," Pharrell told MTV News, "and she was like,
'Look, give me some hot sh--.' I was looking at her like, 'She's
saying hot sh--?' She was like, 'What?' And I'm like, 'OK.' So we
just worked and made it."
By Give It 2 Me,
the album's second single, she's worked into a frenzy, merging what
sounds like an early-Madonna bounce-beat, a funky bass line and
driving-turned-skittering synths. "If it's against the law,
arrest me," she sings. "If you can handle it, undress
me." A strange interlude has Madge flatly repeating, "Get
stupid," over and over as Pharrell chants, "To
the left, to the right," but soon passes. (The Paul Oakenfold
remix tightens the beat and straightens the synths.)
On Heartbeat, Madonna
fluctuates between the sweet and the tart, in one breath singing,
"When I dance, I feel free," as if the sun were
shining on her, and then chanting, "See my booty get down,"
as if she were in a club corner. She stays on the sweet note for
Miles Away, the most
track on the album. Unlike the disjointed structure of songs like
could be two or three songs in one), Miles
Away is straightforward, but it has a lot of technical trickery
underneath it to give it layers. It's also one of the few songs
on the album that departs from the "Let's dance" theme
to delve into the difficulties of long-distance love. "Uncomfortable
silence can be so loud," Madonna sings wistfully.
If the relationship Madonna sings about in Miles
Away is slowly disintegrating, by She's
Not Me she's been replaced - and she doesn't like it one
bit. Blasting the competition with a disco funk, Madonna sings jauntily,
"She started dressing like me and talking like me/ It freaked
me out/ She started calling you up in the middle of the night/ What's
that about?" She doesn't sound threatened, because she
knows "I can do it better."
Even so, it's always better at the beginning, she insists in Incredible.
The track starts off like a love song but reveals itself to be a
plea to someone to start over, and then morphs yet again into a
joining of the pair. With each theme, the song seems to throw itself
into a new gear, and the constant shifting can be disorienting,
especially with Pharrell chanting, "Boom!" and
then moaning. But perhaps the shifts reflect Madonna's own confusion
about how she feels. "Can't get my head around it,"
she sings. "I, I need to think about it."
She's more certain by Beat
Goes On, which takes her back to the disco days, then back to
the future in time for a guest rap by Kanye West, who claims that
"fame is a drug." Madonna adds to the thought on
Dance 2Night, on
which Justin Timberlake is getting her into the groove, when she
sings, "You don't have to be beautiful/ To be understood/
You don't have to be rich and
famous/ To be good." At this point, she's ready for a little
whimsy in Spanish
Lesson."If you do your homework/ Baby I will give you
more," she taunts. And work is a turn-on for her, Pharrell
revealed. "Her work ethic is different from everybody else's,"
he said. "She's like, 'Look, we can joke, but let's work and
really get a lot done.' And I love that."
One of the songs that Madonna worked on before teaming with Timberlake
and Timbaland, another collaborator, is the dark Devil
Wouldn't Recognize You. It feels like it could have belonged
on Ray Of Light or Music,
with its harmony and sense of mystery. It starts softly and slowly,
like a piano ballad, but then becomes thick and lush as the melancholy
builds: "Your eyes are full of surprises/ They cannot predict
my fate." Here, as on Miles
Away, Madonna shifts between vocal registers not for sexual
come-ons, but to impart meaning to the soundscape. The trip-hoppy
Voices also brings the
album to a down note, with unresolved chords and sweeping strings,
as she questions who is really in control: "Are you walking
the dog?/ Is that dog walking you?" she asks. Intriguing,
but ever the tease, she never answers. (source: MTV.com)
24 April - Hard Candy review: Hard
Candy is bittersweet A
Madonna album these days is far more than the songs she's written
It's about the team she has assembled to work their production magic.
But for Hard Candy, The
Material Girl's 11th studio album, you can't help but think she's
been left in the starting blocks.
In the past Stuart Price on Confessions
On A Dance Floor, William Orbit on Ray
Of Light and Mirwais on Music,
all got it right.
This time, she has employed the talents of The Neptunes, Timbaland,
Danja Hills and Justin Timberlake – but haven't we heard it
Where's the originality we expect from the Queen Of Reinvention?
You can't turn on the radio these days without hearing a Pharrell/Danja/Timbaland
or Timberlake enhanced song.
Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado and Britney Spears all got in there
first, working with the überproducers well before Madge got
a sniff, and it kinda spoils her track record of leading the way.
Opening track Candy Shop
is Madge's favourite track on the album. Produced by The Neptunes,
like six other tracks on Hard
Candy, it oozes lyrics full of sexual innuendo but sounds like
cheap talk coming from a woman pushing 50.
The horn-filled 4 Minutes
– the current UK No1 – fares better and features Justin
Timberlake, who co-writes five tracks (though it's Justin who steals
the limelight on this jaunty track). Next single Give
It 2 Me is a pure Neptunes winner.
A bouncing beat with vocoder vocals, it's one of the pure pop moments.
Miles Away is more
urban in style and begins with a summery acoustic guitar and is
by far the best track. She's
Not Me has all the makings of a brilliant track – the
funky guitar intro is a throwback to her Eighties heyday. But Madonna's
harsh vocals can't carry the sweet melody.
Another Pharrell-produced number, Beat
Goes On sees rapper Kanye West join in. Spanish
Lesson is worth a mention simply for being so bad. It's up there
with American Life and
Hanky Panky for "Worst
Madonna Track Ever". Her multilingual mutterings make this
song bottom of the class.
The problem with Hard Candy
is that it just doesn't suit Madonna's style.
This album would be better if it didn't have her on vocals. Her
thin voice fails to blend with the hip-hop vibe.
After Confessions On A Dance Floor
which proved she was still Queen Of Disco, her hip-hop venture doesn't
Let's hope her next CD is a return to her pop roots to get us back
into the groove. (rating: 3/5 stars, by The
24 April -
Hard Candy review: Madonna aims for urban dance
Madonna may be a 49-year-old working mom pushing 50, but she still
loves her dance floor, her catsuits and her pop hooks.
She's also an expert chameleon, co-opting current musical tastes
for her own pleasure. In the case of Hard
Candy, her final studio album for Warner Bros. following a landmark
deal with concert promoter Live Nation, Madonna aims high, enlisting
two of music's heavyweight producers - Timbaland and the Neptunes.
The album jumps off the disco of 2005's Confession
On A Dance Floor with thunderous, uptempo club grinds but also
some surprisingly dark moments. The Neptunes - the production
duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo - add retro-synth beats
while Timbaland punches up the power R&B, along with Justin
Timberlake and Nate (Danja) Hills.
Madonna co-wrote and co-produced the album's 12 tracks, which swerve
from the psychedelic-horn blitz of the Timbaland-produced hit 4
Minutes to the swooping drama of Voices.
The album's sound is not original: After all, the Neptunes and Timbaland
are arguably the most ubiquitous hitmakers in the business, and
have done the urban dance pop treatment for the likes of Gwen Stefani
and Nelly Furtado (Chad Hugo and Timbaland are even on the new Ashlee
Simpson record - enough said). But while the tunes are not
edgy, they still make your booty shake. "My sugar is
raw/ Sticky and sweet," Madonna intones on the Neptunes-produced
intro Candy Shop,
fusing heavy beats with Like
A Virgin coy sex appeal and a later falsetto reminiscent of
Britney Spears. 4
Minutes, one of the album's best tunes, explodes with Timbaland's
repetition of "fricke-fricke-four minutes!" as
Madonna and Timberlake exchange shout-outs. Their voices, oozed
through thick production, complement each other nicely (although
their sexual repartee can feel a bit forced).
On Confessions On A Dance Floor,
Madonna delved into her religious beliefs with a song about Kabbalah;
on 2003's American Life, she jumped
into political commentary. Here, she steers clear of family, religion
and politics, sticking to mainstream fodder: sex, dancing, relationships.
But there are three tunes that shed the party vibe and reveal some
Away laments being far away from a love, while Voices
focuses on demons plaguing a romance. Devil
Wouldn't Recognize You, made theatric by an interlude of thunder
and rain, recalls Timberlake's bitter hit "Cry Me A River"
(produced by Timbaland). Touching on manipulation following a dead
relationship, Madonna croons over a dark pop refrain, "I've
been on that ledge before, you can't hide yourself from me."
However, there's still a tendency on Hard
Candy toward too many throwaway dance cliches. "Get
stupid, get stupid, don't stop," she proclaims teen-style
on Give It 2 Me,
a catchy synth jam with sputtering riffs sure to be another single.
The lyrics pick up on anthem She's
Not Me. In feisty form, over funky bass and guitar lines and
electro claps, Madonna let's her diva flag fly: "She started
reading my books and stealing my looks and lingerie ... she's not
me and she never will be," she sings, slamming a gal trying
to cop her style and take her man.
Goes On, Madonna's outing with Kanye West, recedes into retro
disco territory with a tired callout: "Get down, beep beep,
gotta get up out of your seat." Yawn.
Still, the beats boom out loud and clear. Madonna may be strutting
her way into AARP-teritory but she still belongs on that forever
shimmering dance floor.
Check this track out: Save for its overly dramatic "Phantom
of the Opera" swell of violins, Voices
closes out Hard Candy
with a catchy yet philosophical slant. "Who is the master?
Who is the slave?" Timberlake trills to his Material Girl
maestro. We wonder that too. (source: AP
24 April - Madonna
shines light on Malawi with documentary
A single phone call prompted Madonna to begin charity work in Malawi
and it was while making a documentary on the African country's 1
million orphans that she found a baby she decided to adopt.
Premiering at New York's Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, "I
Am Because We Are," which was written, produced and narrated
by Madonna, looks at the plight of the children orphaned by the
AIDS crisis in one of the world's poorest countries.
Her interest in Malawi began about two years ago after she was contacted
by a businesswoman, born and raised in the country, through a mutual
friend. "She said it was a state of emergency," Madonna
says in the film. "She sounded exhausted and on the verge of
tears. I asked her how I could help. "She said: 'You're
a person with resources. People pay attention to what you say and
do.' I felt embarrassed. I told her I didn't know where Malawi was.
She told me to look it up on a map and then she hung up on me,"
said Madonna, 49.
She educated herself on Malawi and the result is a charity for the
country's orphans called Raising Malawi and the 94-minute documentary
from first-time director Nathan Rissman.
"It was during
filming, during researching these different orphanages, that she
found David," Rissman said in an interview.
David is the Malawian boy Madonna and her film director husband,
Guy Ritchie, are adopting. He has lived with the couple in London
since shortly after the adoption process began about 18 months ago.
Malawi's government, which has been criticized for giving the singer-actress
preferential treatment, has recommended the adoption be approved
and a hearing on that is set for May 15. "I Am Because
We Are" shows footage of David being cared for by a 9-year-old
girl with HIV at the Home of Hope orphanage in Malawi.
Wake up, people
In the documentary, Madonna says David's mother had died in childbirth,
three of his siblings had died and no one knew the whereabouts of
his father. When she returned to the orphanage three months after
first seeing him, Madonna said the baby "had pneumonia, malaria
and God knows what else" with no medicine to treat him.
"What was I prepared to do?" she asks in the film. "If
I was challenging other people to open up their minds and their
hearts then I had to stand at the front of the line. I decided to
try and adopt him. The rest is history."
There is controversy behind that history. Critics accused the government
of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in
Malawi. David's father came forward, saying he had only placed the
child in the orphanage temporarily, but he has since given approval
for the adoption.
Rissman, who started working for Madonna as a research assistant
several years ago, said he has made up to 10 trips to Malawi in
the past two years to make the documentary, which had started with
a vision by Madonna to shine a light on Malawi's problems but also
offer people ways to help.
"If you are going to wake
people up you have to show them what to do," Rissman said.
"Our idea was to ... show them the desperate situation but
to (also) show them the joy and then point them in the direction
of the experts who can help facilitate this time of crisis."
Among those interviewed are former U.S. President Bill Clinton,
Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, Paul Farmer of the Harvard
Medical School and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute
and special U.N. adviser. "We decided to make this film
to remind people how interconnected we are, to show that I have
to be the best that I can be to help somebody in Malawi, in India
... in my own backyard," Rissman said. (source: Reuters
24 April - Madonna
saves the Belgian charts Billboard
revealed the new brand new #1 peaks for 4
Minutes in Belgium, perfectly coinciding with the eve of the
Hard Candy album release
date. 4 Minutes climbs
to #1 in both Flanders and Wallonia, thus scoring 2 more
#1 peaks in Europe, coming after Germany, Finland, Italy and UK!
Keep yourself updated with Madonna's chart performance on our chart
runs and chart history pages!
24 April - Hard Candy review: Most
floor fillers on one disc since her debut
When an early version of Candy
Shop leaked last summer, Madonna deserved the benefit of the
doubt, as every artist does when it comes to unreleased demos, particularly
in the Internet age, when fans can gain access to failed experiments
that should have never left the confines of a recording studio.
But the inclusion of this virtually unchanged track, which is as
catchy as a stomach virus and just as vile, on the singer's new
album, Hard Candy, and
the fact that Madonna reportedly wanted the song to be its first
single, seemed to point to her seriously faltering instincts as
not only an arbiter of what's hip but of good taste in general.
Comparing oral sex to fine dining on 1992's Where
Life Begins seemed daring, chic, and witty, but here she likens
her clitoris to the front door of a confectionary and she wants
us to know her sugar is "sticky and sweet" - all
set to Pharrell's tired paint-can beats. The song is neither sexy
nor campy, and somewhere, Dita is throwing her head back, laughing
hysterically, and cracking her whip in disapproval.
For all the criticism she received at the time, there was an authenticity
to Madonna's appropriation of black music and culture in the early
'90s. House music and hip-hop were frequent bedfellows, and Erotica
- with production work from Andre Betts and featuring, yes, Dita
rapping without so much as a peep from the white rock press - is
a testament to that. The notion that Madonna was somehow "selling
out" with her next album, Bedtime
Stories, was a dubious complaint considering she's an artist
whose first goal was to rule the world and whose second was to maintain
that reign (it's telling that the very first lyric of Hard
Candy is "Say which flavor you like and I'll have it
for you" - such an accommodating hostess!). And in hindsight,
Bedtime Stories wasn't too far
behind the curve; urban music, after all, was only just starting
its own worldwide dominance in 1994.
If hip-hop seems like a put-on now, it's because her Madgesty has
fashioned herself into a lady of the manor in the British countryside,
and instead of bedding Dennis Rodman, she's making the bed for Guy
Ritchie and three kids. Okay, so that might be a stretch, but she
does fancy herself a domestic goddess. As with Bedtime
Stories, though, the real issue isn't that Madonna is once again
making "black music," but who she's making it with. There
are myriad hip-hop producers out there who could have helped Madonna
achieve a more urban sound (U.K. bassline artist T2 was at one point
a rumored collaborator) while at the same time giving the project
an underground edge (something for which even Madonna's biggest
detractors would admit she has a knack), but she instead chose to
hire two of the most ubiquitous hip-hop knob-twirlers - and I use
that term figuratively, particularly for Timbaland - of the last
The Neptunes-helmed Candy
Shop is so disappointing, and Timbaland and Justin Timberlake's
4 Minutes such a blatant
advertisement for the rest of the album, that it is with genuine
surprise that I say that not only is the album palatable, but -
and I apologize in advance for this and all subsequent but unavoidable
candy metaphors - Pharrell delivers its tastiest morsels. Beat
Goes On, the other track that leaked last year, has inexplicably
lost its definite article but gained a Kanye guest spot and a flattering
sonic facelift that transports it from 2001 to 1979. Disco (of both
the purist late-'70s and more covert early-'80s electro varieties),
it seems, provides Hard Candy
with its juicy center while hip-hop merely serves as a crunchy shell.
We caught a glimpse of the all-American, Detroit-reared, rebel spirit
that made Ciccone a star at last month's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
induction ceremony, and though her rise to fame in the Big Apple
didn't quite coincide with Studio 54's heyday, she sounds at home
among all the disco strings, toots, beeps, whistles, handclaps,
and Chic guitar licks of tracks like Beat
Goes On and She's
Pharrell makes his presence known a little too much, and the same
kitchen-sink production approach that marred Gwen Stefani's "Wind
It Up" rears its overzealous head on Incredible,
but he also manages to get Madonna to stretch vocally in ways she
hasn't since Evita. That is,
when she's not doing cheeky drag queen impersonations, with trannie-fierce
moments sprinkled liberally throughout Candy
Shop ("My sugar is raw"), Heartbeat
("See my booty get down"), and Spanish
Lesson ("Work!"). One of those moments ("Get
stupid, don't stop it," from second single Give
It 2 Me) is, well, just plain stupid, but stupidity is one of
the album's main themes - and virtues. Heartbeat
could have been sung by any number of anonymous female pop singers
from the '80s... and that's exactly the point. After 25 years in
the business, Madonna knows she's beyond informing the zeitgeist
and she's more than content to mine her influences - not to mention
her own catalog, giving nods to Into
The Groove, Hung Up,
and her work with William Orbit - while at the same time borrowing
a page from one of today's biggest pop stars.
Madonna advises said pop star on the key to creative/sexual/calisthenic
endurance on Dance
2Night, the second of two duets with Timberlake: "Are
you a one-trick pony or do you want to keep runnin' this race?"
The entire album is a self-declaration of Madonna's stamina, but
it also reflects a woman who clearly feels like she's in a furious
battle against time. Her legacy is already assured, so scoring another
U.S. hit is just icing on the cake but she acts like she doesn't
know it. With Pharrell providing the vintage party favors, Timbaland
and Timberlake are the album's insurance policy; Miles
Wouldn't Recognize You, and, of course, 4
Minutes, bear the pair's distinct, modern stamp, making Hard
Candy more than just a throwback to Donna Summer, Anita Ward,
In many ways, Hard Candy
is the album Confessions on a Dance
Floor was supposed to be, both in terms of musical style (despite
the feathered hair and leotards, Confessions was more Eurotrash
- and I use that term affectionately - than Eurodisco) and overall
progression (French producer Mirwais' use of Autotune - years before
T-Pain, thankyouverymuch - and glitchy synths was European, to be
sure, but his heavy beats and use of acoustic guitars was patently
American, to say nothing of Madonna's collaborations with Timbo
cohort Missy Elliott, whose absence here hasn't gone unnoticed).
Madonna hasn't delivered this many vapid floor fillers on one disc
since her debut, and maybe not even then. Aside from a little careerism
on the dance floor ("Give me a record and I'll break it,"
she dares on Give It
2 Me - okay, Mimi), there are few confessions here - nothing
political, nothing too spiritual, no talk of fame, war, or the media.
It's just what America ordered. (rating: 3,5/5 stars, by Slant
24 April - For
the time is near: Belgian/Dutch release
Tonight, the first copies of the Hard
Candy disc will go on sale. Dutch fans are expected at the FAME
store in Amsterdam for an official release party. Belgian
fans can go to the Free Record Shop in Leuven, which welcomes
fans and celebrities with cool Madonna gadgets and competitions,
starting at 10pm. Mad-Eyes will be there too!
Belgian radio Donna
is already premiering the album this afternoon, one track every
hour. From their competition, they selected 20 die hard fans who
tomorrow morning will have to fight for tickets to Madonna's
showcase in Paris on May 6th. And fighting can be taken literally:
they will have to tackle sportsman Tom Waes, who will be carrying
the tickets on his body. We're sure those fans will go crazy!
23 April - Interview tonight on
De Rode Loper
One of the journalists that interviewed Madonna in a Beverly Hills
hotel in february was Ward Verrijcken, reporter of the Belgian VRT.
He was one of the last ones to go in and the French journalist before
him was sent out of the room after asking the wrong questions. Nervous
as he was, he asked Madonna about her new single "4 Seconds"...
to which she replied "4 MINUTES! 4 seconds would be very short to
save the world!" ;-)
First part of the interview will be broadcast on celebrity gossip
Rode Loper on Eén tonight at 18h10 CET (repeated at 23h45 CET).
23 April - Win the exclusive tour book Madonna On Stage
Editions Why Not are presenting a brand new Madonna book, stacked
with lots of info and beautiful pictures of all of Madonna's tours,
from the Virgin Tour till the Confessions
Tour. The book is available for pre-order but you still have
one week left to win it with the Mad-Eyes competition. Quickly
go to our competition page and participate! The winners will
be announced in the first week of May. Good luck!
22 April - Win promo tickets with ICON
If you're a member of the official fanclub ICON,
you can win tickets for the exclusive Hard
Candy showcase in New York on April 30th and in Paris on May
6th. For a chance to win one of 50 pairs of tickets to one of these
2 shows, e-mail ICON a picture of yourself using the 'Hard Candy'
theme as your inspiration. More info at ICON.
- Something to remember: She has climbed the tree of life
On the eve of the most anticipated release of the year, let's remember
a Madonna album that celebrates its fifth anniversary today. American
Life was released on April 22nd, 2003, and is an
exceptional Madonna studio album in several ways. Not only it's
arguably her least commercial effort, with an unusual mixture of
electronic pop and acoustic guitar-driven folk, it's one of her
most notorious releases. As we remembered
3 weeks ago, the lead-off single and video controversy pretty
much ensured that the American Life
album was virtually dead on arrival. While
it managed to reach #1 in many countries, it didn't have any legs
and fell off the charts quite quickly, compared to her previous
albums, and the follow-up singles were ignored. It was certified
Platinum in many countries, but ended up being Madonna's worst selling
studio album in many countries, especially in the USA, where it
sold less than 700,000 copies. Worldwide sales are estimated between
3,5-4 million units, which is a far cry from the astonishing sales
of predecessors Ray Of Light
& Music. Unfortunately
this was caused by the very personal, Kabbalah-inspired lyrics and
unusual sounds of the album which could not click with the pop music
lovers, and of course the video of the title
track created some wrong assumptions about the theme of the
album. The notable exception is France, where the album spent many
weeks on the charts and can be labeled as a hit album (probably
because the mastermind behind the record, Mirwais is French? ;-)
On the positive side, this album is regarded as a fan favourite
by many. Since Madonna only used one collaborator for the production,
American Life is easily Madonna's
most cohesive record, and it gives a 50 minute long journey within
Madonna's personal views of the American dream and the superficiality
of Hollywood in particular (the opening triad of American
Life, Hollywood & I'm
So Stupid), her thoughts on fame (Nobody
Knows Me), the challenges of family life in her past and present
(Mother And Father,
Intervention), her relationship
with Guy (Love Profusion,
Nothing Fails & X-Static
Process) and her projections of her own career and role in this
life (Die Another Day,
Easy Ride). American
Life, though largely ignored, stands as a remarkable chapter
in Madonna's career and the pinnacle of a Madonna, who just wanted
to get some answers but to celebrate life as well, accompanied only
by an acoustic guitar. We'll always remember this vulnerable side
21 April - Hard Candy review: Super-producers
fail to sink Madonna
For the past decade, Madonna's been impressing her own ideas on
Mirwais Ahmadzaï, Stuart Price, and other dance producers that
most of her fans had never heard of previously; on Hard
Candy - which leaked in part over the weekend and in full this
morning - she bends to the will of Pharrell Williams, Timbaland,
and Justin Timberlake, three guys that everyone has been sick of
for years. The results? Not bad!
Crotchy album cover and creepy video aside, Candy
sounds less like a midlife crisis (than, say, Confessions
On A Dance Floor) and more like something you'd actually listen
to (than, say, Confessions On A
Dance Floor). A couple Timberland/Timberlake tracks can grate
Wouldn't Recognize You is practically a note-for-note rewrite
of "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around"), but Pharrell's
contributions are uniformly inspired, with his Candy
and the cowbell-enhanced Give
It 2 Me being the album's most immediate highlights. On a first
listen, this is way better than we expected. (source: New
21 April -
Madonna claims UK singles crown
Madonna has gone to the top of the British singles chart, claiming
the 13th UK number one of her career.
Her single 4 Minutes,
featuring Justin Timberlake, knocked Estelle and Kanye West's American
Boy into second place.
Madonna's number one, taken from her 11th album Hard
Candy, comes 23 years after she first topped the UK chart.
On the album rundown, pop-rockers The Kooks went straight in at
number one with their second album Konk, followed by Spirit by Leona
Lewis at number two. (source: BBC
21 April - Hard Candy
After several tracks leaked online during the weekend, today the
whole album has found its way onto the Internet. As a fansite, we
don't encourage illegal downloads of full albums, so we won't be
posting download links. The time is near, the CD is coming soon
21 April - Madonna's
rundown on Hard Candy tracks Who
better to talk loyal Bizarre readers through a Madonna album than
the Queen of Pop herself?
Madge has kindly given me a complete rundown on her forthcoming
album Hard Candy.
This time round it has a seriously American angle, with hip-hop
stars Timbaland, Pharrell Williams and pop king Justin Timberlake
adding their influence.
Over to you, Madonna. You have 4 Minutes to tell it all in your
own words. 4 Minutes
:(The first single, which hit No1 yesterday on downloads alone.
The CD is in store today). If you're paying attention to what's
going on in the world – the Middle East, the (US) election,
the environment, there's so much chaos and turmoil everywhere. Are
you going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? But
people also need to be cheered up. We also need to have fun and
be given a sense of hope. Candy
Shop: This was the first song I wrote with Pharrell. It's one
of my favourites on the record. It personifies the mood I was in
making the record – lots of innuendo. You can get so many
things in a candy shop! Give
It 2 Me: It's going to be a great song to do live. I can see
the whole place jumping. It's the ultimate "Give me all you've
got, don't try to stop me". And a great song to work out to. Miles Away: This
is the first song I wrote with Justin. It's definitely a song people
in my business can relate to. All of us in the studio were like,
I get that". She's
Not Me: We were listening to a lot of Debbie Harry records.
It's kind of Debbie Harry meets Gloria Gaynor I Will Survive. Pharrell
came up with the hook so we concocted a story about the ultimate
jilted lover. Beat
Goes On: Lucky for us, Kanye West was recording his album across
the hall while we were making our record. We were also channelling
Marvin Gaye and different artists from the past. Incredible:
There's a lot of angst in it and a lot of desire – wanting
to recreate some feeling of happiness and fulfilment. But it's also
about abandonment and having a good time. Pharrell was playing me
all these songs from Baltimore. There's this sound coming out of
Baltimore. He kept calling it The Be More. Devil
Wouldn't Recognize You and Voices:
Both were written in the first chunk of time I had writing with
is a song about a person who everyone has in their life –
a person who gets away with everything. Voices
is about people playing mind games and who go on ego trips. The
line, "Are you walking the dog or is the dog walking you?"
...it's like, who's in control here? These last two songs really
make you think and there's something very orchestral and lush about
them. We started out light with Candy
Shop and ended in a thoughtful way with Voices.
I think it was a good journey to go on.
Ta, Madge. Get your copy of Hard
Candy, out next Monday. (source: The
21 April - Madonna to
perform with Justin at Radio 1 gig? Madonna
and Justin are the surprise headline guests signed up for Radio
1's Big Weekend in May.
Justin told Radio 1 bosses earlier in the week that if Madge was
up for it, so was he.
She signed on the dotted line on Friday, so he will be game to get
Madonna has driven a hard bargain, though.
She won't do any interviews and she'll be in and out of the festival
faster than a beer down Chris Moyles' throat.
The full lineup for the Big Weekend will be announced today with
Moyles kicking off the ticket rush on his breakfast show.
The mini-festival, in Maidstone on May 10 and 11, has become a big
event in the music calendar.
Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs and Scissor Sisters made last year's bash
in Preston, Lancs, one to remember. (source: The
~ More info about the event in BBC
20 April - Madonna
scores 13th UK #1!
The first single from Madonna's new album Hard
Candy, 4 Minutes
finally ascends to the top of the official UK singles chart, thus
earning Madonna's 13th UK #1! Congratulations to Madonna
and of course to Justin & Timbaland as well!
20 April - Hard Candy review: The
shameless idol still has much to give
Thanks to her henchmen, writes Ben Thompson, the shameless idol
still has much to give Hidden
away at the end of Madonna's oft-derided 1992 album Erotica is a
song called Secret Garden.
Recorded before she'd popped out Lourdes, at a time when the wolves
of artistic exhaustion and media overkill seemed to be snapping
at her heels, it's a strikingly introspective and personal piece
of work, which now has a prophetic lustre. While its lyrics map
out previously uncharted emotional terrain, the musical backdrop
prefigures the extent to which the best records Madonna was going
to make in the coming decade and a half - Ray
Of Light, Music and Hung
Up, to name but three - would exceed the expectations anyone
(even pop's iron lady herself) had a right to have of them.
At around the same time that she was penning this blueprint for
the next phase of her career, Timbaland and Pharrell Williams were
bandmates in their impeccably named high-school ensemble Surrounded
Given how ludicrously high a proportion of the past 10 years' finest
hip hop and R&B artefacts have had one of these two men's names
on them, there is a riveting historic inevitability about the idea
of their irresistible forces colliding with Madonna's immovable
object, just in time for her 50th birthday. The big question is,
can the music these three have made together match or even surpass
Madonna's collaborations with Jellybean Benitez, William Orbit or
Stuart Price? The answer turns out to be a resounding 'yes' and
As its title suggests, Hard
Candy is a tough, nuggety confection offering plenty for listeners
to get their teeth into. But from Candy
Shop's routinely lascivious opening (memo from 50 Cent: 'Can
I have my song back?') to the cod-symphonic quasi-closure of Devil
Wouldn't Recognize You, the lion's share of this album constitutes
a foil-fresh selection-box of variations on familiar themes. Even
as Timbaland's trademark dense, booming clatter kick-starts the
first single 4 Minutes,
it's hard to escape the sense that all concerned are going through
the motions - effortlessly, sometimes brilliantly - but going through
the motions, none the less.
Whenever Hard Candy threatens
to get boring, something always happens to recapture your interest,
but the three songs in which Madonna actually seems to forge a genuine
connection with her musical helpmeet leave the rest of the album
in the shade. Each panel of this triptych involves Pharrell Williams.
This partnership got off to a bad start with last year's grisly
Live Earth dirge Hey You,
but in the course of She's
Not Me's blissfully heartfelt six minutes, it really hits its
stride. 'She's not me/ She doesn't have my name,' Madonna
reminds a partner who dares to look elsewhere, over a thrillingly
off-kilter hurly-burly of whistles, handclaps and partially muted
picks up the disco-fundamentalist baton and flies with it into an
enchanted cloudscape of Eighties pop candyfloss, where the sun simultaneously
orbits around Debbie Gibson and OMD. Then Spanish
Lesson adopts a delightfully schoolmistressy tone which ultimately
ends up being considerably less patronising than La
Listening to these three fantastic songs and then looking at the
gynaecological cover shot, which - for all the self-consciously
modern trappings of Hard Candy's
coming into the world (pre-portioned up into Silvikrin adverts,
mobile phone perks and Japanese TV theme tunes) - leaves people
no choice but to describe this album as Madonna's 'latest waxing',
the fulcrum of the delicate balance between her public and private
selves is suddenly discernible. That photo's not a gross miscalculation;
it's the picture of Dorian Gray in reverse.
Download: She's Not
(rating: 4/5 stars, by The
19 April - Madonna
seeks delay in Malawi adoption case
U.S. pop star Madonna has asked a Malawian court to delay a hearing
to finalize her adoption of a boy from the southern African nation,
a lawyer close to the case said.
The singer's law firm in Malawi filed an application requesting
the High Court in Lilongwe to hear her adoption of David Banda on
May 15 instead of April 22, as originally scheduled, the lawyer
said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Madonna's need to travel to the United States for business reasons
was cited as the reason for the delay, the lawyer said.
Court officials refused to confirm the application. "Adoption
is a confidential matter and we separate adoption files from the
regular case files," Thomson Ligowe, assistant registrar in
the High Court, told Reuters.
Malawi's government recommended earlier this month that the court
approve the adoption of Banda.
The pop diva met the boy in an orphanage in 2006 and began adoption
proceedings soon after. He has been living with Madonna and her
film director husband Guy Ritchie in London since shortly after
the adoption process began.
The adoption has been controversial, with critics accusing the government
of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in
Malawi, one of the countries in Africa hardest hit by AIDS.
The epidemic has left an estimated one million orphans in the country.
19 April - Madonna
responds to Miley Cirus' 4 Minutes
Material Girl cleans up her video set after 'Hannah Montana' star's
online dance battle becomes a hit.
Though it stars two best friends goofing off in front of a webcam
in a bedroom, "The Miley and Mandy Show" is not exactly
your typical YouTube channel. And not just because it stars the
country's highest-earning teen celeb, Miley Cyrus, and Mandy Jiroux,
Miley's backup dancer on the Best of Both Worlds Tour. Their latest
video, a high-flying dance video set to Madonna's 4
Minutes, appears to have prompted a YouTube
response from the Material Girl herself.
The "Hannah Montana" star and her friend have been uploading
a series of videos to the Web for the past two months, but none
has garnered as much attention as last week's, which has received
over a million hits since it was uploaded on Sunday. In
their new installment, the M&M Cru with a U - a name the
pair came up with for the video - fight ninjas and take part in
a well-choreographed dance battle with the crew from "Step
Up 2: The Streets," which includes the film's director, John
Chu, star Adam Sevani, and "Step Up" star Channing Tatum.
There's even a cameo by Cyrus' grandmother.
Aspects of M&M's latest production resemble Madonna's 4
Minutes video, which features Justin Timberlake in an apocalyptic
dance-off, but in an interview with E! News, Cyrus and Jiroux insisted
that their version is not a spoof. "We do, like, two moves
Madonna has done in the past," Jiroux said, explaining that
the video is a response to a challenge made by the "Step Up
2" crew. "[Chu and Sevani] made a video first calling
us out, and we made this video responding to theirs," Jiroux
told E!. "M&M Cru definitely won."
Nevertheless, it seems to have caught Madge's attention, inspiring
the pop icon to address those who've decided to re-create her new
music video while she does a little "cleanup."
Not your typical cleaning lady, Madonna wears stiletto boots, a
black dress and a long gold necklace as she vacuums what she says
is the set of her new music video. Madge never actually says that
entry is a response to the Miley and Mandy creation, but she's
not fooling us. "All you people out there who are making
videos to my new single, 4
Minutes, keep up the good work, nice job," she says in
the video, before sternly offering some words of advice: "You've
got to clean up after yourselves, all right? Because cleanliness
is next to godliness." (source: MTV.com)
19 April - Madonna film lands distribution
Madonna's directorial debut has landed a distributor in North America
and will hit cinemas in August (08).
The comedic drama, Filth and
Wisdom, was co-written and co-produced by the ever-busy pop
superstar, and it debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in Germany
(Feb08) to mixed reviews.
Madonna initially considered releasing the film as a download via
the iTunes website, but has now signed a deal with IFC Entertainment
to land the project a U.S. cinema release.
The low-budget movie, about a Ukranian immigrant in London, stars
rocker Eugene Hutz, his band Gogol Bordello and Richard E. Grant.
18 April - Hard Candy review: Madonna
gets back into the groove with old-school dance CD
Nothing spiritual here! Madonna finally gets back into the groove
with an old-school dance CD.
You've seen the video for 4
Minutes, Madonna's flirty duet with Justin Timberlake. Perhaps
you've heard that roughly half of her new album, Hard
Candy, was produced by the Neptunes, with the remainder entrusted
to the team of Timbaland, Nate "Danja" Hills, and Timberlake.
Maybe you know that Kanye West pops up on one song (Beat
Goes On). Between the fountain-of-youth dalliances and hookups
with hip-hop kingpins, we know what you're thinking: Just how massive
is this midlife crisis of hers?
Pretty major, probably, but she makes it work with this surprisingly
rejuvenated set. Now 49, Madonna has spent the last decade unevenly
exploring moody trip-hop, chilly Eurodisco, and ethereal electronica-all
of which are absent here. Candy
finds her dropping her Kabbalah string on the dance floor and readopting
an American accent to offer up an unpretentious, nonstop dance party.
In tunes like Give
it 2 Me, she's unabashedly reviving the celebrative spirit of
early singles like Lucky Star
and Holiday, filtering it
through hip-hop's sonic boom. She's not above nicking from other
carefree singers and eras, either. The giddy opening track, Candy
Shop, has an easygoing synth hook that Jam & Lewis might've
devised for Janet Jackson in her 80's prime, while the scrumptious
deep bass of Dance
2Night gets closer to the thump of 70s disco than anything Madonna's
ever done in or out of a leotard.
If you're looking for softness, of course, you've come to the wrong
place. "Catch me on the floor/Working up a sweat/That's
what the music's for," she asserts in Heartbeat,
coming soon to a Pilates class near you. In the most exciting club
banger, the aforementioned Give
It 2 Me, she threatens, "When the lights go down and
there's no one left, I can go on and on and on." Often
willfully vapid, the lyrics offer candy as a metaphor for sex, sex
as a metaphor for dancing, and dancing as a metaphor for world domination.
In fact, there's so much perspiration-soaked determination that
you may detect a slightly scary C+C Music Factory-meets-Ayn Rand
Offsetting the grind are a few actual confessions on this dance
floor – enough to give the tabloids speculative fodder. "You
always have the biggest heart/When we're six thousand miles apart,"
she complains in Miles
Away. (There, the Timba-lake arrangements get a bit too close
to "What Goes Around...Comes Around" for comfort.) In
Incredible, a mini-masterpiece
of domestic woe in which the Neptunes do their best work, Madonna
recalls how spectacular the sex used to be, over a furious house
beat. Then she makes a desperate plea for reconciliation: "I
am missing my best friend...Let's finish what we started."
With this crowd-pleaser of a CD, she may be sending a similar message
to fans, too.
Download this: Incredible
Backstory: Last summer Timbaland told MTV News he'd cut 10 tracks
with Madonna, but only five made the album. He described one caffeinated
lost track, La La, where
"all these different names for coffee is the hook." We
can only mourn the album that might have been: Coffee Shop. (source:
Weekly; thanx to Hector @ MadonnaNation)
18 April - Madonna won't put out
Pop superstar Madonna is refusing to copy Radiohead by releasing
her next album as a free download - even though she is one of the
best-selling artists of all time.
The Material Girl star admires the British rockers and their brave
move to release their latest album In Rainbows as a digital download
- allowing fans to choose their own price for the record.
But the 49-year-old isn't ready to have the public judge how much
they should pay for her music just yet.
She says, "It is a cool idea but I am not sure if it works
exactly. It is like a new world out there and people have to try
a lot of things and make mistakes. "Some things will work
and some things will not, but it is kind of revolutionary and we
are in that strange moment - the darkness before the dawn before
we really know what is next. "I don't know if I want to
put my songs out there and ask other people what it is worth, but
I am definitely ready to try new things." Hard
Candy, the singer's 11th studio LP, is slated for worldwide
release later this month (Apr28). (source: Contactmusic)
18 April - Madonna to get millions
for two gigs?
Madonna is reportedly finalising negotiations to play the most lucrative
concerts of her career - receiving $24 million (GBP12 million) for
two performances in the Middle East.
The pop superstar is said to be in talks to finish her forthcoming
world tour with a gig in Dubai in November (08), for which she will
be paid $15 million (GBP7.5 million).
On top of that, she has also been asked to perform at a private
party, which will earn her another $5 million (GBP2.5 million).
A source tells British newspaper The Sun, "Madonna is about
to break another record by playing the most lucrative concert of
her whole career - or anyone's career for that matter. "The
negotiations for the tour to stop in Dubai in November are being
finalised and she will get $15 million (GBP7.5 million) for the
one show only." (source: Contactmusic)
18 April - Madonna tour rumours
reach the press
It's been confirmed - there will be a full Madonna world tour this
year and it'll wind up in an extravaganza at our own Wembley Stadium.
Yay! The Queen of Pop, who's in final negotiations with event organisers
to sort out dates, will play the first of the multi-million-pound
gigs in September - one month after the she turns 50. However, there's
still no sign of her slowing down. We're told the choreography on
the shows - launched on the back of her stomping single 4
Minutes - will be more spectacular, demanding and physical than
ever before. No getting off the gym then, Madge... (source: Mirror)
~ Keep in mind we still don't have any official confirmation, except
Madonna last week confirming that she'd be touring this year at
the end of the summer.
- More album previews available
Yesterday's spoilers have been taken away already, but now you can
the song intro's here. UPDATE: These previews were
taken down as well.
17 April - Special edition release postponed
The Belgian release of the special edition of Hard
Candy has been postponed to May 9th. That means it won't be
on sale on the release party on the 24th in Leuven. Amazon
is still listing it for April 29th.
17 April - Madonna's message from Give It 2 Me video set
Madonna has been filming her new video for Give
It 2 Me in London, supposedly directed by Tom Munro (photographer
of the Elle shoot) and left a message from the set for fans who
make videos of her current single 4
Minutes and post them on Youtube. She encourages them to keep
it up but reminds them not to forget to clean their mess after.
Madonna looks very sexy and cool in this clip! You
can watch the clip on our blog.
16 April - I can get down on all fours
Check out a funny video message from Madonna to Perez
16 April - ICON
contest for I Am Because We Are premiere tickets
Madonna's Malawi documentary I
Am Because We Are will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival
in New York on April 24. Fanclub ICON
will give out tickets to 4 lucky winners. To participate, log into
the Icon Board's forum at NOON/EST - 9.00AM/PST on April 17 for
a chance to win a pair of tickets. All you will need to do is be
the first to answer one of the two Madonna related questions to
be asked in the 'I Am Because We Are' thread, which will be posted
at Noon/EST 9.00AM/PST on April 17th. Good Luck to you all!
16 April - Preview all Hard Candy
For those who can't wait another week anymore, you can now have
a 30 second preview of every Hard
Candy track on MusicLoad. UPDATE: looks like that website got too many hits from Madonnafans,
because Hard Candy has
now been removed from their catalogue...
16 April - Donna to offer Paris promo tickets
Next Thursday, April 24th, Belgian Radio
Donna will preview the Hard
Candy album all day, by premiering a track every hour. They
will also hold a competition to win two tickets to the promo gig
in Paris on May 6th.
In other Belgian news: during the release party in Leuven, also
on the 24th, it will be possible to buy the special edition of the
album. Everyone who buys Hard
Candy receives an exclusive Confessions Tour photo and a Hard
Candy poster. Fanclub MadonnaNed will organise an exclusive contest
where you can win 5 VIP treatments for 2 people that includes access
to the VIP area, free champagne and food. Confirmed guest stars
are Tanja Dexters, Hadise and Ellen Petri.
16 April - Poets vying for Madonna tickets VH1.com
says it is giving away tickets to a special New York show starring
Madonna to two poets who pen the best four lines about the famed
pop star. VH1.com began accepting submissions for its "4 Lines
To See Madonna" promotion Tuesday. The contest challenges fans
to compete for a pair of tickets to see Madonna perform at the Roseland
Ballroom April 30, a day after the release of her new CD Hard
Candy. Those who want to enter should visit the VH1 Blog at
MadonnaTickets. VH1.com and submit their best four lines of poetry
about Madonna, VH1 said. The network said submissions will be accepted
on the VH1 Blog through April 24 and will be judged on creativity
and originality. Two winners will be given a pair of tickets to
attend the show, where Madonna will perform songs from her new CD.