Monthly Archives: November 2021
Today in Madonna History: November 29, 2005
On November 29 2005, Andrew G’s spirited interview with Madonna aired on pay-TV Channel [V] in Australia. The interview was recorded in London during a press junket to promote Confessions On A Dance Floor.
Madonna had hoped to bring her 2006 Confessions Tour to Australia during its final leg, which saw her perform her first full concerts in Japan since 1993. Shows in Australia, however, did not materialize during the tour.
Today in Madonna History: November 28, 1998
On November 28 1998, Madonna’s The Power Of Good-Bye hit #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart in the USA. The hit single from Ray Of Light was written by Madonna and Rick Nowels; produced by Madonna, William Orbit and Patrick Leonard.
Rick Nowels had this to say about his experience writing the song with Madonna:
It was a career-changing experience for me. Before that I had always done my co-writing with friends. But working with Madonna. It was the first time I had ever written one-on-one with a great artist/writer. After that I changed gears a little, and now I mostly collaborate directly with artists.
Today in Madonna History: November 27, 1991
On November 27 1991, Madonna contributed a pre-taped monologue for the MTV 10th Anniversary – Money for Nothing special that aired on ABC-TV. Madonna’s segment was filmed by Alek Keshishian.
The following quote is how Madonna started her monologue:
I’m here because I wanted to talk to you about us.
And all that we’ve been through.
I wanted to talk about me and you.
I remember when we first met.
You didn’t know who you were yet.
I didn’t know who I was.
We grew up together.
Today in Madonna History: November 26, 1992
On November 26 1992, Rolling Stone magazine published their review of Madonna’s Erotica album, written by Arion Berger:
It took Madonna ten years, but she finally made the record everyone has accused her of making all along. Chilly, deliberate, relentlessly posturing. Erotica is a post-AIDS album about romance — it doesn’t so much evoke sex as provide a fetishistic abstraction of it. She may have intended to rattle America with hot talk about oral gratification and role switching, but sensuality is the last thing on the album’s mind. Moving claustrophobically within the schematic confines of dominance and submission, Erotica plays out its fantasies with astringent aloofness, unhumid and uninviting. The production choices suggest not a celebration of the physical but a critique of commercial representations of sex — whether Paul Verhoeven’s, Bruce Weber’s or Madonna’s — that by definition should not be mistaken for the real thing. It succeeds in a way the innocent post-punk diva of Madonna and the thoughtful songwriter of Like a Prayer could not have imagined. Its cold, remote sound systematically undoes every one of the singer’s intimate promises.
Clinical enough on its own terms when compared with the lushness and romanticism of Madonna’s past grooves, Erotica is stunningly reined in; even when it achieves disco greatness, it’s never heady. Madonna, along with co-producers Andre Betts and Shep Pettibone, tamps down every opportunity to let loose — moments ripe for a crescendo, a soaring instrumental break, a chance for the listener to dance along, are over the instant they are heard. Erotica is Madonna’s show (the music leaves no room for audience participation), and her production teases and then denies with the grim control of a dominatrix.
Against maraca beats and a shimmying horn riff, Erotica introduces Madonna as “Mistress Dita,” whose husky invocations of “do as I say” promise a smorgasbord of sexual experimentation, like the one portrayed in the video for Justify My Love. But the sensibility of Erotica is miles removed from the warm come-ons of Justify My Love, which got its heat from privacy and romance — the singer’s exhortations to “tell me your dreams.” The Madonna of Erotica is in no way interested in your dreams; she’s after compliance, and not merely physical compliance either. The song demands the passivity of a listener, not a sexual partner. It’s insistently self-absorbed — Vogue with a dirty mouth, where all the real action’s on the dance floor.
Look (or listen) but don’t touch sexuality isn’t the only peep-show aspect of this album; Erotica strives for anonymity the way True Blue strove for intimacy. With the exception of the riveting Bad Girl, in which the singer teases out shades of ambiguity in the mind of a girl who’d rather mess herself up than end a relationship she’s too neurotic to handle, the characters remain faceless. It’s as if Madonna recognizes the discomfort we feel when sensing the human character of a woman whose function is purely sexual. A sex symbol herself, she coolly removes the threat of her own personality.
Pure disco moments like the whirligig Deeper and Deeper don’t need emotional resonance to make them race. But the record sustains its icy tone throughout the yearning ballads (Rain, Waiting) and confessional moods (Secret Garden). Relieved of Madonna’s celebrity baggage, they’re abstract nearly to the point of nonexistence — ideas of love songs posing as the real thing. Even when Madonna draws from her own life, she’s all reaction, no feeling: The snippy Thief of Hearts takes swipes at a man stealer but not out of love or loyalty toward the purloined boyfriend, who isn’t even mentioned.
By depersonalizing herself to a mocking extreme, the Madonna of Erotica is sexy in only the most objectified terms, just as the album is only in the most literal sense what it claims to be. Like erotica, Erotica is a tool rather than an experience. Its stridency at once refutes and justifies what her detractors have always said: Every persona is a fake, the self-actualized amazon of Express Yourself no less than the breathless baby doll of Material Girl. Erotica continually subverts this posing to expose its function as pop playacting. The narrator of Bye Bye Baby ostensibly dumps the creep who’s been mistreating her, but Madonna’s infantile vocal and flat delivery are anything but assertive — she could be a drag queen toying with a pop hit of the past. Erotica is everything Madonna has been denounced for being — meticulous, calculated, domineering and artificial. It accepts those charges and answers with a brilliant record to prove them.
Today in Madonna History: November 25, 1987
Today in Madonna History: November 24, 1992
On November 24 1992, the music video for Deeper And Deeper premiered on MTV.
The clip was directed by Bobby Woods, who was an Executive Producer at Madonna’s companies Boy Toy Inc. and the film division of Maverick. The Warhol-inspired trip down memory lane featured many familiar faces from Madonna’s life, including Seymour Stein, Debi Mazar & Guy Oseary.
Woods recalled the video and shared Madonna’s handwritten concept notes for the shoot in an interview with fansite Madonna New Era:
Madonna wanted to do an Andy Warhol/Edie Sedgwick styled video. She believed, and I think this is accurate, that there was a similar feel to the times of America in the Roaring ’20’s and the Disco ’70’s. A wildness. The video was made very quickly. Deeper and Deeper is a great song, one of her best dance records for sure, thanks to Shep Pettibone. The dance sequences in the video are 100% spontaneous. We loaded a dance floor with people, put her record on, and the dancing began. I have danced with Madonna many times. So I can understand why those people wanted to dance with her as well. It’s a thrill. She also brought along Udo Kier and Holly Woodlawn who were part of the original Warhol crowd. Her pal Sofia Coppola (who I adore) came along, too, as well as Debi Mazar and Ingrid Casares… For me, working with her was a lot of fun. First off, she’s extremely smart. Secondly, it’s all her doing. Thirdly, nobody is more professional. And most importantly, she has the great ability to bring together very talented people, and make them want to do their very best for her. This is true of all the stylists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, everybody. Many of them do the best work of their careers during their time with her. It’s a great and rare talent. It is my belief that this spirit carries over to the fans, who are also lifted up by this talent.”