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Rumor has it that one of the reasons why ARTPOP has been delayed for (what will soon be) a year, is that Lady Gaga’s management is worried she will not be able to cope with questions about Born This Way and Madonna - they want people to forget it ever happened.
People close to the singer said that “Lady Gaga gets very frustrated with comparisons with Madonna.” They added that Lady Gaga is being coached on how to dodge questions about Madonna and not look bothered or annoyed.
In fact, reporters who managed to interview the singer before her fateful Born This Way Ball tour got cancelled, recently revealed that they were
politely rudely informed not to ask Lady Gaga any question related to Madonna.
According to a TV producer from Globo network in Brazil, Alvaro Junior (a reporter from TV show Fantastico) was asked not to ask anything regarding the comments Madonna made on the Born This Way/Express Yourself comparisons, otherwise his interview with Gaga would be “immediately over.”
In case you have been under a rock, the biggest hit Lady Gaga had on the news in 2012 was a comment made by Madonna: “it feels reductive” said the singer when asked about the comparisons between their songs.
One thing is fore sure: Lady Gaga is not the kind of woman who avoids free publicity - she wore a meat dress, for Christ’s sake! Gaga goes out of her way to get publicity by using other people’s names: she once said Madonna e-mailed her, approving of Born This Way - which was later denied by Madonna’s publicist. Lady Gaga also said Michael Jackson invited her to open his shows in London before he died. This, also, has never been confirmed by Michael Jackson’s people. The funny thing is: Michael Jackson died less than three weeks before his first concert date - if Gaga had been invited to open for his shows, logic says that it would have been announced by then, three weeks before opening night. But it never was.
Considering how desperate for (any kind of) publicity Lady Gaga is, one would think she would be okay with all the attention she got from Madonna’s remarks. But no, Lady Gaga had her publicists veto any questions about Madonna and her “reductive” comment. Sounds like Gaga really is not comfortable with the subject.
The interesting thing is that the same Brazilian TV show broadcast an interview with Madonna a few weeks before their interview with Lady Gaga. However, according to the producers of Fantastico, Madonna did not veto or censor reporter Zeca Camargo. In fact, they say that the only requests made by Madonna referred to her work: she would only be interviewed by a reporter who had seen the MDNA show. And that’s what Camargo did the night before the interview was granted.
That explains why nobody asked Lady Gaga about Madonna in the interviews she gave in 2012: she blackmailed reporters: no questions about Madonna, or the interview is over.
Madonna, on the other hand, couldn’t care less. That’s why everybody asked her about Lady Gaga in 2012: Madonna, a true believer of freedom of the press, did not direct reporters on what they could or could not ask her.
Here are the two interviews Fantastico aired in a little more than a month apart from each other:
You will see that Madonna was, indeed, asked about Gaga (just like she was on the Graham Norton show and so many others). You will see how secure and comfortable Madonna is, how she always knows what to say, whereas Lady Gaga, well, the most talked-about topic related to her in 2012 is not even mentioned - ever thought why that was?
In fact, if you know any Portuguese, you will see reporter Alvaro Junior narrating how difficult it was to interview Gaga, he mentions how he had to “overcome a mountain of demands and a wall of assistants.” The worst part, on his second question (“the difference between the ‘Born This Way Ball’ tour and her own previous tour”), her assistant interrupts from behind the camera and says this “question had not been allowed” either.
Sources close to the singer say that this behaviour has not changed: Lady Gaga still is not ready to face comparisons with Madonna. Despite music critics worldwide unanimously describing Born This Way as a copy of Madonna’s Express Yourself, Lady Gaga is said to be denying it to this day, forcing her friends and assistants to “tell her daily that she is a musical genius” and that “‘Born This Way’ is more relevant than Express Yourself ever was.”
They hope that the longer it takes for ARTPOP to come out, the more distant the memory of the Born This Way/Express Yourself issue will be. And maybe, by the time the singer is promoting the new material, no one will be interested in talking about Madonna, or Lady Gaga’s plagiarism. And if they do, they expect the singer to be emotionally prepared to talk about it after all these months of coaching.
Forbes - the same publication that purposely excluded Madonna’s name from their “highest-paid musicians 2012” list (despite the FACT that she was the highest-paid musician last year), the same publication that a year ago doomed Madonna’s year as a “flop” - despite the fact that she exceeded in all her ventures (from the Super Bowl performance to a #1 album in record-breaking 51 countries), is now saying hell, no, Madonna is NOT a billionaire.
A few days ago, news that Madonna had joined the Billionaire’s club made the rounds, and we talked about it (here). Our opinion was that she has been there for quite sometime now. Like we said, Madonna is one of a few stars who actually do not disclose their net worth, but Forbes only makes an estimate based on the little they know + their personal feelings towards an artist (which is quite obvious now). That’s why this was never reported by Forbes.
It’s no surprise Forbes’ estimate about Madonna’s fortune is so pitiful. So let’s analyze some facts about Madonna and her money-making history (again) just for fun, just to show Forbes that we can do a better job than they can:
According to Frank DiGiacomo, from the New York Daily News, Madonna’s share on Maverick Records was worth $200 million dollars in 2010 - and that is only her share of the company (which was sold to Warner for n undisclosed amount of money).
Her tours in the last 10 years alone have made over a billion dollars (in the worst case scenario, she takes home 20% of what she makes on the road).
She is the best selling female recording artist worldwide, having sold over 300 million albums. Let’s supposed she doesn’t even get an advance or get paid per record (we don’t know details of her contract), but if she only made $1 per unit sold, she would have made $300 million dollars just with records sold. Madonna also owns the rights to her music, by the way (cha-ching!).
M has owned her merchandise rights since the 1980s - her companies “WEBO GIRL” and “BoyToy Inc” are the ones that move her merchandise. She also did have the best selling calenders in the world for over a decade.
Did we forget to mention that her DVDs, VHS tapes, pins, t-shirts, CD, clothing, books, tour books, posters, cups, pens have been selling since 1984? In 2012 alone, she made $75 million dollars with her merchandise.
…and Forbes are still saying she is not a billionaire? Someone cannot make a realistic estimate, I say.
Zack O’Malley Greenburg, same “journalist” (!) that purposely forgot to include Madonna and this little fact in the Forbes’ highest-paid musicians 2012 list, wrote this embarrassing article listing several “reasons” why she is not a billionaire - and by “reasons” I mean numbers taken out of his ass. For instance:
He says “Forbes estimated the singer’s net worth at $325 million six years ago” (2007). Really? Forbes says Madonna’s fortune was only $325 million by 2007? I think what I have stated so far indicates she has made a little more than that. But let’s check some other info:
Madonna got divorced in 2008. She gave Guy Ricthie between $76-$92 million in their divorce. In the worst case scenario, that was 50% of what she made during the years they were married (2000-2008). But here’s the thing: they got married in the UK, and there was no pre-nup. So because their marriage happened there, the money Guy Ritchie was entitled to was the money she made and paid taxes there, in the UK.
In other words, if Madonna had to let go of 50% of her net worth between 2000-2007 in accordance to her marriage in the UK, her net worth would have grown between $152-184 million dollars between the years she was married to him. Did we forget to say she has been around since 1983?
Anyway, I doubt she had to give him 50% of her money. After all, she also got custody of their children. If Guy Ritchie does not have the responsibility of raising their kids, I don’t see why a judge would agree with giving him half of her assets.
Anyway, in case you think that was all the money she made during the years they were married, think again. In between the years 2000 and 2008, Madonna also spent half her time in the US - where she also pays taxes (depending on how long she spends in the country per year).
During her marriage to Guy Ritchie, Madonna toured several times - all her tours were rehearsed in the US, then she traveled around the country, which means, in those years, she also paid taxes and made money in the US, but Guy Ritchie could not touch this money. These tours made $395 million dollars: Drowned World Tour: $75 million; Re-Invention Tour: $125 million; Confessions Tour: $195 million.
If Madonna only takes home 20% of what her tours make, with those three tours alone, she took home other $79 million dollars. And I am not even considering the Sticky and Sweet Tour, which ended around the time their divorce was being finalized and turned out to be the highest grossing tour ever done by a solo artist.
Now think of all the money she has made before she got married to Guy Ritchie (she had a very profitable career between the years 1983-1999 too). Did we forget to mention the money she also makes with royalties and stuff like that? yeah. Exactly!
So, yes, Forbes and Zack O’Malley Greenburg, your editorial line is now more cringeworthy than when Roger Friedman used to write those ludicrous articles about Madonna. At least we knew he was a butthurt Mariah Carey fan. What about you, Zack? Are you trying to say Madonna is not as rich as we thought because the subject of the biography you are currently writing was bankrupt when he was alive (Michael Jackson)?
Naomi Wolf, The Guardian
Madonna, a picture of military-industrial western masculinity. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images
If you really want to watch vitriol flow on a monumental scale, be Madonna and dare to make a film.
It’s been instructive to watch the trajectory of Madonna’s recent fantasy-biopic of Wallis Simpson, WE, emerge into the critical light of day. A flawed but daring, visually mesmerizing piece, it takes a look at the journeys of two women – Wallis Simpson, re-envisioned by Andrea Riseborough, and a modern Upper East Side abused Stepford wife, Wally – as they emerge from victimization to personal autonomy and self-realization.
Yes, the film is not perfect – it has its historical solecisms, for instance – but it is far from representing the outright crime you would think Madonna had committed, were you a just-landed Martian reading the reviews. The recent Entertainment Weekly notice started: “The movie is a folly, a desultory vanity project for its director and co-writer.”
Others were even more personally brutal. Many of the notices reviewed Madonna herself – with distaste – rather than the film, refusing to engage with it on its merits at all.
Having had the chance to interview her, I get from the start why one’s fallback position can so easily be “hating Madonna”. By 10am, the day of our meeting, my daughter had suggested that I change out of my boring trousers into something trendier; my partner, once I was in a dress, suggested film people were more casual; and my mom, who hadn’t worried about this stuff since I was 14, called to remind me to brush the back of my hair.
Before I had even left the house, I looked hopelessly uncool.
Since Madonna is positioned as always “cooler than thou”, we all are primed for schadenfreude if something in her fabulous life goes amiss. But I found when I met her that I respected her – and I respect her film.
Is Madonna a self-absorbed megalomaniac with a touch of the arriviste? Probably; but so are dozens of equally brilliant male artists in other mediums, whose imperfect but worthwhile new efforts are treated with hushed awe (see the reverence accorded the solemn and often tedious Tom Ford film, A Single Man). The reliable media theme of “Hating Madonna”, whenever she steps out of her pretty-girl-pop-music bandwidth, is so consistent that it deserves scrutiny in its own right.
Why can the press just not wait to hate Madonna at these moments?
Because she must be punished, for the same reason that every woman who steps out of line must be punished. Madonna is infuriating to the mainstream commentariat when she dares to extend her range because she is acting in the same way a serious, important male artist acts. (And seizing the director’s chair, that icon of phallic assertiveness, is provocative as hell.) She is taking for granted that she is allowed to stretch. This is intolerable, because Madonna has not done the sorts of things that allow women of immense talent to get “permission” or “to be liked”.
What is so maddening? She does what every serious male artists does. That is: she doesn’t apologize for her talent or for her influence. What comes across quite profoundly when one interviews her is that she is preoccupied with her work and her gifts – just as serious male artists are, who often seem self-absorbed. She has the egoless honesty of the serious artist that reads like ego, especially in women.
Madonna is that forbidden thing, the Nietzschean creative woman.
Her preoccupation with a high level of work doesn’t allow her to follow the usual script that powerful women are expected to follow – ”don’t hate me for my success, don’t hate me for my power”. She doesn’t pretend to the press that she thinks she is not talented, or suggest that she happened to make high-level art for decades unconsciously, or by accident, or in her sleep.
She doesn’t parade her vulnerabilities; she does not play the victim. She is not continually letting us in to the details of some battle with bulimia or weight problems or health problems or drug abuse, or the way her heart always seems to get broken (fill in likeable talented/wealthy/successful actress, musician, etc here). Nor does she complain about how hard it is to juggle work and family, or let us into photo shoots where we see the banal and recognizable rituals of grocery shopping or ferrying kids, so that we can know reassuringly that she is JUST LIKE US (fill in likeable female politician/news anchor here).
If she did engage in those ritual forms of self-abnegation that influential women are encouraged to spin to soft pedal their power in our media culture, we would “like her more”. But she would be far less important – both as an artist, and to the collective female psyche.
Many of us love the fact that Madonna does not apologize for her Nietzschean self or her appetites – that she wraps herself in glamor, not mom jeans, and that she glams up intentionally as she gets older. (I loved the fact that when I entered her astonishingly opulent home – or set of homes, all connected behind a high iron wall – the place was populated with discreet, stunningly handsome young male staffers, from all backgrounds – from the gorgeous chauffeur to the gorgeous security guard to the gorgeous fellow who brought in the sparkling water).
Even her movie, WE, does not apologize for female centrality the way most works of art by women still feel they must do: she places Wallis and Wally’s journeys right at the center of the narrative. The men are peripheral, sometimes two-dimensional images (The Abuser, The Great Lover) but this works in the story just the way that female Muse figures, or Whores with Hearts of Gold, often work in films about male self-realization. Even the really erotic love scenes are shot from the female heterosexual perspective. The Lover is lit and his body panned in the same delectable aesthetic that male heterosexual directors always use on the female body. I mean, how dare she?
Last night, at half-time during the Super Bowl – that military-industrial complex factory of western masculinity, in which beefed-up men were pounding the stuffing out of each other, in between shots of the troops in Afghanistan – Madonna was marched on stage by a glistening gladiator muscle-troupe and flipped the flowing cape of LMFAO’s RedFoo. Madonna was invited to perform at the Super Bowl — and ended up satirizing the Super Bowl. The girl can’t help herself, and thank God for that.
So Madonna’s refusal to be less powerful, less entitled, less desiring and less not-ordinary, is always going to bring out the haters, whether she is playing with sacred iconography or just pissing people off. But I would say that this ongoing hostility is just the proof she should need that she is doing her proper job in the collective female psyche.
For those claiming that Lady Gaga has a lot to lose by cancelling the remaining dates of her Born This Way Ball tour at this point, let me point out some other possibilities that are valuable arguments that might change your mind.
The truth of the matter is, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball was not a commercial success - it did NOT make enough money. At least, not enough for what a money-making machine like Live Nation expected.
It is very naïve of people to ignore the fact that Live Nation (the tour promoter) takes the biggest chunk of the money when it’s all said and done. They are the ones promoting the tour worldwide, after all. The artist (Lady Gaga) only gets a small chunk of the dough.
Now tell me, what happens when the tour promoter doesn’t think the tour is making enough money? Or when the tour is not making enough money? Well, the less money the tour makes, the less money the artist will receive at the end of the day.
By finishing all the 119 dates originally scheduled for this tour, Lady Gaga would have received a small check from Live Nation, from a tour that did not make enough money (in the eyes of this huge corporation).
But let’s say she got injured doing the job…
If you know anything about the business side of entertainment, you know that you cannot start filming a movie, or running any show on Broadway, or any play, or going on the road on a tour without having the members of the production covered by insurance.
And how does one get insured?
Well, first you go though several physical exams before you start the tour. A team of physicians and psychologists will examine you to make sure you are physically and mentally fit to endure a tour of 119 dates around the world, close to a year away from home, jet lag - and all the physical and mental stress that come with it.
No insurance company would have allowed Lady Gaga to embark on a 119-date worldwide tour if she was not in perfect health. Joint problems? She surely did not have any when she started the tour in early 2012.
With a tour that is barely covering its own expenses and barely making enough-money to a mega corporation like Live Nation, Lady Gaga would end up getting an abysmally small paycheck at the end of the tour.
Except that she got injured right before the tour ended (there’s 21 shows left).
Her injury? Repetitive movement done on tour. Yes, of all people, she, Lady Gaga, got injured because of her dancing, performing on stage, doing her job - insured in millions of dollars, obviously.
[Gaga’s physically strenuous dance steps that caused her hip injury]
Have you guys heard of worker’s compensation?
Yes. Famous people also receive compensation in case of injury on a movie set, on stage doing a play, and guess what? On stage doing a musical show too!
Remember when Halle Berry received a big paycheck when she hurt her eye filming James Bond?
Once you get hurt doing your job, you are the one who receives the paycheck - not the company you work for. That’s why it’s called worker’s compensation. I have a suspicion that Gaga’s paycheck from Live Nation would be smaller than the paycheck she would receive from her insurance company had she been injured doing her job.
Maybe that’s Lady Gaga’s new schtick for the FARTPOOP era: her own version of “Italians do it better”, performed as a member of the NY/NJ Italian mafia making money on insurance fraud.
On a related note: I can’t remember seeing Lady Gaga going to Starbucks to buy herself some coffee when she was able to walk and dance (!). I’ve seen Britney Spears doing that in several different occasions, not Lady Gaga. But now that she can’t walk (?), she is out and about in her wheelchair. Talk about someone in desperate need for attention.
[“A venti Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino for the mermaid, please”]
Watch out, Bette Midler! The “mermaid on a wheelchair” is getting ready for her comeback!
What do you guys think of this theory?
“Too old for pop”. I could say that about everything in life. Substitute “pop” for any other noun in the dictionary, and no one would care. We live in a society that echoes the idea that people lose their liberty to do whatever they want as they grow older, especially women. But do we really want to perpetuate this idea?
After a certain age, women cannot wear bikinis - they’re too old for that (no matter how good they look, they HAVE to cover up their bodies). After a certain age, women should cut their hair short - they’re too old for long hair. After a certain age, women have to stop wanting to go out and have fun - they’re too old for that. Women are encouraged to quit their jobs and stay home taking care of their houses, partners and kids. The ones that don’t do that are the freaks.
And no one is freakier than Madonna. According to what the media tells us, she is too old for everything she does: she’s too old for the outfits she wears on stage, she’s too old to show her body (even though she is in better shape than most 20-year olds), she’s too old to date younger men, the list goes on and on.
The limitations we try to impose onto others based on their age and gender go beyond concrete terms (body, clothes, hair). We try to limit people’s abilities to THINK a certain way too: Madonna is too old for pop music (a music genre), she’s too old to be singing songs about having fun (should she be singing about retirement?), she’s too old to call herself a girl.
Since when pop music, having fun, and calling yourself a “girl” have an age limit? I would think that logic would be important in this matter:
The older you get, the more experiences you have, and the more you know, the more respected you should be for singing, talking, and writing about your life experiences in general - from the trivial, to the important things in life. But no, instead of recognizing and accepting this notion, we try to impose the opposite: the older you get, the less you are allowed to talk about life. So what about being too young for certain topics?
If a woman in her 50s is not allowed to call herself a “girl”, or sing about wanting to “have some fun”, or do anything remotely trivial, drama-free and silly because of her age, why do we take a teenager or even a 20-something-year old seriously when they sing about serious stuff, things that only an experienced person should be singing about?
Sometimes, people are TOO YOUNG FOR CERTAIN TOPICS. We condemn women with experience for singing about life in general. But we praise people in their early 20s and teens (people who have no experience in life at all) for singing about “serious” subjects. And worse, we take them seriously.
Isn’t it ridiculous when a teenager sings about real love? What do teenagers know about real love? They should be singing about homework and having a crush on someone - those are things that belong to that universe - not real love. Lady Gaga singing about immigration? What is her experience with it again? Oh, none! But it’s okay. She gets a free pass because she’s in her 20s - those “young” people can sing about anything, from the frivolous “getting drunk and just dancing”, to the serious stuff - even when they are too young to really understand the issue they are talking about.
According to the same “age restrictions” the media uses against older women in the arts, Lady Gaga (among other “young” stars) should be dedicating their songs to the things that belong to her universe: clubbing, getting drunk, dancing. Gaga often does it. But she also tries to embrace “serious causes” that are completely out of her league:
Gay issues, equality, immigration - she has no life experience to talk about it in the tone she does. She can embrace the cause and sing about it, but the tone she uses is rather misleading. She recently said: “We are in a different place right now. 25 years ago, gay people had to hide”. Exactly! She is 26 years old. She has no clue about what life was really like for gay people 25 years ago.
We are glad that she wants to help the gay cause. But why not make it clear that her first person discourse is actually a role-play? Her age and her own speech on how “we are in a different place right now” are the evidence of how little experience she really has had with the issues she claims as her own. Instead of being a transparent supporter of the cause, she plays the role of someone who suffered as much as the people 25 years ago. But the media would never ever suggest she is too young for knowing what it was like 25 years ago with so much property. Even when her own speech makes her whole act contradictory.
Men do too suffer from ageism. But it is nowhere near what women have to go through. Mick Jagger still wears hot pants, and dances like when he was a sex symbol in his 20s. No one says he’s too old for that. Bruce Springsteen still wears tight jeans. No one says he’s too old for that. Prince still wears the same campy outfits. No one says he is too old for that either. John Bon Jovi still sings shirtless on stage. No one says he is too old for that. In fact, people like it that he is still the same as he was in the 80s.
The problem is not solely the media spreading these retrograde views and rules. The real problem is us, the people who echo those ideas in our daily lives:
Now, for whatever reason, little monsters say Madonna is “too old for what she does”. But hey, Gaga will be 30 in four years. By then, she will be too old to wear her Halloween costumes on a daily basis.
That’s the danger in spreading and sharing ignorance with the world - it always comes back to bite you in the derrière. Continuing with these retrograde ideas now will only affect the perception we will have of your faves in the near future. After all, we will not have a complete cultural awakening in only four years.
Artwork from here.
It’s 1992 all over again.
Have we all reached a level of absolute complete numbness that the only way we feel alive is by recreating moments from the past? By perpetuating notions and ideals that were long destroyed? The media surely thinks so.
Madonna was “over” and “desperate” when she showed her titties on the catwalk in a Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show in 1992.
The media also called her “desperate” and “over” when she showed her titties (and her vagina) in her SEX book that year too.
She was also “desperate for attention” when she posed with one tit out for Esquire magazine in 1994 - back when her career was already “over” and she was already “old” and “irrelevant”.
And now, 20 years after Madonna became “old”, “desperate” and “irrelevant” for the very first time, she’s still making headlines for flashing the same boob. Too much attention for someone whose career’s been said to be “dead” for so long.
Madonna has been a true catalyzer for the western media’s misogyny, sexism and ageism. But more than changing its core structure, she exposes its backwardness more than anything else:
Is it truly a scandal when a woman purposely flashes her nipple on stage in 2012?
Is Madonna showing her nipple in 2012 a real scandal?
The media seems to think it is. At least, they put a lot of effort to make people think it is still a taboo for a woman to do whatever she wants with her body and her sexuality.
The public figures who decided to talk about the Madonna-nipple-flashing tragedy are the best part of it: the ever interesting and poignant Piers Morgan (insert sarcasm here) called her “desperate”. And even Howard Stern called her “desperate”.
I understand Piers Morgan calling Madonna “desperate”. That man says she is desperate even when she avoids being in the public eye. But Howard Stern is the icing on the cake. The man who puts naked women on his show for ratings, the man who objectifies women, the man who flashed his ass on MTV thinks that Madonna is “desperate” because she flashed her nipple in her own show.
Howard Stern as Fartman at the 1992 VMAs.
In all honesty, flashing your ass and faux-farting butt-naked at an award show under the direction of someone else SCREAMS desperation. Madonna’s recent boob-flash seems genuinely irreverent. And she did it because SHE WANTED TO - not because she was directed by MTV to do so.
You can see it in her face that it was not part of a grand plan for publicity. The crowd was wild and the context in which it happened (within the show) was right.
Madonna and her irreverent moment.
There are many people who could feel insulted by Madonna’s boob-flash. Howard Stern certainly is not one of those.
Stern comes off as a dog that barks but never bites. He was spot on when he criticized Lady Gaga’s HBO special (which failed to beat Madonna’s HBO ratings). All the comments he made were right and funny. But as soon as he was face-to-face with Gaga, he was a different person. And obviously, there was no mentioning of her HBO special - Oh! The things a contract will do for you. Well, that’s how he rolls: he barks loud, but as soon as you’re around, he will even do a trick for a cookie. He does it all the time, with everybody.
But hey, leave it to the man who objectifies women on his show to judge a woman that shows her nipple when she wants to:
The Strongest Nude Woman contest on Howard TV
At the end of the day, Madonna is the one exposing this retrograde media. She is the one doing what she wants to do, and she is the one owning up to it:
Every single time we saw her nipple, it was done on purpose. Whether she had an agenda behind it or not, she showed us her body and owned up to her actions. We can’t say the same about other celebrities:
Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Janet Jackson, and so many others, we have all seen their “privates”, but they all used “wardrobe malfunction” as an excuse. They don’t even own up to it like Madonna does.
At the end of the day, Madonna still is the woman with the biggest balls in showbiz.
So let the media make you believe that an active 53-year-old woman showing her nipple and exhibiting an incredibly health-conscious lifestyle is a bad thing. The same media will make you believe that a young singer bleeding on stage on MTV in 2009 is “groundbreaking” and “flesh” (cut to underground electroclash queen Peaches doing the same in 2005).
We definitely are living in the age of perpetuating habits: the good and the bad ones.
Beware, Madonna, this man is judging you!
Nothing better than starting a new year with great news. The “album of the decade” - Born This Way - failed to achieve what Lady Gaga and her team of supporters said it would achieve, as it can be confirmed by all those year-end charts published by the main musical media outlets - Billboard, Rolling Stone and the like.
First of all, the “album of the decade” did not produce a single classic. The title track “Born This Way” may have become a chart topper (peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks), but it is far from being a classic.
The song has already fallen into oblivion, which only proves the fact that, even though it achieved commercial success, it did not become a classic.
I can only imagine the kind of circumstances it will be brought up/mentioned again in the future: on those radio shows when the DJs say things like “10 years ago, the number one song in the country was…” and then they play a 30-second clip of it.
The respectable position the song reached on the Billboard charts was the result of an incredible marketing strategy that involved a number of factors, including perfect timing, heavy promotion (she started promoting it at the VMA’s in the previous year!) and, of course, a lot of payola.
Yes, payola. Commercial slots were bought in several radio stations exclusively to play the song - adding up its airplay. And, as we all know, airplay is one of the aspects taken in consideration by Billboard before concluding their charts.
Remember when a few radio stations played “Born This Way” every hour on its premiere day and/or premiere weekend? None of those stations have a “request” or “most wanted” type of show the whole day. But “Born This Way” was played every hour. Sounds suspicious?
Not to mention that the song was very similar to Madonna’s “Express Yourself” (a true classic of pop). The undeniable similarities between the two songs were, after all, denied (laughable) by Miss Germanotta. And that was one of the most pathetic moments in music in 2011.
Secondly, the following singles off of that album were either lukewarm, or simply bad. “Judas”, as unoriginal as “Born This Way”, sampled a loop that had already been used by another female singer before - Loli Lux, in the song ”WannaBE” (the title couldn’t be more appropriate in association with Lady Gag).
The “Edge of Glory”, a decent pop tune was just not good enough. And its video was horrible and cheap, frustrating her own little monsters. That Google Chrome commercial featuring the singer running across the Brooklyn Bridge was a lot better than that awful video filmed in a New-York-styled set. Did they shoot it at the Universal Studios in CA? It sure looks like it.
Then came along the boring “You and I”. Officially released as a desperate attempt to gain WASP fans (or the crowd that buys Taylor Swift’s music), it sounded a little too much like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Shania Twain together. Very annoying. What’s the point in having a member of Queen (Brian May) playing the electric guitar on your song if you’re going to copy one of his band’s most famous songs after all? She should have covered the Queen’s song in a duet with Shania Twain instead. It would have been less pathetic and less pretentious.
Finally, the fateful “Marry the Night” was released as a single. Not even all that heavy promotion (both in Europe and in the US) helped us all digest the song. It under-performed in every chart you can imagine and it was a huge flop in the American charts. Recently, Interscope dropped the song from being played on the radio. I only hope they are not trying to pretend it never existed, like they did with Beautiful Dirty Rich.
All this just confirms one thing: nothing off of “Born This Way” became a classic. And there’s no “album of the decade” without classic songs. So right now, little monsters, put your paws down.