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Madonna’s “re-Invention Tour”

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Madonna is touring North America and Europe this summer with a stop in Israel:

    The trek will kick off May 24 in Los Angeles. It will consist primarily of North American arena dates, as well as 12 European shows. A handful of North American dates were confirmed through early-August, along with an Aug. 18 show in London and Sept. 1 concert in Paris.

    “Madonna has already started rehearsals for the re-Invention Tour and she can’t wait to get back on stage to recreate her songs from the earliest days of her career up until the present,” manager Caresse Henry said in a statement. “There is no doubt that this tour will be the pinnacle of her long standing and well deserved reputation as one of the most exciting live performers of our time.”

    Current members of Madonna’s Icon fan club will have access to ticket pre-sale opportunities. There will be no supporting acts.

    ….Here are Madonna’s confirmed tour dates:

    May 24: Los Angeles (Forum)

    May 29: Las Vegas (MGM Grand Garden Arena)

    June 8: San Jose (HP Pavilion)

    June l3: Washington, D.C. (MCI Center)

    June 16-17: New York (Madison Square Garden)

    June 27: Boston (Worcester Centrum)

    July 4: Philadelphia (Wachovia Center)

    July 11: Chicago (United Center)

    July l8: Toronto (Air Canada Center)

    July 24: Atlanta (Philips Arena)

    July 28: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Office Depot Center)

    Aug. l: Miami (American Airlines Arena)

    Aug. l8: London (Earls Court)

    Sept. 1: Paris (Bercy) [Billboard]

I like Madonna a lot, despite what some may think, as I believe is self-evident from this story I wrote last November (if Madonna comes to Cleveland, I’m there):

Britney and Madonna

Britney Spears and Madonna have made an intergenerational mutual assistance pact, sealed with a very public kiss at the MTV Video Awards this summer, and made tangible through Madonna’s vocal appearance on Britney’s current single, “Me Against the Music.”

For her part Madonna has dubbed Britney — who turns 22 on December 2 — her worthy successor from among the variety pack of pop-tarts, while Britney conveys upon Madonna, 45, the admiration and respect of a new generation, revalidating the former Material Girl’s relevance as middle age casts a lengthening shadow across her ray of light.

Despite her youth, today’s U.S. release of Britney’s fourth album, In the Zone, has about it the nervous atmosphere of a must-win game. As Spears has expressed her maturation with increasingly sexualized sights and sounds, thrusting herself ever more brazenly into the collective eye and ear, obliging the voracious media machinery with increasing skin and sin, she has locked herself out of her former home in the teen-pop market and has yet to prove that her music has as much appeal as her svelte midriff among adults.

The former Mouseketeer’s album sales have trended down since her 1999 debut, … Baby One More Time, sold a spectacular 10 million copies. 2000’s Oops! … I Did It Again, and 2001’s Britney sold 9.1 million and 4.2 million copies, respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and while no one can complain about such gaudy numbers and Britney’s sales decline has coincided with an overall industry downward trend, this is a critical juncture for all involved.

Spears’ label, Jive, recognizes this and has beaten the media bushes with all its might. “We’ve left no stone unturned,” label president Barry Weiss told Billboard. “We have tons and tons of media on a worldwide basis going into the album, and we’re exhausting every area that we can — print and electronic media, TV, radio, video — to make sure that people know this album is coming.”

We know, thanks Barry.

….With Spears popping up and out everywhere to promote it, if In the Zone doesn’t hit the fault will lie squarely with the music, and that could undermine her status as a media figure. The public is content to have singers become entertainment icons — Cher, Madonna, Courtney Love http://www.msnbc.com/news/993620.asp?0si=- and Beyonce are examples — but it typically rejects those who overreach and grasp for a level of celebrity not “justified” by the quality and popularity of their music. Hype is fine, but without substance behind it, the hype itself becomes the issue and contravenes the showbiz homily that nothing succeeds like excess.

So back to Britney and Madonna – they are partners now, strategic allies, but in a way this is all gravy for Madonna, her mark is made, her place in the popular culture pantheon secure. She has commanded our cultural center stage for 20 years now, an avatar of contemporary womanhood mutating over time from ebullient physicality to transgressive hyper-sexuality, to maternal spirituality, to a kind of fuzzy composite of the three.

Though blessed with great natural talent in nothing other than self-promotion, Madonna has nonetheless guided her own remarkably sure path through a wide range of popular dance music styles including disco (“Holiday,” “Lucky Star,” “Into the Groove”), new wave (“Material Girl,” “Like a Virgin”), Latin (“La Isla Bonita”), soul (“Express Yourself”), girl-pop (“Cherish”), house (“Vogue”), hip-hop (“Justify My Love,” “Erotica”), and electronica (“Ray of Light,” “Music”), finding and conveying the resonant sweet spot of each.

Since Madonna and Britney identify with each other, have similar natural gifts and musical styles, and appear together on Britney’s new album, how do they actually compare as artists at similar points in their careers?

Britney is almost 22 as her fourth album comes out, her first as a full adult. Madonna was already 25 when her exceptional self-titled debut was released in 1983, which went on to sell over 4 million copies. Her second was the career-making Like a Virgin, which sold over 9 million, and her third the equally fine True Blue which did over 7 million. Their composite sales figures after three albums are remarkably similar, with Britney holding a slight edge at over 23 million while Madonna generated over 21 million. Perhaps they met at the bank.

While Britney holds the slight edge in sales, few would argue that Madonna didn’t accomplish more artistically and culturally with her first three albums, which helped establish her as the most important and iconic female performer of her time, challenging and largely defeating musical, sexual, religious, racial and personal style stereotypes, literally making the world a different place.

Madonna was 30 when her fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, largely co-written and produced by Patrick Leonard (who also contributed to “True Blue”), sprung upon the world in the spring of 1989. While age and cultural differences make a direct comparison unfair — Britney is operating in a pop environment Madonna largely made possible – a comparison is interesting nonetheless.

Like a Prayer generated five Top 20 hits, two that reached number 2 — “Express Yourself” and Cherish” — and the title track that spent three weeks at number 1. The song “Like a Prayer,” blessed with Madonna’s most angelic vocal, daringly combines spiritual and sexual imagery, and infused with pure gospel beauty, charges between lilting verses and the powerful sing-along chorus. “Express Yourself” is a rousing slab of soulful female positivity with Madonna and a full choir of sisters exhorting each other to “Don’t go for second best baby/Put your love to the test” – another standard. “Cherish” is finger-snapping irrepressible joy, with another high, clear vocal, making the term “small voice” seem a virtue – pretty great.

And how do the three best songs on young Britney’s In the Zone stack up? As icon-builders, not all that well, they don’t say very much; but as pure songs, stripped of all extra-musical baggage, they’re very good indeed. “Me Against the Music” — which has Madonna tagging along, mumbling “and me” every time Britney says “just me” — is just another dance-floor-as-expressive-heaven tune, but it rocks with an edgy, percussive acoustic guitar vamp that neatly balances producer C. “Tricky” Stewart’s jittery electronic rhythms, and by the time the multi-voiced chorus calls all the peeps out to the sweaty dance zone, the baton has been passed and it doesn’t look so odd in Britney’s manicured hand.

“Toxic” finds Britney and her pouty lips back in Sweden, the birthplace of her early hits, recording with Bloodshy and Avant, with the virtues of another firm acoustic rhythm guitar foundation, a great spy-guitar line in the chorus, a swirl of “Bollywood”-type strings, and a crisp backbeat in a spunky, tuneful number aimed at a certain someone: “I’m addicted to you/But you’re toxic.” Could it be … Justin? Regardless of its target, the song — with a strong, throaty vocal — is itself powerfully addicting, and could end up the album’s biggest hit.

On the opposite end of the vocal spectrum, “Brave New Girl” has a charming new wave, retro-electronic feel, with heavily processed vocals, and a very strong chorus. I love it, and while it may be too breezy for radio these days, it would have fit in very nicely on an album by, say, Madonna, back in the ’80s.

Nice job Britney, Madonna still has great taste.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Sandra Smallson

    Ha Ha Eric. Tell me something that I dont know. Like you’ve got backstage passes you’ll be sending my way. Meanwhile, was there any need to repost that ridiculous and senseless article of yours again? I can’t imagine you enjoy showing your flaws. Just when I was beginning to think you might have some sense afterall. I guess if it pleases you to do so, oh well, we all must get our kicks some way. I’m done with picking it apart as it can be even by a 2 yr old:)

    By the way, is that the 2nd tour pic? Or just an old pic? I suggest you find a way to go watch Madonna. Sadly, I am not a member of ICON so I could not get pre-sale tickets. I was reluctant to join cos I felt it was being run by the incompetents at music today. Just my luck that I miss out on pre-sale. I hope to get my tix on Friday morning. Fingers crossed.

  • Eric Olsen

    The article has not been posted here until now. It praises both damsels, though apparently not sufficiently for your taste. I honestly can’t imagine what you would object to, apart from the line about Madonna not being blessed with great natural talent, which besides being true, is in the context of a compliment about what she has done with that talent. Oh well.

  • Eric Olsen

    The pic is from Vanity Fair ’02, btw.

  • http://be-jazz.blogspot.com mwanji

    Toxic has “with a strong, throaty vocal”??? I like the song (but the video looks like they didn’t have much of an SFX budget), but the vocals are heavily processed – in a cool way, at times.

  • Eric Olsen

    Strong for her anyway! The vocals are certainly processed but all her vocals are processed. More importantly, did I call tha or what? That was written in November and HAS become a huge hit. I rock and am not ashamed to say so.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Aah, vanity fair, I think I have that issue, must check. Confused me cos its similar to the kinda look of the tour pic.

    Eric, I am not getting into that discussion with you again. What is true and is not true in your opinion on music as I am sure I have stated before, is irrelevant to me. I don’t hold you in high regard when it comes to your articles and opinions on music. So, I’m afraid that you have no credibility on the issue in my opinion.

    But thats just my opinion and you no doubt feel the same about my opinions. So, we must agree to disagree on this, sweetie:)

  • duane

    Referring to Eric’s post, Sarah says, “I’m done with picking it apart as it can be even by a 2 yr old” (she had one of those goofy smiley faces, too). I had my 2-year-old nephew Skippy take a look at Eric’s article, and Skippy says “It rocks, baby” (actually, it sounded more like “ih wocks, beebee,” but no matter). So, Sarah, I’m afraid we must once again disagree with you.

    One of these days, Madonna will have to reinvent herself and become a musician.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Duane, and a special shoutout to the neph!

  • Sandra Smallson

    Duane, thank you for your predictable contribution. I’m sorry to shock you but I am not going to argue with you about this. Been there, done that. I am delighted that M is not a musician in your opinion. I think you are one of the more foolish people on this site as I have said from day one so your opinion on anything is a nonsense. You are entitled to it but it means nothing. So, thank you for the compliment. Clearly your nephew at 2 is already foolish, Shame he could not break the pattern.

    I dont know what the big deal is here. Eric, you can keep writing your nonsensical drivel and parading as some sort of responsible, sensbile music journalist, but let me assure you that you are not. Thats my opinion. You’ll be amazed how many people share my opinion, even a journalist with almost same views as you on some things but not with the same level of ignorance and irresponsibility when putting it to print. He just can’t be bothered to write on here. So why not leave Madonna alone and worry about how you can reinvent yourself as a respectable journalist. Duane, can just reinvent himself as a person with a brain and stop trying so hard to feel amongst. If you notice I ignore you. But once there is Madonna or Sandra Smallson, you rear your ugly head. You must have a permanent hard on and may desire a threesome. On behalf of both let me assure you we would rather sleep with Ellen Degeneres.

    I watched a recent interview and she said she’s been in this business 20 years, she has nothing to prove, those who do not think she is a credible musician/artist never thought she was from day one and those who think she is have always thought she was or either have come to think. Either way, she will do what she wants and believes in her own talent and people can keep on talking. That’s how I feel now after the first time I joined this site. She has nothing to prove. So why should I waste my time arguing about her with a collection of narrow minded self important, self righteous u know whats..neither of us will convince each other. Let’s move on. Hopefully, this will disappear.

    Thanks anyway for info on the tour, though I knew that already:)

  • Eric Olsen

    Sandra, back to the same old: don’t be such a flagrant idiot. The only necesary “reinvention” I am aware of is how you deal with people who simply disagree with you. Do not call me “irresponsible” just because you do not agree with my opinion on matters of taste. Your disjointed thrashing over such things is a grim alloy of logorrhea and masturbation.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Eric, go and read Tom Johnson’s post. It is for “critics” like you. Though he did not mean it for you, I think those he refers to are made of the same ilk as your irresponsible self. I wish I was calling you irresponsible because you did not agree with me. Sadly, its worse than that. I am calling you irresponsible because it is my opinion that you are an irresponsible journalist for all the many reasons mentioned in that pitchfork media post. You suffer from all those issues.

    I am sure if you are true to yourself, you will realise that my lack of respect for you as a music journalist clearly does not stem from the fact that we have different tastes in music. Let me assure you, that, that is not the case. Afterall, like you said, you like Madonna. You have even confessed to liking some of her sons, so what on earth are you on about tastes for? LOL. If it makes you sleep better at night to think that I call you irresponsible based on diff tastes, then sweet dreams darling. In the cold light of day, I call you all those things because from your articles I have read, that is how I see you.

    I dont know why I am even bothering arguing with you about your abilities or lack there of as a journalist. It’s not like you are a well known respected journalist anyway. It’s not like you’ve reached the pinnacle of your profession. You are probably only regarded as a journalist on this site, in your household and the rare occassion when you get a shot at mainstream media publications. So really, your opinions lack bite on any level and you do not deserve or warrant teh attention I am giving you on this matter. This is clearly a waste of energy on both our parts. Why don’t we just move on. We were getting along just fine, I thought..:)

  • Sandra Smallson

    typos..teh=the…sons=songs

  • Eric Olsen

    Keep digging Sandra, your pit of ignorance and foolishness looms ever higher over your head. You know nothing about me, my background, my accomplishments, or my status. You don’t know what I do, what I have done, who I am, or apparently, much of anything at all.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    So why not leave Madonna alone and worry about how you can reinvent yourself as a respectable journalist.

    Jesus. Not that Eric needs my help, but just what is the deal? You make this sort of personal attack because you disagree with his opinion of MADONNA? Like, could there be anything more ridiculous?

  • Sandra Smallson

    Eric: You know nothing about me, my background, my accomplishments, or my status. You don’t know what I do, what I have done, who I am, or apparently, much of anything at all.

    Sandra: And I am the better for it.

    Hit a nerve didn’t I? The man doth protest too much.

    BHW, what is even more ridiculous is you jumping in here clearly misunderstanding the surrounding story of this spat. I am sorry if you find me ridiculous but that’s what I think about Eric and have thought that about him for some time now. It’s not news to him so I dont know what the current over reaction is about.

    I am satisfied that Eric knows and I know that my feelins on his views on music matters do not rest solely on his opinions on Madonna. If you or anyone else want to believe that, or if Eric wants to believe that instead of searching within and seeing his faults thats up to him. We are all entitled to our opinions. He thinks I know nothing about anything, I think he is all I have said above and worse. What’s the big deal?!

  • Sandra Smallson

    Bhw, atleast you should have done me the honour of being unpredictable:) Comment 10 by Eric is not a personal attack ? But you jump on my observation on his lack of ability as a personal attack? Please, spare me the misguided indignation. We’ve all been here before.

  • Eric Olsen

    Sandra, I have tried to be friendly with you and treat you as something other than a jabbering loon. I now see the error of my ways and have reinvented myself as someone who will not make the same mistake again.

  • Sandra Smallson

    My heart bleeds. Now, be courageous enough to take the 1st step towards reinventing yourself as a journalist of any kind infact.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    What Madonna really needs are SONGS. When was the last time she wrote a real song? I can’t think of any since Dick Tracy.

    One more big slut routine isn’t going to help her. For one, she’s already long since done that to death. Also, there’s going to be diminishing returns on that stuff with age.

    She and Britney got some publicity with their silly stage kiss, but so what? It was really more a source of MOCKERY than anything positive for either career- and deservedly so.

    Did I mention that Madonna needs to write some SONGS if she’s going to be, you know, a MUSICIAN? No amount of hype, no fancy costume changes, no lesbian schtick will cover for the fact that she hasn’t written a real song in a dozen years.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    you talkin’ about what she’s written or what she’s recorded?

    there were some good songs on Ray of Light.

    …don’t know if she wrote ‘em though.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    There was a SONG on Ray of Light? I guess I haven’t listened to the whole thing, so maybe something slipped by me. The song or two I heard didn’t sound like anything, but I can’t say I listened real close.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    …can’t wait till she comes out with her EC covers record: Imperial Bedroom.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Oh no, not the Madonna take again.

    Every time Madonna comes up I’m drawn to the opinion that I haven’t heard anything from her since the 80’s that I really care for.

    Unfortunately she doesn’t believe in sharing much of her newer music with the legal online music streaming venues (Rhapsody, Napster, etc) and there’s no way I’m not interested in dropping $10-15 on something from her. I mean, she was “OK” in the 80’s, even had a few good songs, but fast forward to 2004 and I don’t see her relevance any more except as playing her old stuff.

    The Britney tonguing was interesting, though, but it didn’t have much to do with music, nor was the song very good IMO.

    Of course, in Madonna’s defense, I can say the same about many other bands from this era, that are still clinging onto the 80’s.

    With that said, it’s one thing to passionately stick up for an artist, but when someone starts telling a good writer he is nothing more than a hack when there are thousands of articles to factually disprove this theory, it does look like that person is a “jabbering loon” and I might add: a fan with an unhealthy obsession.

    Wouldn’t it be more polite to simply agree to disagree?

    Now I will expect to be flamed.

  • Sandra Smallson

    There you’ve been found out Al Barger. You yourself carried away by the “hype” you so dislike:) Only for one to come to find that you, and I QUOTE ” Can’t say I listened real close”:) to the ray of light Album. So, how can you confidently state that she has not written a song in 12 years? It’s criticism like that, that causes people like me to respond. It’s not in whether you like an Artist or not. It’s baseless criticism which is so easy to spot such as yours.

    Mark, she did co-write most of the songs on ROL.

    I have no problem with most of Madonna’s antics Al. I see some of them as all part of the show. The fact that she burned crosses in the Like a Prayer video did not make the song bad. The fact that she was kissing women in the Justify my love video, did not make the song bad. If she likes being provocative and pushing people’s buttons then let her be. You don’t have to like it. But to leap from there and say she hasn’t written a song in 12 years really tarnishes your opinion and makes it not worth taking on board.

    For me, some of the publics perception of Madonna always seems like the same problem Pete sampras had. Sampras in my opinion is the greatest tennis player ever. Some never thought so because they found him boring, he wasn’t charismatic and they refuse to accept the completeness of his game because his serve was huge. They forgot that he had every shot in the book. They say he had no backhand. He had a backhand but compared to the rest of his arsenal it was a relative weakness but it was a good shot. He had a whole arsenal of shots but because his serve was huge, his critics often claimed he was all about the serve. You do not win 14 slams and remain number 1 for 6 yrs in a row if all you’ve got is a big serve.

    Same thing with Madonna. She has written and co-written some pop classics that live on and WILL live on. She has remained at the top and/or thereabouts worldwide of her profession for 20 years. She has sold approximately 200 million albums. Her accomplishments are endless and she is no doubt an Icon. She has been in the biz for 20 years. You dont achieve that sort of longevity if all you do is play a big slut routine or lesbian antics. You and I know that Al.
    Its been 20 years. If that was all she was good for, she wouldn’t have lasted this long. But because she was a woman and rightly or wrongly thought that to be heard in this business and to stand her ground she had to elevate herself from the norm even if it meant doing things that would outrage the old boys club she did those things. What does she get for it? people like you who are unable to see beyond that and see that this is a musician who has longevity, has written and performed classic songs and is still experimental with her music contrary to what some of the press say.

    I dont say she is the greatest singer or dancer or writer, etc etc. but to say that a woman who has been in this business for 20 years having written classic songs and performed them the world over and is known as the most succesful female artist ever is not a musician in your mind, or is only good for self-promotion or whatever nonsense Madonna critics always come up with for whatever warped reason, really beggars belief and belittles your mind. Nobody has to like anybody, but credit must be given to where credit is due. If Madonna were a man, there would be no one saying she has no talent. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

    There’s enough music in the world for us all. Appreciate the one you want to appreciate:)

  • Sandra Smallson

    Tdavid, am I not entitled to think that Eric is a hack? Must I think what YOU think? Must I like the articles you like? It always amazes me how you all are so blinded to your double standards. You say I call eric a hack because he disagrees with me. Yet Eric who a few days ago was two topics from calling me a genius has now decided I am a jabbering loon who knows nothing about anything BECAUSE I do not agree with him. oooh, great critic eric, you great critic u! This is clearly proof that you dont allow your personal feelings to cloud your judgment;) LOL..Puhleeze. I have asked him to read Tom Johnson’s post on the pitchfork media people. That’s the first step to healing himself. He is not the only one. Al I can’t say I have listened closely but I have an opinion Barger may need to read it too. Everybody needs to read it.

    You, Tdavid, have called me a fan with an unhealthy obssession because I think Eric is not worth a minute. Do you see the double standards here? lol..I doubt it. Agree to disagree? We long since did that and if you are so interested, look up other topics, you will see that I do not rate Erics opinions on many things. So this fantasy you all have to pin EVERYTHING on our disagreement about Madonna is really amusing.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    No, actually, Sandra, here’s what I’m saying:

    What have you written or edited that makes you some sort of professional writing-related critic? You post like you’ve worked for some major publishing house for years. Here’s just some of what you wrote:

    Eric, you can keep writing your nonsensical drivel and parading as some sort of responsible, sensbile music journalist, but let me assure you that you are not. Thats my opinion. You’ll be amazed how many people share my opinion, even a journalist with almost same views as you on some things but not with the same level of ignorance and irresponsibility when putting it to print. He just can’t be bothered to write on here.

    This “journalist” friend of yours “can’t be bothered” to do the one thing he is paid to do: write? Amazing journalist he must be! LOL

    Yes, you are entitled to your opinion of Eric’s piece and any of his past articles; you are totally within your right to criticize and disagree with Eric’s opinion. But I don’t think evidence supports what you are saying about him as a professional, that’s where you get derailed.

    You may not like his writing as a reader, but on a professional level, I don’t think you have a leg to stand on with some of your commentary. Fine, just say you don’t like his writing and don’t agree with him, and don’t like him, whatever, but don’t try and bring unsubstantiated third parties in to make your point for you because that’s beyond lame.

    He is not a hack. He has credentials. You are the one who doesn’t, capiche? I think he was baiting you a little bit with mentioning your name, but I think he was also poking in good fun and you can’t be teased about your blind Madonna love without going crazy.

    Now if you do have some writing-related credentials, then please produce them and this so called “double standard” of mine might actually make some sense. Until that time, I will continue to believe that I hit the nail squarely on the head and you are just flaming me as you have flamed others around here.

    So flame on, again, Sandra. I’m totally expecting you to go postal on me like you did before.

    Leopards and loons don’t change their spots.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks TD, I appreciate your carrying the flame so ardently. I, unfortunately, can’t pursue the topic at the moment because I am preparing drivel to foist upon a major media outlet.

    And great last line!

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    The fact that she burned crosses in the Like a Prayer video did not make the song bad. The fact that she was kissing women in the Justify my love video, did not make the song bad.

    And they didn’t make the songs good, either.

    I think Madonna has very marginal musical talents. But she has great business acumen and marketing smarts, as well as an incredibly strong work ethic. She is entirely self-made in a male-dominated industry, and she deserves credit for that.

    However, her longevity in the industry has to do with popularity, which is not necessarily the same thing as quality, musically speaking.

  • duane

    Sarah invokes Pete Sampras’ tennis career as a sports analog to Madonna’s music career when she says, “You do not win 14 slams and remain number 1 for 6 yrs in a row if all you’ve got is a big serve.” Sarah, this is entirely fallacious reasoning. When Sampras wins, he wins by an objective criterion, namely, the score. It doesn’t matter how his hair looks, or if he has a flair for color coordination, or how many shoe commercials he appears in. He is successful at tennis because he is good at tennis. Our opinion of his ability must be consistent with his win-loss record.

    OK, that should be easy enough for you to understand. Now, next point. You think Madonna has a “score,” too, namely, her record sales. You want to equate that with her ability as a musician. That’s your error. If there were some kind of contest, one-on-one, where her musical ability were pitted against other musicians, she would suffer countless humiliating defeats. Most high-school marching band members would “wipe the court” with her.

    And yet, Madonna sells records. We know that. That’s the end result of marketing, connections, a good business sense, a nose for style and trends, and, most importantly, IMAGE. She has the financial wherewithal to hire good writers, producers, and musicians. I don’t deny that she’s successful. I maintain only that her success is not strongly correlated with her musical aptitiude. Allow us to respect Madonna as a successful businesswoman, while acknowledging that she is a musical weakling.

    And I would really recommend that you try to keep a lid on your penchant for personal criticism. Although you feign indifference, your long-winded posts suggest otherwise. Why not try to preserve what little credibility you have left and play nice for a change?

  • duane

    I see that I am echoing bhw. Hat’s off to you, bhw.

  • duane

    I see that I am echoing bhw. Good call, bhw.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Thank you twice, duane.

    If nothing else, Madonna is a cultural lightening rod.

    Now if Eric would just hurry up and finish “searching within and seeing his faults” ….

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    duane – I like your points, but I have to ask: am I missing something here? Who is “Sarah”? Do you mean Sandra?

  • duane

    TDavid, yeah. Sorry Sandra.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Tdavid, I guess you and your cohorts are all musicians that is why you all have legs to stand on when you tell me what musical ability Madonna or any other artsit has. Ofcourse, you are all speaking from a professional point of view because you are all musicians? and Politicians, and filmmakers, etc etc. LOL. I can not believe you people type these things out and dont see how foolish you sound.

    Eric Olsen is an irresponsible journalist and should re read the pitchfork media post over and over again so that in his next polluted piece via the main stream media he may become more self aware. Thank goodness he is a complete nobody. Just imagine if he was of any significance in the broad span of things?! What a travesty. Same goes for a number of you. End of story.

    The rest of you flatter yourselves if you think I am going to argue with you about Madonna as a musician again. Why argue with people who have set views on things and who labour under misunderstandings and misconceptions before they even type the first word. Madonna is a musician whether you like it or not. If she does not deserve to be one in your view, too bad. Live with it. She more than deserves to be one in my view and in the view of many others. Diff strokes for diff folks. I leave this discussion. You can all continue writing about Madonna if you like. The level of stupidity is as always, overwhelming but what’s new.

  • Sandra Smallson

    And duane, can u stop stalking me? Why follow me around this site? Geez. Do u have no shame? I have been ignoring you and yet you insist on following me everywhere seeking my attention. Take that appendage BHW with you when you disappear.

  • duane

    Good comeback. I stand corrected.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Um, duane? Does Sandra know something I don’t know about us?

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Welcome to the Stalker Genitalia Club, Duane!

    I was introduced to Sandra’s World (see #39) a couple months ago. Party time, excellent! Excellent!

    Seriously, it’s odd how Sandra sort of reminds me of Madonna’s music career.

    Now maybe I should go on and on for two paragraphs about how stupid “all” of us are and silly and well really none of us know who we are because this is just one long, long, long ass run on sentence with no purpose but all of you don’t get it because I’m not going to stay here and argue with any of you, even if you write back then I’ll still say Madonna is the best and you all have small packages and are stalking me and need to get lifes and I love this site but I think you are all clueless and Eric’s writing sucks and I know because I have a friend who is a journalist who said so and Phillip doesn’t understand religion and I just can’t talk to any of you because you keep following me around here and I’m going to keep writing until I’ve made my point at least ten times, no wait, make that fifteen times because if you don’t like Madonna you all must have problems having sex and I’ll just keep writing and maybe this is really just a keyboard exercise and —

    (gasp)

    Madonna and Sandra in a tree …

    Add “new material needed” to the shopping list for both of them.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Oh, and you too, bhw! Sorry, don’t want to leave anybody, male or female, out of The Club.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    Hey Guys,go easy on simple Sandra.She is
    the best comedian at BC.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I tend to want to be nice to you Ms Sandra, but my patience with women claiming or implying that they are being “stalked” online, and particularly on this site wears REAL thin, real quick. That crap rates just about as abusive and dishonest as Diva’s constant whining about “racism.”

    This is a public space with public comments. If you make strong, obnoxious comments like yours in this thread, you’re going to get mocked and criticized.

    Expect it and accept it, or shut your piehole. Usually you have something interesting and worthwhile to add to the conversation, but you just seem to have kind of lost your mind here.

  • duane

    Thanks for the welcome, TDavid. I take it I’m in good company.

  • Lomu

    Madonna has been voted one of the 50 greatest and most influential musicians of all time by a panel of acclaimed musicians. Bono, Chrissie Hynde, Elvis Costello and 52 others.

    They got her most vocal fan to write something on her. By the looks of it they should have searched you out Sandra.

    I am narrow minded. I like Jazz. Miles Davis type jazz. I do not like the new breed of jazz musicians. I do not like pop music or rap or r&b or country music.

    I am not disingenuos in any sense to say Madonna is not a musician. I do not own any of her Albums except her Immaculate Collection and the ballad compilation. Mostly for the wife but I do enjoy some of it. I would attend her concert if the tickets did not cost a whopping $300. The wife is attending the concert. She is taking our twin daughters. That is $900. If I went along, it would be $1200. I have a mortgage to pay off.

    Sandra, I like your post on comment 35. We can all give opinions on anything to everything. It may not be a professional opinion but it is an opinion. A professional opinion has been given by 55 of Madonna’s fellow musicians and I am sure you have a smile on your face like the cat that got the cream. Maybe you do not care what the bloggers are saying. You may see the RollingStones article as a statement of fact as far as you are concerned. Check it out.

    I am impressed that Ms Smallson took the high road in this discussion and left you guys to it. It really was an unnecessary discussion.

    For the record, I am not on Sandra’s side or any side for that matter. These are just my thoughts on this topic. I simply found it an amusing coincidence that after seeing this topic for the last few days on this site, I should stumble upon RollingStones with musicians calling Madonna a musician and rightly so for Pete sake.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I am impressed that Ms Smallson took the high road in this discussion

    Lomu, I can’t tell if you’re tongue is in your cheek or not! If it’s not, then that’s freakin’ hil-ar-ious.

  • duane

    Yes, Lomu, let’s reminisce and take a little stroll down Sandra’s “high road.” Shall we? Come along, Lomu.

    “But once there is Madonna or Sandra Smallson, you rear your ugly head. You must have a permanent hard on and may desire a threesome. On behalf of both let me assure you we would rather sleep with Ellen Degeneres.”

    “I can not believe you people type these things out and dont see how foolish you sound.”

    “Eric Olsen is an irresponsible journalist….”

    “Thank goodness he is a complete nobody.”

    “The level of stupidity is as always, overwhelming….”

    “And duane, can u stop stalking me?”

    “Take that appendage BHW with you when you disappear.”

    “…was there any need to repost that ridiculous and senseless article of yours again?”

    That’s what you call the high road? Then you must live among subterranean troglodytes.

  • Eric Olsen

    Yes, thank goodness reasoned, respectful discourse has risen above hyperbolic insult.

    I hear Madonna and Britney are going to do a small club acoustic tour next ….

    WHEN HELL FUCKING FREEZES OVER

  • Shark

    my two cents:

    Dick Tracy album = highlight of Madonna’s recording career; she shoulda stuck to doing Betty Boop. Seriously, that stuff was great.

    Lomu – Miles Davis? Jazz? Isn’t that …narcotic music?

    BTW: The poll you cited is probably excellent proof that contemporaries are pisspoor judges of the historical value of anything that occurs during their time.

  • Lomu

    Duane do not involve me in your little man petty tiff with Sandra. I can read and I know what she has written. I know what you have written. I do not know why you and Tdavid feel the need to research the archives of Sandra’s posts on Blog. It seems you have far more time for her than she has for you guys. It may not be how it is but it is how it seems.

    I am impressed by Sandra leaving the argument when she did. She did take the high road while you all carried on like little boys researching her past posts and trying to see who could write the wittier comments amongst yourselves.

    Eric you should be bigger than this. You have been unable to rise above it. If Ms Smallson thinks you are an irresponsible journalist, it is her opinion. I do not know the rightness or wrongness of it. I did not post on this topic to involve myself in that. All I can say to you is that your recent post seems to substantiate some of the doubts she has raised about you as a journalist.

    You call Sandra a jabbering loon, flagrant idiot who knows nothing about anything. She says you are an irresponsible journalist who is a nobody. It seems you are very affected by what she has said to join this little men gathering of saying silly things.

    Are you trying to bait her? I hope she does not pay any attention to any of you. I think this site has enough of little men running around trying to belittle people who do not see their point of view. Shark calls Macdiva, Mcdemon. The rest of you throw your fair share of insults at Smallson but once she responds it is like she is the only one who has thrown hyperbolic insults.

    I don’t know if the Madonna and Britney club tour was a joke. Whatever it was, I do not see how you can not see it only shows that there just might be some truth to Smallson saying you are like Pitchfork media.

    A Madonna fan doubts your journalistic clout for a variety of reasons. You start poking fun at Madonna. It belittles you.

  • Lomu

    Shark, anyone who thinks Jazz is narcotic music and can not appreciate Miles davis is a waste of my time. Moreover, anyone who thinks the highlight of Madonna’s career was the Dick tracy Album reads from a different page of the hymn sheet. You know what I’m saying!

    I think it is fair to say that the reasonable man would rather take the opinions of contemporaries than the opinions of little men or a failed stand up comic. I have said enough. Exactly the reason I do not contribute often to this site. I am likely to become one of you. That is nothing to be proud of.

  • Eric Olsen

    Lomu, you and Sandra deserve each other. I will leave it at that.

    The only reason I was drawn into any of this is that I wrote a postive review of both Madonna and Britney – you can read it above – and she behaved as if I had slagged them both to hell and back. She has said nothing whatsoever about any of this that makes any sense at all.

    Since I write weekly for one of the largest media outlets on the web, I get mail all the time disagreeing with my opinion on this or that. I have zero problem with disagreement – it’s just opinion – but I do not have people – never, not once – attacking my integrity as a writer, nor denying that I have something to say, and then never – not once – substantiating any of her accusations.

    When people show up and shit on the living room rug, at first we are astonished, then we are angry, then when they won’t clean it up we suggest they get the fuck out of the house.

    This is the second time this individual has taken a big dump, for no apparent reason, right in he middle of the house. How do you think we should respond?

  • Shark

    Lomu, you need a friggin’ humor transplant.

    Coupla things:

    1) you jumped into BC by insulting people because they insult people. How brilliant is that?

    2) I was listening to jazz when you were in diapers, son.

    3) I would say a “reasonable” man would ignore contemporary popularity polls when trying to estimate the historical impact of a living artist. In 50 years, Madonna won’t be more than a minor footnote in history — and only then, because of her marketing skills.

    4) I have said enough. Exactly the reason I do not contribute often to this site. I am likely to become one of you.
    You and your tightly wound sphincter will be sorely missed.

    Seeya!

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Get a sense of humor, Lomu. You’ll live a lot longer. Take a Holiday, stop acting Like A Virgin.

    When it comes to encountering new characters on the web, I take about .0000001% of the flamebait that I read from them in the comments section seriously.

    This is not saying that I don’t remember or recall when folks like these Material Girls say or do humorous things. You might improperly label this “research” but I call this simply having a memory and holding Everybody accountable In This Life for their prior words and actions.

    Don’t You Know that Sandra and the Diva are missing a career in comedy?! They are clearly Borderline.

    As for your “little men” comment, isn’t that supposed to be Sandra’s line? Love Makes The World Go Round.

    (rimshot)

    Yeah, yeah, Amazing, I won’t quit my day job. Here’s a road map to taking the high road.

    Promise To Try.

  • Shark

    TDavid, that was hilarious!

    I was — dare I say — LOL.

    “…stop acting like a virgin”

    Oddly enough, truer words were never spoken.

  • Lomu

    Eric, there are many unsubstantiated opinions on Blog. Some of them could be yours. Some of them could be mine. Maybe Sandra did not feel it was a positive review. Whatever the case, it is her opinion and she may think it is substantiated. You know who you are and you know what you are. You should not allow the opinions of a reader reduce you to substantiating some of her accusations. Which with all due respect, I think you have done in some of your comments on this thread. I am sorry if I caused you any offence. I did not mean to. I am giving my opinion of this particular thread as I see it.

    Shark, you were in diapers 47 years ago? You must be all of a 100 years old now. Well done. I do not see where I have insulted anyone. Please bring it to my notice. Madonna has been around since 1983 if the date on the remastered copy of her first Album is to be believed. 50 years from now, I think she will be far more than a foot note. In her life she has already accomplished so much, a living legend and in the Guiness Book of Records to the delight of the wife. The deeds of all humans are often over exaggerated after they are gone. The next generation will be over-stating Madonna as an Artist as we over-state every other Artist that has gone before. I do not know of any dead Artist who did not suffer the sort of criticism you give Madonna when they were alive. Now, they are exalted. All the Artists that have made an impact will be over-stated when they are gone. History teaches us that. You are wrong there, ma boy.

    TDavid, well done. I am impressed by your knowledge of Madonna song titles. The wife assures me Promise to Try is a gem. I will look for it. Thank you for the heads up. Sorry. I had to call the wife to identify some of the song titles I could not decipher. If you had to do research on the titles, that is more impressive. It gives credence to my statement that you have a lot of time on your hands. For Sandra and Madonna. Lucky girls.

  • Lomu

    Sandra, I know you must scan through this thread. You must be curious as to what is being said. Your will power is inspiring. I invite you to join in the merriment of this thread. I’ll give you an incentive. The attitude of the old men is turning me into a Madonna fan.

    I have borrowed my daughter’s collection. I am listening to her Cds. I may pay the $300 for her tour. I am reading archives of articles and interviews. I am beginning to think I am doing the Madonna elective in Women studies I hear they have in an Amsterdam University. I always wondered why Germaine Greer and the other feminists were always at each others throats about the influence of Madonna’s Art. Talk about cultural impact.

    If my business partner ever finds out what I am doing with my time off. It is quite fascinating and interesting. How she has grown as an Artist and steered her own course inspite of the people trying to influence her career choices. It is a good thing none of our friends here can do anything about it. There is a lot to be respected about the girl from Detroit.

    I will quote Lyrics not titles.

    ” This world is not so kind
    people trap your mind
    it’s so hard to find
    someone to admire

    It’s no good when you’re misunderstood, so why should I care, what the world thinks of me, won’t let a stranger give me a social disease”…Madonna (Nobody Knows me. 2003)

    She must be clairvoyant. Those lyrics suit the discussions on this thread down to the T. You have a convert. My wife and daughters are eternally grateful. Drop us a line. You must see you are dearly missed.

  • Shark

    Lomu, I thought you took your ball and went home?

    Shark, you were in diapers 47 years ago? You must be all of a 100 years old now. Well done.

    I’d respond, but it doesn’t make any sense. Math much?

    I do not know of any dead Artist who did not suffer the sort of criticism you give Madonna when they were alive.

    That’s because they were ignored and/or forgotten by history. Jeezus.

    Lomu, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, but I’ll kiss yer ass if Madonna records are played with any consistency in 50 years.

    (Other than as nostalgia for somebody like “the wife”.)

  • Shark

    THEY’RE HARDLY PLAYED NOW, fer chrissakes.

  • Eric Olsen

    I’ll agree I should not have allowed myself to be baited.

    Madonna has value on several levels: marketing and iconography, yes, but her core body of work will stand the test of time. Whatever her status as a “musician,” she is an auteur and has always been in charge of her own music and career. I begrudge her nothing.

    Only a mad cow would read the review above and not take it as wholly positive, particularly about Madonna.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Oh, Madonna’s records will get SOME interest still in 50 years, but not as much as, say, the Monkees- a manufactured pop construct with much better SONGS.

  • Eric Olsen

    I like the Monkees just fine, but Madonna is in another universe of significance altogether. The fact that most of her music is derived from dance music styles in no way reduces her importance. Madonna will be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as soon as she is eligible – the Monkees aren’t and never will be (for what that’s worth).

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    A “Madonna elective in Women studies?” Oh God, what a screamingly pretentious load of crap. What is there to STUDY? This sounds very much like an excuse for some faux-intellectual jackasses to sit around making out how her self-prostitution constitutes some Profound Feminist Statement. Wow, she’s been her OWN pimp. I’m impressed.

    Perhaps a marketing class based on her career might be useful.

  • Shark

    Let’s see…

    Head vs Swept Away

    Ca-ching! Slam dunk for the Monkees!

    heh.

    BTW: regarding Lomu’s thesis, polls, R&R Hall of Fame, contemporaries’ judgements, etc:

    In art, the Paris Salon might be an equivalent place to look; many, if not most of the ‘great’ artists of the time were enshrined/accepted by the Salon competitions and were later either forgotten or marginalized as sentimental, commercial hacks by scholars, collectors, fans, and historians. And it turns out many of the painters rejected by the Salon are now some of the biggest names in art history.

    Similar things happened w/many 19th century writers who were lionized in their day — and currently can’t be located on a bookstore shelf.

    Yer turn, Lomu.

  • Lomu

    Shark, do you have a radio? What sort of music do you hear on the radio these days? If you had a radio you would not have made that comment. We do have to disagree on this one. You are beginning to stretch yourself out on what to say and your opinions are sounding thinner and thinner. I can not remember the last time I heard Miles davis on radio. I can not remember the last time I heard the Beatles on radio. Matter of fact, I can not remember the last time I heard Prince on radio. Radio plays hip-hop now, Shark.

    Listen when they are playing the oldies. Try Z100 or Rick Fox. You will hear so much Madonna you will be tapping your fingers to the melodies and you will know the words soon enough. If you are the age you claim, you will be dead in 50 years. Your children will tell you about it in the afterlife. Ah, as we speak, there is Shirley Bassey covering Madonna’s “You’ll see”. Never liked Dame Shirley Bassey. I think I have had enough of this discussion as well.

    Eric, that is the right attitude if I may say so. It is strictly a matter of opinion what you feel about the status of someone in their profession. The only reason I joined this discussion is because of someone saying Madonna is not a musician. She fulfills the requirements, she is one. What you think of her ability as one is entirely up to you. Your opinion is not fact. If your opinion was fact we would not be having this discussion at all.

    You do not hear people arguing if Clinton was the President in 1992. He was the president. That is a fact. What is not a fact, is what personal opinion you hold about Madonna or Clinton. The problem is with people who fail to see that opinions are not facts.

  • Shark

    Radio?

    What the hell does that have to do with anything?!

    Lomu, I’m sorry, but your lack of logic and/or an articulate point makes me feel like I’m debating a tree. We’re wasting time; we should just leave it at:

    * You love Madonna and think she’s going to have a really significant impact on future generations.

    * I ‘like’ Madonna and think that in the overall scheme of musical history, she’ll be a footnote… or more likely, a photograph.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Madonna? Ain’t that the bint who got cuffed for rubbing her arse in Toronto? And she has the nerve to attempt it again when the Brass Rail and Jilly’s is right down the street?

    Wot? there’s music involved? Isn’t there always music with peelers?

  • Sandra Smallson

    Lomu, you have been good to read:) Ofcourse I have scanned through sometimes. I just can not be bothered to join in the “merriment”:) Still can’t be bothered. As Mr Olsen has told you, we’ve been there and done that. As far as substance to my opinions on Mr Olsen, been there, done that. You have read Pitchfork media post? If you haven’t, please try. When you do, connect the dots with my accusations and I do not think it will be rocket science. Trust me. On the other hand, let him tell you what “major media outlet” he writes for weekly. Try and keep up with them and make up your own mind. I am not here to influence anybodys opinions on anybody. Not on Olsen. Not on M. I certainly was not looking for more Madonna fans. She has fansites I can visit if I want. She has more than enough. Still, if you have a new found appreciation, all’s well that ends well:) It’s a gift I have, i achieve things without trying;)

    My contribution is to tell you that the Album version of Nobody Knows me does not hold a candle to the version in the Remixed&Revisited EP. It’s called the old school mix..ask your wife or daughters if they’ve got the CD. Listen to that mix. It is fantastic. Enjoy:)

  • Lomu

    In art, the Paris Salon might be an equivalent place to look; many, if not most of the ‘great’ artists of the time were enshrined/accepted by the Salon competitions and were later either forgotten or marginalized as sentimental, commercial hacks by scholars, collectors, fans, and historians. And it turns out many of the painters rejected by the Salon are now some of the biggest names in art history.

    You have made my point for me, Sharky old boy! Dead Artists who were criticised in their day and now exalted.
    Let us leave it.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    And in Bizarro World were all am right:

    Lomu, you have been good to read:) Ofcourse I have scanned through sometimes. I just can not be bothered to join in the “merriment”:) Still can’t be bothered. As Mr Olsen has told you, we’ve been there and done that. As far as substance to my opinions on Mr Olsen, been there, done that. You have read Pitchfork media post? If you haven’t, please try. When you do, connect the dots with my accusations and I do not think it will be rocket science. Trust me. On the other hand, let him tell you what “major media outlet” he writes for weekly. Try and keep up with them and make up your own mind. I am not here to influence anybodys opinions on anybody. Not on Olsen. Not on CL. I certainly was not looking for more Courtney Love fans. She has fansites I can visit if I want. She has more than enough. Still, if you have a new found appreciation, all’s well that ends well:) It’s a gift I have, i achieve things without trying;)

  • http://leannbrazil.tripod.com/index.html Leandro Brazil

    Hi From Brazil!!!!!!!

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Sandra Smallson said: Eric, go and read Tom Johnson’s post. It is for “critics” like you. Though he did not mean it for you, I think those he refers to are made of the same ilk as your irresponsible self.

    I wish I’d seen this a few days ago, so I could set this straight when more people would see it. My post had NOTHING to do with Eric, who is and always has been a very fair critic and I really don’t appreciate something I wrote being twisted into meaning that.

    Sandra, Jesus, take a Doan’s and relax for once. Madonna will survive a few people not praising her as the musical messiah you seem to think she is.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Tom Johnson, I think YOU need to take a chill pill and take the cape off. Goodness gracious!

    CAN YOU NOT READ? I clearly said in that quote that you have responded to..that “THOUGH HE(being YOU) did not mean it for him (being Eric) I think..(I being ME, ME = not you = not Eric = ME)he is of sme ilk with said people you criticise. What you posted has not been twisted. Did I change the words? I simply applied it to a journalist that I=ME=NOT YOU felt had the same traits as those you described. What you think about Eric as a journalist is irrelevant to me. I think the complete opposite.

    Now, I am sure Eric can survive a few people not praising him like the paragon of journalism that you seem to think he is.

  • Lomu

    Eric, what paper do you write for? Can I access it online?

    Sandra, I have listened to the Mount Simms mix, I think it’s called. It’s for the clubs my daughters tell me. It’s alright. Maybe it’s my age showing but I like her quieter songs such as “Oh Father” and the like.

    Your last sentence in your response to Tom made me shake my head with mild amusement. You are a sharp one. Nothing gets by you.

  • duane

    “You are a sharp one. Nothing gets by you.”

    Nothing except logic. Good Christ.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Tom, I appreciate the kind words; no concern about the post, the hilarity of the “controversy” is that we ALL write about 95% positive reviews here, we couldn’t be much less like Pitchfork.

    Sandra, speak for yourself

    Lomu, MSNBC.com, Cleveland Plain Dealer (Cleveland.com). In the past I have written for Salon, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Mojo, Alernative Press, Option, All Music Guide, Hear/Say, many more regional and local, and I have written two books, both of which have won awards.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Eric: Sandra, speak for your self.

    Sandra: ???????

    aaah, pish posh! What is it to win awards? Afterall, a certain musician has won dozens of awards in her career. Still does not make her talented or a musician in some eyes. Your books have won awards, so what? Doesn’t make you a great journalist, now does it? If this great logic mad man Duane speaks of, is to be followed? Hmm?:)

    I’m sorry. I promised myself not to argue about Madonna even if I wrote on this thread:) Just had to mention “the awards issue” because the irony of it was too much to let go:)

    Eric, not to worry. We just do not see eye to eye. You could well be a must read for many in Cleveland. I just do not think you do the profession of journalism, or to be more specific, I do not thik you do the term “critic” any favours. Just my view. Congratulations on your awards whoever/wherever they were from.

    Duane, I would rather be boiled, tarred and feathered than to appear logical to a person like you. The fear of acceptance by you is worse than the fear of violent death itself.

    Lomu: Then the -Something to Remember- compilation CD is a must have for you. If the quieter trax are more your style. Just a word of caution, other than Vogue and 1 or 2 other tracks, the Dick tracy Album is not any of her best work by a long stretch. Just shows you the quality of people you are dealing with here. LOL. Enjoy M’s music:)Regardless of what any of these mindless idiots have to say about the gal:)

  • Roger

    About Al’s comment #42. Isn’t that the fucking truth. I’ve not been accused of stalking over the internet, but if I had a dollar for every time I was stalking a freaked out hell bitch while sitting on my couch I’d be rich. Maybe role playing would serve as an alternative. I’m gonna start a stalking service for women who wished they could generate enough interest in themselves to be stalked.

  • Shark

    I’ve finally figured it out:

    Sandi doesn’t type.

    She has a little Pavlovian trained crack addict chihuahua strapped to her keyboard: when it sees the computer monitor switch on, it starts dancing across the letters and salivating. If she gets lucky, its little feverish toes hit the “Post” button every now and then.

    If we get lucky, it misses.

    And If there is a God in heaven, someday it’ll break its leg and have to be put down.

  • the Nurse for Kitties is In

    Sandra, I don’t know you…but…my, you do seem a bit hostile. It’s not my place to act as a psychoanalyst (I’m busy enough as it is), but there’s something rather…well, instigatory about your “tone”.

    …and for what it’s worth, my guess is that you don’t know Jackity-crack about Duane or Eric or Al or TDavid or anyone else here, so why don’t you cool your jets and quit coming off with such a personal brand of snideness. Sheez! I bet you’re hypertensive.

    Sorry, but I find Madonna to be a bit tiresome and annoying. I put up with that “elegant” quasi-European accent that she adopted right around the time she married Guy Ritchie (in contrast to the crass, gum-snapping verbal style she once flaunted), and figured that her newfound fascination with the Kabbalah was another celebrity jumping on the spiritual bandwagon…but I digress.

    What is really irritating is that just when I thought Madonna was beginning to look as if she would handle middle age with a modicum of class, she had to turn around and start publicly french-kissing girls young enough to be her daughter(s). Ew!!

    I think Madonna is trying to live vicariously through Britney Spears and there’s something kind of creepy about it.

    In terms of talent…well…simply put, had there been no MTV, there’d be no Madonna (or Britney, or a veritable litany of other “talented musicians”) enjoying an obscene amount of wealth…and EXPOSURE!

    ‘Nuff Said.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Sandra, I am Deeply Offended. You have been on a hysterical tirade for a couple of days on this Madonna stuff, denouncing various of us profusely and in great detail- yet nary a word about me. What am I, chopped liver?

    Eric might be an award winning author and all, but I, Al Barger, am the Great White Devil of Blogcritics. I am far more offensive than any Eric Olsen or Shark.

  • ihateoreilly

    Eric…
    I, too, thought your article on Britney Spears/Madonna was insulting. I was happy to read this blog to find out that you are actually a fan of Madonna’s. You seemed to imply that Madonna has no real talent other than to promote herself. That statement is so pathetically cliche now, considering Madonna has been in the business for 21 years and is probably the ONLY performer who can sell out 4-6 shows in different cities, within hours, at $300 a ticket (this is for THIS tour, not the Drowned World Tour). I DO agree that she wasn’t “gifted” in the same way Mozart or John Lennon was. But she has taken an average-ranged voice and stretched it unbelievably to the point where I would rather listen to her than vocal acrobatic artists such as Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey. But it’s not just vocals that make an artist. Songs such as “Oh Father,” “This Used To Be My Playground,” and “Frozen” are beautifully written masterpieces (the lyrics were written by Madonna). Have you ever seen Madonna in concert? She moves a crowd like nobody else, with the exception of Bruce Springsteen. If all she knew how to do was market herself, she would be long gone by now. Anyway, just my two cents. I still respect you as a journalist and realize that everybody has opinions.

  • ihateoreilly

    In response to “if there was no MTV, there would be no Madonna.”…well, it is a FACT that Madonna was successul before MTV became her best friend. Her first album yielded several hits before she hit it big with “Lucky Star.” And now that MTV doesn’t support her anymore, Madonna is still mega-successful. She’s selling out 20,000 + stadiums in minutes at $300 a pop.

  • the Nurse for Kitties is In

    In response to your response regarding how successful Madonna was prior to MTV, I can only say that I never heard of her (nor did anyone that I know of) prior to 1983 or 1984. MTV debuted in 1981.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate Madonna. I just don’t happen to think she is all that talented as a musician. She’s perhaps more of a “performance artist” who cashed in on Marilyn Monroe’s femme fatale image and took it to the next level. And come on…do you think she’d have made it as big as she has if she were homely and dumpy?

    Prior to MTV, musicians had only one thing to rely on to sell records: music. Okay, make that two things…some could really put on a show and the concerts were events.

    …then came the visual banquet that MTV brought to America (and ultimately the world) and suddenly it seems that appearance became just as important–if not more so–than the ability to compose, sing, or play an instrument. Sure, I guess that “mosquito on helium” vocal style Madonna used in her early days was appealing to some, so she sold records. The tunes were kind of catchy, but far from masterpiece quality in terms of lyrical content or melody.

    Britney Spears has done the same thing, as have a number of other nubile female performers. But wait! It’s not just the female “stars” who used visuals to sell their sound. Who can forget the pretty-boy bands? Then there were the videos themselves. Does anyone remember the days when MTV actually played music videos full-time? I remember more about what some of these people looked like or the special effects in their videos than the artists themselves.

    Looks sell. I’m not even saying an act has to be “pretty”. Look at Marilyn Manson, for example. The first time I saw “The Beautiful People”, I must have said something like, “whathef#*k?” It was grotesque but riveting and every time I heard that “ba da-da-da-da” coming on, I had to go over to the TV and watch. Another example of using visuals is The Darkness and their over-the-top “A Thing Called Love”…the song itself is what I’d call irritating but the video is so funny, I forgive them.

    My, but I’ve digressed. My point is, talent doesn’t guarantee fame, and vice-versa. Madonna is one of a number of acts who soared to uber-stardom thanks to MTV. She became a huge presence, a diva, and one of the first of many acts to become a virtual industry–and a very rich one at that. But let’s not forget that it was not her singing that built her career so much as her outlandish brand of sexuality and the many, many differnt “looks” she’s sported over the years.

    Madonna is a “superstar”, and she’s not quite what anyone would call “geriatric” quite yet…so, as long as she can put on a good show, of course she can still draw big crowds. More power to her.

    However, I do find it rather sad that there is plenty of bona fide musical talent and genius out there (and I actually know a few myself) but it seems that talent isn’t enough these days. Visual appeal (even if it’s disturbing), exposure and hype are just as important as musicianship and I’m willing to bet that this has had a less-than-desirable effect on what gets airplay and how music itself is evolving (or not).

    But the show must go on….

  • Sandra Smallson

    Nurse kitties, you are entitled to your opinion. There are more talented people than the uber talented Late barry White who have never made it in music. So, whats your point? I dont want to hear it. Madonna is talented, You dont think so..fine. Move on with your MTV weightless opinion.

    I hate O’reilly. It is because of you that I have decided to write on this thread. Not only do I love your name if you mean O’reilly of Fox news but I am glad that somebody else can point out to Eric one of the things in his “positive review” that is insulting. I am too much of a jabbering loon to have achieved that.

    We only differ on the respect for Eric as a journalist. If he is so far up his own writing that he thought that was a positive review of Madonna, then what sort of critic/journalist can he be? Plus, he made no attempts to distinguish b/w that being his opinion. In actual fact, he stated it as fact and I think repeated that ridiculous comment somewhere that it was fact as far as he was concerned. Now, I am supposed to see a difference between he and the Pitchfork media article Tom Johnson wrote? I think not!

  • Eric Olsen

    Ihateoreilly, I am very happy that this story clarified my position on Madonna and I am sorry if I was unclear in the original article.

    The paragraph in question reads:

      Though blessed with great natural talent in nothing other than self-promotion, Madonna has nonetheless guided her own remarkably sure path through a wide range of popular dance music styles including disco (“Holiday,” “Lucky Star,” “Into the Groove”), new wave (“Material Girl,” “Like a Virgin”), Latin (“La Isla Bonita”), soul (“Express Yourself”), girl-pop (“Cherish”), house (“Vogue”), hip-hop (“Justify My Love,” “Erotica”), and electronica (“Ray of Light,” “Music”), finding and conveying the resonant sweet spot of each.

    This is meant as a compliment: I have never heard anyone say she is naturally great at any one thing (other than self-promotion) but she has maximized her abilities through hard work, force of will, excellent taste in collaborators, and the ability to to adapt to changing styles, finding – and I quote myself – “finding and conveying the resonant sweet spot of each.” This is an unalloyed compliment.

    And for the last time regarding Pitchfork – as Tom has already stated, he was discussing those writers who slam for the sake of slamming, who review something or someone for the sole purpose of ripping the shit out of them. I refuse to believe any rational person would read the entire discussion of Madonna above and see it as anything other than far more positive than negative.

    Could this paragraph have been any more positive?

      Like a Prayer generated five Top 20 hits, two that reached number 2 — “Express Yourself” and Cherish” — and the title track that spent three weeks at number 1. The song “Like a Prayer,” blessed with Madonna’s most angelic vocal, daringly combines spiritual and sexual imagery, and infused with pure gospel beauty, charges between lilting verses and the powerful sing-along chorus. “Express Yourself” is a rousing slab of soulful female positivity with Madonna and a full choir of sisters exhorting each other to “Don’t go for second best baby/Put your love to the test” – another standard. “Cherish” is finger-snapping irrepressible joy, with another high, clear vocal, making the term “small voice” seem a virtue – pretty great.

    How that paragraph relates to a Pitchfork-style slam review, I honestly haven’t a clue. But maybe I’m just stupid.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    …a little Pavlovian trained crack addict chihuahua

    and remember, for maximum effect this must be pronounced in the less nessman manner:

    that would be:

    CHEE – HOOA – HOOA

  • Lomu

    Eric, the fact that you have never heard anybody else say she is naturally great at anything doesn’t mean it is so. It also doesn’t mean it must automatically become your view. If it is your view, then it is your view because that is what you think. I agree with I hateoreilly. It is an insult to insinuate that Madonna has no talent at all except for self promotion. She has a variety of talents. Some are naturally better than others. I think she is a talented song writer, melody maker and performer. Moreover, I think she is supremely intelligent. All in all, she is a talented musician. In my view.

    I will take Sandra’s advice but I must say this. According to some on Blog, Madonna’s only talent is self promotion. She can’t sing and she isn’t a musician. She barely has songs.

    The avid fans will correct me if I am wrong but Madonna has released atleast 10 studio Albums. On both sides of the Atlantic she is the female with the most number of top 10 or top 40 hits ever. Her Immaculate collection Album remained on the pop catalogue charts for a decade and more since it’s release. It is still on some pop catalogue charts.

    What I am supposed to understand from you boys is, she released her first studio Album and the world saw she could not sing, no songs, no talent. It was all pop-shock slut. She released the second, the world saw the same. She released the third, the world saw the same and so on and so on.

    We are at the 10th and the reason she has maintained this longevity and consistensy and is always mentioned in any of these lists that Eric talks about as one of the best female artists is because she is a slutty pop-shocker with exclusive access to great producers and exists because of MTV? The reason people are still buying the Like a Virgin Album released a decade ago is because of MTV? All she is, is a self promoting slutty pop shocker?

    Sandra you are right. There is nothing I can do here. I rest my case.

  • Eric Olsen

    “great natural talent in nothing other than self-promotion”

    is not the same thing as

    “no talent at all except for self promotion”

    and to pretend that it is is disingenuous at best and a flat-out lie at worst.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Since there seems to be little agreement from either side of the Madonna fence, I suggest we move ahead in the alphabet and talk about Metallica and music so loud that it hurts your ears.

    Is this music at all when it is played so loud that it is barely intelligible?

    Lomu & Sandra, if it makes you feel better, I’d rather have seen and heard Madonna open for Metallica than Godsmack at ear-crushing decibels

    This assumes that she strutted around suggestively playing all her hits from the 80’s, of course.

    Porn and heavy metal work well together. It could happen!

  • Sandra Smallson

    Lomu, you have restored my faith in middle-age:) With the people here I began to wonder that at a certain age people become intellectually unemployed. There grows an impenetrable barrier between them and reality. My faith is restored:)

    Your final post is also very good. I will just say one last thing to Eric on this topic.

    Eric, for the last time. Since you feign ignorance as to what one finds insulting in your post. Ihateoreilly has pointed out one. I will point out another…

    ” but she has maximized her abilities through hard work, force of will, excellent taste in collaborators, and the ability to to adapt to changing styles, finding – and I quote myself – “finding and conveying the resonant sweet spot of each.” This is an unalloyed compliment.”

    That is patronising. Why? You would not say that about any of the Artists you have more respect for. It would not be an issue. Even though they are equally as hardworking. Even though, they too work with trendy and fabulous producers. As far as the changing styles and finding sweet spots..that’s just daft whether you mean it as a compliment or not.

    It is patronising. Madonna is not the only hardworking musician. She is no more hardworking than the rolling stones, Paul Mccartney, Eminem etc. She no more works with collaborators than any other artist, but you feel the need to mention it in an article on Madonna.

    You wrote an Article about boybands, pointing out that Timberlake is an exception to their general “badness” Not once did you mention his producers, or he’s hardworking, or his adopting the street style. Many of you write articles about other musicians, not once do you mention those peripheral things that go hand in hand with being an Artist.

    You do not have to respect Madonna. You do not have to like her, or her work. But if you insist on writing an article and mentioning her. Show some class and do not be insulting or patronising. If you want to be those things, then atleast have the balls to say you are those things because that is what you think. Instead of pretending you can not see what is wrong, calling it positive and stating it as fact instead of opinion.

    I was reading a book of philosophical quotes. I shall leave you with some words you may find useful as you carry on as a critic..

    A critic should be taught to criticize a work of art without making any reference to the personality of the artist. This, in fact, is the beginning of criticism”

    Every great man nowadays has his/her disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography”..Madonna critics have too much time for Madonna. It would do you all well to write more, about the Artists you truly respect. No need telling how you are not a critic afterall you liked some songs in Like A prayer..you wrote a patronising and insulting piece in my opinion and thats what I saw it as. You do not see it as such. Maybe others dont. Maybe others do. C’est la vie.

  • Eric Olsen

    Timberlake:

      Grammy-winning Timberlake’s success has been based upon a combination of a calculated forsaking of his wholesome, color-coordinated, boyish ‘N Sync image for that of a sexual young bachelor on the prowl, sowing his wild oats with the steamy likes of Britney Spears, Alyssa Milano, Cameron Diaz, and the nasty Miss Jackson. Musically, Timberlake has been able to convince a skeptical world that he isn’t a posed popster, but is in reality a gritty soul man, charting his own course down a path rich with funky, organic grooves.

    and:

      There might even be something approaching a “Justin Timberlake” sound emerging from the haze. His best songs are built upon organic funky grooves, from which Timberlake and collaborators like the Neptunes, Timbaland, and Brian McKnight then construct songs – a firm musical foundation not dissimilar to that of one of Timberlake’s idols, Michael Jackson, whose falsetto Timberlake’s resembles.

    Mention of producers? Check
    Mention of changing image? Check
    Mention of “hard-wlorking”? Not directly.

    One will find “patronizing” statements if one is looking for them, or one could read the same statements as giving credit where credit is due and voicing admiration.

  • ihateoreilly

    By the way, I just put in the Ray of Light album for the first time in two years. There is rarely an artist out there that can put out such a masterpiece..yeah, they can hire William Orbit..but her singing on Ray of Light is fantastic. Her songwriting on this album is incredible as well. Just listen to the song “Mer girl” and you will understand why she’s such a genius. By the way, my screen name is named after O’Reilly on fox news. I don’t want any of you to think I don’t have a life..but I made a website about him: http://www.ihateoreilly.com

  • Sandra Smallson

    Compare and contrast..

    LOL..Madonna’s success relies in part, according to Olsen, on her ability to adapt to changing styles..while Timberlake has convinced the skeptical world that he is..(wait for it) A GRITTY SOUL MAN, (and this is the killer)CHARTING HIS OWN COURSE down a path rich with funky organic grooves.

    Yah. Yah, Eric darling..Image=checked..Indeed.

    Eric on Timberlake’s collaborators..FROM WHICH TIMBERLAKE AND collaborators..,,,,,then construct songs – a firm musical foundation not dissimilar to that of one of Timberlake’s idols, Michael Jackson, whose falsetto Timberlake’s resembles.

    While Madonna according to Olsen, simply has fabulous tastes in collaborators. Heaven forfend the poor gal have Olsen write an article with MADONNA AND colaborators constructing songs..oh no. Her bit is done by having fabulous tastes in them.
    Yah..producers=checked.

    Ofcourse you would not mention hard work directly..how can you? Madonna is the only one that works hard or has to, if you are to be believed. What a joke! What a waste of MSNBC website quota.

    Eric, your article on Madonna is patronising and insulting. I did not have to look hard to see it. Forget that I am a Madonna fan. Any reasonable neutral observer, will not have to look hard or even think at all, to read that whole article in context and not find it patronising. You even made it worse by showing the comparisons b/w your Timberlake article.

    I refer you to the last 4 paragraphs of my post before this as conclusion.

    As I shake my head wondering how on earth I got into this nonsense with you again.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Lomu, if you are still reading. Don’t know where you live but below is an article with updates on tickets and tour venues added to the ones Eric posted in his initial article. Hopefully, you are not in a sold out state. What is £300 to a man like you;)?

    Tuesday March 30, 6:31 pm ET
    MADONNA’S re-INVENTION TOUR: New Dates Are Added
    NEW YORK–(YAHOO BUSINESS WIRE)–March 30, 2004–The Material Girl’s star is shining brighter than ever with the news that her upcoming “re-INVENTION Tour” is selling out around the world.
    Originally scheduled to perform in 12 major markets in North America with additional stops in Paris and London, the demand for tickets was so high that in New York city after two Madison Square Garden dates sold out in record time, Madonna’s manager, Caresse Henry, and the worldwide tour promoter, Clear Channel Entertainment, added four subsequent performances (June 20, 2l, 23 and 24) which were instant sell outs as well. Demand was so high that an additional New York area performance was confirmed this morning – July 7th at Continental Airlines Arena. Tickets for that event will go on sale Monday, April 5th.

    Additional shows have been added in Boston (June 30th) after two sell outs at the Worcester Centrum. A fourth show has been announced in Chicago (July 15th) after three sell outs as well as more shows currently being added in Fort Lauderdale (July 29th) and Miami (August 2nd) after those markets went clean in record time.

    Overseas, Madonna’s two London shows at Earl’s Court (August 18 and 19) sold out in 90 minutes leading to the confirmation of a 3rd London performance at Wembley Arena on August 22nd. Her scheduled Paris show (Sept. 1) is going on sale tomorrow, March 31st and is expected to sell out as well.

    Madonna is both a multi-Grammy Award winner and a multi-MTV Award winner and has sold well over 250 million albums during the span of her extraordinary two-decade career. In addition, she has had more Top Ten Singles than any female artist in history – second only to Elvis Presley.

    Date City Venue On sale Info:

    May 24 Los Angeles Forum Sold Out
    May 25 Los Angeles#2 Forum Sold Out
    May 27 Los Angeles #3 Forum 3rd show announced On sale 4/2-10am

    May 29 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena Sold Out
    May 30 Las Vegas #2 MGM Grand Garden Arena Sold Out

    June 8 San Jose HP Pavilion On sale4/12

    June l3 Washington, DC MCI Center On sale 4/3

    June 16 New York City Madison Sq. Garden Sold Out
    June 17 New York City #2 Madison Sq. Garden Sold Out
    June 20 New York City #3 Madison Sq. Garden Sold Out
    June 21 New York City #4 Madison Sq. Garden Sold Out
    June 23 New York City #5 Madison Sq. Garden Sold Out
    June 24 New York City #6 Madison Sq. Garden Sold Out

    June 27 Boston Worcester Centrum Sold Out
    June 28 Boston #2 Worcester Centrum Sold Out
    June 30 Boston #3 Worcester Centrum 3rd show announced On Sale 4/5-10am

    July 4 Philadelphia Wachovia Center Sold Out
    July 5 Philadelphia #2 Wachovia Center 2nd show added

    July 7E. Rutherford Continental AirlinesArena Just Announced! sale 4/5

    July 11 Chicago United Center Sold Out
    July 12 Chicago #2 United Center Sold Out
    July 14 Chicago #3 United Center Sold Out
    July 15 Chicago #4 United Center 4th & final show
    On Sale 4/3-noon!

    July l8 Toronto Air Canada Centre Sold Out
    July 19 Toronto #2 Air Canada Centre Sold Out
    July 21 Toronto #3 Air Canada Centre Sold Out

    July 24 Atlanta Philips Arena On sale 4/3

    July 28 Fort Lauderdale Office Depot Center Sold Out
    July 29 Fort Lauderdale #2 Office Depot Center On Sale 4/3-noon!

    August l Miami American Airlines
    Arena Sold Out
    August 2 Miami #2 American Airlines
    Arena On Sale 4/3-noon!

    August l8 London Earls Court Sold Out
    August 19 London #2 Earls Court Sold Out
    August 22 London #3 Wembley Arena On Sale 4/2-9am

    Sept. 1 Paris Bercy On sale 3/31

    – Itinerary subject to change.

    For Official VIP Ticket packages, visit http://www.madonnaviptickets.com.

  • Lomu

    Thank-you Sandra. Very useful. The whole family thanks you (smile). I’m mainly in New York and I see that the MSG tickets are gone for all six dates. I’m not in the Country right now but I’ll ask the wife to consider the Washington or Miami future sales. Those two will be convenient for me. That would entail buying the wife additional tickets. We will see.

    Has she had more top ten singles than any Artist in history, second only to Elvis? Or is it more top ten singles in history of a Female Artist?

    Speaking of Timberlake. A majority of stuff on his Justified Album was stuff discarded by Michael Jackson prior to releasing Invincible. It’s an interesting fact to note. It was well documented and spoken out that it was an Album mostly with songs Jackson discarded. It leaves me curious as to what songs he may have constructed with his collaborators. Nevermind. It’s not important.

  • Sandra Smallson

    You are welcome, Lomu. I read your Timberlake comment and remembered this article I read on MSN. So, I have posted it for you to read. Very interesting read. You will find it very interesting on Artists from Elvis to Sinatra, etc. Please, note paragraph 10:) It speaks for itself. No further elaboration needed. I’m not sure on the question you asked. Will try to find out. I think it’s the latter. Read, enjoy and be enlightened:)

    Why pop songwriting’s not what it used to be.

    By Kevin Canfield

    Earlier this month, Jessica Simpson’s new single “With You” reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart—not particularly shocking, given her popularity and the success of her MTV reality show Newlyweds. What is intriguing, though, is Simpson touting this exceedingly forgettable radio confection as her own, having apparently co-written the single with the prolific lyricists Billy Mann and Andy Marvel.

    Pop singers used to be mere entertainers; songwriting was largely the domain of professionals who rarely performed. Today, they want us to believe they’re auteurs—singers who are also capable of writing their own songs. Britney Spears is credited with writing/co-writing seven of the 13 songs on 2003’s In the Zone. Justin Timberlake picks up co-writing credits on all of the songs on 2002’s Justified. Timberlake’s ‘N Sync bandmate J.C. Chasez takes co-songwriting credits on all but one of the songs of his just-released solo debut, Schizophrenic. Even teen star Hilary Duff gets writing credits for three of the songs on her new record, Metamorphosis.

    Why this shift? Strangely, the celebrity gossip industry of the late ’90s and early 2000s may be responsible. Artists, especially those who are expected to talk about their latest creative effort in People and on Access Hollywood, need a story to tell, and an auteur makes for a better interview. Marketing yourself as a singer who bares her soul is much easier than marketing a singer baring a songwriter’s soul.

    Last July, for example, Billboard reported that expectations were high for Gloria Estefan’s Unwrapped because the singer wrote several songs in which—you guessed it—she “bares her soul.” Similar terminology was used to peddle Shania Twain’s second record, 1995’s The Woman in Me. “On my first album I was a singer interpreting other people’s songs, and on this album I’m singing my own songs,” Twain told the Chicago Tribune at the time. “I think the delivery in the vocal is much more intimate and real.”

    More than ever, record companies are looking to sell artists as auteurs. From a business perspective, singer-songwriters can save record companies money that would’ve been spent to pay professional songwriters. Pop stars are able to cash in on the fat royalty checks earned from their songwriting credits and enjoy the recognition that they gain from their creative endeavors. And the camp of pop singers not as lyrically inclined can reap the same benefits by purchasing material from an independent writer and pawning it off as their own—a longtime practice in the industry, for which Elvis was infamous.

    Pop music critics have also been instrumental in this shift. As Norah Jones can attest, critics may not take an artist seriously unless she writes a substantial portion of her own material. (Which is why Jones’ camp has so strenuously reminded the public that she wrote or co-wrote six of the 13 of songs on her new record. She had songwriting credits on just three of the 14 songs on her 2002 debut album.)

    Such pressures were uncommon in earlier decades. The biggest hits of the ’50s and ’60s were written by songwriters like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who co-wrote songs like the Searchers’ “Love Potion No. 9″ and Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” Sammy Fain wrote hits for Johnny Mathis, the Four Aces, and others. Ronnie Shannon wrote Aretha Franklin’s version of “I Never Loved a Man,” and Don Covay was behind her hit “Chain of Fools.” Frank Sinatra’s albums rarely credit him as a songwriter.

    But by the early ’60s, performers like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez hit the pop charts with songs they’d written themselves. The emphasis on the authenticity of their songwriting reflected the gestalt of the era. And it influenced Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and scores of others. As groups such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones emerged on the scene, they proved that commercial bands could also offer immensely catchy singles, even if they did write their own material.

    Even then, Baez, Dylan, and others were a breed apart; divas like Cher or Barbra Streisand or Diana Ross still never troubled themselves with writing lyrics; those were the chores of a songwriter. Even Michael Jackson’s first solo albums, Off the Wall (1979) and Thriller (1982), were largely written by others. (Later, Jackson supposedly began to write the bulk of his lyrics.)

    Madonna may be credited, to a certain extent, with fueling the new growth of today’s new “self-contained” acts, as they’re known in the industry. After she arrived on the music scene in 1983 with an eponymous debut record that she had written herself, pop stars as auteurs started to become the rule, not the exception.

    But Jessica Simpson is no Madonna, and her eager attempt to repackage herself as a soulful auteur may not be the most savvy business decision: As veteran music journalist Jim DeRogatis recently noted in an interview, “Sometimes [these pop stars are] blissfully ignorant of the songs they allegedly wrote.” (Simpson apparently believes her writing skills should not be limited to songs: She and husband Nick Lachey are said to be shopping a marriage advice book—more evidence of her aspirations to auteurdom.)

    No one begrudges Simpson her ambitions. But spend three or four minutes with Simpson’s “With You”—”With nothing but a T-shirt on/ I never felt so beautiful/ Baby as I do now”—and you might find yourself longing for the days when professional songwriters ruled the pop charts. Happily, there’s no reason to think that the future of pop music is one in which all of the songs will be written by the artists themselves—there are still pop singers who show no inclination toward songwriting. More important, it’s pretty clear that there are plenty unequipped to write anything at all. And as the novelty wears off in songwriting, as in most things, the marketplace will hopefully begin to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. Thank God for capitalism.

    Kevin Canfield is a writer in New York.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Lomu, you are right on both counts. More top tens only 2nd to Elvis and is the female with most top 10s. Also, the female with most top 40’s..2nd is Aretha, 2 or 3 singles away.

    Funny, that paragraph 10, cos M is quoted as saying she felt she could have added more variety to that Album and most of the songs were weak, she thought:)So, she chose songs from some other writers and some of her own for the 2nd Album. Still, not too happy, though, happier..went back to doing more of her stuff on the 3rd ..True Blue Album..then she hit her stride so to speak. Odd that..cos for Borderline and Lucky Star alone, the First Album was saved:)Though severely slammed by critics and from whence the label SLUT started, which as we can see has carried on till now:)

    Only God knows what chastity has got to do with the actual music itself. Go figure….and in hindsight, some critics in articles about M’s career give the First Album more credit than it ever got on release.

    Enough M education;) Nothing I’m sure your gals don’t know already:)

  • Sandra Smallson

    ignore from..next to my whence..sleep induced error, me thinks.

  • ihateoreilly

    LULU.just so you know, Madonna’s concerts may be “sold out” but she always adds tickets (and incredible seats) within two weeks of each date. I got front row seats to see the DWT in Philadelphia and 2nd row in Los Angeles a week before each show..so keep going to Ticketmaster. I am so broke now that I was only able to afford the $150 LA opening night seat and a $75 Las Vegas seat. Oh well, good luck to everybody who is trying to get tickets.

  • http://david.catalyscope.com David

    Hey guys,

    Read quite a bit of this blogger and just wanted to add to an earlier piece about pop songwriting and, of course, her awesome final tour.

    I’m an indie music artist in Seattle (no – not a garage band… but a solo pop artist) and as a songwriter it becomes easier to write about meaningful things (even in pop) when one’s mind is politicized …. forgive me for reverting back to Britney/Madonna, but Britney, in my opinion, is not mentally politicized for whatever upbringing-rearing differences than, say, struggling in NYC as a teenager like Madonna (Mousekeeter life v. hardcore grits of making it BIG). At least, I have found that to be my source of inspiration, and I see parallels within Madonna.

    Either way, I’m 24, and I remember being exposed to her at 4 years old, when my sister walked around the house with lacey gloves and similar hairstyle, singling “Material Girl.” I didn’t actually become a fan until “Vogue.” But I’ve never seen her live in any venue. And now…. 20yrs later – I got a PLATINUM VIP for NYC on 6/20!!!

    Good luck to you all and God bless.
    http://david.catalyscope.com

  • ph6138

    IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MUSIC! I’m not going to deny that Madonna has talent because to have a string of hits that she had (even though it’s ended recently), you have to have SOME talent. Even though I cringe at listening to most of her music, I think Madonna is the greatest human being that has ever walked on this planet. When the critics say, “she’s over,” “she’s fading,” they don’t understand that she’s God to some of us and like Martin Luther King Jr., or Rosa Parks (who may be “old” as well), she will live in our hearts forever. Why do I make a comparison between Madonna and these icons? Lets flash back to the mid eighties, when Madonna was the brightest star on the planet. At that time, supporting the gay community was detrimental to anyone’s career. Sure, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Streisand were gay icons, but they had already put most of their commercial successes behind them. Madonna went against the grain and was not only the first mega-star to actively support Aids victims (I didn’t even know what the disease was until I saw Madonna give a passionate speech about it on MTV), but she spoke out against bigotry. Her “Like A Prayer” video dealt with a relationship between a white woman and a black “saint” figure, long before this was the politically correct thing to do. If this happens now, I just yawn..I don’t need fake political correctness shoved down my throat. In the early nineties, SHE was soley responsible for exposing the bigotry and hypocricy aimed at gays. True, she might have not gone about it in a subtle matter, but she was able to get people to talk about the issues. The right wing religious people tried to bury her and bury her, but she came out on top, until she went too far with the “SEX” book and “Erotica” stuff. Because of the backlash she received from that, it’s unfortunate that Madonna would never be the outspoken person that made millions idolize her. She may have regained her critics and listeners with 1998’s “Ray of Light,” but would never take a stand on anything again. When she took a stand against the war, she went back on her statement and upset a lot of fans, which is why I think American Life was such a flop, even though it’s not a disastrous album. Even though she acts desperate today, I will always love that woman. I will be attending three of her shows. Oh..I also met her a couple years back and she signed a magazine cover for me..and wrote my name and said, “Love Madonna.” I have that thing on my ceiling, framed. It was the most surreal thing when I met her. Anyway, that’s my opinion. Madonna will be here LONG AFTER her music if forgotten, if that ever happens.

  • duane

    “I think Madonna is the greatest human being that has ever walked on this planet.”

    I would probably place her second, just after Aristotle.

  • Eric Olsen

    This is an insult to those who have only crawled, or wheeled, or skipped, or slithered over the planet. I’m telling.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Perhaps ph6138 [comment 101] has mistaken Madonna the sleazy, mediocre pop singer for THE Madonna, aka Mary the mother of Jesus. Perhaps she might merit such accolades.

  • Lomu

    Sandra, I have shelled out $1,500 for Platinum tickets. The wife was ecstatic as she gets to go twice. The twins upset that they were not invited. You can never please everyone.

    Thank you for the article. Very interesting read. Wacko Jacko must be kicking himself. Usher is back showing who’s boss and where Timberlake studied his moves. I’ve just purchased the Confessions Album and it’s a treat.

    Ph6138, I won’t go as far as to make Madonna the most important person in history. Maybe for you in your life. However, if a list of top 100 important people who have influenced the world in a variety of ways were to be drawn, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her name amongst the females.

    It’s funny how the American Life Album did not do as well as her previous in the States. It has sold around 5 million copies worldwide. The critics are happy to call it a flop though that sort of figure is called a hit for practically every other Artist.

    Madonna can’t win with these people. She sells millions, they say commercial success is down to marketing and sleazy behaviour. She sells poorly by their own estimation, not by any mathematical calculation, they say her last Album did not sell and it’s a flop. Are they now interested in commercial success? Which way is it? Pointless, really. People are free to opine as they wish and prefer what they wish. It makes no difference. It all boils down to subjectivity.

    Sandra, have you got your tickets?

  • Eric Olsen

    Lomu, I think the time has come to admit to your wife and daughters about the relatinship with Sandra – it’s only fair, man.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    This comment, repeated thousands of times in different ways by different people in different artistic arguments really amounts to a backwards admission of defeat:

    It all boils down to subjectivity. [comment 105]

    What it really MEANS is that you have no reasonable, objective arguments for why you are so dedicated to this person.

    It can’t be the art. For the $1500 for this set of tickets, you could buy complete CD collections of everything ever recorded by Miles Davis, Prince, Joni Mitchell, Thelonious Monk and a dozen other clearly far superior composers and musicians.

    It’s a free country, and if this makes you happy, you don’t need to justify it to anyone. However, please don’t go out publicly saying she’s one of the 100 most important people of the century or such foolishness. It just makes you look silly.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    You better at least get to 3rd base for $1500!

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Third base my ass. For $1500, I’d expect the hooker to go around the world- and to bring Britney with her.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Good for you, Lomu:) I got three tix:) I meant to buy the VIP tix but got a hold of three front row tix for what would have been the price of one vip, so…First date in London..penultimate date, and then the last. Yup. I shall be going thrice. I am not a Timberlake fan. You shan’t get any arguments from me on that score. Don’t trouble yourself about the confused M naysayers. If you notice, it’s always the same insults..lol..then they get confused and contradict themselves. It is pathetic. Pay no attention to the hampster humper Barger there. See, his mother was a whore and left him at the grocery store. The mental disorder he has shown on Blogcritics on a variety of topics are not issues suffered by well bred people from good homes. One of those my mommy is my sister, my cousin is my daddy type families. You know what I’m saying?! Check out the name..Al Barger…. A hick if ever there was one.

    Enjoy the show and make sure you come here and tell me about it as you will see it before me:)

    Ph6138: Personally, I do not think M is the most important person to ever walk the planet but I go with Lomu that in a list of 100 I would not be surprised to see her name on it. I would use the word influential rather than important. Importance is something subjective. How important a person is to you, mightn’t be the same for me. However, one can be more objective on how influential a person is worldwide because their influences are somewhat calculable. I don’t think many people would argue with M’s name there. Ignore the miscreants on board. If sanity were an arms reach away, they would have no arms.

    I have the strong suspicion that Madonna says but one prayer to God, and it is a short one “Oh God, make my enemies ridiculous”.God has granted it. Al barger,you crapulous lout. You are clear proof that age doesn’t always bring wisdom. Sometimes, it comes alone. Condolences. Why are you here? You are not a believer? You parade topics on religion. You do not like Madonna, you jump into anything that has to do with her. Must you show youself as the slander of your mother’s womb that you are? Have mercy on the poor woman who may share the same profession as that you have bestowed on M. Who’s to know? Clearly your deformed brain is not God’s work but as a result of STD the womb that contained you was infected with. You are mentally defective and from birth I suspect. Yes, it is your mother I insult. Afterall, Madonna is someone’s mother. So, none of you give me that crap about getting personal. Why does the word subjective offend you so? The mere idea that people might have their own opinions and think for themselves offends you? Typical. We know what rituals you attend.

    Meanwhile, you can take a flying leap into the nearest river..a misfortune for your already unfortunate family, but a calamity for the world at large if some idiot were to pull you out.

  • http://pub150.ezboard.com/btheantimadonnaboard Flea Dip

    For all the Sandra Smallsons in the world who are overly — and creepily — devoted to the Queen of Sleaze, Hypocrisy and Unoriginality (read: Madonna Ciccone Ritchie), you may want to consider dropping by the Anti Madonna discussion board to talk to like minded Madonna-haters. If you hate Madonna, you’re not alone! :op
    http://pub150.ezboard.com/btheantimadonnaboard

  • Sandra Smallson

    LOL. God’s speed fleadip. I am unable to take up your invite since I am very much Pro Madonna:) but tell your people that I will light a candle for y’all at mass this weekend. Now, go in peace to love and serve the Lord:)

  • http://pub150.ezboard.com/btheantimadonnaboard Flea Dip

    For duane who wrote:
    “OK, that should be easy enough for you to understand. Now, next point. You think Madonna has a “score,” too, namely, her record sales.”

    The only reason her American Life was number one for a week or two in the USA is that her die hard fans were intentionally buying multiple copies of it so as to make it go to number one.

    In other words, it wasn’t at Number One in the USA because lots of different individuals wanted to own it and like it — it was all due to little fans running down to “Best Buy” and other stores and buying several copies each.

    Notice that Madonna’s American Life album soon fell out of the Top Spot in the USA. That’s because her zombified, brain dead fans can’t financially afford to go out every week for a year and buy oodles more AL copies, LOL.

    The fans did the same thing with Madonna’s kiddie books (e.g., ‘The English Roses’): they all went and ordered several each from Amazon.com.

    Even in their reviews on amazon these die hard, nutty fans admited to buying more than one copy and advised other people to order more than one copy, *in order to drive up Madonna’s position on the best-seller listings*.

    The die hard Madonna fans were encouraging each other at the Madonna fan boards to buy multiple copies of the books and the American Life record.

    At one time Madonna and/or her record company (is it Time Warner?) had official websites/clubs where they offered to give fans prizes for promoting Madonna’s albums for her. One of these is a “Yahoo” discussion club that was still up last time I checked, back a few months ago.

    (All of the above info is backed up at my Anti-Madonna site for anyone who’d like to see the sources/links. See the link to the anti-Madonna board in this post, which in turn has a link to the site.)

    Madonna isn’t even truthful about her album sales. As I’ve pointed out on the Anti Madonna discussion board a few times:
    Madonna wasn’t honest about sales for her American Life record. She manipulated information to make it appear as though lots of people were buying AL when in fact she was counting albums shipped as being albums sold – and there is a difference.

    Just because she ships “x” amount of AL out doesn’t mean that all of “x” is purchased. I saw copies of AL collecting dust at (you guessed it!) Wal-Mart and Target.

  • http://pub150.ezboard.com/btheantimadonnaboard Flea Dip

    >>LOL. God’s speed fleadip. I am unable to take up your invite since I am very much Pro Madonna:) but tell your people that I will light a candle for y’all at mass this weekend. Now, go in peace to love and serve the Lord:)<<

    We have a “Cranky Madonna Fan” forum at the board. Not that I necessarily want you to show up.

  • dog352

    Flea Dip..you are more desperate than Madonna was by peforming with Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards. That said, I think madonna rules and it’s kind of funny that her career is “supposedly over with” when FOUR shows sold out here in a matter of minutes in LA. A fifth show, in Orange County, is just about sold out.

  • http://(none) Amused

    Wow. I can’t believe the ridiculously impassioned arguments about how “great” and “timeless” Madonna is. What’s up with that?

  • God

    OK, folks, here are the facts:
    1) Madonna has been extremely commercially successful and has gotten her name on numerous lists throughout the world.
    2) Some of Madonna’s tunes are catchy and her voice is adequate for that particular genre.
    3) Madonna has been in the spotlight for 20 years now, for one reason or another.
    4) Madonna may still be selling out concerts and kiddie books.
    But where on earth do some of you people come up with these insane assertions that she’s a profound “artist” who has “broken the shackles off of oppressed women worldwide” (to paraphrase things)? How can you prove to me that she’s sincere? And why do you get so hot and bothered whenever someone mentions that usually she has collaborated with talented songwriters and producers? If she’s such a great AIDS activist, how come she doesn’t promote safe sex instead of just talking about condoms and putting silly disclaimers in her “Sex” book? And if she really gave a damn about the injustice of the Iraq war, why didn’t she take a stand on it the way the Dixie chicks did? How do you know she wasn’t just shamelessly milking it for more free publicity?

  • Sandra Smallson

    Dear God:) how profound you find Madonna is up to you. Profound to me means, deep, transcending the superficial. It’s not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of ANY musical Artist. I’m afraid I am not misled by the cooler than thou types who think they are deep because they are melancholy all the time. Has Madonna’s music got something to say? Yah, Some of it does. Papa don’t preach, Keep it together, Oh father, Promise to try, This used to be my playground, Paradise not for me..and a whole host of others. Then we have the general catchy nice dance tunes that are for fun. That does not reduce the profoundness of her music, it increases it in my view. She has always said she writes about life. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are sad. If profound to today’s reviewers equates to a dreary tune with dire musical arrangement and chord progression then the world is a sad place.

    As far as Madonna being a feminist..look, it’s very simple. I have a few quotes from her on when she is questioned about the whole female empowerment issue..

    “People have this idea that if you’re sexual and beautiful and provocative, then there’s nothing else you can possibly offer. People have always had that image about women. And while it might have seemed like I was behaving in a stereotypical way, at the same time I was also masterminding it. I was in control of everything I was doing, and I think that when people realized that, it confused them. It’s not like I was saying, ‘Don’t pay any attention to the clothes – to the lingerie – I’m wearing.’ Actually, the fact that I was wearing those clothes was meant to drive home the point that you can be sexy and strong at the same time. In a way it was necessary to wear the clothes.”

    “I don’t think about the work I do in terms of feminism. I certainly feel that I give women strength and hope, particularly young women. So in that respect, I feel my behavior is feminist. But I’m certainly not militant about it, nor do I exactly premeditate it.”
    I don’t consider myself a feminist, I consider myself a humanist.

    ..It’s that simple. Perhaps coming from a middle class family in Detroit and in a male dominated world and industry fighting to do things her own way and being in complete control of her career is what young gals found empowering. Perhaps flaunting her sexuality as many male stars had done before her and not being afraid to take the verbal backlash is what endeared her to many young gals. Determination, courage, fearlesness, ambition..all those things. So, you can argue that she did not do anything specific in empowering women but I bet you that in merely being who she is, she has inspired lots of women and they say it everyday. If you can’t see that or don’t agree with it..togh shit!

    She doesn’t have to prove that she is sincere. Nobody on earth has to prove their sincerity to anyone. you take it or leave it. Like she has said “I am sincere to people who are sincere” Nobody gets annnoyed if it is mentioned that she has collaborated with other talents..lol..why shouldn’t she? Music is always a meshing of creative minds. It is not so much annoyance than lack of tolerance about people refusing to give credit where it is due, but I am not interested in that discussion. Only ignoramuses still disparage her crdibility. People are going to think what they want. It doesn’t affect anything in the broad span of things.

    You do not deserve a response regarding the Aids issue. Before AIDS became fashionable, Madonna was helping aids charities. She had many gay friends in the NY dance scene and some died of Aids so she has always been affiliated with Aids charities. Infact, due to her prominence in the Aids scene, a tabloid once carried an article that she herself had Aids and he during a gala event had to deny it. But THAT is the stigma it had at that time that for M to be so active in those circles she had to have contacted it somehow. This was in the 80’s. If you do not know that, it’s no biggy but to talk about her Sex book like that eliminates her ability to be a staunch suuporter of Aids charities just throws you in the same bad basket that most M critics find themselves in. From one ridiculous criticism to the other, all, clutching at straws for something negative to say and at the end of it all saying nothing that makes any sense if looked at from a neutral perspective.

    What stand did the dixie chics take exactly? One of them mad a comment about Dubya, then retracted it..Madonna did a video then retracted it due to senstivities for soldiers in Iraq but spent every interview thereafter telling anyone who would listen the wrongness of the war and the essential dumbness of Bush which is exactly why Fox news have it in for her because she is not a “patroitic American” quote, unquote..please, know your back ground before you write. I am going through an M overload cos I just got my tix so u’ve got me at the right/wrong time:) I shall post some more M quotes to answer some of your questions and just for the general entertainment of some of her fans on here:) The woman has an excellent sense of humour:)

  • Sandra Smallson

    Paraphrasing Madonna on playing the keyboards and the guitar: I am rather proficient at the drums. I can play the Piano but I find it dreary and I am not that good. I can play the guitar. I was very happy when I learned chord progressions because I could put my melodies and lyrics to work myself. Patrick studied music. I only had Piano lessons but I am very instinctive so it just comes to me and I hum it or play it. He does the intellectual stuff of how many sharps we can have here or there, then we work it out. I stopped practising the instruments though. Stephen Sondheim says I should go back to practising these instruments. Maybe I will.

    Madonna’s sense of humour on her image..

    Interviewer: It’s interesting to learn you have written so many of your own songs. I don’t think people realize that you’re a songwriter as well as everything else you do–

    Madonna: You mean they don’t realize I’m a songwriter as well as a slut? (laughs) It’s the image that gets in the way. What am I supposed to do? The information is on the label. If they don’t read it, that’s not my problem. I’m not going to put a sticker on the outside of the album that says, “Listen–I wrote these songs!” You know, they pay attention to what they want to pay attention to.

    Madonna on working with Pat Leonard: Interviewer: How does your writing process work? I know that many of your songs were written with Pat Leonard. You’ve mentioned that sometimes you’ll come up with a melody and bring it to him and let him figure it out–
    Madonna: Yes. In my very retarded fashion I will sing it to him. Or hum the melody line to him, and he will put it into a chord progression and we’ll come up with the song that way.

    Interviewer: These are melodies that just pop into your head?
    Madonna: Yeah. And I start singing them just from my head. Or if I think of a lyric, like a hook or a line, I’ll just put it to a melody and he’ll bang it out on the piano for me.

    Madonna on working with PRINCE;
    Interviewer: You and Prince wrote “Love Song” together, which is a wonderful song. Did you and he work together or did he give you a track?
    Madonna: No, he didn’t give me a track. We sat down and just started fooling around. We had a lot of fun. What happened is that he played the drums and I played the synthesizer and we came up with the original melody line; I just, off the top of my head, started singing lyrics into the microphone. And then he overdubbed some guitar stuff and made a loop of it and sent it to me, and then I just started adding sections to it and singing parts to it. And then I sent it back to him, and he’d sing a part to it and add another instrument and send it back to me.. He’s a real interesting…unique talent.

    Madonna on Ambition: “I am ambitious. But if I weren’t as talented as I am ambitious I would be a gross monstrosity. I am not surprised by my success because it feels natural.”

    Madonna on Image: An image and a good hook can get you in the room, but something has to keep you in the room.”

    Madonna on criticism: “I think if someone becomes hugely successful the public becomes disgusted with them and begins to wish the star would slip on a banana peel. That’s the basic aspect of human nature.”

    Madonna on early nude pix: You get paid 10 dollars an hour (for posing nude). It was a dollar fifty at Burger King. I kept saying, ‘It’s for Art’.”

    Madonna on nutters: “There are the nutcases. Basically there are two kinds of nut – the sex maniac who wants a piece of my underwear and the moral majority who condemn me to emotional hell.”

    Madonna on the record labels: Warner Brothers is a hierarchy of old men, and it’s a chauvinist environment to be working in because I’m treated like this sexy little girl. I have to prove them wrong, which has meant not only proving myself to my fans but to my record company as well. This is something that happens when you’re a girl. It wouldn’t happen to Prince or Michael Jackson. I had to do everything on my own and it was hard trying to convince people that I was worth a record deal. After that I had the same problem trying to convince the record company that I had more to offer than a one-off girl singer.”

    Madonna on PRINCE & men against women in music: Why aren’t critics letting sexuality stand in the way of appreciating Prince’s music? He was certainly just as sexually provocative, if not more than I was. I wasn’t talking about giving head. He was much more specific than I was.” “I think Prince lives a very isolated life and I don’t, and that is the big difference between us. And I just try to be a positive influence on him. I’ve always been a fan. I think that he’s incredible. He’s very courageous and he causes lots of controversy too which is great… and I think he is a brilliant musician.

    Michael rosenblatt on Madonna’s sex image: I find it ridiculous when people accuse Madonna of selling sex. Sex and rock ‘n’ roll fit together so perfectly that everyone in this business sells sex. Boy George, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Van Halen, Prince – who isn’t selling sex? Maybe Barry Manilow, but that’s only because he’s after an older market, so he sells love. Madonna isn’t pushing sex anything like she could if she really wanted to. Her looks is a hot ‘I’m 100% woman’ look, and I think that’s great. Rock is full of boys who look like girls and girls who look like boys. Madonna doesn’t have to put on black leather and kick the shit out of a motor cycle gang to be cool. I don’t understand why people find a girl looking like a girl to be at all offensive. She’s not a stripper type, so what’s the problem?”

    Madonna on writing her 1st song: I don’t remember the name of my first song but I do remember the feeling that I had when I wrote it. And it just came out of me. I don’t know how. It was like somebody possessed me. It was like I wanted to run out in the street and go, “I wrote a song! I WROTE A SONG! I DID IT!” You know what I mean? I was so proud of myself. (laughs) And then after that, they just kind of gushed out of me. Because I always wrote poetry in free-form verse and kept journals and stuff, but to be able to put it to music, that was a whole different thing.

    Source: Madonnaisms from various Madonna websites.

  • Sandra Smallson

    42 questions with Madonna pre-release of Erotica and the awful Body of Evidence movie.

    01. At what point in your career did you feel like you were a success?

    M: I’ve never reached that point.

    02. What are the three most unusual things about you?

    M: My mental strength, my emotional resilience, my appetite for sweets.

    03. Do you worry about being overexposed?

    M: Only at the gynecologist’s.

    04. How do you find the courage to do things that so many people find unacceptable?

    M: I was wounded at a very young age.

    05. What’s your best position in baseball?

    M: On the bus, afterward.

    05. How do you get along with your father? What does he think about your work and your life?

    M: I get along with him very well. He tolerates my work and loves me no matter what I do.

    06. What inspired your latest album and its title?

    M: Life.

    07. What kind of music and talents do you want to promote with your new record company, Maverick?

    M: Cutting-edge, ground breaking stuff.

    08. What do you really think of Courtney Love, who has said you’ve tried to copy her?

    M: Who is Courtney Love?

    09. What is the sexiest book you’ve ever read?

    M: Marquerite Dura’s The Lover.

    10. How do you feel about unauthorized biographies?

    M: I feel nothing.

    11. Who did you vote for president?

    M:Clinton.

    12. Who do you wish would have run for president?

    M: Mario Cuomo.

    13. Do you think American society has lost its values, like Dan Quale says?

    M: I think American society has lot its sense of humor.

    14. You do a lot of charity work. What do you think is the most important issue for young people today to address?

    M: Education.

    15. Why?

    M: Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you grow. Staying in school, getting into books and pursuing interests are all part of it.

    16. What world problem would you cure if you could?

    M: AIDS.

    17. What is your workout routine?

    M: Two and a half hours of hell.

    18. How do you make yourself exercise on days when you really don’t feel like it?

    M: I think about being fat.

    19. Do you have any recurring dreams?

    M: I always dream about being betrayed.

    20. Who’s your best friend in the whole world?

    M: Me.

    21. If you were a man, who would you be?

    M: The Spanish guy who won the gold medal in swimming. Or Marlon Brando when he was young.

    22. Why are you so interested in sex?

    M: Why is anybody? Why are you?

    23. Have you ever pushed the limits too far? Do you have any regrets?

    M: Je ne regrette rien! [Translation: I regret nothing.]

    24. Now that you’re as famous as the original Madonna, what would you say to her if you met her?

    M: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

    25. How would you describe your new album?

    M: There’s lots of up-tempo dance songs, some tear-jerking ballads- it’s sexy and fun, and I’m very proud of it.

    26. What would you do if you were stood up on a date?

    M: Call up my girlfriends and get together with them and bitch about it.

    27. Here’s a checklist of things to look for in a guy – which do you think is important?

    M: Cute: Not important.
    Tall: Not important.
    Short and slight: Not important.
    Caring and sharing: Extremely important.
    Rich: Not necessary as long as he can pay his own rent.
    Smart: Extremely important.
    Sensitive: Extremely important.
    Sexy: Extremely important.
    Cool: If he has all of the above, he is cool.
    Good dancer: Not necessary, but always an extra added plus.
    Good dresser: Same as above.
    Fabulous car: As long as it’s clean with a good stereo.
    Muscles: A good body is very important.

    28. Can a woman be beautiful at 50?

    M: Absolutely.

    29. If you were stranded on a desert Island with just a TV and a VCR, what would you watch?

    M: I hate TV, so it would definitely be movies: East of Eden, Last Tango in Paris, Casablanca, Breathless.

    30. What do you think about teenagers’ having sexual fantasies?

    M: This is absolutely normal and should be encouraged. A good fantasy life is very important for creativity.

    31. Should parents allow their children to read you book, Sex? Why? Or why not?

    M: I think they should be at least 15 or 16. Otherwise, I don’t think they’d understand it.

    32. What do you think of guys who kiss and tell?

    M: Total losers, big turnoff!

    33. What could George Bush learn if he read your book and listened to your music?

    M: Probably nothing – he seems very closed-minded.

    34. Would you ever have an affair with a married man?

    M: This is a dead-end situation.

    35. Why do kids find Marilyn Monroe so fascinating?

    M: Aside from the fact that she’s shoved down our throat, she has a beautiful, fragile, childlike quality.

    36. What do you think of people who have never changed their hair color?

    M: They probably have very healthy hair.

    37. What’s with the gold tooth?

    M: I’m a Leo, and I love gold. It’s jewelry, it’s an ornament, it’s just in my mouth instead of on my ear.

    38. If you were back in high school and Luke Perry sat next to you in class, would you be able to concentrate?

    M: Depends on how cute the teacher was.

    39. What do you do to snap out of a depression?

    M: I eat candy. I talk to a good friend. I shop.

    40. What are you going to do for the rest of the day?

    M: Work. Work. Work.

    41. What do you think of MTV?

    M: I don’t know. I don’t watch TV.

    42. What’s your new movie about?

    M: Can a body be a murder weapon? Can you kill someone with love?

  • Sandra Smallson

    Finally, can any of the fans who get to the concert before we in Europe get to attend, fill me in on the setlist. Thanx:) Lomu, if you are still alive, I rely on your views:)

    Some other interesting quotes I found in my quotation book..and a hilarious excerpt from an interview with Mike Myers:)

    Madonna on the whole feminism thing again: Well, it seems to me that one of the pitfalls of the women’s movement was that women wanted to be like men. They felt they had to dress like men and behave like men to get anywhere, to be respected or to be in control. To have power. I think that’s bullshit. I think women have always had the power; they just never knew it. And you can be just as powerful being feminine.

    Madonna getting exasperated with Myers’s train of questions..

    Madonna: Would you ask me some questions that have a resonance to my life? This interview is mostly about what you’re interested in: toys and hockey.

    Mike Myers: Is it more about me than it is about you?

    Madonna: Yes, but don’t you realize that all interviews are?

    Mike Myers: More about the interviewer than the interviewee?

    Madonna: Absolutely. And all reviews are more about the writer than what they’re reviewing. They’re Rorschach tests.

    Mike Myers: yes, this is true. Do you believe in psychics?

    Madonna: Sometimes I believe them and sometimes I don’t, depending on how well their eyebrows are plucked.

    :) smart and funny..the only thing not to admire about the gal is this current Kaballah madness:)

  • dog352

    Dear God:
    You make some good points with your post. In terms of Madonna working with talented producers and songwriters, you are 100 percent correct. However, many of these people say that Madonna is completely in control of her records. She knows what she wants and drives them in her direction. Of course, they could just be saying this, but here’s another fact. Bruce Springsteen is considered a musical genius, but he works with several producers and songwriters. Michael Jackson (somehow) is considered a musical genius, but it’s Quincy Jones that gave him Thriller. Why question Madonna’s producing/songwriting ability when she has the same input, or even more, than so-called “geniuses.” In terms of backing out on her anti-war stance, I definitely see your point. Rumor was, however, that her family was receiving death threats. If this is the case, I don’t blame Madonna. In terms of the Aids thing, you also have a point..but she was WAY ahead of the trendy Hollywood crowd in doing this. And she has NEVER BEEN hypocritical about her stance on Aids. EVERYBODY HAS SEX…EVERYBODY IS INTO SEX! Madonna is/was no different.

  • http://none God

    Ah, where to begin? Oh, my first response to SS is that sincerity IS very much the issue here. I think most of us would agree that serious artists and musicians have at least some degree of sincerity. YOU are the one who keeps insisting that she’s so profound and meaningful, so let’s see real proof of it, not just some nice little sound bites you dug up from your ten thousand scrapbooks. As for the AIDS thing, uh, yes, chickie, I was growing up in the eighties and I remember it well. I’m just saying it’s pretty hypocritical to be “such a great AIDS activist” and then turn around and release a picture book of your self having sex with just about everything (and I’ve seen the book, too.) Kinda sends mixed messages, don’t you think?
    As for feminism, all you’ve proved is how much you buy into her clever comments. How does the fact that she masturbated onstage in 1990 help me to get the good education that I got at a nice women’s college? Thankfully Madonna was there to help me out!
    By the way, the Dixie Chicks did more than make just one comment about Bush (and nowhere near as vague as Madonna’s repeated bursts of hot air).

  • http://none God

    There is no doubt that when Madonna needs to look good in people’s eyes, that she can come up with the right thing to say in an interview (or Liz Rosenberg can coach her on what to say.) That isn’t proof that she’s sincere, or even gives a damn about her fans. Some of her remarks might be mildly amusing if she wasn’t so ridiculously fixated on “Me, Me, Me! See how witty I can be! See how I can act like a slut and then turn around and act like it’s everybody else who’s obsessed with sex! See how I can ‘poke fun at my own image’ because it’s all I think about 24/7!”

  • Jesus

    Dear God:

    Must make you even more upset that Madonna’s FOURTH show in Southern California just sold out and a fifth one is almost sold out. Her 7th show in the New York area is sold out and the 8th one is almost sold out. As much as you Madonna haters keep harping on her (and you do have some points), she will always be number one.

  • Stately Wayne Manor

    “…she will always be number one.” Yeah
    but number one what???

  • Rob

    The worst thing that Madona did was a “cover” version of American Pie.
    Here’s the Irony of it:
    Is Madonna a “greater” artist than Don Mclean: YES!
    Is ANY track by Madonna “greater” than
    American pie by Don Mclean: NO!

    I’m just a simple punter who knows what he likes, and what he dislikes, and what he’ll pay for, and what he won’t !

  • http://www.shortstrangetrip.org Joe

    I know I said this in another thread of Madonna’s covering Don McLean a long, long time ago, but that was the day the music died, both figuratively and literally.

  • Sandra Smallson

    God, that thing in your head called a brain is a waste. A waste of a brain. The creator made a mistake when putting it in your head. For you, your spinal cord would have sufficed. What’s the purpose of putting it in your head when you seem to spend your life trying to convince people how dumb you are?! You have finally convinced me and I am bored of your peculiar brand of entertainment along with all these other little munchkins or smurfs you bring along with ya anytime you show up.

    I have nothing more to add at this precise moment because even I, find it hard to carry on a discussion with someone who uses his spinal cord to assimilate and process information. I hope you are not an organ donor. That brain must be buried with you. It is of no use to man, woman or even wilderbeast.

  • rob

    Wind her up, and watch her go !!

  • ihateoreilly

    Madonna admits that covering American Pie was a mistake. It was a huge hit everywhere in the world (except America) and it was very well produced. However, the song is such a classic that it is an insult to cover.

  • robbedd666

    Over here in England. Everyone I know of the era of the original, consider the Madonna version a travesty, not a hit !

  • Eric Olsen

    There are some songs where the performance and the personality of the original performer are so inextricably bound with the song, that a cover is virtually impossible. This is one of them.

  • http://none God

    Hi SS. You could have saved a lot of cyberspace by simply typing the following sentence:
    Dear God, you are anencephalic.
    P.S. Jesus, I didn’t even know that until you told me. I thought I told you you were grounded with no TV!

  • Juliette

    Yes, the cover of American Pie was terrible… but I forgive her, we all make mistakes. And she is Madonna after all. Plus I am very excited as I have tickets to see her live in Manchester on Aug 15th! yay!

    woo hoo

    (hehe)

  • Sandra Smallson

    I am very angry with that Manchester date;) I had taunted friends in Manchester with my 1th August ticket saying it was the first date in the UK. What does Madonna do? Set a date in Manchester. I am avoiding my calls cos I am being destroyed with taunts here.

    Anyway, good for you guys up north. She hasn’t been there since the early 80’s in the Hacienda.

    Did you see a clip of the rehearsals? Rehearsing ITG(Into the groove) with the bagpipes guy from her wedding? LOL. Calf length kilt and all:) The woman is just too trendy. We’ll soon be seeing those all over the place once the rest of the world get a look at that clip.

    Some just have all the luck. Bagpipe guy living in his little village in Scotland. You play the bagpipes..Madonna arrives for her son’s christening, you just stand outside and play some of her songs on your pipes just to get press attention..and what happens 3 or 4 years down the line? You are invited to tour with her round the world…I bet you he can not believe his luck. Looking forward to hearing ITG with bagpipes. How strange is that?!:)

  • Juliette

    Just goes to show that Madonna can even make bagpipes cool!

  • http://freepresaleinfo.blogspot.com/ EvilE

    RE: 2006 Confessions Tour

    There are public presales planned, and I am 99% sure on the ticket presale password for Madonna at Madison Square Gardens. Off topic, but I’ve also got a Kenny Chesney password, Tim Mcgraw password and a Willie Nelson presale password. Come on over!

    http://freepresaleinfo.blogspot.com/

  • Lior

    Hi everyone!
    I would like you to tell me your own opinion about how Madona became an icon? and what is her contribution to culture?
    It’s a paper i have to do about those themes.
    Much appreciated.
    -Lior