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
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 recorded by American singer Madonna for 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, while Madonna claims that music makes people come together. Musically, "Music" is a dance-pop and electropop song which provided a cross-section of Madonna's artistic range, as she delivers electronically manipulated vocals on the song.

"Music" received positive reviews from music critics, who praised its production, catchiness and club-friendly nature of the song, also comparing it with Madonna's previous releases. "Music" peaked number one in 25 countries, including Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, becoming Madonna's twelfth and last number-one single in the region. "Music" also has the longest running number-one spot on the US Hot Dance Club Play of the 2000s decade, spending a longevity five weeks at number one. The song was the second most successful dance single of the decade in the United States, behind Madonna's own song "Hung Up", released in 2005.

Its accompanying music video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, portrays Madonna and her friends giving a party in her limousine, driven by comedian Ali G. Madonna performed the song during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2000 and at the following year at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards. Additionally, "Music" was also performed on the four Madonna's following concert tours. Most recently, it was performed during the halftime of the Super Bowl XLVI. "Music" was nominated at Grammy Awards in the categories 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] By the year 2000, Madonna was dating director Guy Ritchie, and was pregnant with their child. Wanting to distract herself from the media frenzy surrounding this news, Madonna concentrated on the development of her eighth studio album, Music, instead of embarking on a tour.[2] Buoyed up by the commercial success of 1998's Ray of Light album, she was keen on getting back to the studio and start recording. Madonna was well disposed towards William Orbit, producer of Ray of Light, but by 2000, his production and sound had become ubiquitous. Also, the music scene was being dominated by younger generation of singers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, prompting Madonna to look for a distinctive sound in this market.[2] It was then that she was introduced to French DJ and producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï, through some common friends. Madonna instantly liked his pitch-shifting, pulverizing rhythms and his utilization of acid bass in his songs.[3]

In an interview with CNN, Madonna said, "Guy Oseary, my partner at Maverick [Records], was given a demo by a French artist called Mirwais. [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] Ahmadzaï always preferred taking musical risks and hence he wanted the collaborations with Madonna to get out the best from the artist. "The challenge was to make something current appear, something hidden in her personality. Everybody knows [Madonna] as a chameleon, as a businesswoman. I wanted to show her potential as a musician," Ahmadzaï noted.[3] "Music" features production by Ahmadzaï, who Madonna has called a "genius".[5] On May 27, 2000, an unauthorized incomplete copy of the song leaked onto the Internet.[6] Snippets ranging from 30 seconds to upwards of three minutes of the song were leaked via fan sites and Napster.[7] 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."[7] To counter the trend of music piracy, Madonna actively campaigned against Napster with fellow performers from other genres.[6]

Composition[edit]

"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, the producer decided to use an old EMS2000 vocoder to twist Madonna's voice to achieve what Ahmadzaï described as an effect of going "in fits and starts."[8] According to the book Madonna's Drowned Worlds: New Approaches to Her Cultural Transformations, written by Santiago Fouz-Hernández and Freya Jarman-Ivens, "Music" is a "disco anthem, and the beat commands [the people] to get up and dance".[9] The song's lyric "I wanna dance with my baby" may further reinforce a connection with gay listeners because of its casual, campy style.[9] The book also says that the song is an expression to her public and became one of Madonna's catchiest singles of her career.[9] The song has been compared to Madonna's early 1980s dance hit "Everybody", because in both songs Madonna declares that music has the power to overcome divisions of race, gender, and sexuality.[9] The song is written in the key of G minor and Madonna's voice spans from G3 to D5.[10] It is set in common time with a moderately fast tempo of 120 beats per minute.[10] 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."[11] The magazine adds that the song is also "saturated" with the influence of Cameo, Herbie Hancock, and Nitzer Ebb.[11]

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's review of the song.[11]

The song received positive reaction from critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic called it "a thumping track which sounds funkier, denser, sexier with each spin".[12] Jim Farber of The New York Daily News gave the song a 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.[13] 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."[14] Entertainment Weekly said "the song recaptures the simple perfection of "Holiday" (1982) and brings her career full circle."[15] Sal Cinquemani from 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'", and called the singer's best dance track since "Vogue", "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", he completed.[16]

Ethan Brown from 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."[17] 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."[18] Billboard acclaimed 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."[11] It adds that "it's guaranteed you've never heard Madonna-nor any other popular artist-pull it together this way."[11] While placing the song as the 66th best song of the 2000s decade, Slant Magazine commented 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."[19] 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.[20]

Commercial reception[edit]

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

On August 12, 2000, "Music" entered at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her highest debut since "The Power of Good-Bye" (1998).[21] It reached number one the following weeks, with Madonna becoming the sixth artist on the rock era to achieve at least 12 number-one singles.[22] "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.[23][24] 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).[25] "Music" went platinum in the country, selling over a million copies. "Music" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[26] The song debuted at number 23 in Canada.[27] Three weeks later, it reached number one.[28]

In the United Kingdom, "Music" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number one,[29] and was the 24th best selling single of 2000 in the United Kingdom. According to the Official Charts Company, the song has sold 415,000 copies in the region as of 2014.[30] The song achieved relatively good charting in both the Flemish and Wallonian territories in Belgium, peaking at numbers 4 and 6, respectively.[31][31] 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.[32] On the Dutch Top 40 chart, the song made its debut at number 87.[33] The following week it went at number 85 and its peak was on the number 4, before the ending of its 17-week run.[33] On August 31, 2000, "Music" debuted at number two on the Swedish Singles Chart.[34] Similarly in Switzerland, the song debuted at number one, and spent 21 weeks in the chart.[35] "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.[36] In New Zealand, "Music" made its debut at number 33 on the New Zealand Singles Chart,[37] and ascended to the top ten, finally peaking at number one on the week of October 1, 2000.[37] Overall, "Music" reached number one in 25 countries worldwide.[38]

Music video[edit]

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

The accompanying music video for "Music" was directed by Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund, who previously directed Madonna's "Ray of Light" video in 1998.[39] 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.[40][41][42] 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."[42] 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.[39] He said that at that time Baron Cohen was not known in the US, and he had to get people 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".[39] She filmed the music video when she was four-month pregnant of her child with then-boyfriend Guy Ritchie.[43] Åkerlund discussed the video:[39]

"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."

The music video debuted on MTV on August 2, 2000.[44] 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.[45] Madonna's animated character also attacks various neon signs with the names of many of her successful songs.[44] 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."[45]

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.[46] The music video was parodied on MADtv. The parody was called "Movies", and featured Mo Collins as Madonna. The video poked fun at Madonna's filmography, with an animated 'Madonna' attacking signs that had the names of her movies.[47]

Live performances[edit]

Madonna and LMFAO performing the song during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show (2012).

The first live performance of "Music" was at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2000 on November 16, 2000 at the Ericsson Globe, Stockholm, Sweden. After being introduced by Ali G as "Maradona", she performed the song wearing a T-shirt with the name of Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue printed on it.[48] While in Europe, she performed "Music" again on Canal + in France.[49] It was also sang during the promotional shows for Music.[50] The first of these, was on November 5, 2000, at Roseland Ballroom in New York City, and the other on November 29, 2000, at Brixton Academy in London.[51] The costumes for the show and the set was designed by Dolce & Gabbana. According to Michael Paoletta from Billboard, "Music" was the song the audience needed to hear during the concert in New York. He also noted that the singer did a "lil' boot scootin' boogie" during the performance.[50]

She also performed the song at the 2001 Grammy Awards as the opening number.[52] For Madonna's performance, the stage had five giant video screens, which showed images from her career. She entered onto the stage in a classic Cadillac driven by rapper Bow Wow. Madonna emerged from the back seat of the car in a full-length fur coat and a hat, quickly removing the clothes to reveal a tight leather jacket and jeans.[53] She removed her jacket to reveal a black tank top with the words "Material Girl" printed on it. It was seen as one of the evening's best performances by Jeanne Fury from NY Rock.[54] Host Jon Stewart established his self-deprecating tone right after, talking about how he was getting older and commenting, "As I was watching Madonna writhing around on the hood of the car, all I could think was — that’s really gonna drive up her insurance premiums".[55]

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.[56] It was mixed with Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express".[57] "Music" was later added to the Re-Invention Tour in 2004 as the penultimate song; this mix of the song was slower, hip-hop-based.[58] The performance had lighted staircases surrounding a DJ.[59] The same version was used at the 2005 Live 8 benefit concert in London.[60] "Music" was performed during the Confessions Tour in 2006. The performance began with dancers on roller skates emerging from beneath the stage to perform Xanadu-worthy tricks, while a loop of the intro to The Trammps' "Disco Inferno" was heard, creating "Music Inferno". Madonna wore a "sleeker version of John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever" white suit. It also included a sample from her song "Where's The Party" at the beginning of the song.[61][62][63]

"Music" was the closing song on the 2008 Hard Candy Promo Tour, in support Madonna's eleventh studio album Hard Candy. The singer started singing the song at the very front of the stage a cappella, and was joined by all the dancers. As they emerged from a faux silver subway car, she pranced across the stage, touching the hands of her fans. The show ended with Madonna racing up the stage to the subway doors, behind which she disappeared.[64] According to Sarah Rodman from Boston.com, Madonna gave her dancers a chance to shine during the performance.[65] It was also the last song performed of the Old School segment of her Sticky & Sweet Tour in 2008, where Madonna used the version of the promotional tour, but with a sample of Indeep's "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" at the beginning of the song.[66] Madonna included the song in the setlist for her performance at Super Bowl XLVI halftime show, interpolated with LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It".[67] The same year, Madonna performed the song on her MDNA Tour, during her date at Madison Square Garden, New York City, on November 14, 2012. She invited South Korean Psy and performed together his song "Gangnam Style" and her own "Give It 2 Me".[68]

Cover versions[edit]

In 2004, Canadian tech-metal band Out of Your Mouth released a cover version of "Music" as their debut single. Vocalist Jason Darr commented, "I absolutely love her, I've bought her records and when she came out with that song it was like I was hit over the head with it".[69] In 2007, The Dynamics released an eight-minute soul cover on their album Versions Excursions.[70] French metal band Eths added a cover of the song as a bonus track on their third studio album III (2012).[71] In addition, 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.[72]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from Music album liner notes.[73]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[117] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Brazil (ABPD)[118] Gold 50,000*
France (SNEP)[119] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[120] Gold 250,000^
Sweden (GLF)[121] Platinum 30,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[122] Gold 25,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[123] Gold 400,000^
United States (RIAA)[26] Platinum 1,136,000[124]
Digital
United States (RIAA)[26] 217,000[125]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]