Interviewer: What an innocent girl you were.
Stuart Price: Hard to believe.
Madonna: You can just dance for six hours and nobody will bother you and you don’t have to drink. I felt an incredible sense of liberation, and I felt happier. That sense of freedom and feeling independent. I was used to dancing, but only when someone told you what to do. So in the nightclub I was all over the place, I combined everything. Street dance, modern dance, a bit of jazz and ballet, I was Twyla Tharp, I was Alvin Ailey, I was Michael Jackson. I didn’t care, I was free. There was nothing fun or glamorous about my life and I needed some excitement. And believe me, there were a lot cooler people there than me. They were wearing black and not moving much, and I was giving everyone the retarded tingles.
The new album is called Confessions on a Dance Floor, and the tracks have been sequenced together to run as one continuous piece of music. The idea was to create a record that resembles the score of a musical, with recurring themes, combined with the feel of an hour at a nightclub. The predominant marketing image on the album artwork and advertising spreads is of a Seventies disco glitterball and a pop star keen on the Jane Fonda workout look. She sings about the usual things, which inevitably means singing about the saga of being Madonna: her quest for understanding, for a deeper truth beyond the trappings of fame, for a spiritual light in the darkness. There aren”t many “confessions”, but there’s plenty of self-assertion. The record is the closest Madonna has got to a concept album, and the concept is simplicity.
Madonna: I tried to do some other stuff with Mirwais but it didn’t resonate. I always kept wanting to run back to Stuart’s studio.
Stuart Price: The escape pod.
Madonna: Yes. You meet somebody, and you’re already going out with somebody else, so you say “Hi” and you have this fantastic date with them, and when you go back to this other person you’re with all you can do is think about that other new person. I couldn”t stop thinking about how fun it was to work with Stuart. It took me a minute to decide which boyfriend I wanted to have.
Have you ever met Mirwais? Jean-Paul Sartre comes to mind. He’s very intellectual, very analytical, very cerebral, very existential, very philosophical. You have to be in the mood for it. I didn’t want to over-think things too much. I don’t want to be complicated now.
Interviewer: You feel that happened with American Life ?
Madonna: Yes. It didn’t happen when we first worked together, on Music, but on American Life we both got into a sort of…
Stuart Price: Vortex.
Madonna: We both got sucked into the French existentialist vortex. We both decided we were against the war, and we both smoked Gauloises and wore berets, and we were against everything. No, it’s about the universe conspiring. With the last album I was in a very thoughtful mood, a very angry mood, a mood to be political, very upset with George Bush.
Interviewer: But now you’re happier ?
Madonna: It’s just that I did that already. I don’t need to be going on about the war in Iraq. I made a lot of political statements in my show and in my film. I don’t want to repeat myself, so I moved to another area and that’s “God, I really feel like dancing right now”. It was too intense. It’s not just a reaction to what I was doing work-wise, but also a reaction to what was going on in the world. I just wanted some relief.
Interviewer: Fuck Art, Let’s Dance?
Interviewer: Used to be on T-shirts in the Seventies.
Madonna: It’s fuck everything, let’s dance.