Music (Madonna song)

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"Music"
Single by Madonna
from the album Music
B-side "Cyber-Raga"
Released August 21, 2000
Format DVD single, CD single, maxi single, video single, cassette single, 7" single, 12" maxi single
Recorded 1999
Genre Electropop, dance-pop
Length 3:44
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Madonna
  • Mirwais Ahmadzaï
Madonna singles chronology
"American Pie"
(2000)
"Music"
(2000)
"Don't Tell Me"
(2000)

"Music" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna, taken from her eighth studio album of the same name (2000). It was released as the lead single from the album on August 21, 2000, by Maverick Records. The song was also included on the compilation albums GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009). Written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï, the nexus of "Music" is about people having fun at a party, and Madonna claims that music makes the people come together. Musically, "Music" is a pop and electropop song. "Music" provides a cross-section of Madonna's artistic range, as she sings in several genres, some natural and some electronically manipulated that refuse confinement.

"Music" received positive reviews from international critics, who praised the production, catchiness and club-friendly nature of the song, also comparing it with other Madonna's older songs. "Music" peaked number one in 22 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. "Music" also has the longest running number-one spot at Billboard Hot Dance Club Play of the decade, with spent a longevity five weeks at number one. The song was the second most successful dance single of the decade in the United States, behind "Hung Up" (2005). The song was also the last number one hit on the Canadian RPM singles chart.

The music video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, portrays Madonna and her friends giving a party in her limousine, driven by comedian Ali G. Promoting "Music", Madonna performed the song during the Europe Music Awards in 2000, wearing a T-shirt with "Kylie Minogue" written on it, and at the Grammy Awards in the following year. The song was also performed on the four Madonna's following concert tours. Most recently, "Music" was performed during the halftime of the Super Bowl XLVI. "Music" was nominated at Grammy Awards in the category of "Record of the Year" and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2001.

Background[edit]

Madonna and her dancers, dressed in Disco inspired outfits performing "Music" during the Confessions Tour.

After the critical and commercial success of her album Ray of Light (1998), Madonna intended to embark on a new concert tour in September 1999, but due to the delay of her film The Next Best Thing, the tour was canceled.[1] After filming and promoting The Next Best Thing, her record company encouraged her to return to the studio and record new music before going on the road. These sessions became the Music album. Before the album was released, Madonna recorded a statement to her fans: "Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on… Hi, it's Madonna. You've probably been hearing about my new record, 'Music', for a while. Well, I just wanted to make sure you knew that the single is gonna drop very soon. I worked on it with a French guy named Mirwais, and he is the shit. The album will be released worldwide on September 19, and I hope you like my music."[2]

"Music" features production by Mirwais Ahmadzaï, who Madonna has called a "genius."[3] Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï were introduced through Madonna's business partner Guy Oseary. In an interview with CNN, Madonna said, "Guy Oseary, my partner at Maverick [Records], was given a demo by a French artist called Mirwais," she said. "[He] slipped it to me and said, 'What do you think [of him] as an artist to sign at Maverick?' [...] I just said 'Oh my God, this is what I want.' I just flipped over it and said, 'Please find out if he wants to work with me.'"[4] On May 27, 2000, an unauthorized incomplete copy of the song leaked onto the Internet.[5] Snippets ranging from 30 seconds to upwards of three minutes of the song were leaked via fan sites and Napster.[6] Madonna's spokeswoman Caresse Norman reacted a statement: "The music was stolen and was not intended for release for several months. It is still a work in progress. Ultimately those sites that offered a download of Madonna's music are violating her rights as an artist."[6] To counter the trend of music piracy, Madonna actively campaigned against Napster with fellow performers from other genres, including hip hop artist Dr. Dre and drummer Lars Ulrich of heavy metal band Metallica.[5]

Composition[edit]

Topping the charts in 25 countries worldwide, "Music" was Madonna's twelfth number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

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"Music" begins with Madonna's androgynous voice saying "Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on, I want to dance with my baby". Above this lyric, Madonna's electronically manipulated voice asks "Do you like to boogie woogie?" In the book Music, Space, and Place it is stated that for the "boogie woogie" lyric Mirwais decided to use an old EMS2000 vocoder to twist Madonna's voice to achieve what Mirwais described as an effect of going "in fits and starts."[7] According to the book Madonna's Drowned Worlds: New Approaches to Her Cultural Transformations (ed. Santiago Fouz-Hernández and Freya Jarman-Ivens), "Music" is a "disco anthem, and the beat commands [the people] to get up and dance."[8] The song's lyric "I wanna dance with my baby" may further reinforce a connection with gay listeners because of its casual, campy style.[8] The book also says that the song is an expression to her public and became one of Madonna's catchiest singles of her career.[8] The song has been compared to Madonna's early 80s dance hit "Everybody," because in both songs Madonna declares that music has the power to overcome divisions of race, gender, and sexuality.[8] The song is written in the key of G minor and Madonna's voice spans from G3 to D5.[9] It is set in common time with a moderately fast tempo of 120 beats per minute.[9] According to Billboard, Madonna's vocal in the song is not the focal point, but instead a "thread that binds a mind-blowing melange of hyperactive beats, grooves, and stinging percussive elements."[10] Billboard adds that the song is also "saturated" with the influence of Cameo, Herbie Hancock, and Nitzer Ebb.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

"Music" is a stunning enterprise, a ballsy testament to [Madonna's] insistence on being a style-setter and one of the industry's most savvy-and now critically accountable-tunesmiths. Call this one dance, pop, even alternative...listeners will be shocked then mesmerized by this composition, showcasing yet another side of an artist, who after 20 years, continues to be a true industry artisan and the by-the-book definition of "evolutionary."

—-Billboard Magazine's review of the song[10]

The song received positive reaction from critics, who praised the production, catchiness and club-friendly nature of the song. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic called it "a thumping track which sounds funkier, denser, sexier with each spin".[11] Jim Farber of The New York Daily News gave the song a very positive review, stating that it is "everything a single should be. Pithy, simple and maddeningly catchy, it's her most instantly embraceable single since 'Holiday.'" Farber goes on to say that its the song's chorus that "kills," and the "power of dance music" theme of the song is used to comment on current trends.[12] In a review of the album, Vibe called the track "a bouncing parade of synthesizers that pose the question 'Do fortysomething baby-mamas still have the divine right to get down?' (The answer is yes). And so, as the vocoders gurgle and the analog synths invoke Zapp, a slowly building crescendo of rhythm announces Madonna's return."[13] Entertainment Weekly said "the song recaptures the simple perfection of "Holiday" (1982) and brings her career full circle."[14] Slant magazine praised the song in a review of the album: "["Music"] is a retro hands-in-the-air club song reminiscent of Debbie Deb's "When I Hear Music" and Madonna's own "Into The Groove (1985)," [and] is the singer's best dancefloor-beckoning track since "Vogue. (1990)" 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."[15] Ethan Brown of New York magazine stated that the song "elicits memories of past pop odes to dance culture," adding that the songs production is a "giddy mix of electro-bounce, campy vocoder chants, and funky keyboard squeals."[16] In her favorable review of the song, Charlotte Robinson of Popmatters stated that the track "reasserts the freewheeling, fun spirit that made Madonna so damn appealing when she debuted nearly twenty years ago," adding that the song is an example of that "indefinable thing that is what we love about Madonna."[17]

Billboard Magazine gave a very enthusiastic review of the song, stating "the first listen's gonna blast you like a brick wall, as ears and minds try to make sense of the bombast of sonic missiles blasting from your speakers-but successive plays will make clear just how inventive this upstanding composition is."[10] Billboard adds that "it's guaranteed you've never heard Madonna-nor any other popular artist-pull it together this way."[10] The song was named the 66th best song of the 2000s decade by Rolling Stone, which said that "despite all the new pop starlets out there trying to jump her train, Madonna definitely [is] not slackening pace. When she dropped "Music," she was older than Britney and Christina combined, yet she took them to school with vintage electro-boom, Eurodisco flourishes from French producer Mirwais, and her own inimitable sass."[18] Apart from winning various other awards, "Music" earned two Grammy Award nominations in 2001, for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[19]

Commercial reception[edit]

Madonna and her dancers performing the song during the Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008).

"Music" was Madonna's 12th number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and is her most recent number-one hit in the chart to-date. By reaching number one, it made Madonna the second artist to achieve number one hits in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s in the chart. The first was Janet Jackson, who had done the same achievement with "Doesn't Really Matter", which preceded "Music" as the Hot 100's number-one single. "Music" also being the longest running number-one spot at Billboard Hot Dance Club Play at the 2000s decade, with spent a longevity five weeks at number one.[20][21] It eventually became the second most-successful dance song of the 2000s in the United States, reaching number two on the Dance/Club Play Decade-end Chart, behind Madonna's own "Hung Up" (2005).[22] "Music" went platinum in the country, selling over a million copies. "Music" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[23] In the United Kingdom, "Music" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number one,[24] and was the 24th best selling single of 2000 in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song has sold 410,000 copies there.[25]

The song peaked number one on the Canadian Singles Chart.[26] "Music" was also a success in Australia and New Zealand. The song debuted at number one on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, where it stayed for three consecutive weeks.[27] In New Zealand, "Music" made its debut at number 33 on the New Zealand Singles Chart,[28] and ascended to the top ten, finally peaking at number one on the week of October 1, 2000.[28] The song achieved relatively good charting in both the Flemish and Wallonian territories in Belgium, peaking at numbers 4 and 6, respectively.[29][29] Making its debut at its peak position of number 8, "Music" charted for a total of 20 weeks in France, before falling out on January 6, 2001.[30] On the Dutch Top 40 chart, the song made its debut at number 87.[31] The following week it went at number 85 and its peak was on the number 4, before the ending of its 17-week run.[31] On August 31, 2000, "Music" debuted at number two on the Swedish Singles Chart.[32] Similarly in Switzerland, the song debuted at number one, and spent 21 weeks in the chart.[33] Overall, "Music" reached number one in 25 countries worldwide.[34]

Music video[edit]

Madonna (center), her former background singer Niki Haris (left), and actress Debi Mazar (right) in the video."

"When we did the 'Music' video, it was a weird time. She was pregnant and we didn't want her to look pregnant - so we had to work around that. We had an idea to do a fun party video with her and her girls, make it a little bling and cowboy hats and all that. We wanted to have some comedy in there and I wanted to do some animation."

—Jonas Åkerlund discussing the video[35]

The music video for "Music" was directed by Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund, who previously directed Madonna's "Ray of Light" video in 1998.[35] The video was shot in Los Angeles, California, in April 2000, and stars Madonna and her longtime backup singer Niki Haris and actress Debi Mazar as well as comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, as his famous character Ali G.[36][37][38] Madonna's manager, Caresse Norman, said about Baron Cohen's collaboration: "We came up with the video idea, and she thought he would be great in it."[38] Jonas Åkerlund has stated that originally they were planning on having Chris Rock be in the music video, but he wanted Sacha Baron Cohen instead.[35] He said that at that time Baron Cohen wasn't known at all in America so he had to get everybody tapes of the Da Ali G Show so they could see the Ali G character. He added that once they got a chance to see the show, "everybody loved it" and Sacha was on a plane right away to Los Angeles to shoot the video.[35]

Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G (pictured) appears in the video

The music video debuted on MTV on August 2, 2000.[39] The video starts with Madonna along with her friends boarding a limousine driven by Ali G. As the music starts G is directed to take them to a club, and later to a strip-club, where he is denied entrance. An animated section follows where Madonna, as a superheroine character with superpowers, flies above rooftops, swims underwater, and DJs at a club with a dozen arms like a Hindu deity.[40] Madonna's animated character also attacks various neon signs with the names of many of her successful songs.[39] The video ends with Madonna and her friends traveling in the limousine with many of the strippers and G engaging in a rendezvous with them. In a humorous twist, throughout the video Madonna wears a gold necklace around her neck that says "Mommy."[40]

In the extended version of the music video, there is a variation at the end of the animated section. Ali G briefly interrupts the song to demonstrate his rap skills to persuade Madonna to include him on her next single. An annoyed Madonna asks him to stop and to turn the song back on. The video won several awards, including "Best Pop Clip of the Year" at the Billboard Music Awards in 2000 and "Best Dance Video" at the International Dance Music Awards in 2000.[41] The music video was parodied on MADtv. The parody was called Movies, and featured Mo Collins as Madonna.[42] The video poked fun at Madonna's filmography, with an animated 'Madonna' attacking signs that had the names of her movies.

Live performances and covers[edit]

Madonna and her dancers perform "Music" during the Re-Invention World Tour (2004).

The first live performance of "Music" was at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2000. She performed the song wearing a T-shirt with "Kylie Minogue" written on it.[43] She also performed the song at the 2001 Grammy Awards.[44] For the Drowned World Tour in the same year, "Music" was used as the final encore; Madonna wore tight black jeans and a customised Dolce & Gabbana halter top that proclaims "Mother" in the front and "F*cker" in the back. She sang the song surrounded by her dancers, while imagery of her all-time music videos were displayed on backdrop screens. Also, incorporated were elements from Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express".[45] "Music" was later added to the Re-Invention Tour in 2004 as the fourth song of the Scottish segment; this mix of the song was slower, hip-hop-based.[46] The same version was used at the 2005 Live 8 benefit concert in London.[47] In the Confessions Tour in 2006, the song was mixed with The Trammps' "Disco Inferno", thus creating the hedonistic "Music Inferno". This also included a sample of her song "Where's The Party" at the beginning of the song, while dancers rollerskated circles around.[48][49]

"Music" was part of the Hard Candy Promo Tour, in support of the Hard Candy album; this version sampled Fedde le Grand's "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit", getting a Dance-version of the song. It was the last song performed during the Old School segment of her Sticky & Sweet Tour in 2008, where Madonna used the version of the promotional tour, with a sample of Indeep's "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" at the beginning of the song.[50] Madonna included the song in the setlist for her performance at halftime of Super Bowl XLVI, interpolated with LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It".[51][52][52] A brief excerpt of the song was included during the "Turning Up the Hits" interlude on the MDNA Tour.

In 2004, Canadian tech-metal band Out of Your Mouth released a cover version. In 2007, The Dynamics released an eight-minute soul cover on their album Versions Excursions.[53] Remixed eurodance cover versions of the song have appeared on the Dancemania series albums. Including an uptempo cover remix by Nancy And The Boys on the 2001 album Dancemania Speed 6.[54] French metal band Eths covered the song on their 2012 album III.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from Music album liner notes.[55]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Freestyler" by Bomfunk MC's
Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single
August 16, 2000 – September 23, 2000
Succeeded by
"Fuoco nel Fuoco" by Eros Ramazzotti
Preceded by
"Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" by Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor
UK Singles Chart number-one single
August 27, 2000 – September 3, 2000
Succeeded by
"Take on Me" by a1
Preceded by
"Sandstorm" by Darude
Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart number-one single
August 31, 2000 – September 28, 2000
Preceded by
"I'm Outta Love" by Anastacia
Australia ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
(first run)

September 3, 2000 – September 17, 2000
Succeeded by
"On a Night Like This" by Kylie Minogue
Preceded by
"Lucky" by Britney Spears
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
September 3, 2000 – October 1, 2000
Succeeded by
"Could I Have This Kiss Forever" by Enrique Iglesias featuring Whitney Houston
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles number-one single
September 9, 2000 – October 14, 2000
Preceded by
"Bent" by matchbox twenty
Canadian RPM Singles Chart number-one single
September 11, 2000 – November 6, 2000
Succeeded by
None
Preceded by
"Doesn't Really Matter" by Janet Jackson
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
September 16, 2000 – October 7, 2000
Succeeded by
"Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" by Christina Aguilera
Preceded by
"Stronger" by Kristine W
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
September 16, 2000 – October 14, 2000
Succeeded by
"Your Child" by Mary J. Blige
Preceded by
"Freestyler" by Bomfunk MC's
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
October 1, 2000
Succeeded by
"Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" by Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Preceded by
"On a Night Like This" by Kylie Minogue
Australia ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
(second run)

October 1, 2000
Succeeded by
"Most Girls" by Pink

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