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|Song by Madonna|
|from the album Confessions on a Dance Floor|
|Released||October 17, 2005|
|Format||Digital download, CD single|
|Length||5:38 (album version)|
3:22 (radio edit)
|Songwriter(s)||Madonna, Stuart Price, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus|
|Producer(s)||Madonna, Stuart Price|
"Hung Up" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It was written and produced in collaboration with Stuart Price, and released as the first single from her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor. Initially used in a number of television advertisements and serials, the song was released as the album's lead single on October 17, 2005. It has since also made an appearance on her 2009 greatest hits album, Celebration. It also became Madonna's first track to be released to iTunes.
"Hung Up" prominently features a sample of the pop group ABBA's hit single "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", for which Madonna personally sought permission from ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Musically the song is influenced by 1980s pop, with a chugging groove and chorus and a background element of a ticking clock that suggests the fear of wasting time. Lyrically the song is written as a traditional dance number about a strong, independent woman who has relationship troubles.
"Hung Up" received critical praise from reviewers, who suggested that the track should restore the singer's popularity, which had diminished following the release of her 2003 album American Life. Critics suggested it was her best dance track to date and have compared it favorably to other Madonna tracks in the same genre. They also complimented the effective synchronization of the ABBA sample with the actual song. "Hung Up" became a worldwide commercial success, peaking atop the charts of 41 countries and earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was Madonna's 36th top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100, tying her with Elvis Presley as the artist with most top ten hits. It also became the most successful dance song of the decade in the United States. "Hung Up" remains one of the best-selling singles of all time, with sales of over nine million copies worldwide.
Madonna has performed the song in a number of live appearances, including as the finale number in 2006's Confessions Tour and a heavy metal-inspired arrangement in the 2008 Sticky & Sweet Tour. The corresponding music video is a tribute to John Travolta, his movies and to dancing in general. Directed by Johan Renck, the clip starts with Madonna clad in a pink leotard dancing alone in a ballet studio and concludes at a gaming parlor where she dances with her backup troupe. Interspersed are scenes of people displaying their dancing skills in a variety of settings, including a Los Angeles residential neighborhood, a small restaurant and the London Underground. It also features the physical discipline parkour.
- 1 Background and release
- 2 Music structure and lyrics
- 3 Critical reception
- 4 Chart performance
- 5 Music video
- 6 Live performances
- 7 Track listings and formats
- 8 Credits and personnel
- 9 Charts and sales
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Background and release
"Hung Up" was inspired by the 1970s disco era, notably ABBA, Giorgio Moroder and the film Saturday Night Fever (1977). Madonna imagined it to be a cross between the music played at Danceteria, the New York City night club she frequented in her early days, and the music of ABBA. Their 1979 hit "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" formed the basis of the song. Songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus generally do not allow anyone to sample any of their tracks, an exception being Fugees, who sampled their song "The Name of the Game" for their single "Rumble in the Jungle". In order to gain the rights to sample "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!", Madonna had to send her emissary to Stockholm with a letter which begged them to allow her to sample the song and also telling how much she loved their music. To the BBC she explained: "[T]hey never let anyone sample their music. Thank God they didn't say no. [...] They had to think about it, Benny and Björn. They didn't say yes straight away." The pair agreed to let Madonna use the sample only after making a copyright agreement that entitled them to a significant share of the royalties from subsequent sales and airplay. Andersson, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in October 2005, declared "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" to be the essence of "Hung Up" while joking that it was his favourite Madonna song thus far. He further said:
"We get so many requests from people wanting to use our tracks but we normally say 'no'. This is only the second time we have given permission. We said 'yes' this time because we admire Madonna so much and always have done. She has got guts and has been around for 21 years. That is not bad going."
The song premiered in September 2005, during a television advertisement for Motorola's iTunes compatible ROKR mobile phone. The advertisement featured Madonna and other artists jammed in a phone booth. On October 17, 2005, the song made its premiere during a live ten minute radio interview between Ryan Seacrest and Madonna. It was also made available as a master ringtone with various mobile service providers. The song was added to episodes of CSI: Miami and CSI: NY on November 7 and November 9, 2005, respectively. While promoting Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna played both "Hung Up" and the next single "Sorry" at Luke & Leroy's nightclub in Greenwich Village, where she was invited by Junior Sanchez to perform briefly as the DJ, mixing the two songs. Regarding her decision to release the song to iTunes, Madonna said: "I'm a businesswoman. The music industry has changed. There's a lot of competition, and the market is glutted with new releases – and new 'thises and thats'. You must join forces with other brands and corporations. You're an idiot if you don't."
Music structure and lyrics
Musically, "Hung Up" attempts to revive 1980s pop music. According to The New York Times, the song has vaguely familiar hooks, sustained overlays of the string arrangement and acoustic guitar enfolding the music to create a haze like sound. Billboard described the music as frothy, nonsensical and joyous. The instant familiarity of the sampled music is changed by Stuart Price and Madonna by adding a chugging groove and a chorus which singles it out as an independent song. Besides the ABBA sample, Rolling Stone said that the song also incorporated Madonna's older songs like "Like a Prayer" and "Holiday" and features fleeting quotes from bands like S.O.S and the Tom Tom Club. Set in common time, it has a moderate dance beat tempo with a metronome of 120 beats per minute. The key of the song is in D minor with Madonna's vocal range spanning from G3 to B♭4. The song progresses in the following chord progression of D–F–Am–D–D–F–Am–D in the first verse and changes to B♭–F–Am–D–B♭–F–Am–D for the second verse. "Hung Up" uses the sound of a ticking clock to symbolize fear of wasted time, which was incorporated by composer Stuart Price, from the remix of Gwen Stefani's 2004 single "What You Waiting For?". According to Slant Magazine, the song embodies some of Madonna's old hits, incorporating them into the song's pitched-upward vocals while presenting an archetypical key change/tonicization during the bridge.
Lyrically, the song is written from the perspective of a girl who once had nothing and the theme centers around love. About.com compared the lyrics of "Hung Up" and another song "I Love New York" from the Confessions on a Dance Floor album, to the style of the songs in Madonna's American Life album. According to About.com, the song is written as a very traditional dance number which is rooted in relationship issues. Also present in the lyrics is Madonna's enduring embrace of strong, independent women.
Keith Caulfield from Billboard, while reviewing Confessions on a Dance Floor, called the song "a fluffier cut". Chris Tucker from Billboard explained that "Madonna returns with a song that will restore faith among her minions, fans of pop music and radio programmers". Jon Pareles of The New York Times said that Madonna kept her pop touch in "Hung Up" and called it a love song which is both happy as well as sad. Alan Light from Rolling Stone called the song candy coated. David Browne from Entertainment Weekly was impressed by the song and said "'Hung Up' shows how effortlessly she [Madonna] can tap into her petulant inner teen". Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine compared the song to the remix of Gwen Stefani's 2004 single "What You Waiting For?". Ed Gonzalez from the same magazine called the song the biggest hit of her career. Margaret Moser from The Austin Chronicle said that the song strobes and pulses along with another album track "Forbidden Love". Peter Robinson from The Guardian commented that "Hung Up" is Madonna's "most wonderfully commercial single since the mid Eighties". Alexis Petridis from The Guardian said that the song could have been more campy by addition of Liza Minnelli inspired vocals in the background and lyrics which talk about Larry Grayson.
Ben Williams from New York magazine described the song as sounding both throbbing as well as wistful. Christian John Wikane from PopMatters called the song a propulsive track. Alan Braidwood of the BBC, noted of the track: "full-on dance, dark, disco, fun, big" and compared it to other Madonna songs like "Vogue", "Deeper and Deeper" and "Ray of Light". Tom Bishop from the BBC commented that Madonna has either reinvigorated her career or she is "merely throwing one final dance party for her long-term fans before settling down to record more sedate material". Jason Shawhan from About.com commented that the song has "way too much Abba in it for its own good." He went on to elaborate that "[t]he only reason I can think of for this to be chosen as the first single was the Motorola ad campaign. It's not a bad song by far, it has pep and a sense of fun, but it's not even close to being one of the best songs on the record". Bill Lamb of About.com said that the ABBA sample sounded completely effortless like much of Madonna's best dance music. He further elaborated that what "'Hung Up' amounts to is a big gushy love note to Madonna's core fans, those club kids who pack the floor every time they hear the pounding beats of a Madonna classic and the dj's who can't get enough of spinning her records. 'Hung Up' will send those fans into ecstasy, and it sounds good on the radio, too". Thomas Inskeep of Stylus magazine declared that "Hung Up" and the next single "Sorry" might not have the same sleaze as Madonna's older songs like "Physical Attraction" or "Burning Up", but have the same modus operandi of being designed for "sweaty up-all-night dancing". Rob Harvilla from The Village Voice called the song a triumphant jazz exercise.
Slant Magazine's writers listed the song at number 36 on their list of Best of the Aughts: Singles saying: "'Hung Up' employs a ticking clock to represent fear of wasted time, but Madonna isn't singing about aging or saving the world—she's talking about love. It had been years since Madge sounded this vapid. With its pitched-upward vocals, infectious arpeggio sample from ABBA's 'Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight),' and the bridge's unironic, archetypical key change, the track decidedly points to the past, and it proved that, 20 years into her career, Madonna was still the one and only Dancing Queen."
"Hung Up" peaked at number one in charts of 41 countries and earning a 2007 place in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the song topping the charts in most countries. It also remains one of the best-selling singles of all time, with sales of over nine million copies worldwide. In the United States, "Hung Up" debuted at twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 on the issue dated November 5, 2005. It became her highest opening position since "Ray of Light" entered the chart at five in 1998. The same week the song entered the Hot Digital Songs chart at number six and became the highest debuting single of the week on the Pop 100 Airplay, where it debuted at thirty-eight. On the issue dated December 7, 2005, the song entered the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 at seven, which became its peak, jumping from position fourteen of the previous week. The song became the chart's greatest digital gainer for that week and claimed the top position on the Hot Digital Songs chart. It also tied Madonna with Elvis Presley for thirty-six top ten hits, which was subsequently broken by Madonna's 2008 song "4 Minutes", which peaked at three on the Hot 100. "Hung Up" debuted at numbers twenty-five and ten on the Hot Dance Club Play and Hot Dance Airplay charts respectively ultimately reaching the top of both charts. It became the most successful dance song of the 2000s in the United States, by topping the Dance/Club Play Songs Decade-end chart. The song also reached a peak of seven on the Pop 100 chart. On August 18, 2008, the single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling at least a million copies in paid digital downloads. As of April 2010, the song has sold 1.2 million digital units in the United States.
In Australia, the song debuted atop the chart for the issue dated November 14, 2005, breaking her tie with Kylie Minogue as the female artist with most number-one singles in Australian chart history. It was present on the chart for twenty-three weeks. The song was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 70,000 copies. It peaked atop Canadian Singles Chart and was certified four times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association, for sales of 320,000 copies. "Hung Up" debuted at sixty-seven in the French singles chart and made a major jump the next week to number one. In Ireland, the song debuted at number two on the chart dated November 10, 2005 becoming the highest debut of the week. In New Zealand, the song debuted at thirteen for the issue dated November 14, 2005. The next week the song reached its peak position of two, becoming the weeks greatest gainer, but was kept from the top spot by Kanye West's single "Gold Digger".
In the United Kingdom, "Hung Up" debuted at number one on the issue dated November 13, 2005 thus giving Madonna her eleventh number one single on this chart. It remained in the chart for twenty-nine weeks. According to The Official Charts Company, the song has sold 560,000 copies there. The song also peaked Billboard's Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart where it soared from seventy-three to the top of the chart on the issue dated November 21, 2005. The song was able to peak the charts in almost all the European nations including Austria, Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia), Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Originally the video for "Hung Up" was scheduled to be directed by photographer David LaChapelle. LaChapelle wanted the video to have a "documentary"-style look, much like that of his 2005 film Rize, of which five of the dancers from the "Hung Up" video appeared. LaChapelle and Madonna disagreed on the concept, prompting the project to be reassigned to Johan Renck, who worked with Madonna in her video for "Nothing Really Matters". According to an interview with MTV, Renck was directing Kate Moss for a H&M commercial whence he received a phone call from Madonna who desperately wanted to work with him. The next day he went to Los Angeles to meet the stylist and the choreographer hired by Madonna, who mailed him with her ideas for the video.
"I kind of liked that we didn't have time to over-think this and be too clever, [..] I like being out on a limb and not know what we're doing and why. Just deal with it, the mayhem, you know?" – Johan Renck
Madonna wanted to use a few performers from her tour, such as Daniel "Cloud" Campos, Miss Prissy from LaChapelle's "Rize" crew and traceur Sebastien Foucan, a practitioner of parkour, a philosophical French sport that involves moving via uninterrupted motion, whether over, under, through or around objects. Renck said that "It's not about the music, but the bodily expression, [...] We wanted to show the whole spectrum, be it krumping, breakdancing, jazz or disco." Since they could not shoot all over the world, Madonna wanted the video to have an "omnipresent feel", with the middle section of the song generating a sense of congregation. Renck suggested that they include a boombox, used as a means of uniting everyone and everything since it was through listening to songs on a boombox that street dancing started. Though some scenes in the video feature cities like London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Tokyo, in reality the actual sets were constructed in Los Angeles and London only. A London suburb was made to look like a Parisian one, where the routine for parkour takes place, whereas a restaurant in London's Chinatown was used for the Shanghai sequence and Compton stood in for Bronx. The dancers' scenes were shot in early October 2005 within half a day, for a total of six days of shooting.
Madonna clarified that the video was a tribute to John Travolta and to dance in general. Her dance moves for the video, which were inspired by Travolta's movies like Saturday Night Fever (1977), Grease (1978) and Perfect (1985) took three hours to shoot. Madonna had broken eight bones in a horseback-riding accident a few weeks before shooting the video. Hence she faced difficulty doing the steps as devised by choreographer Jamie King. Renck said,
"She was such a trooper, [...] She just fell off a horse! [Madonna said]'If you were a real dance choreographer, you could tell I can't lift my left arm higher than this' — and it was like, what, a 20-centimeter difference? [...] But when she said it 'hurts like f---,' she'd take a break and sit down for two minutes. [Madonna]'I have broken ribs, remember that!' I just can't imagine dancing like that. Talk about priorities."
Madonna was also associated with the editing process of the video. She was Renck's editing supervisor. Madonna wanted a raw documentary look for the video which allowed her to be portrayed more realistically. Regarding the making of "Hung Up", Renck said that it was a massive work to undertake, "It's like you form this little family that's flourished and prospered for the month, and then you chop it down like a tree, [...] You come out with a sense of yearning and longing, like, 'Can we just do that again? Please?'" The video starts with Madonna coming to a ballet studio carrying a boombox. She switches it on as the clock ticking sound of the music starts. Wearing a pink leotard, Madonna starts gyrating to the music while doing warm up exercises. The scene interchanges with a group of people on the street who start dancing to the music while listening to a similar boombox. They also display the physical discipline parkour, while climbing over buildings and jumping from staircases. As the song starts, Madonna dances to the music in the ballet studio. The second verse shows her continuing dancing while the people from the street take their boombox and board a taxi. Scenes are interspersed with people dancing in a Chinese restaurant and Parisian streets. In the meantime, Madonna finishes her workout in the ballet studio, drops her towel, changes her clothes and comes out on the street. The people on the taxi, leave it and take the Underground instead. After another round of dancing in the train, the intermediate music starts. Madonna is shown mingling with some dancers on a dance floor and riding on a boombox. As the song starts again, Madonna and the people from the street, who act as her background dancers, all dance on a Dance Dance Revolution machine in a gaming parlor. The video ends showing Madonna lying on the ballet studio floor.
The video was nominated for five awards at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards including Best Female Video, Dance Video, Pop Video, Best Choreography and the Video of the Year award although it did not win any of them.
Madonna opened the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards and the 2006 Grammy Awards with "Hung Up". She also performed the track at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, and it was the finale for her Confessions Tour. She ended the London leg of Live Earth concert with "Hung Up". A rock version of the song was included in her 2008 world tour, the Sticky & Sweet Tour in the closing segment.
In the MTV Europe Awards, Madonna emerged from a glitterball to perform "Hung Up" while wearing a purple leotard and matching leather boots. For the Grammy Awards, Madonna performed the song by pairing up with the fictional animated band Gorillaz. The band appeared on the stage via a three dimensional technique which projected their holograms on the stage. They performed their song "Feel Good Inc." while rappers De La Soul made a guest appearance. Madonna then appeared on the stage and started performing the song while interchanging places with the hologram figures of the band. She was later joined by her own group of dancers and the performance was finished on the main stage rather than the virtual screen.
The song was played by Madonna as a part of the promotional campaigns for the Confessions on a Dance Floor album, in London's night clubs like the Koko Club and G-A-Y. The performance again saw Madonna emerge from a glitter ball while wearing a purple jacket, velvet pedal pushers and knee-high boots. The song was performed as the last song of her 2006 Confessions Tour. It was performed at the last "disco fever" segment of the tour. During the performance, her dancers displayed the routine parkour all over the stadium as the familiar ABBA sample played. Madonna changed her aerobics costume for a purple leotard. As the music progressed, she and her dancers appeared on the center stage and she started singing. During the second verse, she left her sunglasses and jacket and proceeded towards the front of the stage. A boombox appeared in the center with Madonna playing with it. The song starts again as balloons fall on the crowd from the top. The finale had Madonna engaging the audience to sing-along with her to the song while making a contest as to which side of the stadium can sing the loudest. Madonna then uttering the line "I'm tired of waiting for you" while the backdrop showed the phrase "Have You Confessed?". The New York Times compared this performance with that of Ethel Merman. Slant Magazine commented that the performance reminded Madonna's ability to encapsulate the audience as a part of her performance.
The song was also added to the six song set list of the Hard Candy Promo Tour in 2008. Madonna wore a shiny black dress with black tails, Adidas track pants and high-heeled, lace-up boots. "Hung Up" was the fourth song of the set list. It was re-invented as a heavy-metal version. As the performance of "4 Minutes" ended, Madonna picked up an electric guitar and played the first few chords of The Rolling Stones single "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". She then asked the crowd whether they thought they had come to a Rolling Stones concert. When they crowd responded negatively, she started "Hung Up", while dedicating it to all the people who had waited outside in the queue to watch the show. She declared that the noisy, metallic guitar breakdown of the song symbolised what waiting sounded like in the brain of all those who had waited. The song was performed in the futuristic rave with Japanese influences segment of the Sticky & Sweet Tour. Madonna wore a futuristic robotic dress designed by Heatherette, with plates on her shoulder and a wig with long curled hair. The similar heavy-metal version of "Hung Up" was performed but it later gave way to the ABBA music. Before starting the performance, she played a capella versions of her older hit songs on audience demand, mostly "Express Yourself" and "Like a Virgin". However after that, the electric guitar was played to make noises, which Madonna dedicated to Republican vice-presidential nominee for the 2008 election, Sarah Palin. She said, "I'd like to express myself to Sarah Palin right now. [Playing a screeching note on her guitar] This is the sound of Sarah Palin thinking. [...] Sarah Palin can't come to my party. Sarah Palin can't come to my show. It's nothing personal." The performance ended with Madonna imitating the smoking of a cigarette while leaning nonchalantly against a speaker and the music of the final single "Give It 2 Me" starting.
Track listings and formats
Credits and personnel
- Writer and Producer – Madonna, Stuart Price
- Writer of Sample – Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
- Cover Artwork – Giovanni Bianco
- Digital Imaging – Lorenzo Irico (Pixelway NYC)
- Management – Angela Becker, Guy Oseary
- Photography – Steven Klein
- Hair and makeup – Andy LeCompte
Charts and sales
Chart precession and succession
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