A few weeks ago, Madonna finally provided (sort of) an answer to worrying fans about the DVD release of the Rebel Heart Tour. In an Instagram post she hinted she might release it on her birthday, which is on August 16.
Even though it wasn't clear if that date was final, many fans wondered why they still had to wait so long. Today, she answered that question too. Above the posting of a video fragment from her Tears of a Clown show, Madonna wrote:
Working on those Rebel ♥️ DVD extra's Yo!! 🤡🤡A Clowns Work is Never Done!!
This confirms that Tears of a Clown will indeed feature as an extra on the DVD. The editing of this show is apparently still taking some time. But all good things come to those whow ait, right? :) Who knows what other bonus features end up on this release...
Madonna also tagged Nathan Rissman and Nuno Xico, who are both working on the DVD as well.
28 years ago this week, Madonna released what is not only her best album to date, but also what could be the most important release ever by a female artist. That's not to say that Like a Prayer is the best album ever by a female artist, but it's pretty close. After six years of being considered pop fluff and a disco dolly, Madonna was finally taken seriously by most music critics in 1989. Still, Like a Prayer deserved even more than bewildering critical acclaim.
If Madonna and misogyny weren't practically synonyms, Like a Prayer would have not only won several Grammys in 1990 (it didn't even earn any major nominations), but it would be widely praised for its songwriting and production 28 years later. If a man delivered the same type of vocals Madonna did on Like a Prayer, critics would note that his voice isn't technically perfect, but distinct, melodic, and full of emotion. When it comes to Madonna, who certainly could never hit the notes of Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston, it's just easier for people to say that she "can't sing."
For people (especially millennials) to understand how important Like a Prayer is to culture and music, they have to comprehend the repressive environment Madonna's album arrived to in March of 1989. The late 1980s was ruled by the religious right, who believed AIDS was a curse God gave to the gay community. Women who were outspoken or wore revealing clothes were referred to as sluts, whores, bit**es, etc. Police brutality among African Americans was still widely accepted without much of a backlash. And interracial dating was still considered a taboo.
With all of this in mind, let's analyze why Like a Prayer is such a milestone of an album.
The "Like a Prayer" Video
The "Like a Prayer" video has provocative imagery that caused the religious right to wet its pants. However, none of the imagery, which is used for pure symbolism, is blasphemous. Most importantly, "Like a Prayer" is a video that shows the viewer racism, sexism, and police brutality. It urges them to think and overcome it — this is something that wasn't considered "cool" in 1989. The idea of a "Black Jesus" was also considered blasphemous to some, especially the religious right.
The aftermath of "Like a Prayer" was groundbreaking in that Madonna beat the religious right at their own attempted game of censorship. Their efforts caused Pepsi to drop Madonna as a spokesperson, but they completely failed at hurting Madonna's success or censoring the video. The "Like a Prayer" single and video hit No. 1 and remain widely loved classics almost 30 years later. Madonna paved the way for other artists to not only challenge the religious right, but win.
The "Like a Prayer" Song
Even if you aren't convinced that the "Like a Prayer" video is an artistic masterpiece, the song "Like a Prayer" has stood on its own. Not only has Rolling Stone and Billboard praised it as one of the best pop songs of all time, but the song has become a spiritual classic, even for those who aren't fans of Madonna.
"Like a Prayer" became the highlight of Live 8 in 2005, and it was also one of the highlights of the 2010 Hope for Haiti concert. It was also prominently featured in Madonna's 2012 Super Bowl Halftime show. Any live performance of the song is sure to whip the audience into a frenzy.
This decade, "Express Yourself" is mostly known as the song that inspired (maybe a little too much) Lady Gaga's self-empowerment LGBT anthem "Born This Way." However, as Gay Times Magazine notes, "Express Yourself" has become an empowering anthem for the LGBT community as well. However, in the late 1980s, the song was mostly known as a female empowerment anthem. "Don't go for second best baby" became a catch phrase for strong women who were sick of being treated like second class citizens from men and other women who still subscribed to the patriarchy.
The pamphlet on AIDS Madonna included with each copy of Like a Prayer alone proves that the notion of Madonna being a bad role model and having a bad influence on Generation X (especially women and teenagers) just isn't true. Madonna educated many about AIDS and safe sex at a time when schools, the media, and religious institutions stayed away from the topic. A move like this in 1989 could have hurt a showbiz career, but Madonna survived and thrived by doing the right thing and, possibly, helping to save lives at the same time.
Pop Music Meets Art
A Rolling Stone review by J.D. Considine from April of 1989 correctly noted that Like a Prayer was "as close to art as pop music gets." The album touched on topics such as childhood innocence, childhood loss, child abuse, spousal abuse, women's rights, and spirituality. It mixed all of these themes together to not only make the listener think and dance, but ask questions as well — some of which were risky to ask in 1989. Like a Prayer proved that an artist can mix style and substance in order to break societal and musical barriers. 28 years later, many pop artists, including Madonna herself, are trying to hit all the correct spots Like a Prayer hit, but they just don't have the same effect.
Sometimes, Madonna fans get a surprise. Sometimes that surprise comes 26 years later.
Today, Junior Vasquez decided to add the track Love Hurts to his Soundcloud account. He wrote this song in 1991 with Madonna. Later, Madonna would rework this with Shep Pettibone to what would eventually become Erotica.
The Vasquez demo has a completely different sound, though it feels just as erotic. We can however recognize many lyrics, especially similar to Erotic, the bonus track that came with the SEX book.
Listen to the demo below and read the lyrics here.
Madonna is omnipresent in the news: Adopting twins from Malawi, giving a controversial speech at the Women's March in Washington, D.C., dressing as Beauty and the Beast for a Purim costume party. Indeed, Madonna's such a force of nature that it's almost impossible to separate her public persona from her music, and yet, in the wake of Prince's death last year and Michael Jackson's untimely passing in 2009, she's the last standing of the MTV era's titans.
There were other giants from the advent of the medium who transformed the music industry, but of them Bruce Springsteen and the late David Bowie were really just passing through. Madonna neverleft the public stage, and she has a songbook of some of the most recognizable pop tunes around, including "Borderline," "Holiday," "Like A Virgin," "Vogue," "Ray of Light," "Express Yourself," "Material Girl" and more. But with an artist that's so iconoclastic, and so steeped in celebrity, how do you really evaluate her work?
We could immerse ourself in her music, digging deep to see what makes it tick ... or we could do as we've done before, and ask a bunch of musicians to cover one of her songs without knowing in advance what it will be or who it's by. This time, more than 100 musicians, producers and videographers across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Canada and Sweden collaborated to cover 70 of Madonna's best- and least-known songs, from more than 30 years' worth of albums.
Much like Madonna's own systematic reinventions, the covers were all over the stylistic map, from jazz to techno. Worcester-area singer Lovina teamed with Jillian Suchodolski for a straightforward and heart-wrenchingly beautiful rendition of "Live to Tell," then teamed up with the band Punk Rock Playhouse for a jazzy and cheeky spin on "Hanky Panky." Ukulele advocate Rich "the Amazing Dick" Leufstedt put a Lou Reed-esque spin on "Thief of Hearts," and the band Clinical D — comprising Deborah Beaudry, Sean Revoltah, Dan Morrissey and Jeréme Lawrénce — worked over computer from Worcester, Seattle and England to create a hard-rocking version of "Why's It So Hard?"
And then, there were the versions that went far off the deep end, including highly entertaining takes on "Bye, Bye Baby" and "Cherish" from California videographer Jaimes Palacio, "Little Star" sung as a lullaby by Los Angeles writer Luke Y. Thompson to his cat, Toby, and a — ahem — soulful rendition of "Nobody Knows Me" by a California artist identified as Your Pal Satan, in full devilish makeup. Poetry-music fusion band the Duende Project did a fairly straight version of "Borderline" featuring Capri Lanning-Cafaro on vocals, augmented by an original poem by frontman Tony Brown. Rocker Allazzon turned "Vogue" into a metal gladiator anthem with his "I'm Preparing to Die" remix.
"Madonna rewrites herself with great skill every so often, and each iteration makes for a fairly clearly defined presentation," says The Vac, of New England's Wetdryvac's Lair, which tackled "Physical Attraction" and "Til Death Do Us Part." He says this versatility opened up the possibilities of reinterpretation, which many of the artists felt was was vital: "At first when I heard we were going to be covering her I was admittedly a little nervous," says Lili De La Mora of California's Kier Delay, "especially since 'Express Yourself' was one of her hits and she sings it with so much sass. I'm more on the mellow spectrum. Once we started working on the song I was able to see it as its own separate thing. Switching up the feel of the music helped."
"My song, 'Dress You Up,' doesn't represent the better aspects of her persona, but the sleazy, vapid part," says acoustic musician Matt Robert. "I tried for a genre that seemed diametrically opposed to the original." Likewise, Scott Chandler of California's Operation Mockingbird says, "We obviously have an affinity towards the darker sides of things, and so for even a seemingly upbeat pop song, we were able to focus on the actual lyrics she had written. We magnified the vacillation between the understanding tenderness and selfish frustration that we felt were present in the lyrics into the sound of the music and how it was to be sung."
Others turned the songs on their heads, such as Sarah Fard, of the Boston band Savoire Faire, who switched up "Material Girl," singing "We are living in a material world/but I'm not a material girl." Florida's Will Ryan, of the Superb Itch, says "Like A Prayer" "was so specific to her explorations of sexual and religious themes ... When I was working through different versions of the song, I found that it took on a whole other meaning when sung from an old white guy perspective ... In a lot of ways the same song can be stripped of all of its sexual potency just by changing the voice."
Mz M of the Deadites says, "We were given 'Like a Virgin.' There's a lot of pressure when you are assigned an artist's breakthrough song ... My first thought was to simply consider a different meaning. Think of the fact that for many, the 'first time' is not a pleasurable experience and go from there. And ultimately that's what came through. Her original is bright and in your face, as was her persona then. We went with a slightly darker but still pop-infused version."
WICN DJ Nick Noble, who performed "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" with Sandy Haddon as Wolfpen, says they faced a challenge in "taking a song that is remarkably unmelodious and turning it into ... well, that was the second challenge: ballad? blues? folk? Went with folk ... Sandy had a nice arrangement for the verses and chorus, but the bridge was a challenge — the result was Peter, Paul and Mary do Madonna, and I liked it."
Giuliano D'Orazio of Hot Letter took the opportunity "to really do something that embodies dance/electronic music as well as rock 'n' roll" when covering "Impressive Instant." Worcester country musician Stan Matthews "enjoyed the mood of sadness and loss conveyed by the lyrics" when he tackled "Inside of Me." WCUW DJ Steve Blake, of Punk Rock Playhouse, said their song "had a pseudo jazzy shuffle beat and a silly/kinky lyric. It was a large step to turn it into a Damned-ish punk rock thing."
For some, the fundamental problem they faced was that they actually enjoyed the song, and needed to find a balance between reverence and making it their own. Katyana Hall of Orange County, California, who performed "Ray of Light" with guitarist Alex Alvarez, said, "I had to try hard not to sing it exactly like she did." Danielle Staples Magario, of Worcester's Fox and the Dragon, says, "We ended up pulling inspiration from Damien Rice and replaced the chords. What's weird is that without trying, the chords we chose lent themselves nicely to her original vocal melody, with a few tweaks and harmonies." On that same note, Worcester-area musician Shane Hall played a fairly faithful rendition of "Sky Fits Heaven," relying on a one-take recording to capture his own nuance and personality.
For many musicians, Madonna's lyrics, especially on some of her more recent songs, proved to be an issue. "I can deal with linear 'go nowhere' music," says Your Pal Satan, "but I need a different context for the lyrics so I didn't sound like a moody teenager tweeting their angst." Likewise, Los Angeles singer Beth Marquez, who did a country-ish version of "Push" with musician Jim Scheel, says, "The first couple stabs I took at it nearly pained me physically because the lyrics were so bad."
Pernilla Borgström of Sweden, who did "Spanish Eyes" and "Deeper and Deeper," says she "struggled with the chord progression, in both songs. I'm a '90s melodic pop fan at heart, and so tend to approach songwriting from the trusty old C-G-Am-F angle. In 'my' Madonna songs, I felt like there were some tricky twists and turns in the chord progressions, and I found it difficult to connect with them at first. But that was also part of the fun, finding ways to make it work for me, emotionally."
Likewise, California musician Luke Johnson, who covered "Erotica" as Me Montana Casio, says that "it was tricky to come up with a guitar part for a song that has such fleeting moments of melody and really only has a vocal melody in its chorus, but there was a certain darkness to the notes I could hear that really lent itself well to some minor chords."
Worcester singer-songwriter Sean Ryder, who handled the iconic "Holiday," "felt the need to be cognizant of others love for song, and thus felt the cover should be recognizable/enjoyable by those who truly connected to the song in the first place."
And a lot of people connect to her music, some identifying with individual eras, others gleefully going along for the ride with each incarnation. But even those who began the cover-song journey not being outright fans found things to respect in her work.
"I think her music swings wildly," says Thompson. "Some of it's really mediocre pop, and then some of it comes close to classic. Of all the '80s music icons who stuck around, she's possibly the most inconsistent. 'Little Star,' which I was assigned and had never heard before, is so much better than any of the familiar songs that it floored me at first."
Ryan says that "doing the deep dive into the catalog made me appreciate the 'master of reinvention' aspect of her mythos a lot more. If you had a smash hit album in the early '80s with sweet, meaningless pop, it seems like it would be easy to just ride that gravy train until it kicked you off. But she didn't seem like one to wait around and let the winds shift her. I respect the degree of experimentation she showed even though the juggernaut of mass production tends to keep people penned into their type." Staples Magario says that she appreciates "female artists who are confident in themselves and their sexuality and who can portray that confidence in their art."
Lance Roberts-Van Wormer, of Washington, who covered "X-Static Process," muses on the personal significance she holds for him, saying that "even though her success has been through pop/dance music, to me, her all-around aesthetic is straight-up punk rock. For the longest time, mainly during the '90s, her public persona was one big walking middle finger, which I loved. As a mouthy gay kid from a very small Texas town, she was pure inspiration."
Ryder says that "despite being an icon of pop music, a multiplatinum-selling artist whose career has spanned decades, she doesn't get the credit she deserves for her musicianship, creativity and songwriting/co-songwriting. Some of the songs are iconic because of her personality and performance. Some are iconic because they are amazing songs."
Check out all 70 cover songs at the Telegram website.
International pop star Madonna will soon visit Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi's adopted home of Konya, Turkey, a Turkish newspaper reported Thursday.
The singer, who has expressed interest in Rumi's teachings in the past and recorded an English translation of one of his poems, will be accompanied by her friend, Turkish fashion photographer Mert Alaş. The newspaper reported that Madonna was also expected to attend a series of events in Konya, which will be held to mark the 789th anniversary of Rumi's arrival to the Anatolian city after fleeing a Mongol invasion of Central Asia.
Madonna will stay in Konya for two days before leaving for Bodrum, a popular vacation resort in southwestern Turkey, the Daily Sabah reported.
The 58-year-old singer last visited Turkey in 2012 where she performed in a concert in Istanbul.
Rumi is one of the best-selling poets in the US.
Madonna is turning to the digital masses to find her next trainer.
The singer-dancer is teaming with DanceOn, the dance-entertainment digital network she helped co-found in 2010, to solicit an open call for video submissions to be considered in the audition. According to DanceOn, its community of 100 million users will help decide the finalists.
Madonna, 58, is looking for a dancer-choreographer with personal-training certification. Video submissions must include strong dance routine elements as well as heavy conditioning components.
Applicants must submit a video that is at least 60 seconds long, comprising a dance workout in the first half and a fitness workout in the second half. All submissions must be posted on on social networks (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter) with the hashtags #MadonnaChallenge and #DanceOn, and all must be 18 or older. The finalists will be flown out to New York to work out with Madonna before she makes her final selection.
Madonna last year fired one of her former trainers, Nicole Winhoffer, accusing Winhoffer of sleeping with her boyfriend.
DanceOn CEO Amanda Taylor said the timing of the final selections will be left to Madonna's discretion. "We're going to see what kinds of submissions come in," she said.
DanceOn's official corporate name is izo, spanning both music and dance content. The company was founded by Taylor along with Madonna, talent manager Guy Oseary and Allen DeBevoise, an investor and co-founder of Machinima. DanceOn has existing relationships with all major music labels, including Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group. Its investors include AMC Networks, DeBevoise's Third Wave Ventures, Plus Capital and Luminari Capital.
More info on Madonna's search for a new trainer is available at danceon.com/madonna. Watch the Material Girl's promo video for the DanceOn audition:
Once again, Madonna has shown us that she's the life of any party. This weekend, the 58-year-old singer attended a Purim party, and instead of dressing up as just one of the lead characters from Beauty and the Beast, she dressed up as both of them!
Madge's costume was ever so timely, considering the live-action remake of the classic fairytale is the talk of the town right now, and she's clearly as obsessed as we are. The "Vogue" singer donned a yellow off-the-shoulder Belle gown, long white satin gloves, a white shawl, and a sparkling pendant for the "Beauty" half of her costume, then added a creepy "Beast" mask, complete with wild fur and horns. She even carried a red rose as part of her unique costume. Luckily for us, Madonna shared several party pics on Instagram so we could experience her getup in all its glory.
In case you were wondering if it was really the pop queen behind that mask, she did share one pic without her frightful headwear. In it, she's posing with another partygoer, artist JR, who's dressed up as the Pope, and she has her rose between her teeth as she smiles for the snap.
Final word on this costume? When it comes to Beauty and the Beast, it's quite literally everything. Thank you, Madge!
Madonna first leapt to my consciousness as a savvy business person back in the 1980s when on a late-night talk show, the host denigrated an outlandish move by her, saying, "But isn't that just a way to get publicity?" And the young Madonna just smiled slyly.
The host, the entire audience and I "got it". Look past the Greenwich Village black leather get-up. There's a mogul inside plotting to take over the world.
And 30 years later, in 2013, she was named by Forbes as the top-earning celebrity in the world at over US$125mil in revenue. Whereas other veteran stars have struggles, her light burns as bright as ever.
Beyond her musical talent – which few people claim is what sets her apart – what are the key factors of her endurance? Why is Madonna seemingly eternal, even in the face of massive changes in the music industry whether in terms of fan tastes, culture or the passing of generations? And what can you learn from her to assure your enduring and adaptive leadership?
1. Prepare so that detail becomes memory
Madonna is no prima donna. She doesn't swish into a stadium 30 minutes before a concert and wing it. It was noted that before every performance of her last world tour, she would run through the complete show, beginning to end, so that her muscle memory and what's called "proprioception" (that ability to operate on seeming "autopilot") would take over.
This allows her to "play" on stage, to be more responsive and interactive with the audience – that is what makes her live performance so special.
Practice (and visualisation) makes perfect. And it frees you up to be extemporaneous.
2. Get fit
Madonna, whose highly athletic dancing can mesmerise a stadium, is nearly 60. You can use technology to fix someone's tonality in the studio, but you can't fake fitness.
And when a robust personality is core to your brand, it's going to take discipline and sweat in the gym – and more than one trainer.
When you study most leaders, they are in the gym every morning, or at least married to a rigorous workout programme. And Madonna is known to work out daily.
More than that, she has been very public about maintaining her lean strength by eating whole, organic foods, eliminating processed foods, practising mindfulness meditation and cultivating long-term intimate bonds with family and friends. All of these activities add up to the perfect neurochemical for youthfulness and longevity.
3. Stand (strongly) for what's important to you
Madonna has been a long-term, fearless and vocal advocate for many causes. For example, when most people were hesitant to speak out on AIDS, Madonna stood upfront.
Leadership is not a "trick" or a series of "techniques". Ultimately, it comes from your core.
She famously said, "I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams." And every song, speech, interview and comment she has made has backed that up.
Madonna's consistent, unapologetic and fearless advocacy for the dignity of all people is her unique selling proposition.
Beyond that, she defends her core values vociferously and is not afraid to wrestle with the powers that be.
Over the years, she has been denounced by the Vatican, politicians and parenting groups. Her fans don't care, and neither does she.
"Better to live one year as a tiger," she said, "than a hundred as a sheep." With this, she has managed to stay in the spotlight for 30 years as a tiger.
4. Experiment with style
Just because your values don't change doesn't mean your hairstyle or shoes don't!
Part of Madonna's genius has been to deliver her consistent message of bold self-expression through different packaging. And that packaging often exactly represented her response to a culture that tries to box her in, define her or trivialise her voice.
When they tried to demean the early Madonna as a has-been big-hair pop act, she electrified the music world with Like A Virgin.
When her financial success caused so many to dismiss her as just another rock star, she redefined sacred music with Ray of Light, inspired by her work with kabbalah, an ancient belief that reveals how the universe and life work.
"I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art," says Madonna. By living it authentically, she has inspired many to have the courage to do the same.
Constant reinvention keeps you and your personal brand alive. Madonna is not afraid to be outlandish and she never confuses her current stylistic expression with her core values as a person.
She's versatile and keeps herself relevant to each generation. Each time, she remakes her image to fit in with the current trend while still maintaining her ‘Madonna-ness'.
Adam Gilad, an Emmy-nominated producer, screenwriter and entrepreneur, leads a community of men and women on their quest to create love and a bold, inspired life. Having served as a Stanford Humanities Center Graduate Research Fellow and host of National Lampoon Radio, Adam blends a mix of research, humour and global wisdom to help men and women break through the habits blocking their ability to open up to love and freedom.
MADONNA works out longer in one day than most would spend in the gym all week, it would seem.
The undisputed Queen of Pop, 58, is as famed for her incredibly toned body as she is for her iconic, chart topping songs.
But it seems the old adage there's no gain without pain is as true as ever as Madge's personal trainer has explained the star spends five hours PER DAY sweating it out at the gym.
Stacey Griffith – who is an instructor at cult-like spin class chain SoulCycle – reveals the pop superstar sweats it out to keep her figure trim.
"Pro athletes train all day. Madonna trains all day. She trains for five hours a day, non-stop," the fitness professional revealed.
Stacey also explained she can get star struck while working out with superstars – even though it is common in her line of profession.
"It's surreal … those moments when I think about moments in my life that I would want to have happen and I do my visualisations in my own way, in my own special way in my office," Stacey said in a Q&A on Tuesday.
"I do my meditations and my mantras, and one day I was in the room doing a private, just me at like 3:30 in the afternoon. Music playing. It's me, Madonna and Craig, her trainer," she said.
"I'm like 'Hang on a second, Stacey. You're training Madonna. Just sit in it for a second,'" she laughed.
SoulCycle attracts A List stars including Anne Hathaway and Terri Hatcher at their sessions.
The cycling based fitness craze has classes on both the across America and Canada – but is yet to make the transfer to the UK.
Plans had been afoot to open a branch in London in 2015 – but as yet no branch has opened.
Madonna rocked a pair of angel wings with a noose necktie in Her-Story, a 13-minute b&w short film directed by Luigi & Lango in honor of International Women's Day.
The 58-year-old pop diva's feminist flick for German Vogue on Wednesday was divided into eight chapters and dedicated to 'all women who fight for freedom.'
Madge's pretentious Lemonade-style clip also featured Soko (on accordian), Libby Larkin (singing Billy Goat), Julia Cumming, and twins Baylee & McCall Olsen.
Her-Story didn't feature new music from the Queen of Pop, but it did sample her speech from the Women's March on Washington back on January 21.
'Welcome to the revolution of love, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny where not just women are in danger, but all marginalized people,' the seven-time Grammy winner is heard in voiceover.
'Where being uniquely different might truly be considered a crime. The revolution starts here.
'We cannot fall into despair. We must love one another or die. I choose love.'
Madonna - sporting menswear selected by stylist Arianne Phillips - also appears in the mag's April edition with three different covers shot by Luigi & Lango.
The Unapologetic B***h singer will soon launch MDNA SKIN in the States after releasing the skincare/cosmetics line in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Madge (born Ciccone) has also been busy bonding with the latest additions to her big blended brood - four-year-old Malawi twins Esther & Stella.
The twice-divorced songstress wrote and plans to direct Loved, a big-screen adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer's 2013 novel The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.
The Ghosttown hitmaker previously helmed the 2011 romance W.E. and the 2008 indie flick Filth and Wisdom.
Nearly 26 years after Truth or Dare, Madonna is making another cinematic statement in black and white.
During Wednesday's celebration of International Women's Day, the pop icon released a new 12-minute short film highlighting the ongoing fight for gender equality, a cause she fanned the flames of after giving an impassioned speech at the Washington, D.C. Women'''s March in support of women's rights amid Donald Trump's presidency.
Dedicated "to all women that fight for freedom" and directed by fashion photography duo Luigi & Iango for Vogue Germany, the project opens with audio lifted from the singer-songwriter's January address. "To accept this new age of tyranny where not just women are in danger, but all marginalized people," Madonna says. "Where being uniquely different might truly be considered a crime. The revolution starts here."
The film then unfolds across several vignettes, which see the 58-year-old leading that revolution's charge, brandishing a menacing pack of dogs, training a pair of androgynous accomplices (including French recording artist Soko) for battle, playing with a deck of cards, and — with angel wings sprouting from her back — peering out over the New York City skyline with a severed noose tied around her neck.
Short clips of Madonna's 2012 single "Girl Gone Wild" also play throughout Her-Story, which ends as two figures carry a banner which reads "We should all be feminists" down a dark alleyway. Madonna's handwriting then appears onscreen, scrawling the famous Hillary Clinton quote "women's rights are human rights" in white text.
"Every Woman Has A Story! Don't be Afraid to Use your Voice! To Help others! celebrate Women around the World!" Madonna wrote on Instagram, where she shared several of Her-Story‘s individual segments. She later added: "Dance with Women. Create with Women. Inspire Women. Admire Women. Celebrate Women"
Today, as we all celebrate International Women's Day, it shouldn't surprise us that our bad feminist Madonna comes with a special message. It turns out that she did not only have a photoshoot with Luigi & Iango for Vogue. They also made the shortfilm Her-Story, with a clear message about women's rights: "We should all be feminists!".
As we could already see in the pictures that surfaced earlier this week, Madonna is looking gorgeous in a look that reminds us a lot of Dita. The black & white shortfilm can be seen as a follow-up to Madonna's Secret Project Revolution from 2013. Again she calls for a revolution of love but this time it's specifically about the women's fight for freedom. All protagonists in the film are women, though some are dressed as men, referencing the gender bending Madonna has often used in her career. Other references include Madonna's feminist anthems Express Yourself, Justify My Love and Girl Gone Wild.
We've been talking a lot about the Rebel Heart Tour dvd release. Madonna herself might have noticed because she posted a cheeky Instagram, asking her fans to "chill out", while hinting she might release the DVD on her own birthday, which will be August 16, 2017. Even if we're not sure she's serious about the date, at least it's clear the release will be coming, which should be a relief for many!
Past Friday (Mar. 3) in 2000, Madonna released her version of "the day the music died" by covering singer-songwriter Don McLean's 1971 hit "American Pie" (which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in 1972) for the soundtrack of her film The Next Best Thing.
Though the film did not fare well with critics, the song peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
Billboard's Chuck Taylor reviewed the song at the time of its release: "Applause to Madonna for not pandering to today's temporary trends and for challenging programmers to broaden their playlists. In all, a fine preview of the forthcoming soundtrack to The Next Best Thing."
The accompanying music video cuts between Madonna dancing in front of an American flag (wearing a tiara) and various Americans, including same sex couples, working class citizens and angst ridden teens who may or may not believe in rock 'n roll. Cheerleaders and a guest appearance by co-star and BFF Rupert Everett (who provides backing vocals in the song) make it appear that all is right in the land of the free, but is anyone else listening to the lyrics masked by the upbeat tempo?
The original version peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart, and in the decades that have followed, McLean has attempted to clear up confusion as to what exactly the song is about. As for the lyrics, he said, "They're beyond analysis. They're poetry." That may be so, but the song presents an abstract story of McLean's life.
"It is biographical in nature and I don't think anyone has ever picked up on that. The song starts off with my memories of the death of Buddy Holly. But it moves on to describe America as I was seeing it and how I was fantasizing it might become. The song was written as my attempt at an epic song about America and I used the imagery of music and politics to do that."
So there you have it, America. Oh, and just what did McLean think about Madonna's cover of his national treasure?
"It is a gift for her to have recorded 'American Pie,'" McLean said. "I think it is sensual and mystical. I also feel that she's chosen autobiographical verses that reflect her career and personal history. I have received many gifts from God but this is the first time I have ever received a gift from a goddess."
After our website revamp two weeks ago, we have been working on bringing some old pages back into the new design.
Our Charts page is back with all chart positions for Madonna's albums and singles. The page is now also responsive, so when checking it on your smartphone, you can scroll to view the chart positions of the different countries.
We brought back the tour diaries and press reviews for the Rebel Heart Tour, MDNA Tour, Sticky & Sweet Tour, Confessions Tour, Re-Invention Tour and Drowned World Tour. It gives you an idea what happened on each tour stop and how critics reacted to the show.
An overview of Madonna records and achievements can be found in the Career section.
Vogue Germany has revealed the first two pictures of the 18-page Madonna spread in their April issue. A quote from the article reads:
"We are living in a dream world if we think that Women have equal rights. (…) My Dream is that at this chaotic and disturbing moment we find ourselves in, Women will not only come together as an indestructible force but more importantly, Heal the World!"
While it might be quiet times as far as Madonna projects are concerned, we are surely getting spoiled with magazine covers. After recently gracing Harper's Bazaar and Vogue Italy, Madonna has now revealed that new shots by fashion photographers Luigi & Iango will be used for 3 different covers of the April edition of Vogue Germany.
Styled by Arianne Phillips, with make-up by Aaron Smith Henrikson, and hair by Andy Lecompte, Madonna calls to "Dress Up! Speak Up!".