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MADONNA NEWS - JULY 2008

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15 June - Meryl Streep denies Evita feud with Madonna
Meryl Streep has denied the existence of a feud with Madonna over the movie musical Evita in 1996, blaming the continuation of the rumor on the internet.
Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada - click to enlarge The legendary actress, reportedly annoyed at losing the lead role to Madonna, allegedly lashed out at the pop star in an interview with the New York Times in 1991 saying, "I could rip her [Madonna's] throat out. I can sing better than she can, if that counts for anything."
However, Streep denies ever making the comments telling USA Today, "No, I didn't say it. That's one of those things you can never erase from whatever it is, the Internet. Why would I say that?"
She explains, "I was out of the running by the time they got the movie together. It's a fabulous story, though. Oh, and I don't think I can sing better than her. And I certainly can't dance better." (source: The Celebrity Truth)
~ Meryl Streep is currently enjoying success in the ABBA based musical Mamma Mia! which is coincidentally being promoted by the song that was sampled by Madonna for her megahit Hung Up in 2005, 'Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)'. In the 2008 version of the ABBA track, for a strange reason, we hear the Hung Up bassline during the chorus! ;-) Check it out here!


15 July - Madonna's new single is out now!
Madonna's brand new release, Give It 2 Me, the second single from the fantastic new album Hard Candy, written and produced by Madonna and The Neptunes is out now in the UK and several European countries in 3 different physical formats: a 2-track and a 3-track CD plus a UK exclusive 12" picture disc. A 8-track CD maxi-single is going to follow in the USA and selected European countries on August 1st/5th (buy on Amazon). The single was remixed by a host of cool DJs so fans are getting a great set of remixes this time!
The list of physical/digital formats (remix titles differ):
Give It 2 Me, the single
UK/EU 2-track single
1. Album Version
2. Oakenfold Extended Mix

UK/EU 3-track single
1. Album Version
2. Oakenfold Drums In
3. Eddie Amador House Lovers Remix

UK Picture Disc
A1. Oakenfold Extended Mix
A2. Oakenfold Drums In
B1. Eddie Amador Remix

UK Digital EP
1. Eddie Amador House Lovers Edit
2. Eddie Amador Edit
3. Jody Den Broeder Edit
4. Paul Oakenfold Mix
5. Paul Oakenfold Drums In Mix
6. Fedde Le Grand Remix Edit
7. Album Version with Fade

US Digital EP
1. Eddie Amador House Lovers Mix
2. Eddie Amador Club Edit
3. Jody Den Broeder Club Edit
4. Paul Oakenfold Drums In Mix
5. Fedde Le Grand Remix
6. Sly & Robbie Bongo Mix

US/EU 8-track maxi-single (out on August 1st/5th)
1. Fedde Le Grand Remix
2. Oakenfold Extended Remix
3. Oakenfold Drums In Mix
4. Eddie Amador Club
5. Eddie Amador House Lovers Mix
6. Tong & Spoon
7. Jody Den Broeder Club
8. Bongo Joe Mix

The remixes on UK iTunes can be bought either separately or together as a bundle. On US iTunes the UK Digital EP is also available without the album version and several the remixes separately. Don't forget to buy your copy to support one of Madonna's best ever dance tracks!
Give It 2 Me is predicted to become Madonna's 61st Top 10 hit in the UK, but how high can it go? Be sure to check our chart news page all week to learn more on the chart position of Madonna's latest single! Give It 2 Me is already a #1 hit for Madonna in The Netherlands, congratulations!

Britney Spears shooting video for Madonna's tour - click to enlarge
15 July - Pictures of Britney's video shoot
Just Jared has posted a couple of pictures from Britney's video shoot for the Sticky & Sweet Tour:
"The video will be very deep," a source in the Spears camp has told E! News. "You've never seen Britney like this before. It will blow your mind."
As you can see, the 26-year-old pop princess is in an elevator wearing a black hoodie. Another shot of Britney has her with black pants and a white tanktop.
This footage will air during Madonna's upcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour, which kicks off at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales August 23rd.
Click here to see all the pictures!


13 July - Revisiting American Life
2008 marks the 5th anniversary of the infamous American Life album. A year after revisiting another controversial piece, now Slant Magazine makes an attempt to look at the concept and failure behind American Life:
American Life, the album - click to enlarge Entertainment Weekly inexplicably placed Madonna's debut LP at #5 on its list of modern classics last month, aptly calling the eight post-disco, post-punk dance songs that comprise the record (six of which could be described as hits, depending on your definition of the word) "scrappy" but failing to acknowledge that Madonna (and Madonna) would likely have been forgotten along with jelly bracelets and headbands fashioned out of torn scarves had the album not been followed by at least a decade's worth of some of the most captivating pop music ever recorded. Madonna herself even likened the album to music for aerobics classes and was eager to shack up with Chic's Nile Rodgers and flex her creative muscle for her career-defining follow-up, Like A Virgin.

This summer, Madonna turns 25, but 2008 also marks the fifth anniversary of a wholly different Madonna album, one that couldn't possibly be any further removed from that scrappy debut: American Life. You'd never even know the same artist made both records. Aside from Holiday, a song she didn't write, Madonna seemed more interested in ruling the world than saving it back in 1983; two decades later, American Life found the pop singer at her most political, confrontational and, to many, abrasive. It was her first and, to date, only flop, scanning less than a million copies despite its platinum certification and sporting no hits besides the forward-thinking Bond theme Die Another Day, which cracked the Top 10 the previous fall and was-dubiously, at least it seemed at the time-tacked onto the track list in a move that ultimately insured that American Life wouldn't be Madonna's only hitless album.

American Life, the single - click to enlargeAs with almost every Madonna album, save for the first one, it's nearly impossible to talk about the music without addressing the cultural and social context that produced it. Some have claimed that's why the singer's image and marketing has always been the focus of her career, at the cost of fairly assessing the actual music, but I think this fact only strengthens the case for Madonna as a true artist. Art without cultural context is like war without a political one. And this time around, politics and war itself played a pivotal role in the construction, marketing and ultimate perception and consumption (or lack thereof) of American Life-despite there being very little in the way of political commentary throughout the album.

More so than any other artist who emerged in the video era, Madonna's songs can't (and shouldn't) be divorced from the images she assigns to them, and American Life's failure can be traced directly to the video for its title track (we'll ignore, for a moment, the quality of the actual song). American Life may have been the first time in Madonna's career where she voluntarily censored herself; moreover, it may have been the first time she made a creative choice out of fear. In the original unreleased version of the video, directed by Jonas Akerlund, Madonna and a band of unconventional beauties storm a fashion show that includes models dressed in military garb and gas masks, Middle Eastern children modestly strutting their stuff, video screens depicting scenes from war, and limbless soldiers trailing blood down the catwalk. Madonna and her fashion terrorists pummel the paparazzi with water from an industrial-size hose while the audience continues to hoot and holler at the spectacle.

The backlash Madonna likely would have suffered from an already-emboldened and not-so-far-anymore far right would have made the whipping she endured following Sex seem like harmless roleplay, but the video turned a trite, self-aggrandizing and often awkward song about privilege into a startling comment on the obscenity of war and materialism-one that would have undoubtedly been looked back upon as brave. Following up American Life with Hollywood was nearly as ballsy: "Music stations always play the same songs/I'm bored with the concept of right and wrong," Hollywood, the single - click to enlargeMadge sings during the bridge before declaring that "this bird has flown" and instructing her audience to "flip the station, change the channel." Likewise, she rejects tabloid culture's "social disease" on Nobody Knows Me, denouncing both TV and magazines. These weren't the kinds of statements you expected to hear from the biggest pop star in the world-especially one whose most recent hits, Music and Don't Tell Me, were being played ad nauseam on pop radio and MTV just 24 months earlier. (Incidentally, Hollywood became Madonna's first single in 20 years not to crack the Billboard Hot 100.)

That American Life and Hollywood were made with a half-Afghani Frenchman probably only further aggravated American patriots. Most of American Life was co-written and produced by Mirwais Ahmadzaï, who lent the album an often ugly, lo-fi demo quality and, following his superior work on 2000's Music, made Madonna's ever-evolving sound seem suddenly stunted. Subsequent remixes highlighted (and in some cases, revealed) the strength of the songs on American Life: the dull Love Profusion was reinvented into a vibrant piece of guitar-driven pop-rock by Ray Carroll, while the title track and Hollywood were turned into entirely different songs by Felix da Housecat and Stuart Price, respectively. But the original album's ugliness has been vastly misunderstood and unappreciated; its stripped down, deconstructed aesthetic perfectly complements Madonna's subversive messages. Beats abruptly stop and start. Guitars stutter. Synths drop in and out. The late Michel Colombier's gorgeous string arrangements are sliced and diced. Madonna's voice is left bare and unaffected-that is, when it's not twisted and deformed until it sounds unrecognizable, even inhuman, like a Stepford wife on the fritz.

Madonna couldn't possibly have intended to make a pop album. American Life is a folk album in the purest definition of the term-and it's reflected right in the title. Though it owes plenty to the protest folk of the 1960s, the album's anti-capitalist bent presented a dichotomy that's been endemic in Madonna's work since she co-opted "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and transformed it into an anthem for self-empowerment back in the '80s. Nothing Fails, the single - click to enlarge"What I want is to work for it," she sings nakedly on Easy Ride, "feel the blood and sweat on my fingertips." It's the complete antithesis of what it means to be a Material Girl. American Life is deeply personal (she writes candidly about her relationships with her husband, children and God) but only immediately relatable if you just so happen to be grappling with what it means to be one of the most famous people in the world. In other words, it's profoundly truthful but its audience is limited by design.

On the hymnal folk ballad X-Static Process, Madonna sounds almost childlike when she begs: "Jesus Christ, won't you look at me/I don't know who I'm supposed to be." Mortality is a key issue on American Life, an inevitable existential crisis for an artist who reached godlike levels of idolatry and fame and stayed there longer than anyone else in modern pop culture history without self-destructing. Questions like "Why am I here?" and "What is the purpose of all of this?" were inescapable. Madonna's vocals are reminiscent of her pre-fame days on the guitar-driven I'm So Stupid, a track with a decidedly punk-rock sensibility on which she reassesses the value of the material world: "Please don't try to tempt me/It was just greed/And it won't protect me," a sentiment she reprises on the wall of a bathroom stall in the American Life video.

Rap music is, in a sense, an inner-city adaptation of the folk tradition, serving the same purpose in the 1980s and today as the political folk of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell in the 1960s, but it doesn't make Madonna's use of the form any less gawky or grating, nor does it make its cheekiness seem any less out of place on a track as dour and robotic as American Life. It does, however, work on the inventive, electro-folk/rap hybrid Mother And Father, in which Madonna employs a schoolyard-style chant to recount the isolation she felt as a child in the wake of her mother's death. It's a demon she's famously attempted to exorcise before (and more successfully), but one that continues to haunt her into midlife, and it illuminates the motivation behind her abiding drive to remain relevant in a youth-obsessed industry.

Love Profusion, the single - click to enlargeIn hindsight, American Life isn't the masterpiece that Erotica so quickly revealed itself to be. It's frequently self-indulgent, misguided, unpleasant, difficult to listen to, silly yet somehow humorless, but it's also consistent, uncompromising and unapologetic. The album is a testament to the artist's willingness to take risks and her refusal to stay inside her comfort zone. In the grand scheme of things, the album might rank as one of the weakest in Madonna's extensive catalog, and the ones that followed have been as good, if not better, but American Life stands as the last time Madonna seemed to make music without the primary objective of scoring a hit. It's interesting to imagine what Madonna's career would look like today had American Life been a success: For better or worse, that pink leotard and Justin duet might never have existed. [3.5 out of 5 stars]

~ What more can we add? We disagree with Erotica being a masterpiece compared to American Life and Mirwais surely didn't lose his touch after Music, but the review cleverly points out some highlights of the record and gives us great arguments why the album and its singles had to fail. We disagree that Madonna seemingly made American Life without wanting to score a hit: Mirwais' work made Music a big hit so she was at least aiming to continue that level of success. All in all, it definitely remains an interesting chapter in Madonna's impressive career.

Benny Benassi - click to enlarge
11 July - Benny Benassi to be opening act in Rome
Italians fans, we are happy to announce that one of the most successful Italian DJs will be the opening act for Madonna's Sticky & Sweet show in Rome.
Benny Benassi, the guy behind club hits like 'Satisfaction' or 'Make Me Feel' will perform an exclusive live set at Rome's Olympic Stadium on September 6th!
If you've already ordered your tickets, then you took the right decision as the Rome show is now sold out.
See you at the show! (source: Madonna.com)


07 July - Britney to join Madonna's world tour in video
The last time Madonna and Britney Spears shared a stage together, the pop stars locked lips at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards in a kiss that shocked and delighted their fans.
But now, Access Hollywood has learned the music powerhouses will once again share the stage in Madonna's upcoming Sticky & Sweet world tour - though not exactly live.
Despite rumors that Brit would join Madge onstage, the blonde duo will appear together, but only through a taped video performance, Access has confirmed.
Britney Spears - click to enlarge"Britney's doing a video piece this week for Madonna's new tour," Brit's manager, Larry Rudolph, told Access.
The duo filmed a portion of the video Sunday that will be used during the concert, a rep for Madonna said.
"Britney shot some footage with Madonna yesterday that will be used during Madonna's upcoming tour," the Material Mom's rep, Liz Rosenberg, confirmed to Access.
As for a surprise appearance by Brit on stage alongside Madonna, fans should not hold their breath, according the rep.
"I do not believe that Britney will be appearing live on the tour," she added.
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet, with Britney on video, kicks off October 4 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (source: Access Hollywood)
~ Give us your opinion in our brand new poll! If you want to know for which song M & B are filming the video, you can find it on our spoilers page.


06 July - Madonna, the undisputed Queen of the UK chart
Give It 2 Me breaks into the Top 20 of the UK singles chart this week, which means *all* of Madonna's 66 singles entered the Top 20! Even if one of Madonna's next singles end this unbelievable record, it is very unlikely that there would be any other female artist ever who could match this feat. Also, it's the first time since 1985 that Madonna occupies 2 consecutive positions in the Top 20 as 4 Minutes is #17 while Give It 2 Me is #18. On top of all this great news, chart watchers point out that Madonna has just gathered her 700th (!) week on the UK singles chart, the 4th among all artists. Not to mention that by next week, she's expected to pass 16 million copies of singles sold, which is also the 4th highest among all artists. Needless to say only male artists are above Madonna in both categories (as with the total number of chart-topper singles), which means Madonna is undoubtedly the most successful female artist ever in the UK, and it is no exaggeration by any means to call her the Queen of the UK chart!
You can read more chart news or you can check out the chart runs of Madonna's latest album and singles on worldwide charts!


06 July - Madonna herself denies divorce and affair
Madonna has released an exclusive statement to People, denying that she is divorcing Guy Ritchie or having an affair with Yankee star Alex Rodriguez.
In it, she says: "My husband and I are not planning on getting a divorce. I know Alex Rodriguez through Guy Oseary, who manages both of us. I brought my kids to a Yankee game. I am not romantically involved in any way with Alex Rodriguez. I have nothing to do with the state of his marriage or what spiritual path he may choose to study."
Alex Rodriguez's wife Cynthia blamed the rumored affair for the demise of her marriage to the slugger, sources say.
Amid growing buzz of divorce, the singer's rep had earlier issued a denial that the singer and her husband of over seven years, Guy Ritchie, were splitting.
The singer, who is no stranger to rumors, also says: "I have learned over the years not to take accusations and the many false reports about me very seriously. I also appreciate how fiction and fact seem to be perceived as one and the same by people who read both newspapers and the internet." (source: People.com)


05 July - Spoiler on one tour performance and background video
Very exciting stuff were revealed about one of the upcoming tour performances, that promises to be a highlight of the show. If you want to know, click here to read it on our spoiler page.


03 July - Tour setlist spoiler
Fansite Madonnatribe has revealed a lot from the Sticky & Sweet Tour setlist. If you don't mind being spoiled before the tour kicks off, then you can read it on our tour spoilers page!


03 July - Budva, Montenegro added to tour schedule
After a long discussion and anticipation, Madonna.com finally makes the Montenegro stop official. Madonna is going to perform at the Jaz Beach in Budva on Thursday, September 25th. Tickets will be available from Friday, July 11th at 10 am local time and the ICON presales are set to Wednesday, July 9th at 10 am local time. The European leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour is almost complete now, with one or two possible dates missing between Lisbon & Paris. At this point, Madonna is going to perform in 10 different European countries, which is the most ever for any Madonna tour.


01 July - Madonna's spokeswoman: no divorce, no affair
Madonna's spokeswoman has released an exclusive statement to People rejecting reports that the singer's marriage to her film director husband Guy Ritchie is on the rocks.
"Madonna's husband Guy arrived in New York last night to be with his wife and family (not in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage which does not need saving)," Liz Rosenberg told People. "There are no plans for Madonna and Guy to divorce."
Rosenberg also denied a published report of a relationship between the singer and New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
"Madonna and Alex have the same manager, Guy Oseary," Rosenberg says. "They have met. They know each other and Madonna took her kids to a Yankees game last week. There's really not anything to comment on beyond that."
Adds Rosenberg: "It's nothing new that people are airing tons of dirty laundry Madonna's way lately – much of it untrue." She joked: "By the way, rumors of Madonna and Lil Wayne are quite exaggerated as well." (source: People.com)


01 July - Liz Smith reports from tour rehearsals
'Uhhh... I can't jump rope in high heels!"
"Really?"
"Well, not that high a heel."
OK folks, who do we know who would jump rope (double dutch, too) in heels? Of course! It is our old friend, the indomitable Madonna.
La Ciccone has been rehearsing her Sticky & Sweet tour in a massive space in New York. Her latest troupe of beautiful dancers is present, as is every other member of a massive Madonna undertaking. When the boss works, everybody works! It is 80 degrees and humid outside. Inside, it's a steam bath. Madonna does not enjoy air conditioning. (Audiences tend to leave her concerts having lost about 10 pounds in water weight.) Everybody looks whipped. Not Madonna.
Without makeup, her long blond hair lank, dressed in funereal black rehearsal togs, she looks fresher, younger and more vital than she does on the red carpet. (She also looks less muscular. Concert lighting and flash photography tends to over-emphasize her toned sinew.) She certainly shakes a tail feather like she is still writhing along the canals in Venice for the Like A Virgin video, filmed before most of her dancers were born.

People close to Madonna, those who love her, are always saying, "Why don't you relax more, have some fun?" Sometimes she will agree. But most of the time she doesn't bother to give concerned parties her life memo: hard work - pushing herself to the limit and most of all, dancing is her fun and relaxation. So many of her songs celebrate the power of dance and how it can free you - perhaps just temporarily - from immediate care.
Watching this star go through her paces, she seems not to have a care in the world, except to perfect her show. "That sucked!" she declares after failing to execute her double dutch without error. "I have to be better." Madonna pauses and gives a mock scowl to her dancers, "And so does everybody else."
Later, she painstakingly explains her vision on one of the numbers. The choreographer is working only from an e-mail he just received from Madonna. She has her vision, now she has to communicate it. The number will feature four girls who are dressed up in various iconic versions of Madonna images past. She's laughing at her old "looks" and discussing the particulars. "At first I thought mannequins, then no, real girls would be better.
Truthfully, I wanted drag queens - who does me better? But I figured that might be too much drama, you know - those girls love their scenes. And I provide enough of that!"
As Madonna recruits the dancers who'll stand and strike a pose, each holding or wearing a prop, the star will snatch away, the choreographer beams, "Oh, this is getting so wickedly weird. Now I'm really loving it!"

Throughout the afternoon and evening, Madonna never flags, and never loses her sense of humor or the maternal camaraderie she always shares with her dancers.
Happily lost in her greatest love - her work - it doesn't seem the time or place to bring up her supposedly failing marriage or the betrayal of her brother, Christopher Ciccone, and his tell-all book. (Poor Christopher. He has made his bed, and already the peas in his mattress are the size of boulders. In the end, he will have helped sell a gazillion more tickets to his sister's concerts.) Will Madonna and Guy Ritchie separate? I don't know. I do know they have been deeply in love, very much in sync (certainly at one time), and both these strong-willed people have tried hard to accommodate the other. The last time I saw Guy and Madonna together they couldn't have been more convivial and affectionate. They were in public, of course, so we take the proverbial grain of salt on that one. I don't think the towel is thrown in yet. It's damp and well used. It's hanging crooked on the shower stall. But it's not quite ready for the hamper. She has three children. She is not cavalier when it comes to divorce. (Remember, this is only her second marriage.)
Certainly Madonna does not look or behave like a woman whose marriage is on the rocks. She wouldn't show that face anyway; that's a great part of her appeal. She doesn't beg her audience for love or understanding. You either understand or you don't. Seen through the oft-distorted prism of the media, her ambition and "manipulation" is not always admired. Still, many do admire her, without really admitting she has talent. Millions more worship her as a figure of empowerment and forging success in a man's world on a man's terms.
She's the music industry's Hillary Clinton, jumping rope in high heels.

Endquote: From supermodel Gisele Bundchen in GQ: "This is exactly how I would describe my work: I get there, I put on clothes, I leave it on the hanger and I go home. And that's what I do."
Bundchen - whom I liked very much based on this Q&A with Nate Penn - also said she resists showing her vulnerability in photographs because "When you are out there with the wolves, you gotta play with the wolves... I learned pretty quickly. I burned myself." (source: Liz Smith @ New York Post)

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