Today in Madonna History: May 10, 2003

On May 10 2003, Madonna’s American Life album reached #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart in the USA.

In 2008, Sal Cinquemani had this to say about American Life in Slant magazine:

In hindsight, American Life isn’t the masterpiece that Erotica so quickly revealed itself to be. It’s frequently self-indulgent, misguided, unpleasant, difficult to listen to, silly yet somehow humorless, but it’s also consistent, uncompromising, and unapologetic. The album is a testament to the artist’s willingness to take risks and her refusal to stay inside her comfort zone. In the grand scheme of things, the album might rank as one of the weakest in Madonna’s extensive catalog, and the ones that followed have been as good, if not better, but American Life stands as the last time Madonna seemed to make music without the primary objective of scoring a hit. It’s interesting to imagine what Madonna’s career would look like today had American Life been a success: For better or worse, that pink leotard and Justin duet might never have existed.

Today in Madonna History: April 11, 2006

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On April 11 2006, Confessions Remixed, a triple 12″ vinyl set compiling Confessions On A Dance Floor remixes by Stuart Price was released by Warner Bros. Records. The limited edition set was issued in the U.S. and in Europe with a reported run of 3,000 copies pressed.

Considering the fact that many record shops still carry new copies of the set, we wouldn’t be surprised if the actual run was 3,000 in the U.S. and another 3,000 in Europe. Or perhaps its lack of any previously unreleased remixes and roughly fifty-dollar price tag simply stirred limited interest.

Today in Madonna History: March 28, 2012

On March 28 2012, Melissa Maerz reviewed Madonna’s MDNA album for Entertainment Weekly and gave it a B-.  Here’s what Melissa had to say about the album:

“Girls, they just wanna have some fun!” From the moment Madonna utters those words on MDNA, it’s clear that she’s trying really freaking hard to have a good time. With dance-music vets William Orbit, Martin Solveig, and Benny Benassi helming her return to the Euro-club stylings of 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madge spends nearly half the album insisting that this is the Best Party Ever, from the pom-pom-shaking ”Give Me All Your Luvin”’ to the Mardi-Gras-beads-tossing ”Girl Gone Wild” and stereo-blasting ”Turn Up the Radio.” The album title even suggests that Ecstasy is part of Madge’s DNA.

But while there are a few genuine moments of double-rainbow bliss here (check the ”whoo-ooh!” chorus of ”I’m a Sinner”), there’s also real darkness lurking under the air-popped beats. If Madonna’s sending us a message, it’s this: I spent all year perfecting my cartwheel for the Super Bowl, and now I’m gonna have fun, even if it kills me.

Maybe it’s just that MDNA‘s so hell-bent on showing how much energy the 53-year-old puts into her job. Many songs recap her gold-star résumé referencing her past hits lyrically or musically. ”Girl Gone Wild” shares its sassy legwarmer-disco vibe with 2005’s ”Hung Up,” while ”I’m a Sinner” reunites her with Orbit for a very cool guitar-boosted rave-up that echoes 1998’s ”Ray of Light.”

But all those reminders of her work ethic can feel exhausting. On the ridiculous electro-rap ”I Don’t Give A,” she runs through her insane schedule as a celebrity supermom. Before finishing her power workout, hiring a babysitter, ”tweeting on the elevator,” and riding a helicopter to her divorce lawyers’ office, she has an epiphany: ”Wake up, ex-wife/This is your life.”

Are you listening, Guy Ritchie? Because Madonna’s not done yelling at you. After revealing that she ”didn’t have a prenup,” she gets a decent gold-digger joke into the ABBA-remix-esque strains of ”Love Spent”: ”Frankly, if my name was Benjamin,” she deadpans, ”we wouldn’t be in this mess we’re in.” Less charming is the industrial thumper ”Gang Bang,” where Madonna holds a gun to her lover’s head, demanding, ”Drive, bitch!” True, she also recorded a mea culpa — on ”I F—ed Up” she says ”I’m sorry” in French — but it’s telling that she cut it from the album. Her apology’s just as unconvincing as her Gallic accent.

So it’s surprising that Madonna is at her best on the love songs. The W.E. ballad ”Masterpiece” (which won her a Golden Globe in January) begins with Spanish guitar and a finger-snap rhythm — a refreshing break from the relentless bass throbbing. When she’s singing about a guy who’s as pretty as the Mona Lisa, her voice is lovely. And the synth stomper ”I’m Addicted,” a warm ode to a crush, offers a good excuse to join in when she says, ”I need to dance.” Elsewhere, Nicki Minaj even shows some L-U-V for Lady M, proclaiming, ”There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna, bitch!” Judging by MDNA, she may be overestimating her idol. But there’s just enough dance-floor bonhomie here to get that catchphrase bedazzled on a few dozen leotards. B-

Best Tracks:
Spiritual electro? Sacrilicious! I’m a Sinner
A flamenco-style ballad Masterpiece

Today in Madonna History: February 23, 2006

On February 23 2006, Sorry burst on to the Italian singles chart at #1, where it would remain for three weeks. The immediate success of Sorry came only a week after Madonna’s previous single, Hung Up, had ended an incredible fourteen week run at #1 on the Italian singles chart.

Today in Madonna History: February 17, 2007

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On February 17 2007, Madonna had four singles in the top 10 Billboard Hot Dance Single Sales Chart:

  • #2 – Jump (14 weeks on the chart)
  • #8 – Sorry (51 weeks on the chart)
  • #9 – Get Together (37 weeks on the chart)
  • #10 – Hung Up (65 weeks on the chart)

Today in Madonna History: February 3, 2015

On February 3 2015, Billboard announced The 50 Greatest Grammy Moments. Madonna’s 2006 performance of Hung Up made the list at #13:

Holograms Get Down (2006) – Gorillaz are joined onstage first by De La Soul and then by Madonna, as the holograms segue into her song Hung Up.

Today in Madonna History: November 20, 2005

On November 20 2005, Madonna’s Confessions On A Dance Floor debuted at #1 on the UK album chart, becoming her ninth UK #1 and her fifth consecutive album to reach the top of the chart. While Confessions took the top spot, Hung Up enjoyed a second week at the top of the singles chart in the UK, ahead of Westlife’s You Raise Me Up (#2) and Black Eyed Peas My Humps (#3).

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