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Like A Prayer – Rolling Stone Rereviewed

When people talk about Madonna exposing herself, they normally mean her tendency to drop her knickers. But her fourth proper album, 1989’s Like a Prayer, is filled with nakedly emotional songs such as “Promise to Try” (about her mother, who died when Madonna was just six) and the mournful “Oh Father” (just guess). “The album is drawn from what I was going through when I was growing up,” Madonna told Rolling Stone. As always, she had a kicker: “I’m still growing up.” Like a Prayer was the sound of Madonna figuring out her life, most explicitly on “Till Death Do Us Part,” a thinly fictionalized portrait of her volatile marriage with Sean Penn. But it was also the sound of a pop diva who had been learning how to sing and wanted to show off. Later, this would lead to an unfortunate tendency to tackle show tunes by Andrew Lloyd Webber. But here it meant that she not only belted blockbuster singles such as “Express Yourself,” she indulged in gentle psychedelia and a slow, grinding collaboration with Prince, “Love Song.” Who would have guessed then that pop music’s two leading imps of the perverse would end up as two of its most publicly devout figures (Prince with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Madonna with kabbalah)? That Sacred vs. Profane wrestling match was showcased in the glorious title track, where Madonna declared, “Everyone must stand alone,” and then, “I’m down on my knees/I wanna take you there,” seeking succor in both God and fellatio, or maybe fellatio with God. In a career full of transgressive moments, “Like a Prayer” is the most transgressive — and the most irresistible.

5 out of 5 stars


How does Madonna do it?

The device gets its nickname from one of the Middle Ages’ more notorious instruments of torture. And judging by its many pulleys and wires, ‘The Rack’ is an apt pseudonym. But for Madonna – who last night took to the stage at London’s Earls Court – it has proved a vital tool on her world tour.
The Gyrotonic Expansion System, to give it its correct title, has helped hone the mother-of-two’s body for the rigours of performing live.
The GBP3,500 contraption was designed by Romanian ballet dancer Juliu Horvath to help relieve the chronic pain he suffered from injuries.
Exercising with the machine allows for the natural circular motion of limbs. It is said to create long, lean muscles which are toned but not bulging.
Matt Aversa, director of manufacturers Gyrotonic, says: ‘Gyrotonic training creates muscles with suppleness and dexterity. This will decrease the chance of injury, and prepare Madonna’s body for what she does.’
However, Gyrotonic is just the latest exercise regime in Madonna’s relentless pursuit of the perfect body. Here, we reveal the effect that quest has had on her figure and her health.
‘Madonna looks like an Olympic athlete,’ says fitness consultant Cornel Chin, who trains stars such as Leonardo Di Caprio. ‘But to have such a physique, she must be putting in a similar level of effort – if not more, to compensate for her age.’
In the past Madonna was known as a fan of extreme exercise, running 20 miles a week, working out for hours on a step machine and pumping iron every day, not to mention rehearsing gruelling dance routines.
Now, she is one of the most advanced ashtanga yogis in the country. She is so experienced in this physical form of yoga that she is on the ‘Third Series’ – a level equivalent to being an Olympic-standard athlete.
‘She’s 46 now, and must be exercising for at least three hours a day,’ says Cornel. ‘A couple of hours will be aerobic exercise – that’s how her body fat levels have dropped to such an extent that her muscles have become prominent.
‘I think Madonna’s body fat level can only be about 17 per cent, which is well below the 23-33 per cent ideal for women. ‘She will also be doing a lot of weights to bulk up her muscles. But she needs to be careful. Joints are increasingly at risk as you age. Production of synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints, and glucosamine, which is a nutrient essential for joint health, starts to slow.
‘Madonna will have to spend longer on her warm-ups than when she was younger, and less time doing high-impact work such as running and step aerobics, or she could trigger the early onset of arthritis. ‘Of course, exercise is vital to staying healthy. But there are limits, and Madonna is at risk of “overtraining syndrome” – a form of chronic fatigue linked to intensive exercise and inadequate rest periods.’
‘Madonna is a devotee of ashtanga yoga, a Western adaptation of traditional forms of yoga,’ says instructor Chris James, who is based at North London’s Yoga Junction. ‘It focuses on developing upper body strength. But from the level of definition you see in her arms, she must be employing other techniques such as a rigid diet and weight-lifting.
‘Her muscle tone is the result of an exercise regime that must border on the obsessive; a woman would need to spend virtually all day exercising to achieve such a muscular look through yoga alone. Practising yoga is about achieving a certain level of balance – which Madonna, despite her devotion to the exercise, clearly hasn’t achieved.’
Madonna’s naturally wavy brown hair has emerged virtually unscathed from all the years of colouring she has put it through. ‘She has often done more to her hair in one month than other women would do in a decade,’ says celebrity hairdresser Martyn Maxey, whose salon is based in London’s Grosvenor Street.
‘But her hair remains shiny, full and glossy, which shows it is essentially healthy – despite all the peroxide it must have been subjected to. Peroxide is a vital ingredient in hair dye and works by opening up the outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, so that the colour can be absorbed by the inside of the hair.
Over time, with more and more peroxide use, the cuticles start to disintegrate and the hair becomes dry, brittle and unable to hold any colour. ‘Madonna is lucky that the structure of her hair hasn’t been destroyed by all the colour. She has no doubt reduced the damage by having as many restorative treatments as possible, such as intensive conditioners and protein treatments that help nourish and protect the cuticles. ‘Most women’s hair thins with age, and also for a couple of years after childbirth – but again, Madonna has been lucky. Her hair is still one of her best features.’
Face and skin
‘On a woman of 46 you would expect to see jowls, lines across the forehead, and eyebrows which are beginning to droop,’ says Adrian Richards, a plastic surgery consultant and skin expert based in London’s Harley Street.
‘That’s especially the case for someone who has done a lot of running, which loosens skin and muscle due to all the pounding, and general exercise, which increases the body’s production of free radicals, the atoms which can damage cells and speed up the ageing process.
‘Madonna doesn’t show such signs, although there was a period when she was looking more worn than she does now, which suggests some sort of treatment. ‘I don’t think she’s had a facelift, because her lower face doesn’t look that stretched or perfect, but she has definitely had a less invasive treatment.
‘Eyebrows that have retained such an arch, and a totally smooth forehead, are usually an indicator of Botox treatment, as is a lack of vertical lines between the eyebrows. ‘Madonna is also likely to have regular facials using products that contain the anti-ageing ingredient Retinova, which helps reduce fine lines and sun damage, plus more extreme treatments such as skin peels, which remove the outer layers of the skin to reveal the smooth, unlined layers beneath. ‘Madonna does have prominent nose-to-mouth lines, though, which suggests she hasn’t had any facial fillers.’
Legs :
‘Madonna’s leg veins could be a result of her exceptionally low level of body fat, which would make veins more prominent,’ says Cornel Chin. They could also be the beginnings of varicose veins, according to Dr Sarah Brewer. This condition develops when veins, which carry blood back to the heart, become blocked and swollen, and blood pools in them.
Varicose veins are made worse by childbirth, age, and standing for long periods of time – it’s harder for your body to pump blood away from your lower legs due to gravity. ‘Varicose veins can be painful and prevent blood from circulating efficiently,’ says Dr Brewer. ‘They can be removed in a simple procedure under general anaesthetic; mild cases can even be treated by injecting the veins with a special liquid which closes them.’
Breasts :
‘She looks like she’s had breast implants,’ says plastic surgery consultant Adrian Richards. ‘Ten years ago, her breasts were quite small and pert, with a small base – they didn’t stretch across her chest as they do now. Natural physical changes, plus childbirth, weight loss, and the toll that high-impact exercise takes on breast tissue, would have resulted in smaller, sagging breasts over the years. But instead, they appear much fuller. ‘Another give-away is the condition of the skin on her breasts. After childbirth, especially with older mothers, the skin across the breast becomes saggy and flat. But Madonna’s is smooth and lean, because the tissue underneath has been filled up with implants. There is no way she could have achieved her buxom look with just the help of Mother Nature.’
Body Fat :
‘Madonna’s level of body fat is far lower than average,’ says Kim Ramessa, an expert from Tanita, which produces body fat monitors. ‘A healthy range of body fat is 23-33 per cent. It’s impossible to make a precise estimate, but her incredibly defined and muscular arms suggest that
she falls well below that range.’
Dr Sarah Brewer says everyone needs some body fat to be healthy: ‘It’s vital for basic body functions such as regulating body temperature, storing vitamins, providing energy and cushioning joints and organs. ‘If body fat levels fall too low, women are put at increased risk of osteoporosis and fertility troubles.’
Diet :
Madonna follows a strict macrobiotic diet – a regime which combines wholegrain cereals, pulses and soy products into meals according to a principle of Tao ‘yin and yang’ balance.
Ideally no animal products except fish are consumed; refined flour, sugar and dairy products are banned. ‘While this isn’t the sort of diet to guarantee rapid weight loss, it’s a very restrictive way of eating,’ says nutritionist Fiona Hunter.
‘Madonna is missing out on all the benefits to be had from meat and dairy produce. She will be lacking in calcium, which could compromise her future bone health, while lack of wheat puts her at risk of vitamin B deficiencies, which result in fatigue, memory loss and digestive problems. ‘Furthermore, anaemia can result from not eating red meat, because although you can get iron from vegetarian sources such as cereals, pulses and spinach, you have to work much harder to get it.’
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Music: Madonna

Madonna’s last album, American Life, was one of her worst-selling. Her last film, Swept Away, was a resounding flop. Her makeover as the world’s most famous Kabbalist and honorary English countrywoman is typically bold, but does not promise much in terms of great pop music. The vultures may not be circling the most successful female singer yet, but they are beginning to take an interest in her career.
Her “Re-Invention” tour answers doubters with a hi-tech spectacle and a set drawn from more than 20 years of hits (unlike the last time she toured in 2001, when she played mainly new material).
Having begun the tour in the US, she launched the European leg in her adopted homeland at the weekend, when she showed a flattering appreciation for the finer points of Britishness, such as wearing a T-shirt reading “Brits Do It Better”. “It’s true, I should know,” she added, in Mrs Guy Ritchie mode, perhaps hoping no one present had seen her wearing an “Italians Do It Better” T-shirt during her American shows.
The tour’s theme of reinvention refers to her incessant changes in image, the most recent being her announcement that she had changed her name to Esther as a result of her growing interest in Jewish mysticism. At 45, she has left behind the extrovert Catholic iconoclasm of her youth and replaced it with a new emphasis on inner life and occult spirituality a point underscored by the start of her concert which opened with a tape of Madonna (or Esther) sententiously reciting verses from the Book of Revelation. For those of us who don’t go to see Madonna to be enlightened about the end of the world, this was an ill omen. But suddenly Esther’s spectre vanished as the singer emerged on stage wearing a diamante slip and thigh-high black boots, contorting her body to the beats of ‘Vogue”. The lyrics about artifice and striking a pose neatly inverted the show’s apocalyptic opening, proof that her self-projection as a performer is as astute and brilliantly choreographed as ever.
The concert ran as smoothly as a Broadway show. During costume breaks we were kept entertained by a fire juggler, a skateboarder and frenetic break-dancers. Madonna’s outfits were more muted than on previous tours no conical bras), but the staging of her songs was imaginative, sometimes eccentrically so. Why she sang a syrupy ballad from Evita strapped in an electric chair was unclear, while the use of a kilted bagpiper and Highland drummers on “Into The Groove” was even more curious. By giving one of the key hits of the 1980s an unsettling Brigadoon vibe, she provided a compelling argument against pop stars getting married in Scottish castles.
Her most arresting piece of choreography came when she and her dancers dressed up as soldiers to perform a hyper-charged version of “American Life” in front of pictures of injured civilians in Iraq and Vietnam. The polemic was crude but bold. It was as if Madonna and her well-regimented dance troupe were trying to reclaim pop from the US military, which has been known to use loud rock songs as a psy-ops tactic. (It is ironic that there has been so little prominent anti-war pop music during the Iraq conflict, yet such widespread use of it as an instrument of war.) A mawkish version of “Imagine” took the gloss from her politics, and seeing her sing piously about imagining a world without possessions while charging “20 for a tour programme was disgraceful.
But other attempts to inject seriousness and maturity into her music had more success. “Like A Prayer” was given a gospel backing that preserved the song’s exuberance yet added a fresh sense of tuneful sanctity, and “Material Girl” took on added weight with Madonna playing guitar, looking every inch the principled singer-songwriter. She ended with a trio of songs that emphasised how full of life and relevant her music continues to be. “Papa Don’t Preach” bounced along, “Music” juddered past and segued into her finale, a cleverly updated, techno version of “Holiday”. Escapist and fun, it also struck conscientious notes with lyrics such as “Come together people in every nation”.
Madonna’s desire to tackle big themes can lead her down some dubious musical byways into some trite sentiments but it has also freed her and given new impetus to her work.
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Madonna visit to Israel confirmed

Madonna and her husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, will spend Rosh Hashana in Israel, it was confirmed Monday by Rabbi Yehuda Berg, co-director of the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles.
The couple will spend two days, primarily at the associated Kabbalah Centre in Tel Aviv, Berg said.
However, he denied Israeli press reports that Madonna and Ritchie would meet with Kabbalah sage Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri while in Israel to seek spiritual guidance.
Madonna, who recently adopted the Jewish name of Esther, has been a frequent visitor at the Los Angeles Kabbalah Centre and has taken courses there. Her series of children’s books, the latest of which was published last month, claims the Kabbalah and Judaism as inspiration.
Britney Spears, Demi Moore, and Paris Hilton have also taken classes, Berg confirmed.
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Madonna tickets not in vogue ?

As Madonna begins her latest British tour, her fans, who last time offered four-figure sums for a pair of seats, are proving less enthusiastic.
The pop diva kicked off her previous British tour at the peak of her powers, but years on, she seems to have lost some of her sparkle.
Tickets were failing to meet even their face value as sellers cut their losses to take what they could as they traded on the online auction site eBay.
A pair of seats for her London shows on the Reinvention Tour later this month, which had originally cost more than GBP300 ($831), raised just GBP140 at the close of bidding, and some tickets for the show failed to attract a single bid.
Some sellers had posted messages on the website to say they were resigned to making a loss on someone who was once one of the world’s biggest box-office draws.
Tickets were still available at the box office for some of her shows. However, a spokeswoman for Madonna said that was due to extra capacity becoming available as the venues finalised their staging requirements.
Sales for the pop queen’s shows got off to a good start, although it is thought many buyers simply may have been snapping up tickets for re-sale following the clamour to see her Drowned World tour in 2001 for which tickets were changing hands for GBP600 each.
The shows – like all Madonna performances, more of a visual spectacular than a gig – were her first major dates for eight years and followed two acclaimed albums, Ray of Light and Music, which once again made her one of the coolest stars on the planet. Her latest dates are on the back of a flop, the critically panned American Life album.
Shows outside Manchester and London were expected to get far less than the actual cost of GBP75 to GBP160 for seats.
Radio 2 presenter Paul Gambaccini believed the poor reception for last year’s album was the root cause of the lack of interest.
“In popular music no one is as dead as someone who is recently dead, and Madonna has just had her first stiff album. It might have had a high chart entry but it disappeared quickly.
“There will come a time when she will sell out quickly again but that is because people will be viewing her in the context of her historic career achievements. They are currently viewing her in the light of the album’s failure.
“I’m not bothering to see her. I saw her on the Vogue tour. I know I’ve seen her at her peak so why see her flogging a dead horse?”
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Madonna has a L3K day of pampering for birthday

Madonna is reportedly splashing out 3,000GBP on a day of pampering for her best friends to help celebrate her birthday.
The Queen of Pop, who is currently on the British leg of her ‘re-Invention’ tour, turns 46 today (16.08.04) and wants to treat her friends to the luxurious health treatments at some of her favourite London spas.
A source told Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper: “She is really generous and just figured that as she has been on tour she fancied a relaxing birthday.
“And what better way to do that than to have a real ‘Sex and the City’-style day out with her best friends.”
The mother-of-two has reportedly booked several different places, including Covent Garden’s Sanderson Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge to have the treatments, as she wants to be able to relax in peace.
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Madonna Opens European Tour in Britain

Madonna kicked off the European leg of her “Re-Invention” tour Saturday with a crowd-pleasing show for 14,000 British fans.
Wearing black hot pants, a sequined silver top and knee-high black boots, the material girl mixed classics like “Holiday” and “Vogue” with tracks from her recent album “American Life” during the show at the Manchester Evening News Arena.
Tickets for Madonna’s two Manchester dates the first in Britain since 2001 sold out within an hour of going on sale in May.
Madonna is due to perform again in Manchester on Sunday, followed by five nights in London and shows in Dublin, Paris, the Dutch city of Arnheim and Lisbon, Portugal, where the tour ends Sept. 14.
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Madonna Wows Fans in Boots and Hotpants

Madonna wowed thousands of fans with a dance spectacular tonight as she kicked off the European leg of her Reinvention Tour.
The star was at the Manchester Evening News Arena in the city for the first UK date of the tour – a mix of classic songs like Holiday from her early days with recent tracks from her American Life album.
Madonna, 45, has thrown off her bullet bras in favour of a more grown-up show.
It was lit with moving LED screens showing the singer in heavy costume as she spoke a passage called The Beast Within.
Thousands of fans stood clapping and screaming as she came up through the floor on a moving stage to sing her hit Vogue.
Wearing black hotpants, a sequinned silver top and knee-high black boots, Madonna belted out the songs surrounded by backing singers and dancers.
She then took to a moving conveyor belt at the front of the stage to perform Nobody Knows Me.
Madonna is set to play tonight and tomorrow in Manchester before taking the tour to London, Ireland, The Netherlands and Portugal.
Manchester last welcomed the singer in 1984 when she played at the Hacienda Club, but she has not been in the north of England since 1987 when she performed at Roundhay Park in Leeds as part of the 1987 Who’s That Girl Tour.
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Madonna’s Gigs Are ‘too Hot’

Madonna fans have hit out at the superstar after she turned down the air conditioning at shows during her Reinvention tour.
The Material Girl has received numerous complaints from members of the audience, who say her gigs were too hot to enjoy the performance.
But it’s not just the fans that are feeling the heat – her dancers have also complained about their sweaty working conditions.
But John Page, director of Wachovia Centre – where Madonna played on the 4th and 5th of July – insists that, hot or not, the fans still had a fantastic time.
He says, “We limited the air conditioning during the show and it warmed up a bit, but everyone got Into The Groove and enjoyed the Holiday”.
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Manchester debut for Madonna

Madonna will kick off the European leg of her world tour later in Manchester.
All 14,000 tickets for the Material Girl’s first UK performance as part of her Re-Invention Tour sold out within an hour of going on sale in May.
Madge will perform two shows in the city’s MEN Arena before playing five in London and one in Dublin. She will then move on to play the remaining dates in mainland Europe.
Ticket prices for the Manchester gigs started at GBP75 and ranged up to GBP150.
The last time the queen of pop performed in the city was in 1984 at the legendary Hacienda night spot, which has since closed down.
Fans will undoubtedly hope to hear a few of her classic hits such as Vogue, Material Girl, Like A Prayer and Poppa Don’t Preach, mixed in with her latest songs.
Only one Manchester date was originally planned but a second was added following huge public demand for tickets, bringing the total number of performances in the tour to 56.
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Lady of the manor takes on the world

As you read this, an articulated truck should be winding its way to Manchester, laden with glittering Victorian-style bustiers, hot pants, stockings, matching pairs of customised underpants which spell out the word “Freedom”, T-shirts proclaiming “Kabbalists do it better”, designer army fatigues and a range of somewhat self-defeating mini-burkhas, cut off at the buttocks.
The vehicle in question is Madonna’s wardrobe truck for her Reinvention world tour, which arrives this weekend for eight arena dates in Manchester and London.
The convoy also includes a 50-ton revolving stage and more than 100 personnel, including 12 dancers, one skateboarder, one bagpipe player, five musicians and an astonishing 56 security guards. I don’t know if she is expecting trouble, but, since the first batch of tickets sold out within two hours, it seems unlikely she will be facing a hostile crowd.
These are practically homecoming dates for the 45-year-old mother of two. Indeed, since the US leg of her tour wound up in Miami last month, Madonna has been spotted out and about in London, jogging in Hyde Park and, in cloth cap and tweeds, visiting The Punchbowl pub in Mayfair with British husband, Guy Ritchie.
As Madonna’s typically idiosyncratic take on English fashion suggests, the Michigan girl has embraced a quaint, Hollywood version of England, mixing working-class, salt-ofthe-earth aesthetics with aristocratic pretensions, as if Bertie Wooster had become landlord of the Queen Vic.
When not supping pints down her local, Madonna retreats to her stately pile on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, where she has recently been engaged in the time-honoured country house pursuit of trying to ban ramblers. Yet, for all her newly acquired aura of stately decorum and domestic harmony, one can never entirely shake the suspicion she might be entirely naked beneath her Barbour jacket.
After 20 years in the spotlight, Madonna carries a lot of baggage. Yet such is her propensity for image makeover that her past does not so much define as obscure her. Peculiarly for such a public figure, there is no consensus on what lies behind the ever-changing facade.
In her heyday, outraged publications regularly used to ask “Who does Madonna think she is?” These days, it is more germane to ask if anyone still cares.
Madonna’s last album, American Life, an attempt to weld polemical statements to fractured disco beats, failed miserably. Panned by critics and ignored by the public, it became her first major release to fail to break the million mark.
This greatest-hits tour has been widely viewed as an attempt to re-establish her place in the pop pantheon. Initially greeted with enormous scepticism in the US, the tour has become the sellout success story of the summer, and this despite ticket prices of more than $300 for the best seats.
“The tour was certainly deemed a commercial success but critically it got mixed responses,” according to Anthony De Curtis, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine. “I think that, after a long successful run, the lustre has gone off her in the US. But I don’t think anybody could quite make sense of what she was trying to do with her shows. Even the very title seems a little redundant.”
But she does seem to have assembled yet another stirring spectacle. The Washington Post called it “a new performance hybrid, one that lifts and blends elements of Broadway, Cirque du Soleil, Rock the Vote rallies, art installations, extreme sporting events, church sermons, disco dances and gun-spinning military drills. For a few songs, it even looked like a rock concert.”
However, critics seemed universally baffled about what exactly the Reinvention tour was all supposed to represent, with Madonna apparently finding no contradiction following the anthem of self-interest Material Girl with a hippie strumalong of John Lennon’s Imagine, all set to footage of war-ravaged children.
An anti-war theme runs through the show, but The Washington Post accused her of jumping on this particular band wagon long after it had trundled out of Iraq.
“Gutsy? Not at this point, now that it’s safe to stand against the administration. Madonna would earn points for courage if last year, at the time of the US invasion, she hadn’t yanked the video for American Life, which ridiculed Bush as a warmongering nincompoop.
“No doubt Madonna was worried she’d get Dixie Chicked – that country threesome paid dearly for criticising the president last year. Madonna’s finger-wagging felt like catch-up, and it was turned into a Miss Saigon-style dance number that trivialised its own point of view.”
But someone whose ventures into the world of publishing are as sharply contrasting as a book of erotica and a stern children’s morality tale is unlikely to be embarrassed by having her contradictions pointed out.
“There’s a lot of mixed messages,” Madonna said after the launch of her tour in LA. “It would take me hours to explain them. Come back and see the show again.”
The critics have also noticed that there is less sex on this tour than ever before: the bullet bra has been replaced by an age-appropriate corset and the bedroom bump and grind of earlier shows has given way to yoga demonstrations.
“The last time she really made an impact in the US was when she kissed Britney at the MTV awards and everyone got a chance to say how exploitative it was, just like the old days,” says De Curtis. “It’s sort of funny. For years, everybody complained that ‘Madonna’s shock obsessed’. Then on this tour everybody was saying, ‘Gee, where’s the sex?’ I think people were a little let down that she was kind of acting her age for once. That’s the last thing anyone expected.”
Madonna’s old infatuation with decadence has largely given way to an obsession with physical and spiritual health. Her concert rider demands 25 cases of Kabbalah blessed water backstage, and there are no shows on Fridays due to her observance of Shabbat.
But searching questions were asked by a senior recording industry executive and personal acquaintance of Madonna. “At the very heart of the Kabbalah is the idea that what you put out, you get back. So I wonder what she gets out of that, because she is not a generous person.
“She is the Margaret Thatcher of pop. Her entire philosophy is about self-belief and selfmotivation. She has never thanked anyone who ever worked for her. Her vibe is ‘You are lucky to work for me’. Which is great; she’s a tough woman and people love it, but I can’t figure out how that fits with this new hippie shtick, because I don’t think there’s a hippie bone in her body. She’s punk rock, all the way.”
The contrast between Madonna’s boy-toy past and new-found political idealism and religious conviction seem to be at the core of the sceptical response of US critics.
The question raised time and again is why should Madonna be taken seriously, just because she takes herself seriously?
As baffled or amused as the US critics might have been, they did concur with her loyal fans on one point: Madonna’s latest shows are never less than entertaining. “Here’s the weird part,” said The Washington Post. “It’s not a mess. It’s actually kind of amazing.”
Rolling Stone went further, proclaiming that her latest reinvention was perhaps the most surprising of all: “The 45-year-old, whom few have ever taken seriously as a musician has matured into a truly great pop singer.”
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