Tuesday, April 22, 2008

4 Minutes To Fame Or Out Of Fame?

There is so much I can write on Madonna. It is either you love her or hate her for most people. I on the other hand chose to love her. Love in the sense that I enjoyed her music, her videos, her performances, her incessant uncompromising regime for fitness, her concerts (only via DVDs…would the government allow Madge to stage a concert here? Duh!) and sometimes her antics. I do not like her for her movies though (probably except for Evita), the rest either leans towards eroticism or somehow does (remember the fencing scene in Die Another Day? Even her lines were corny.)

I have loved Madge since her “Holiday” single in 1983. Everyone thought again, she was just flash in the pan. I bet her critics are either six feet under now or just out of their jobs. Like A Virgin, her sophomore album went all the way to top of the Billboard charts in the US and UK and also Germany. It was such a phenomenal success that many people started dressing like her (now how many of you ladies wore umpteenth chains, necklaces and bangles and had your hair done similar like hers?). I bet most the ladies are in their late 30’s or 40’s now and cringing over the whole Madonna look. Madonna is a trendsetter. People are just watching her and anticipating what will be her next re-invention or wardrobe change. Check out how many people, even celebrities and hair stylists are into that “Hung Up” look after the single, video and the concert dropped.

She was this young woman with chains and crucifixes around her neck prancing around to Like A Virgin, Dress You Up etc. Then she morphed into a Marilyn Monroe lookalike in True Blue. She did justice to the look though. It was one of her cleanest and most dazzling to date. She looks pure and na├»ve. Well, looks only. She sang about getting pregnant out of wedlock in Papa Don’t Preach, dances in a sort of a strip joint in Open Your Heart with a kid watching and then got all party-ish in True Blue, Where’s The Party etc. Did you know that the song La Isla Bonita was actually intended for Michael Jackson for his Bad album? THANK GOD! Wacko Jacko turned it down! Imagine Jacko singing that song. Major goose bumps!

True Blue surged to number one on nearly all charts around the world. Most of her songs from True Blue were hits! From then on, I knew she would be staying for a long long time. Now with Botox, bronchio saline treatment, yoga, pilates and the works, she won’t be dead until about 150.

Controversy and Madonna always go hand in hand. They are the best of friends. This is also another appealing thing on why I like Madge, she loves to push the envelope. Remember the famous coffee table book? I have a copy though, unfortunately not in the physical format but in a scanned format downloaded from the internet.

As with controversy, Madge returned with Like A Prayer in 1989. I like that album. I still remembered the hype that was surrounding the release. In Malaysia, they played the 7” remix of the title song which I only got hold of it recently. This version was not sold anywhere. Only for promotional purposes (e.g. DJs and radio stations). The bass is better, the drums were stronger (compared to the album version) and Prince played a mean guitar piece at the end of the song whereby it is not available on the album version. Back to the hype, Warner Music was releasing this album with sandalwood paper! And it was only for limited edition. I still recall on the day of the release, me and a friend went to Jaya supermarket (there was record shop there…cannot recall its name now) to get a copy before it was sold out! It was raining and we had to take the bus. I still have the cassette and I think the smell still lingers on the sleeve. More controversy struck when the title track was slated by Pepsi to be used for their commercial. Then her video was released (kissing a Black Saint and dancing around burning crucifixes etc) and I think it was banned on MTV because there were a lot of pressure from religious groups. In the end Pepsi decided to pull out the video but Madge got to keep her dough for the contract which was a cool USD5million contract!

After that she became sexier and more daring in terms of sexuality (e.g. Express Yourself and Cherish).

Erotica was released (sexually hands down) and Bedtime Stories followed suit (slutty looking cover and sleeve pictures). She showed more boobies than the Hooters girls combined. In between those years she was so sexually active she even came out with a documentary called “Truth or Dare” where hrrrmmppphhh…she did “something” to a mineral water bottle. However, she redeemed herself when Take A Bow from Bedtime Stories soared to number one on Billboard Top 100 charts for 7 weeks and number ones in many places across the world. The song was partly co-written with Babyface.

I wrote to her once and I got her autograph, though not personal, but hey, it’s Madonna!

Of course, she returned stronger with her Grammy winning album Ray of Light that experimented on electronica. It worked. Madonna’s back! She ruled the charts again! The Music album dropped and it was another hit! She just reinvented herself. She is very very good at it. Most (in fact all) of our local singers should learn a thing or two from this feisty, never say die lady. Of course I do not expect Siti Nurhaliza to come out with an album like Erotica. Take the good things like peserverence and dedication to the art.

The American Life album was a disaster in my opinion. Except for one or two songs, the rest are below Madge’s standard of deliverance. However, the uncensored American Life video was fun to watch (it has violent, angst, funny moments, etc).

Confessions On A Dancefloor was a good album that makes you want to get up and dance and shake your booty. I remember I was in Singapore during the hype (pre-launch of the album). And the radio stations were playing snippets of Hung Up. There were so much hype there prior to the launch. Record stores like HMV were ready for the launch and they had pictures and standees of her and new album up at that time. It was such a craze. I still remember the disco ball that was at Sembawang (the branch in Cathay Cineleisure in Orchard Road).

The album was a major hit around the world and the single Hung Up won a lot of major accolades and accomplishment.

Now she’s hitting the big 50 this year and am eagerly waiting for her Hard Candy album. I was a tad disappointed though with the album cover and also the 1st single (4 Minutes). It will never be as good as the Hung Up single. However, the video for 4 Minutes is really cool. Crystals trying to get her and Justin. Before time runs out, she has to save herself. You know, the video should be a part of any Biology lesson in school. It has cool slicing effects (from humans to bath tubs to sinks etc).

I have high expectation of her, hope she’ll deliver. Well, hope she takes much more than 4 minutes to do that.


RunWitMe said...

Wow! Excellent...No wonder Maddie is #1 on your list.

Can't Madonna spell correctly? It's "remember". U should send this to Boobs watch The Star. LOL!

Whose autograph next? MC? (Insert 8 octave note here)!

pm19 said...

great write-up on Madge. My personal favourites are "Cherish" (I think she looked her best in that video too- rolling around the beach in her short hair, with the dolphins) and "Take A Bow" (the video set in Spain, with the matador). Personally, I quite like "4 Minutes" and almost bought the single last night but I held back because I wanted to listen to the album first. Since it is produced by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, like "4 Minutes", you can expect their trademark sound to dominate much of the album. But that doesn't mean it will be good. The jury is still out on that one. Timbaland did produce Ashlee Simpson's latest song but I didn't quite fancy it.


Hey guys

Thanks for the reading my "freshman" blog. Will try to update it as much as possible.