Today In Madonna History: March 30, 2001

On March 30 2001, Madonna’s Drowned World Tour was confirmed via this announcement:

For the first time in eight years since The Girlie Show, Madonna promises to take the stage live in a extensive international concert tour this summer. The exhilarating itinerary promises to take her in a series of shows in Europe beginning in June and all across America starting in July. The tour will be promoted by SFX. A complete schedule of these landmark events will be announced within weeks. Madonna is expected to perform material from her smash hit electrifying Cowboy Punk album Music as well as signature songs spanning the length of her incredible stunning career in a cutting edge concert setting that will continue the tradition of trend setting innovation that Madonna is famous and known for on the stage!

Today in Madonna History: February 20, 2001

On February 20 2001, Madonna’s official website announced that Madonna planned to record a Spanish version of her next single, What It Feels Like For A Girl, with a tentative release date of late March.

While the Spanish version (titled Lo Que Siente La Mujer) featured on the maxi-single and serviced to Latin radio stations was set to the album version of the song, Madonna would blend the Spanish lyrics with the music from the Calderone & Quayle Dark Side Mix for the live version performed during the Drowned World Tour.

Today in Madonna History: December 6, 2016

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On December 6 2016, Rhino Records reissued Madonna’s Music and American Life albums on 180 gram vinyl in North America. Some markets received the reissues on December 2.

The double vinyl release of American Life corrects the spelling of Nothing Fails (misspelled on previous releases).

The reissued Music includes American Pie (previously excluded on the North American releases of the album).

Previous Madonna vinyl reissues released by Rhino in 2016:

  • Madonna (The First Album)
  • Like A Virgin
  • True Blue
  • Like A Prayer
  • Erotica
  • Bedtime Stories
  • Something To Remember
  • Ray Of Light

Do you collect Madonna vinyl?

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Today in Madonna History: September 18, 2000

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On September 18 2000, Madonna’s eighth studio album, Music, was released by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records.

The album was recorded at The Hit Factory in New York, the Guerilla Beach Studios in Los Angeles and the Sarm East and West Studios in London.

Madonna adopted a cowgirl/country theme for the album, with the album artwork photographed by Jean Baptiste Mondino.

Tracklist for Music:

  • Music (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Impressive Instant (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Runaway Lover (written and produced by Madonna and William Orbit)
  • I Deserve It (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Amazing (written and produced by Madonna and William Orbit)
  • Nobody’s Perfect (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Don’t Tell Me (written by Madonna, Mirwais and Joe Henry, produced by Madonna and Mirwais)
  • What It Feels Like For A Girl (written by Madonna and Guy Sigsworth and produced by Madonna, Sigsworth and Mike Stent)
  • Paradise (Not For Me) (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Gone (written by Madonna,Damian Le Gassick, Nik Young and produced by Madonna, Orbit and Stent)

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Today in Madonna History: August 20, 2001

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On August 20 2001, Sal Cinquemani published this review of Madonna’s MUSIC album in Slant magazine:

After her hugely successful and critically-lauded Ray Of Light, Madonna could have gone in one of several possible directions: (1) a more hardcore trance route, enlisting a world-class DJ like Sasha (who remixed a few tracks from Ray Of Light and whom Madonna allegedly dismissed after collaborating on several tracks early in the recording process of this new album); (2) staying in safe territory by writing and recording once again with William Orbit, the mastermind behind Ray Of Light; or (3) a weird, more experimental direction, commissioning someone like French electronica guru Mirwais Ahmadzai. Madonna once told producer Shep Pettibone “You can never do the same thing twice…ever,” but two new collaborations with Orbit, “Runaway Lover” and “Amazing,” prove that when you do, it will probably be completely uninteresting. “Runaway Lover” sounds like a Ray Of Light outtake with uninspired couplets like “It doesn’t pay to give away what you lack/You’ll never get your money back.” But amid the clichés, Madonna throws in profound food for thought like “You get your education from your lovers.” “Amazing” is incredibly catchy and has a Supremes-like melody but that’s where it ends. The track borrows the drum loop Orbit used in “Beautiful Stranger” (which was originally the loop from his “Ray Of Light” remix), and proves that he may not have had enough tricks up his sleeve for an entire new album anyway (and perhaps Madonna knew that).

As such, Madonna enlisted Mirwais for most of the rest of the album in question, Music. The title track, a retro hands-in-the-air club song reminiscent of Debbie Deb’s “When I Hear Music” and Madonna’s own “Into The Groove,” is the singer’s best dancefloor-beckoning track since “Vogue.” She sings “Music makes the people come together” like a track off of her debut album, and as an added bonus she uses words like “bourgeoisie” and “acid-rock” with equal abandon. If you can get past the initial horror of hearing Madonna’s voice get the Cher “Believe” treatment on “Nobody’s Perfect,” another Mirwais collaboration, you’ll find a brilliant song full of genuine sorrow. The track opens with an intentionally imperfect and somber “I feel so sad,” and it is indeed believable. Lyrics like “What did you expect? I’m doing my best” are sung with an intriguing juxtaposition of human emotion and mechanically detached vocalizations. Though hard to swallow at first (like most on the album), the track is one of the singer’s best creations. With its distorted vocals and grinding electronic burps, “Paradise (Not For Me)” is another distinctive Mirwais production. At a turning point in the song, Madonna awkwardly struggles to speak the words “There is a light above my head/Into your eyes my face remains” while strings swell and bring the song to a climax. It is at this point that “Paradise” resembles the cinematic grandeur of tracks like “Frozen,” and it is also one of the few moments throughout Music that recalls the spiritual introspection of Ray Of Light.

Two tracks take a striking folk direction. “I Deserve It” finds Madonna once again singing with a warm yet detached voice, but this time her vocals are completely untouched by effects. “Gone” ends the album and is possibly one of Madonna’s best performances. In the vein of “Live To Tell,” the song seems to sum up everything Madonna has tried to tell us about being the most famous woman in the world. Earlier attempts have seemed obvious and sometimes trite (“Goodbye To Innocence,” “Survival,” “Drowned World”), but this song seems to be particularly telling. It is also, perhaps, the most human she has ever been. Self-deprecation and vulnerability have never been Madonna’s strong-suits, but the way she sings “I won’t let it happen again/I’m not very smart” could make you wonder. Music seems more like a collection of songs than a cohesive album, and it is an unexpected answer to Ray Of Light. But strangely, in an attempt to make a “fun,” less-introspective album, Madonna has revealed more of herself than ever. No longer shrouded with pedantic spirituality, she has become even more human, exposing her fears on tracks like “Nobody’s Perfect” and “Paradise,” her soul on “Don’t Tell Me” and “What It Feels Like For A Girl,” and revealing her joys on “Impressive Instant” and “Music.”

Today in Madonna History: July 21, 2001

Madonna performing during the first show in the North American leg of her 'Drowned World Tour 2001' at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pa., 7/21/01. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.

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Madonna performing during the first show in the North American leg of her 'Drowned World Tour 2001' at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pa., 7/21/01. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.

On July 21 2001, Madonna kicked off the U.S. leg of her Drowned World Tour with the first of two sold-out concerts at the First Union Centre (now the Wells Fargo Centre) in Philadelphia.

For the first time in her career, Madonna altered one of her tour set lists by performing You’ll See in the place Gone at select shows during the U.S. leg of the tour. You’ll See made its live debut at the July 21st show in Philadelphia and was performed again the following night. The decision to alter the set list was rumoured to have been made in response to European reviews of the tour, which despite being generally favorable, often lamented the show’s overabundance of new material and lack of hits.

Personally, we were pleased that the Ray Of Light and Music albums were the primary focus of the Drowned World Tour. If she had instead focused on hits, it is likely that these two essential Madonna albums would have been treated similarly to Bedtime Stories–an album from which she has yet to perform anything other than its four released singles.

Were you disappointed at the time by the lack of hits and the focus on recent album cuts during the Drowned World Tour? Have your views shifted at all in retrospect?