23 August 2020

Levitating

Levitating
The Dua Lipa song Levitating has been remixed by The Blessed Madonna (DJ Marea Stamper’s stage name), and features guest vocals by Madonna and Missy Elliot. The remix was released earlier this month as a one-sided 12” single on The Blessed Madonna’s record label, We Still Believe. It also appears on Dua Lipa’s digital remix album Club Future Nostalgia.

Madonna and Missy Elliott previously collaborated on Into the Hollywood Groove, recorded for clothing store Gap. (While Madonna sang excerpts from her singles Hollywood and Into the Groove, Elliott was reduced to rapping about how much she loved her Gap jeans.) They also performed together at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.

18 September 2019

Madame X Tour

Madame X Tour
Madonna’s Madame X Tour began last night. Her previous world tours (Who’s That Girl, Blond Ambition, The Girlie Show, Drowned World, Reinvention, Confessions, Sticky and Sweet, MDNA, and Rebel Heart) were all held in stadiums or arenas, though Madame X is a theatre tour. This makes each concert a far more intimate experience, and Madonna interacted with the audience throughout last night’s show. She has experimented with smaller-scale performances before: she debuted her Tears of a Clown cabaret show in Melbourne and Miami in 2016, and played one night at the Paris Olympia during The MDNA Tour in 2012.

The new tour includes live performances of almost the entire Madame X album (Medellín, Dark Ballet, God Control, Future, Batuka, Killers Who Are Partying, Crave, Crazy, Come Alive, I Don't Search I Find, and Extreme Occident) and a handful of classics (Human Nature, an a cappella Express Yourself, Vogue, Papa Don’t Preach, American Life, La Isla Bonita, Frozen, and Like a Prayer). There are two cover versions (Fado Pechincha and Sodade), and the encore is I Rise.

15 May 2019

11:11

11:11
Madonna is featured on Maluma’s new album, 11:11, which will be released on 17th May; she appears on one track, Soltera (‘single’). Likewise, Madonna’s forthcoming album Madame X features Maluma on two tracks: Medellín and Bitch I’m Loca.

19 April 2019

Madame X

Madame X
Madame X
Madame X
Madame X, Madonna's fourteenth studio album, will be released on 14th June, more than four years after Rebel Heart. The album's lead single, Medellín, was released digitally this week, and its promo video will premiere on MTV on 24th April. Crave, Dark Ballet, Batuka, and God Control will also be released as digital singles. (The Madame X persona recalls the Mistress Dita character Madonna adopted for Erotica.)

The MTV premiere is a throwback to the 1980s and 1990s, when music videos were a staple of MTV's schedule and each new Madonna video was a major event. Madame X also taps into this sense of nostalgia, as the album will be released on a variety of physical formats: vinyl, CD, and cassette. There will even be a 7" single, I Rise, as part of a deluxe box set.

As with Rebel Heart, there are multiple versions of the album, each with different track listings. The standard digital and CD releases have thirteen tracks: Medellín (a duet with Maluma), Dark Ballet, God Control, Future (featuring Quavo), Batuka, Killers Who Are Partying, Crave (featuring Swae Lee), Crazy, Come Alive, a cover version of Faz Gostoso (featuring Anitta), Bitch I'm Loca (featuring Maluma), I Don't Search I Find, and I Rise. The vinyl and cassette editions feature two additional tracks: Extreme Occident and Looking for Mercy. A double CD edition includes a further three bonus tracks: Funaná, Back That Up to the Beat, and Ciao Bella.

There are also three different album covers (again, as was the case with Rebel Heart). The most striking cover shows the album title sewn onto Madonna's lips, perhaps a reference to her mother's death. (The promo video for Oh Father dramatises a flashback to her mother's open-casket funeral, showing her mouth sewn shut.) This cover, which also evokes Frida Kahlo's self-portraits, features on the vinyl, cassette, and standard CD editions. On the double CD cover, Madonna poses with a guitar. The box set cover shows her with plaited blonde hair.

20 November 2018

Quavo Huncho

Quavo Huncho
Quavo Huncho is the debut solo album of Quavo, the rapper who has previously performed as part of a trio (Migos) and duo (Huncho Jack). One track, Champagne Rosé, features guest vocals by Madonna and Cardi B.

17 August 2017

Rebel Heart Tour

Rebel Heart Tour
Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour will be released on video and CD next month. The concert, promoting her Rebel Heart album, was broadcast on Showtime last December.

The DVD and blu-ray versions feature the following songs: Iconic, Bitch I'm Madonna, Burning Up, a medley of Holy Water and Vogue, Devil Pray, Messiah, Body Shop, True Blue, Deeper & Deeper, HeartBreakCity, Like A Virgin, S.E.X., Living For Love, La Isla Bonita, a medley of Dress You Up and Into The Groove, Rebel Heart, Illuminati, Music, Candy Shop, Material Girl, La Vie En Rose, Unapologetic Bitch, Holiday, and Like A Prayer. (Take A Bow is included as a bonus in Japan.)

A CD double-album features all tracks except Messiah, S.E.X., and Illuminati. A single-disc CD version features thirteen songs: Iconic, Bitch I'm Madonna, Burning Up, a medley of Holy Water and Vogue, Devil Pray, Deeper & Deeper, HeartBreakCity, Living For Love, La Isla Bonita, Rebel Heart, Candy Shop, Unapologetic Bitch, and Holiday.

The DVD and blu-ray releases will also include extracts from the Tears Of A Clown cabaret show, though unfortunately it's the rather shambolic Melbourne debut rather than the more polished Miami performance. The black-and-white extracts include performances of Borderline, Don't Tell Me (with an a cappella section), and a few lines of Holiday.

13 December 2016

Madonna: Rebel Heart

Madonna: Rebel Heart
Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour was broadcast on Showtime on 9th December. The concert film, Madonna: Rebel Heart, was directed by Danny Tull and Nathan Rissman. (Tull has edited three previous Madonna tour videos: The Confessions Tour, Sticky & Sweet Tour, and MDNA World Tour.)

Unapologetic Bitch included a montage of the special guests who appeared at each venue, though the entire film felt like a mosaic of shots from different concerts: footage of Madonna wearing different costumes was intercut without continuity. The end credits featured brief backstage footage (and Madonna performing If I Had A Hammer).

03 December 2016

Tears Of A Clown

Tears Of A Clown
Madonna's Tears Of A Clown cabaret show debuted in Melbourne earlier this year, and she performed her second Tears Of A Clown concert (wearing a less gothic clown costume) yesterday in Miami. (It was also streamed online via Facebook Live.) Both shows began with a cover version of Send In The Clowns and ended with a ukulele version of Holiday, her traditional encore, though in other respects the two performances were entirely different.

The first show was rather maudlin, while the second was much more upbeat. A revised set list, with ballads replaced by Beautiful Stranger, American Life, and Express Yourself, gave the second show much more energy than the first. Despite the Tears Of A Clown title, the second version was more angry than sad, and the melancholic introspection of the first show was gone. Instead, Madonna admonished the audience (for crowding the stage) and criticised Donald Trump (during a cover version of Britney Spears' Toxic).

Yesterday's show also seemed more rehearsed and choreographed than the first. The clown jokes were as corny as before, though there was some comic timing instead of the first show's awkward silences. The only misfire came when Madonna gave $100 bills to members of the crowd, seemingly for no reason. The audience (who had paid $5,000 each for this charity event) was fairly quiet, and Madonna complained: "There's no excitement in this room!" The set list was: Send In The Clowns, Like It Or Not, Toxic, I'm So Stupid, Beautiful Stranger, Easy Ride, American Life, Don't Tell Me, Express Yourself, and Holiday.

11 March 2016

Tears Of A Clown

Tears Of A Clown
Tears Of A Clown, the cabaret show Madonna performed last night at the Forum theatre in Melbourne, was the complete antithesis of a Madonna concert. Usually, every second of her live performances is meticulously choreographed, resulting in theatrical events with plenty of spectacle but little spontaneity. In contrast, Tears Of A Clown had no dance routines, costume changes, or choreography, and Madonna described it as "this work in progress, this rough rehearsal".

Madonna made her entrance on a child's tricycle, wearing a pink wig (like the one she wore while performing Like A Virgin on Top Of The Pops in 1984) and a clown costume. She began by announcing: "First of all, I wanna make a disclaimer, because if anyone thinks they came here to see a finished, final show, there's the door." (The audience - 1,500 Australian members of her fan club - had been waiting outside the theatre for four hours, so they were unlikely to leave.)

The show was an incongruous combination of corny jokes and melancholy. One song, Intervention, was dedicated to her son, over whom she's currently fighting a custody battle: "Everybody knows the saga of me and my son Rocco. It's not a fun story to tell or think about." Introspective moments like this felt awkward, with the crowd regularly shouting reassurance, and the concert was intimate though fairly shambolic.

Madonna seemed relaxed during the show, drinking cocktails between songs (most of which were ballads). She performed two cover versions (Send In The Clowns and Between The Bars), and the only song from the current Rebel Heart Tour was her traditional encore, Holiday. The full set list was: Send In The Clowns, Drowned World/Substitute For Love, X-Static Process, Between The Bars, Nobody's Perfect, Easy Ride, Intervention, I'm So Stupid, Paradise (Not For Me), Joan Of Arc, Don't Tell me, Mer Girl, Borderline, Take A Bow, and Holiday.

11 September 2015

Rebel Heart Tour

Rebel Heart Tour
Rebel Heart Tour
Madonna's latest world tour began on 9th September in Montreal. The Rebel Heart Tour, featuring material from the album Rebel Heart, will continue to America and Europe until the end of this year, moving to Asia and Australasia next year. She will perform in Thailand on 9th and 10th February, at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.

The show contains no tracks from her previous MDNA album, though it does feature songs such as Who's That Girl, True Blue, and Love Don't Live Here Anymore that she hasn't performed for more than twenty-five years. Holiday returns to its traditional position as the encore. Madonna's previous tours are: The MDNA Tour, the Sticky & Sweet Tour, the Confessions Tour, the Reinvention World Tour, the Drowned World Tour, The Girlie Show, the Blond Ambition World Tour, the Who's That Girl World Tour, and The Virgin Tour.

The set list is: Iconic; Bitch I'm Madonna; Burning Up; Holy Water; Vogue; Devil Pray; Messiah (accompanied by the Ghosttown video); Body Shop; True Blue; Deeper & Deeper; HeartBreakCity; Love Don't Live Here Anymore; Like A Virgin; S.E.X. (preceded by lines from Justify My Love, and accompanied by the Erotica video); Living For Love; La Isla Bonita; a medley of Into The Groove, Everybody, Lucky Star, and Dress You Up; Who's That Girl; Rebel Heart; Illuminati; Music; Candy Shop; Material Girl; La Vie En Rose (performed in French); Unapologetic Bitch; and Holiday. Ghosttown was added to the set list after the first few shows, and she also performed Frozen, Fever, Secret, Take A Bow, Crazy For You, and Like A Prayer at some concerts.

01 April 2015

The English Roses Collection

The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection, limited to 1,500 copies, consists of two children's books written by Madonna: The English Roses (in a slipcase) and The English Roses: Too Good To Be True. The books are presented in a numbered box (mine being #204) with a print signed by illustrator Stacy Peterson. The Collection's main (or only) selling point is that it includes a letter autographed by Madonna. She clearly didn't take much care when signing it, and her signature is therefore little more than a scribble, though at least it's a genuine Madonna autograph.

Madonna wrote The English Roses (quite a departure from her previous book, Sex) in 2003. It was followed by Mr Peabody's Apples, Yakov & The Seven Thieves, The Adventures Of Abdi, Lotsa De Casha, and The English Roses: Too Good To Be True. (These were all picture books, intended to be read aloud to young children.) She then co-wrote a further dozen books in a new English Roses series: Friends For Life!; Goodbye, Grace?; The New Girl; A Rose By Any Other Name; Big-Sister Blues, Being Binah; Hooray For The Holidays; A Perfect Pair; Runway Rose; Ready, Set, Vote!; American Dreams; and Catch The Bouquet. (These were longer 'chapter books' aimed at slightly older children.)

The English Roses Collection

The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection
The English Roses Collection, limited to 1,500 copies, consists of two children's books written by Madonna: The English Roses (in a slipcase) and The English Roses: Too Good To Be True. The books are presented in a numbered box (mine being #204) with a print signed by illustrator Stacy Peterson. The Collection's main (or only) selling point is that it includes a letter autographed by Madonna. She clearly didn't take much care when signing it, and her signature is therefore little more than a scribble, though at least it's a genuine Madonna autograph.

Madonna wrote The English Roses (quite a departure from her previous book, Sex) in 2003. It was followed by Mr Peabody's Apples, Yakov & The Seven Thieves, The Adventures Of Abdi, Lotsa De Casha, and The English Roses: Too Good To Be True. (These were all picture books, intended to be read aloud to young children.) She then co-wrote a further dozen books in a new English Roses series: Friends For Life!; Goodbye, Grace?; The New Girl; A Rose By Any Other Name; Big-Sister Blues, Being Binah; Hooray For The Holidays; A Perfect Pair; Runway Rose; Ready, Set, Vote!; American Dreams; and Catch The Bouquet. (These were longer 'chapter books' aimed at slightly older children.)

26 February 2015

Rebel Heart

Rebel Heart
Rebel Heart
Rebel Heart
Last December, Madonna digitally released six tracks from her forthcoming album, Rebel Heart: Living For Love, Devil Pray, Ghosttown, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati, and Bitch I'm Madonna. A further three tracks were digitally released earlier this month: Joan Of Arc, Hold Tight, and Iconic. The full album will be available next month.

Rebel Heart will be released three years after Madonna's last studio album, MDNA. (That album inspired The MDNA Tour and the live album MDNA World Tour; Madonna also released the promo single Broken in 2012, and produced the short film secretprojectrevolution in 2013.)

The catchy Living For Love and Unapologetic Bitch are among the album's strongest tracks, as are the powerful Ghosttown and the autobiographical Rebel Heart. The least successful tracks are those featuring other artists: Nicki Minaj reappears on Bitch I'm Madonna, and Iconic opens with convicted rapist Mike Tyson. (Curiously, the album does not include any liner notes; guest vocalists are credited, though producers and other collaborators are not listed.)

The self-referential Bitch I'm Madonna echoes the final line of MDNA's I Don't Give A ("There's only one queen, and that's Madonna. Bitch!"). S.E.X. clearly evokes the infamous 1992 book Sex, though it feels too much like self-parody. Veni Vidi Vici's lyrics are a collage of titles from previous Madonna tracks ("I expressed myself, came like a virgin down the aisle..."). Holy Water, like 1993's Deeper & Deeper, quotes several lines from Vogue ("Ladies with an attitude...").

Rebel Heart will be available in three versions, each with a different cover: the 'standard' edition (featuring Madonna wearing a red sweater), the 'deluxe' edition (featuring Madonna's face bound with chord), and the 'super deluxe' edition (featuring a red-tinted cover). The standard version contains fourteen tracks: Living For Love, Devil Pray, Ghosttown, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati, Bitch I'm Madonna, Hold Tight, Joan Of Arc, Iconic, HeartBreakCity, Body Shop, Holy Water, Inside Out, and Wash All Over Me. (Strangely, this version doesn't include the title track, Rebel Heart.) The standard version is also available in a censored 'clean' edition.

The deluxe version adds five more tracks to the original fourteen: Best Night, Veni Vedi Vici, S.E.X., Messiah, and Rebel Heart. (This is the version released on vinyl.) The super deluxe version contains the original fourteen tracks, the five deluxe tracks, and a further four tracks: Beautiful Scars, Borrowed Time, Addicted, and Graffiti Heart. A bonus track, Auto-Tune Baby, is available in Germany.

01 January 2015

Broken

Broken
In 2012, Madonna released a limited edition gatefold 12" single, Broken, which is available only to members of her Icon fan club. The pink vinyl record features an extended remix of Broken, which is a previously unreleased non-album track. Previously, Icon members were able to download the exclusive Confessions On A Dance Floor bonus track Superpop.

20 September 2013

MDNA World Tour

MDNA World Tour MDNA World Tour
Madonna's MDNA Tour has been released on video and as a double-album, both titled MDNA World Tour. DVD and blu-ray editions both feature the entire concert, filmed last year in Miami, Florida (and broadcast by Epix on 22nd June). For the first time, the live album version also includes the full concert. (Previous live CDs, Sticky & Sweet Tour, The Confessions Tour, and I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, featured only selected highlights.) The album has been released on CD in Europe and Asia - though not in America - and is also available in a dual-format edition (DVD and double CD).

The track-list is: Virgin Mary, Girl Gone Wild, Revolver, Gang Bang, Papa Don't Preach, Hung Up, I Don't Give A, Best Friend, Express Yourself, Give Me All Your Luvin', Turn Up The Radio, Open Your Heart, Masterpiece, Justify My Love, Vogue, Erotic Candy Shop, Human Nature, Like A Virgin Waltz, Love Spent, Nobody Knows Me, I'm Addicted, I'm A Sinner, Like A Prayer, and Celebration. (Erotic Candy Shop is a medley of Erotica and Candy Shop; Erotica also featured on the soundtrack of Madonna's directorial debut, Filth & Wisdom, in 2008.)

24 August 2012

The MDNA Tour

The MDNA Tour
The MDNA Tour
Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right Front National party, has filed a lawsuit against Madonna after the singer depicted her as a Nazi at a concert in Paris. During The MDNA Tour, a video of Nobody Knows Me plays as an interlude, and the video includes a split-second sequence in which a swastika is shown on Le Pen's forehead.

After the tour opened in June, Le Pen announced that she would sue if Madonna included the swastika in her French concerts. When the tour reached Paris on 14th July, the swastika was present (prompting a loud cheer from the crowd), and Le Pen sued Madonna for defamation. When Madonna played the video at her next French stadium show, in Nice on 21st August, she changed the swastika to a question mark, though the swastika has been included in all of her concerts outside France.

The question mark at the Nice concert is a rare example of Madonna censoring any aspect of her live shows. Scottish police had warned her against using prop guns during her MDNA Tour performance of Gang Bang, though her Edinburgh show on 21st June included the guns. Similarly, during her Blond Ambition Tour in 1990, police in Canada threatened to arrest her if she simulated masturbation during her performance of Like A Virgin in Toronto, though she did so anyway.

01 June 2012

The MDNA Tour

The MDNA Tour
Madonna's MDNA Tour opened last night, and will continue until the end of the year. The show features tracks from her latest album, MDNA, though it also includes older singles such as Express Yourself (incorporating a cover version of Lady Gaga's Born This Way) and Open Your Heart. It's her first world tour since Sticky & Sweet. There are four themed acts: 'transgression', 'prophecy', 'masculine/feminine' (featuring costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier), and 'redemption'.

The full set list is: Girl Gone Wild, Revolver, Gang Bang, Papa Don't Preach, Hung Up, I Don't Give A, Best Friend, Express Yourself, Give Me All Your Luvin', Turn Up The Radio, Open Your Heart, Masterpiece, Justify My Love, Vogue, Candy Shop, Human Nature, Like A Virgin, Nobody Knows Me, I'm Addicted, I'm A Sinner, Like A Prayer, and Celebration.

14 March 2012

MDNA

MDNA
Madonna's new album MDNA includes Masterpiece, a ballad from her film W/E, and Give Me All Your Luvin', which she sang (or mimed) at the Super Bowl earlier this year. Madonna has described the album's title as a triple-entendre. It's a pseudo-blend of her name (with every second letter omitted), it resembles M DNA (i.e. Madonna's DNA), and it's a pun on MDMA (the rave drug). One of the album's producers, William Orbit, previously produced Ray Of Light and remixed Justify My Love.

The album is surprisingly aggressive (Gang Bang) and confessional (I Fucked Up), though it also contains some pure dance tracks, such as the catchy Turn Up The Radio and Love Spent. Masterpiece is a ballad with a weak first line ("If you were the Mona Lisa, you'd be hanging in the Louvre"). Superstar, like the earlier non-album track Superpop, references some of Madonna's heroes ("You're like Brando on the silver screen").

Several songs - notably I Don't Give A and Best Friend - refer directly to her failed marriage, recalling Till Death Do Us Part on her earlier Like A Prayer album. In another link with Like A Prayer, there are numerous references to Catholicism: Girl Gone Wild begins with a confession, and I'm A Sinner includes a list of saints. MDNA represents a real return to form, with the insubstantial B-Day song being its only weak track.

The double-disc track-list is: Girl Gone Wild, Gang Bang, I'm Addicted, Turn Up The Radio, Give Me All Your Luvin', Some Girls, Superstar, I Don't Give A, I'm A Sinner, Love Spent, Masterpiece, Falling Free, Beautiful Killer, I Fucked Up, B-Day Song, and Best Friend. A single-disc version, containing fewer tracks, is also available, and both versions are also available in non-explicit editions.

31 July 2010

Sticky & Sweet Tour

Sticky & Sweet Tour
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour has been released on blu-ray and in a dual-format edition (DVD and CD). Recorded in Argentina in 2008, the video version includes the full Sticky And Sweet concert while the album features selected highlights. The concert was previously broadcast by Sky1, on 4th July last year, in a censored version.

The CD track-list is: Candy Shop, Beat Goes On, Human Nature, Vogue, She's Not Me, Music, Devil Wouldn't Recognize You, Spanish Lesson, La Isla Bonita, You Must Love Me, Get Stupid, Like A Prayer, and Give It 2 Me.

The DVD and blu-ray track-list is: The Sweet Machine, Candy Shop, Beat Goes On, Human Nature, Vogue, Die Another Day, Into The Groove, Heartbeat, Borderline, She's Not Me, Music, Rain, Devil Wouldn't Recognize You, Spanish Lesson, Miles Away, La Isla Bonita, You Must Love Me, Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Get Stupid, 4 Minutes, Like A Prayer, Ray Of Light, Hung Up, and Give It 2 Me.

24 September 2009

Celebration

Celebration
Celebration: The Video Collection
Celebration, Madonna's third greatest hits album (after The Immaculate Collection and GHV2) features a comprehensive selection of hits from her entire career at Warner. She had been signed to Warner since her debut album in 1983, though Celebration is her final Warner project. (Future albums will be released by Live Nation.) Celebration is also available as a video compilation, Celebration: The Video Collection, an exhaustive videography featuring forty-seven videos (though the nudity in Justify My Love and Erotica is censored).

The double-disc album track-list is: Hung Up, Music, Vogue, Four Minutes, Holiday, Everybody, Like A Virgin, Into The Groove, Like A Prayer, Ray Of Light, Sorry, Express Yourself, Open Your Heart, Borderline, Secret, Erotica, Justify My Love, Revolver, Dress You Up, Material Girl, La Isla Bonita, Papa Don't Preach, Lucky Star, Burning Up, Crazy For You, Who's That Girl, Frozen, Miles Away, Take A Bow, Live To Tell, Beautiful Stranger, Hollywood, Die Another Day, Don't Tell Me, Cherish, and Celebration. A single-disc version is also available, with fewer tracks. It's So Cool is available as a digital bonus track.

The video track-list is: Hung Up, Music, Vogue, Four Minutes, Holiday, Like A Virgin, Into The Groove, Like A Prayer, Ray Of Light, Sorry, Express Yourself, Open Your Heart, Borderline, Secret, Erotica, Justify My Love, Material Girl, La Isla Bonita, Papa Don't Preach, Lucky Star, Burning Up, Crazy For You, Who's That Girl, Frozen, Miles Away, Take A Bow, Beautiful Stranger, Hollywood, Die Another Day, Don't Tell Me, Cherish, Celebration, Deeper And Deeper, I'll Remember, Rain, Secret, Bedtime Stories, I Want You, You'll See, The Power Of Goodbye, American Pie, What It Feels Like For A Girl, Love Profusion, Get Together, Jump, Give It 2 Me, and True Blue.