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Madonna News - February 2007

Madonna’s Stress Cure? ‘I Scream a Lot’

How does Madonna juggle family, career and all her other commitments? Sometimes not very well, she admits.
“I scream a lot!” the singer, 48, tells British Elle. “Sometimes I handle [stress] well, sometimes I don’t. I take a deep breath or sometimes it’s nice to go run really fast on a treadmill for half an hour and get out all of my aggression. And I’m surrounded by very efficient people who remind me that it’s just a job and I’m going to be okay.”
One thing that isn’t a source of tension in her household is her fashion sense. Critics may love to hate some of her more out-there outfits, but husband Guy Ritchie, 38, isn’t one of them.
Does he comment on what she wears? “Not really,” she says. “Although once he said, ‘I like the dress you’re almost wearing’ – you know, one of those comments. But I think he pretty much approves of how I dress.”
Even the Confessions on a Dance Floor leotard? “He liked it.”
Ritchie himself isn’t stubborn when it comes to fashion.
“I like it when my husband wears suits and I tell him that on a regular basis,” Madonna says. Does he listen? “Yes, he does. He’s very obedient in the clothing department!”
Her kids are another story.
Though daughter Lourdes, 10, is modeling and testing the prototypes for Madonna’s children’s clothing line, a tie-in with her English Roses book series, she has her own outfit of choice.
“My daughter is going through a phase of wearing jeans that are so tight she can’t bend her knees in them. I have a go at her and say, ‘Can’t you wear something else? You have a closet full of clothes and you wear the same pants every day. And please wear a belt because I don’t want to see your butt crack when you bend over.’ ”
Likewise, her 6-year-old son, Rocco, “never wants to take off his Gap army fatigue pants. They both wear the same thing over and over again.”

source :

Madonna – Erotica – 15th anniversary Slant Review

My relationship to Madonna’s Erotica has been an ever-evolving one. Being just 13 years old at the time of its release, I was too young to relate to most of the music’s sexual politics. But I played the album incessantly, maybe because I recognized something innately human beneath its icy surface, and, even if I couldn’t articulate it, there was an honest rage behind Madonna’s rebellious public personaErotica and its accompanying Sex book seemed to be a part of the most audacious public temper tantrum I’d ever seen. At the very least, I knew a good flamenco guitar solo when I heard one. It wasn’t until years later, as an adult, that I started to grasp the socio-sexual commentary implicit in the album’s songs, and then only recently that I started to discover some of the more subversive, fringe ideas emerging in my own private life. The emotional states that lie beneath certain aspects of sexuality are universaleven if handcuffs and harnesses are not.

Deeply flawed, hugely under-appreciated, and pounded into submission by the hype and controversy surrounding Sex, Erotica is the album Kurt Loder likened to an iceberg. Madonna, under the guise of her then-muse, ’30s actress Dita Parlo, presides over the proceedings with whip in hand and tongue planted firmly in cheek. If Madonna’s image seemed aggressive up until this point, her music was warm, inviting, and accessible (it was pop by definitionhell, she defined pop music in the ’80s), which made her next-generation version of feminism a lot easier to swallowor, to some, tolerablein the era of AIDS and Reagan. By 1992, Madonna was an iconuntouchable, literally and figurativelyand Erotica was the first time the artist’s music took on a decidedly combative, even threatening, tone, and most people didn’t want to hear it.

Of all Madonna’s musical output, Erotica most resembled her acting: stiff, aloof, and seemingly contrived. Ironically, this came at a time when her films (Dick Tracy, Truth Or Dare, A League Of Their Own) were actually making money for the first time since Desperately Seeking Susan. Madonna’s characters in films like Body of Evidence and Dangerous Game, both released on the steel-toed dominatrix heels of Erotica, were far cries from the defiant but likeable Susan, and though Erotica was a full-on dance album, Madonna seemed more interested in getting off than getting into the groove. Emphasis should be placed on seemed since few of the songs on the album are actually about sex. The ballads are all direct results of sex (the promiscuity hymn “Bad Girl,” the AIDS dirge “In This Life,” and some might even view “Rain” as an extended cum metaphor, though I don’t subscribe to that knee-jerk interpretation), but most of the album is about romance and the loss of it.

That is, especially the loss of it. “This is not a love song,” Madonna insists at the start of “Bye Bye Baby,” but that’s wishful thinking: one particularly vengeful line from the song, “I’d like to hurt you,” takes on new meaning following the title track’s “I only hurt the ones I love.” The filter on her voice gives the effect of an answering machine message, the bleep that censors her final barb (“You f*cked it up”) doubling as the machine’s end-of-message beep. A few tracks later, “Waiting,” a veritable sequel to the steely, in-your-face spoken-word of “Justify My Love,” addresses rejection and unrequited love in a more brutally honest fashion: “Don’t go breaking my heart like you said you would,” she sings despondently yet sincerely. Here’s a woman who entered into a relationship after the man she loves told her he wouldn’t be able to love her back. And yet she still took the risk, which is exactly what Erotica is about. Forget the whips and chains of the brilliant, otherworldly ode to S&M that is “Erotica””Waiting” is the ultimate masochism, one that is entered into with full knowledge of what the emotional consequences will be. The very first lyric, “Well, I know from experience that if you have to ask for something more than once or twice, it wasn’t yours in the first place,” which she utters with the same amount of interest a star of her stature might apply to buying a new pair of shoes, also happens to be one of the best opening lines to a pop song since “I guess I should have known by the way you parked your car sideways that it wouldn’t last.”

Speaking of little red corvettes, Madonna waxes erotic on the perks and pleasures of oral sex on “Where Life Begins,” the album’s most overtly sexual track but also the only one to reference safe sex: “I’m glad you brought your raincoat/I think it’s beginning to rain.” Both “Where Life Begins” and “Waiting” draw heavily from Motown and were produced by Andre Betts, who cut his teeth as associate producer of “Justify My Love.” But Erotica’s chief producer was Shep Pettibone, who remixed Madonna’s singles for half a decade before graduating to legit collaborator with the seminal dance hit “Vogue” in 1990. “Deeper And Deeper,” with its juxtaposition of swirling disco synths, of-the-moment Chicago house beats, and the aforementioned flamenco guitar (insisted upon by Madonna, according to Pettibone, who objected), is both a product of its time and a timeless Madge classic. (The track even borrows a lyric from “Vogue,” as if she’d come anywhere close to running out of ideas by 1992.) Madonna’s rarely acknowledged harmonies glide atop the frosty beats, thunder-claps of percussion, and skyward drone of the sonorous “Rain,” and, of course, there’s the inventive and sleek “Words.” Madonna could have more successfully achieved the gritty, raw sound she wanted had she completely handed the reigns over to Betts; time hasn’t been kind to Pettibone’s often-suffocating productions, while Betts’s jazzy piano parts and hip-hop beats still sound fresh.

Regardless of the producer, however, the album is sonically seamless, and almost every song is about a minute too longan orgy that seemingly never ends, or maybe just the product of CD technology. And then there’s “Did You Do It?,” which, aside from the supremely over-the-top but ridiculously fun “Thief Of Hearts,” is the pockmark on Madonna’s otherwise flawless, 35-year-old posterior. It’s the houseguest who stayed the night and who looks much less desirable in the light of day. She could burn her sheets and sanitize the bedroom, she could write it out of her memory, issuing a “clean” version of the whole story without a parental advisory sticker (and she did, because Madonna wanting to get her pussy eaten isn’t as offensive as a rapper talking about actually having done it). But the stink remains anyway. “Did you do it?” She knows she did, but she really just wants to get wifed and have a baby, feminism be damned.

Which brings us to, perhaps, Erotica’s most personal, revealing moment, the unexpected jazz-house closer “Secret Garden,” another Betts production. Most critics and fans are split between two camps: those who think Like A Prayer is Madonna’s greatest album and those who believe Ray Of Light is. (I happen to belong to the former.) And then there are those who claim Erotica is her best effort. Had Betts produced more tracks like “Secret Garden,” it may very well have been. Way ahead of its time, the track sets Madonna’s yen for a child to shuffling drum n’ bass, atmospheric synths, and a distant saxophone beckoning like an alley cat. Ever the control freak, and with motherhood still a few years away, she tries to dismiss her ticking biological desire: “I just wish I knew the color of my hair.” It’s unexpectedly the album’s sexist song.

Erotica’s irrefutable unsexiness probably says more about the sex=death mentality of the early ’90s than any other musical statement of its time. This is not Madonna at her creative zenith. This is Madonna at her most important, at her most relevant. Pettibone’s beats might be time-stamped with the sound of a genre that ruled a decade of one-hitters before being replaced by commercialized hip-hop, and Madonna’s voice might sound nasal and remote, but no one else in the mainstream at that time dared to talk about sex, love, and death with such frankness and fearlessness, and, intentional or not (probably not), the fact that she sounds like she has a cold only adds to the claustrophobic stuffiness of the record. The drums of “In This Life” tick away like Stephen Hawking’s Doomsday Clock, which, coupled with tension-building keyboard intervals inspired by Gershwin’s blues lullaby “Prelude No. 2,” creates a sense of dis-ease rarely found in a pop ballad.

Whatever words one chooses to label the album withcold, artificial, self-absorbed, anonymousMadonna embraces those qualities and makes it part of the message. “Why’s it so hard to love one another?” she asks on the reggae-hued “Why’s It So Hard?,” knowing the answer lies within the dark fact that a society that won’t even allow two people to love each other freely can’t possibly be expected to love and care for perfect strangers unconditionally. Sexually liberated, for sure, but Madonna is a liberal in every other sense of the word too, and you didn’t have to hear her shout, “Vote for Clinton!” as she was being whisked past MTV News’s cameras to know that. It could be argued that Madonna lost her rebel relevance right around the time Reagan’s regime endedthe waning of her popularity certainly coincided with the arrival of Bill Clinton’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. But looking back from the vantage point of an administration far more sinister than Reagan’s, it’s clear that Madonna, her messages, and her music are more relevant now than ever.

source : slant

The Confessions Tour (CD/DVD) – The Stylus Review

Madonna revitalized herself artistically with Confessions on a Dance Floor, her pop-and-lockingest album since maybe her debut, and then spent the summer of ’06 on a massive, well-received world tour devoted to pumping up the jams. Said tour has now been trapped in amber for posterity with a DVD/CD combo, The Confessions Tour. The DVD portion is basically an extended version of the special which ran on NBC on Thanksgiving Eve, showcasing the Queen of Pop at her heart-pumping best during one of the tour’s London stops (at Wembley Arena). It’s almost exclusively up-tempo, staged within an inch of its life yet more vivacious than anything she’s done in years. Its CD companion is a pared-down 13 tracks taken from the live show, and good God it smokes. To put it another way: even “I Love New York”? succeeds in this context.

She opens the proceedings with the “I Feel Love”?-sampling “Future Lovers,”? which bleeds into a cover of its spiritual parent. While I’m not the biggest fan of “Future Lovers”? (I called it “the album’s weakest track”? in my Dance Floor review), it sounds nicely futuristic live (well, 1975-futuristic) and works to set the mood. “I Feel Love”? slams into a rearranged version of “Like a Virgin,”? a song I’m frankly surprised Madonna’s still performing live; her voice is better than the song itself. That said, this fresh rub is splendid, touched with both electronica and disco referencesif not exactly “shiny and new,”? it’s at least been polished.

“Jump”? is utterly sensational. Sure, it’s not all that different from the version found on Dance Floor, but it’s so damned exciting to begin with, why mess with it? The disc’s momentum, however, is almost lost to “Confessions,”? wherein we hear a trio of individuals sharing their hard-life “confessions,”? yawn. Next up is “Isaac,”? Madonna’s kinda-Jewish-mystical song, complete with shofar (ram’s horn), which manages to be meaningful without sounding pedantic. The fantastic “Sorry”? follows, with bits of the Pet Shop Boys’ jaw-dropping remix sprinkled about. Hearing Neil Tennant backing up Madonna is a thrill anytime, anyplace, even if it’s recorded; it doesn’t hurt that this version throbs and pulsates like a cobra itching to strike. Play it loudly.

The album closes superbly, with a four-song sequence of “Music Inferno”? (“Music”? to the tune of “Disco Inferno”?and it’s even better than it deserves to be), a reworked “Erotica,”? a fresh “Lucky Star,”? and finally a penultimate take on “Hung Up”? which, incredibly, is actually full of honest-to-God “You are there!”? excitement. There’s not a better way The Confessions Tour could’ve closed. And frankly, who’d have guessed that in 2007 Madonna would release such a smashing live document? Never doubt the lady, folks, ’cause she’ll prove you wrong every time.

The Confessions Tour (CD/DVD) – Pitchfork Review

Recorded at a 2006 show in London, The Confessions Tour is Madonna’s second concert CD+DVD set in eight months. The first, I’m Going to Tell You a Secret, supported her American Life album and had the distinction of being both the first live album of her quarter-century career and her greatest musical fiasco. While similar in staging, this new set supports a much better album, 2005’s stronger Confessions on a Dance Floor, and that alone makes it the better of the two. Viewed together– their quick succession makes it impossible to assess them separately– this pair of releases signals the beginning of a new stage in Madonna’s career, one in which director Jonas A

Madonna Says She Wants to Be Like Gandhi

Madonna has in the past styled herself after Marilyn Monroe and Eva PerA3n, but they’re not the ones she hopes to emulate.
“I want to be like Gandhi and Martin Luther King and John Lennon – but I want to stay alive,” the singer said during a Valentine’s Day interview on Sirius Satellite Radio.
In fact, Madonna, 48, who angered church leaders with a controversial crucifixion scene on her most recent tour, has some even bigger spiritual shoes to fill. “For me we all need to be Jesus in our time,” she says.
Defending the scene, which featured video images of AIDS orphans in Africa, she says: “Jesus’s message was to love your neighbor as yourself, and these are people in need. I hope that people got that message.
“Of course some people thought ‘Oh, she’s just being controversial, she’s just getting on a cross and trying to piss people off,’ but that wasn

The Confessions Tour (CD/DVD) – Scripps News Review

Late last June, Madonna slid out a relatively unheralded (for her) but impressive live CD/DVD combo, “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret.” The release featured strong performances captured from her 2004 Reinvention Tour, which was staged to promote her 2003 CD “American Life.” The Jonas Akerlund-directed DVD also documented her process of putting the show together with side looks at her personal life _ a la 1991’s “Truth or Dare.”

The main thing wrong with “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret” was its timing: When it came out, Madonna had already embarked on her next tour to promote her 2005 release “Confessions on a Dance Floor” _ a considerably better collection of songs than “American Life” had to offer. And last year’s tour proved to be the all-time top-grossing tour by a female artist.

So now out comes “The Confessions Tour,” a live CD/DVD combo that fills in the blanks left by “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret.”

The Akerlund-directed two-hour DVD catches Madonna performing at London’s Wembley Arena last August, a vivid spectacle that found her riding a saddle, playing guitar (albeit rhythm guitar), running around like a deranged runway model and holding court over dancers behaving like horses.

The show is keyed to movement and complicated visual effects, dramatic mood shifts to accompany costume changes and such displays as a giant, mirrored cross from which Madonna hangs to sing “Live to Tell,” a sight NBC refused to broadcast last fall when the network aired her concert.

There’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss the best part of the show: Madonna delivering fine live vocals to some of the greatest songs of her career. That’s why the CD is handy, blocking out the DVD’s distracting images so fans can concentrate on the music at the heart of Madonna’s success.

Although the CD is an edited-down version of the DVD, both include a few well-recast oldies (“Like a Virgin,” “Erotica,” “Music”) but mostly feature her brilliant new dance songs, including the surreal “Future Lovers” (fused here with a rendition of “I Feel Love”), a pumped-up “Jump” and the bouncy “Sorry.” Both discs build in intensity to the show’s finale, a propulsive version of “Hung Up.”

London went wild.

Rating (five possible): 4

Madonna – The Confessions Tour (CD/DVD) – Cinema Blend Review

Madonna never goes away and yet she always comes back. The woman of a thousand icons is a self-inventor and recreator on a never-ending scale. One minute she’s flopping around in a white dress to “Like A Virgin”? at the 1984 MTV music awards, then she’s a solid supporting actress in A League Of Their Own, and next she’s a Kabbalah-thumping, protective mother who knows when to relinquish her wild side.

A little background first: I always viewed Madonna as the bane of my existence. As the only boy growing up in a house with four women, Madonna had a prominent role in that matriarchy. When the Dirty Dancing VHS tape needed a rest from overheating in the VCR, Madonna was surely booming out of the stereo. I thank you for your sympathy.

So, surely you can understand where some initial animosity might register with me whenever someone merely mentions the singer’s name. However, it’s time to put all bias aside and embrace the reality that Madonna is one of the biggest stars of all time for a reasonfemale liberation and empowerment to the utmost degree.

The Confessions Tour concert CD/DVD takes all the themes of Madonna’s career and meshes them on a big plate of fun. Performing songs both classic and new (mostly new), the former Material Girl owns the London crowd on a night where she swears she didn’t even know it would be filmed. I, for one, believe her, because you don’t get that big without giving it your all every night.

The festivities kick off with a horse-oriented video on the stage’s jumbo screen for “Future Lovers/I Feel Love.”? After a daunting sequence of the horse galloping in various locations, Madonna bursts onto the scene in complete horseback attire. Men prance around the stage while she has a whip in hand, suggesting a dominatrix-like assertion to the crowd that she is in control.

The show’s screen images bounce from politically charged and socially aware to just plain weird, sometimes even taking up the whole TV screen with persistent flashes, leaving me wondering if I might develop epilepsy. This is definitely the weakest and most artificial piece to an otherwise eclectic concert.

For “Like A Virgin,”? the tune that made her a household name, she rides a horse saddle attached to a pole. I’m still not sure what the horse theme is all about, but it seems to resemble the star’s carefree, wild spirit. She wails on the guitar to “I Love New York”? and while she is no Hendrix, it’s astounding to see her harness a musical instrument. And when she yells on stage, “New York is not a place; it’s a f*ck you attitude,”? it’s magnificent.

Now, on to the blown-up controversy surrounding the event: the mock crucifixion. This is done during the song “Confessions”? and there is nothing to it. Some breakdancers do their thing and Madonna rises up at the back of the stage strapped to an enlarged, blue-checkered cross. There is nothing obscene like fake blood or wounds, so any true controversy cannot be found by me (she doesn’t say this is what it was like when Jesus actually died or anything).

My favorite parts of the concert are whenever Madonna is on stage. Due to the fact she has to change clothes a lot, the intermediary segments between songs with either breakdancers or other expressive artists had me thinking, So where’s that Madonna chick? On one of the occasions she returned, to perform “Ray Of Light,”? I’ll admit that I caught myself singing along in a high-pitch tone. Which is extraordinarily awkward even for me.

The exalted one is every bit as charismatic, charming and lively as ever. I recommend the DVD more than the CD because she’s more interesting to watch than to listen to, but The Confessions Tour is a great way to relive another event that put the one-name icon back on the map, yet again. Madonna, I confess: You rock, girl.

The Confessions Tour (CD/DVD) – Monsters & Critics Review

Is the DVD a bonus to the CD or is the CD a bonus to the DVD? Whatever you decide, one thing is clear. Madonna knows how to put on a show.

In 2006, Madonna embarked on the “Confessions Tour”? to promote her new album “~Confessions on a Dance Floor.’ The tour was not without controversy since Madonna’s faux crucifixion raised the ire of several religious groups. I’m sure that was what was intended because for a time Madonna was getting tons of free press about her tour for this one incident.

The DVD features the two-hour Confessions show and was recorded in the UK at Wembley Arena. When her show was broadcast on several TV stations they cut out the offending crucifixion during “Live to Tell,”? but his DVD features the uncensored version.

The show is not only devoted to the new album, but features her classics “Like a Virgin,”? “Lucky Star,”? “Live to Tell,”? and “Erotica.”? The show features 21 songs/performances on the DVD but also adds about 13 minutes of behind the scenes footage and a photo gallery.

I’d have to say that the CD is the bonus to the DVD and the DVD is the main course. The CD features 12 tracks of Madonna’s live performance. To me listening to the audio of stage show is not as exciting as seeing the whole bit on the DVD, it just loses something.

Whatever you think of her, Madonna’s show is a real stunner. It has lots of dancers, videos, and special effects. A lot of money has been put into the stage show and it shows.

For fans, this is a must have since I’m sure that the tickets to the event were much more than the $20 or so that it will cost you to buy this DVD/CD online. It is a recommended purchase.