Today in Madonna History: October 8, 2021

On October 8 2021, Madonna released Madame X: Music from the Theatre Xperience to digital platforms for streaming (audio) and Madame X the live film to Paramount +.

The concept film captures Madonna’s theater show performed in front of sold-out audiences worldwide in 2019 & 2020. Filmed in Lisbon & Paris, Madonna is joined onstage by 50 global performers including her children, & the all-female Orquestra Batukadeiras.

The live streaming track listing includes the following songs:

  1. Intro
  2. God Control
  3. Dark Ballet
  4. Human Nature
  5. Vogue
  6. I Don’t Search I Find
  7. American Life
  8. Batuka
  9. Fado Pechincha (feat. Gaspar Varela)
  10. Killers Who Are Partying
  11. Crazy
  12. Welcome To My Fado Club
  13. Medellin
  14. Extreme Occident
  15. Breathwork
  16. Frozen
  17. Come Alive
  18. Future
  19. Like A Prayer
  20. I Rise

Today in Madonna History: September 13, 2021

On September 13 2021, the media around the world was celebrating (and trashing as usual) Madonna’s bold entrance at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony.

Victoria Richards at Yahoo! News covered the spectacle best:

It’s awards season, and if there’s one winner that should – nay, must – be declared, tout suite, it is … Madonna’s posterior.

That’s right; the pop legend took to the runway at MTV’s Video Music Awards ceremony last night and knocked it right out of the park in a suitably cheeky, achingly Madonna way: in a floor-length trench coat, police officer-style hat and matching, high-cut bodysuit with short, puffed sleeves (PVC, obviously), to the strains of her 80s hit Vogue.

Opening the show, she purred: “And they said we wouldn’t last. But we’re still here, motherf******. Happy 40th, MTV! Welcome to the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.”

As part of her grand finale, she turned around to sashay back down the catwalk, giving us all a glimpse of her derrière – and she looked fabulous. Credit should always be given where it is due, and I can’t think of a more glittering, praise-worthy, more bad-ass sentiment than Madonna, at 63, proving that the adage of, “age is just a number” is entirely, eye-wateringly true.

Just look at the way she retaliated to social media speculation in 2019 over whether her marvellous, shapely behind had been surgically enhanced, as reported here: “Desperately Seeking No Ones Approval,” she wrote next to a photo of herself. “And Entitled to Free Agency Over My Body Like Everyone Else!!” Right on, Madge, right on.

When I grow up, I want to be Madonna’s bottom – or rather I want to be the type of woman to whom a bottom like that belongs; the type of woman who sashays simply because she can, who doesn’t give a monkey’s about what women “should” or “shouldn’t” do; who ignores the shocked stares and gasps and whispers of, “at her age!”

When I’m 63, I hope I am even half the bottom that Madonna’s bottom is. Then I could live happily ever after – with that joie de vivre, we could all live happily ever after.

Today in Madonna History: August 7, 1991

On August 7 1991, Madonna attended the Paris is Burning premiere in Los Angeles.

According to IMDB, the film is about:

A chronicle of New York’s drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.

Today in Madonna History: June 23, 1990

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On June 23 1990, Madonna’s I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy hit #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart in the USA.

After the filming of Dick Tracy was complete, Madonna began work on the film’s soundtrack, with songwriter Stephen Sondheim, producer Patrick Leonard and engineer Bill Bottrell. She also worked with producer Shep Pettibone on the album’s first single, Vogue. The album was recorded within three weeks in California.

Today in Madonna History: May 25, 2004

On May 25 2004, Rolling Stone magazine published a review of Madonna’s Re-Invention World Tour with the headline, “Madonna Reinvents herself. Amid images of war and peace, pop star shows she can sing.”

Here’s the review by Barry Walters:

After twenty years in the limelight, Madonna is expected to cause controversy and reinvent herself for every new tour. So for the May 24th Los Angeles opening of her Re-Invention world trek, Madonna did the most unexpected thing she could: She came back as a great concert singer.

Even the most diehard Madonna fan will concede that her live performances have almost without exception been plagued by a multitude of missed notes, breathy passages, and, as of late, fake British accents. But while Mariah and Whitney have of been losing the acrobatic vocal dexterity and lung power on which their reputations rest, forty-five-year-old Madonna, whom few have ever taken seriously as a musician, has never sounded better than she did during the first of several gigs in her adopted West Coast home. Whether rocking out with classic black Les Paul in hand during a metallic rendition of her early club hit “Burning Up,” or performing “Like a Prayer” behind a screen-projected gospel choir, Madonna belted, and did not once seemed strained. In the midst of a $1 million production festooned with a walkway that jutted out from the stage and over the audience, massive moving video screens, a dozen dancers, a bagpipe player, a stunt skateboarder and a whole lot of emotionally charged anti-war imagery, the focus was nevertheless on Madonna, and how she’s matured into a truly great pop singer.

Opening with a yoga-trained twist on her famous Louis XIV-inspired MTV Video Music Awards rendition of “Vogue” and ending on a kilt-wearing finale of “Holiday” against a video backdrop of national flags that eventually morphed into one, the show was thematically simpler and more focused than her last several productions.

The barbarism of war and the necessity of love were at the heart of the entire show, and both played off each other, sometimes for ironic and decidedly uneasy effect. The original military-themed video footage of “American Life” that the singer withheld at the start of the Iraq war was finally unveiled, and then expanded upon during “Express Yourself,” where Madonna sang her anthem of unbridled, intimate communication in front of dancers dressed as soldiers and goose-stepping with twirling rifles.

By contrast, Madonna closed an extended acoustic section of the show with a straightforward and thoroughly committed rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” as images of war and poverty-ravaged children eventually gave way to footage of a Muslim boy and his Israeli counterpart smiling as they walked with their arms wrapped around each other.

The heaviness of much of the imagery was balanced by Madonna’s own presence, which seemed remarkably fun-loving and self-assured for the opening night of her most technically complex production. Only when she strapped on an acoustic or electric guitar during several songs and repeatedly glanced at her left hand to make sure it was playing the proper chords did she seem at all nervous. “How many people out there really think that I am the Material Girl?” she asked during a break in her most iconic early smash as she strummed with much deliberation.

For the last several songs, Madonna and her dancers donned black and white kilts, an apparent nod to husband Guy Ritchie’s Scottish heritage, and black T-shirts that read “Kabbalists Do It Better,” a cheeky reference to both her religious studies and the “Italians Do It Better” T-shirt she wore during her video for “Papa Don’t Preach,” a song that was performed without the “near-naked pregnant women” described in pre-tour reports of the show. In a number dedicated for the “fans that’ve stood by me for the last twenty years,” she sang her earliest hit ballad, “Crazy For You,” earnestly and without contrivance.

Madonna’s continued relevance was impressive, but it was even more striking that she’s putting more love and genuine passion into her spectacle than ever.

Today in Madonna History: May 19, 1990

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On May 19 1990, Madonna’s single Vogue hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.

Vogue reached number one in over 30 countries worldwide, becoming Madonna’s biggest hit at that time.  It was also the best-selling single of 1990 with sales of more than two million, and has sold more than six million copies worldwide to date.

Today in Madonna History: April 7, 1990

On April 7 1990, Madonna’s Vogue single was briefly reviewed in Billboard magazine.

Vogue’s early release to radio and the addition of its music video to MTV’s playlist were also noted in the same issue.

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