dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Madonna: Banterview With The Vampyre

It was bound to happen sooner or later. And when lady Madonna announced her upcoming Celebration hits collection (and its accompanying same-named single) three years after the very first "Banterview" took place here on Chart Rigger, D'luv and MoogaBoo knew the time was finally right to dissect Ye Olde Vampyre Of Pop.

D'LUV: So, I actually kind of like "Celebration." It's nice to see SOMEONE thought recycling the backing track for DJ Sammy's cover of "Heaven" was a good idea.

MOOGABOO: Yes, Madonna's ahead of the curve, yet again. Nostalgia for 2002 isn't scheduled to start for another six months!

D: By the way, happy three-year banter-versary! Just think, these all started three years ago this month. But, let's get down to brass tacks—why is another Madonna greatest hits being foisted on the weary public again?

M: Well, to be fair, the last one was out nearly a decade ago, and M has had so many hits since then. You know, like "4 Minutes" and...uh...

D: I keep forgetting about "4 Minutes"—you know, like radio did once the payola checks started bouncing. (Just kidding, Madonna's lawyers!)

M: Hmm. Do you think a slightly-positive banterview will convince Guy O'Seary to book us a trip to the Bahamas?

D: Gasp! Maybe? Did I mention how good "Celebration" is?

M: "Celebration" is tragic like a wedding reception at Cici's Pizza, and that's why I love it. Fuck trendy! The fun Madonna is having comes through in the music for the first time in a long while—and not just in the press materials.

JD: Well, if they play this song at the next wedding reception I go to at Cici's Pizza—and, yes, I've been to at least two—I might have to jump out of the wedding cake and give the priest an HJ on the cheese plate.

M: I wish Madge would do another epic ballad, a la, "This Used To Be My Playground," "Live to Tell," or "Frozen." You know, the kind of song Jordin Sparks would sell her purity thong for.

JD: I'd just like to state for the record that I think "I'll Remember" was truly one of Madonna's high points. It's a personal fave of mine. But, see, I just wasn't cut out to be one of her fans, because they all probably despise that song.

M: I remember hating "I'll Remember" when I first heard it, thinking it was a total sell-out after the Sex/Erotica brouhaha. It didn't take long for me to realize its merits, though. A beautiful arrangement and melody, plus they wisely kept Joe Pesci out of the video. I think its timeless. Sigh.

JD: "Celebration" follows in the long line of Madonna singles that command her loyal (read: enslaved) fans to get on the dance floor. I imagine she's just behind the disco scrim, waiting with jaws open as they march to their doom.

M: Madge is the personification of wrinkles on a circuit queen's face, writ as large and unforgiving as all of time itself.

JD: Have you been spending time in the PopJustice forums again?

M: Babe, I remember when your mom bought you a used copy of Bedtime Stories from CD Zone and you shrieeeeked at how much you loved it. And BTW, it was 1998, and you were 24.

JD: Yeah, well, I still say that was her last truly great album! Of course, nostalgia might have a bit to do with this—the "straight" guy I was boinking in '94 used to play it all the time my first semester away at college.

M: Class. Meanwhile, how many straight guys do you think Madge has dated?

JD: Sigh. Remember that halcyon period when we actually gave a toss about Madonna? We used to hang out in your bedroom, play her cassette singles and eat blueberry popscicles, just dreaming about what she was doing. Or am I thinking of Tara Kemp?

M: I think that's what Tara Kemp is doing now, luv. And bless her for it—it keeps her off the streets. Sadly, you and I didn't know each other during our respective Madgedonna phases. But I like to think we were twirling simultaneously, albeit cities apart, to the tingle-making bridge of "True Blue." In 1987, I was literally head-over-heels for her!

JD: Yes, and in 1997, you were heels-over-head for her. So, when the mothball dust of Madonna's career finally settles years from now, I wonder if anyone is gonna remember any of her music from 2000 onward?

M: Does anyone remember any of it now?

JD: Good point. I hope she puts "Hanky Panky" on this upcoming set of trash. People need to be reminded that Madonna really took the art of music to a whole new level.

M: You so didn't need to bring up "Hanky Panky."

JD: Not only did I bring it up, but I'm postin' the single cover. The one with pink leopard print, just like the inside of her Madonna's pop taco.

M: When I think of the year 1990, I pretty much see just that.

JD: To its credit, this Celebration collection is gonna include "Everybody." That was a good jam. Here's hoping it also has those other misfit Madge hits that never made it onto The Immaculate Collection, like "Dress You Up," "Angel" and "Burning Up."

M: I love all of those "misfits" more than some of the hits, which is probably why we've both felt alienated from the herd of gay Madonna fandom. I love the entire Like A Virgin album, which is apparently like saying "I love rags soaked in gasoline" to some fans. To each his own, I suppose, but I pity anyone who can't muster a feverish twitch around the coffee table to "Over and Over."

JD: Now that Madonna's on the market again, she needs a good sex scandal to really jumpstart her career, like in the Warren Beatty days. Miley Cyrus is single, no?

M: I think she just needs to take the Kabbalah stick out of her butt, slap around some queeny dancers and get back to being The Real Madonna. You know, the one she had killed shortly before Evita.

JD: Well, I feel like "Celebration"—trite as it is, lyrically—is a true return to The Real Madonna. It's what her legion of fans have wanted for years from her. It's dancey, it's fun, it's, well, celebratory. So, naturally, you and I love it, and it'll probably peak at #87 on the chart.

M: Of course that's going to happen. But then again, that would probably happen even if we hated it, so we can enjoy it sans guilt. This is the first Madonna single I've really liked in years. Sure, there was the occasional it'll-do release: "Jump" was fine. But "Celebration" feels genuinely joyful where most of Confessions and Hard Candy felt forced.

JD: I wonder if a Madonna or a Whitney Houston can truly stay relevant in the post-music video age. Let's face it, since MTV switched formats from pop vids to Heidi Montag tit shots, the giants of yesteryear have slid into a slump. Is it that they're just past their prime, or that the careers they built on the cable music medium had the rug pulled out from under them?

M: Mmm, good point. Being "bigger than life" isn't where it's at now. Anyone can be a star, and just about anyone is. Big budgets and big egos, for better or for worse, have gone the way of TRL. So judging Madonna by today's pop music standards is really not fair. I almost feel bad for her. She seems downright quaint compared to her new peers, the flashy grostesques of YouTube.

JD: You're right! Screw Madonna—when's Chris Crocker putting out his greatest hits?

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  • At 8:05 AM, Blogger Yuяi said…

    I love a good banterview! I'm with you guys on "Playground". I've always loved it and consider myself in the legion of undead..err..her followers. But yeah, most of 'em could care less about the track. And Mooga, I get those shakes when I hear "Over and Over" too. Great song!

  • At 9:16 AM, Blogger JimmyD said…

    This Banterview cracked me up. I posted it on Facebook, like one does!
    'Playground' may be the beginning of the end for Madonna and me. I do own the single (and LOVE the video!!) but was stunned that it wasn't on the 'League of Our Own' soundtrack (which has a disclaimer on the cover saying 'This album does not contain the single Playground'... words to that effect). Who knows why (Chart Rigger??) but I always thought that Madonna was just being a controlling cow.
    That and the SEX triple play (album, cheaply produced book that was falling apart minutes after the wrap came off, and that movie that came out around the same time).

    I've always said I was a fan up to and including 'True Blue.' After that I thought she lost any sense of fun and was trying too hard.
    MAYBE I'll give this new single a try but I'm so not into her house sound. Insta-Ready dance tracks that will then be expanded to 30 minute dance 'mixes.' Blah!

  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger Migue said…

    "Bedtime Stories" is my favorite Madonna album too. I'm definitely a die-hard fan so I'm obviously biased - but I think it's a shame that they don't play her music on (US) radio anymore. It's not like the music she is making is not radio-friendly - or that people don't want to hear it. "Hung Up" was at the top or close to the top of the iTunes chart for several weeks and the track barely cracked the Top 10 of the Hot 100.

    "Celebration" is a fun song - and it's going to be huge in the clubs and a good "end-of-summer" jam. But I doubt it will be a big hit on these shores.

    Her best music may be behind her now - but I still look forward to every new single that drops.

  • At 10:42 AM, Anonymous shanaynay lachild said…

    it sound like madge poured all the dumped-cougar pathos from her devorce from guy into the new track. its nice to hear that thin, raggedy whisper have some emotion in it again.

  • At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Pranav said…

    There was a reference to Madonna ballads in your banterview. In my opinion, the following ballads are the Madonna has ever done:

    1. Rain (one of her most underrated tracks)
    2. Crazy for you
    3. Miles Away

    Don't know if "Bad Girl" qualifies as a ballad but it is undoubtedly one of Madonna's best slow tracks.

  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger JimmyD said…

    The single is fun but the vocals are sooooo treated! There's a vibration that can only come from a machine.
    But it is a fun song!

  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger C. Paul Keller said…

    I love "I'll Remember"!

    I came late to the Madonna party so all my pre-"Music"-era listening is retrospective. But I can't believe "Dress You Up" wasn't on "Immaculate Collection" and the track lists I've seen haven't had it either.

  • At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Bedtime Stories" is my favorite Madonna album, followed closely by "Like A Prayer." I wonder what she thinks of BS nowadays - what with all it's different producers, eclectic sound, and deciding not to work with Patrick Leonard again. At least it got a Grammy nod for Best Pop Album (as if that means anything). However, I'm not taken with "Celebration." Her vocals have been so weak since "Music." And lyrics? Insipid. She could do better. I wonder what's wrong.

  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger Pure J.Me said…

    I admit, I'm still a Madonna die hard, that being said, I don't think every thing she does is "Amazing" and "Incredible" (two Madge song titles, btw). But I do still look forward to her stuff, as Moogaboo can attest Madonna probably was and still is the foundation of my youth. D'Luv, you may have not been around to witness Moogaboo's and I's burgeoning love for all things pop music, but we were pretty hardcore back then, dissecting and analyzing every aspect of her career. Well maybe not so much Moog, but definitely me. True she hasn't had a really GREAT single since the 90s, but the few gems she's buried on albums ("Nobody Knows Me", "Sorry", "Heartbeat") more than make up for it. I somehow, secretly wish she'd ditch the family and go back to the devil may care attitude of the past.
    But "Celebration" works well as what it is, an obligatory nod to the past, and a bridge to the Live Nation future.

  • At 11:57 PM, Anonymous But You Are A Whore, Darlin'! said…

    I think your analysis of what killed Madge's (and many others') careers was so wise and insightful--there really ISN'T a place for the larger-than-life superstar these days.

    A huge reason Miley/Hannah blew up so big was that her fame hinged on her being "just like us"--the ultimate celebrity for this YouTube, reality TV time we live in.

    I would love to see Madonna try something brand new, but it's doubtful ANYTHING she can ever do will recapture much of her once-huge fanbase. I'm sure it kills Madge (as it does her fans) to see Rihanna and especially Lady Gaga so effortlessly and expertly remixing her appeal whereas all of her attempts just seem pathetic.

    Such is the pain of aging as a celebrity!

  • At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the thing that annoys me is Madge is too good to perform some of her greatest oldschool jams at her shows. listening to her play guitar is worse than getting a root canal. put it down and break out into the groove. now THAT is a good song!

  • At 2:29 AM, Blogger Mike said…

    Love the pic of Moogie's bedroom. Shame about the hideous beast polluting his outwise fabulous wallpaper.

  • At 3:20 AM, Blogger Paul said…

    genius. there are no more words... :)

  • At 5:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The charity 'Raising Malawi' (PR firm) founded by Madonna AND TWO OTHERS in '06' held fund raisers for over two years before finally getting registered as a non-profit. In other words, Madonna and the others were free to squander that funding any way they saw fit for those first two years. In fact, they still havn't accounted for the 3.7 million raised from a single event in the fall of '07' (The grand opening of a Gucci flagship store in Manhattan.). She also pleaded with her fans worldwide for donations along the way. In the meantime, she toured the world to promote her latest CD and raked in another $280,000,000 gross in just over 12 months. To date, the basic financial info for 'Raising Malawi' still hasn't been posted on the website or anywhere else. The 'progress' page only tells of the collective works by over 20 seperate charities. Each of which have their own sources of funding and may have recieved some sort of promotion or support from 'Raising Malawi' in order to be considered 'partners'. But no indication is made how much of their funding came from 'Raising Malawi' or how much of their progress if any could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. The fans/donors have no clue how many millions of dollars were raised in that first two years, no clue how much Madonna herself chipped in, and no clue how the money was spent before they finally registered as a non-profit. No clue what fraction of funding or works listed on that 'progress' page could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. Nothing to go on but the vague and misleading word of Madonna. For example: She states in her latest promotional video that she will match any contributions made to her charity (PR firm) "dollar for dollar". However, there is a disclaimer posted on the website for 'Raising Malawi' that Madonna's total contribution will not exceed $100,000. Thats not per donation. Thats a maximum of $100,000 TOTAL. Less than a single days pay for Madonna. Also much less then she will surely rake in by promoting her own CDs, DVDs, and 'for profit' merchandise through this massive worldwide publicity stunt. So I called the office of 'Raising Malawi' in an attempt to verify some sort of efficient financial operation (310) 867-2881 or (888) 72-DONOR). These details are ALWAYS made available by legitimate charities. But not in this case. I got nothing but recorded messages and hangups. So I did some research on my own. 'Raising Malawi' still hasn't been given any kind of rating by ANY independent charity watchdog like Charitywatch.org. The vast overwhelming majority of 'celebrity' foundations never are. In general, they are inneficient and riddled with corruption. Like the promotion of CDs, world tours, commercial websites, entire lines of jewelry (not just the single piece from which proceeds are donated), and high end retail flagship stores. Its far less expensive to promote your image and product with a contribution to your own charity (PR firm) than it is to buy commercial airtime worldwide. This is why its become such a trend. Celebrity foundations are also notorious for squandering much of their funding on private jet rides and super high end accomodations for their managers, PR crews, and celebrity figure heads. Its legal even for a nonprofit but not noble or efficient by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, non-profits are not actually required by law to be efficient. This is why the independent rating is so important. In general, 'celebrity' foundations never even get one. They are a twisted inefficient mutant of charity, self-promotion, exotic travel, and PR crap. Still, they compete for funding with more efficient legitimate charities. The celebrity figure heads often disregard the primary donors, co-founders, and managers, take personal credit for any collective work done, and seek maximum publicity shortly before or after the release of their own commercial projects. Its a sham. So if its not rated, then don't support it. Instead, support a top rated charity like any of those given high ratings at Charitywatch.org.

  • At 1:54 AM, Anonymous D'Luv said…

    Any more banter views this year? pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese?


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