With thanks to Johnny: Madonna's performance on Billboard's year-end charts is pretty great—30 years after her debut, she is the #23 overall artist of the year, #42 among Billboard 200 Artists, #3 among Dance/Electronic Artists, #5 among Dance/Club Artists.
Most impressively, Madonna's MDNA was the #1 tour of the year (numbers reflect only part of the tour, which ain't over yet):
With the #1 debut of his album Trespassing, Adam Lambert becomes the very first out gay artist to debut at #1 and the first to have a #1 album at all. (Not counting that out gay artist who did it during Reconstruction.) Others like Melissa Etheridge or George Michael hit #1, but never after coming out. Congrats, kid!
Speaking of out singers, Matt Zarley is offering his fans a chance to co-star in his new music video for "Change Begins With Me".
Enter to win the co-starring gig by shooting and uploading a video of yourself displaying a written phrase (five words or less) that explains how you can make yourself a better person. Creativity counts, people! Matt will pick his 25 favorites to be used in his video.
Submit your film (10 seconds or less) here. (Log-in and password are both changevideo.) The contest is open through June 10th. Good luck!
Nicki Minaj is someone I...really don't get. I want to get her, but I don't. I will say that my impression of her has a Lady Gaga clone (clown?) is only based on her fashion sense as none of her songs has sounded much like Gaga (right?), least of all "Beez in the Trap." With an impressive 6.5 million views in a few days, the video ballsily starts out with, "Bitches say shit and they ain't say nothin'" before...well...she says shit and says nothing:
But I wouldn't go this far—this is the top comment on the video at the moment:
Lovely. Nicki's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is out now and looks like it will be #1 on Billboard next week with over 220,000 or so sold. I wonder how many copies are due to the presence of this little number all over NYC:
The EPK for Madonna's MDNA has arrived (somewhat tardy). Second-week sales are looking to be an 85%-plus plunge, so enjoy #1 status this week, fanboys. (Sweet Twitter exchange between Madonna and Lionel Richie here.)
Photo courtesy of Matt Mindlin/Liz Rosenberg Media
Madonna's MDNA is coasting to #1 on Billboard, her fifth album in a row to do this (poor Ray of Light got capsized by Titanic) and her eighth album to top the charts. (Lionel who???)
Improving on her sales from Hard Candy four years—and many bumps in the record-buying atmosphere later—is an unqualified triumph. Imagine where it would have debuted with a bona fide hit single at radio or with traditional promotion?
With thanks to Chris, some trivia for chart fanatics...
Until recently, I feared that Madonna was beginning to phone it in after so many years of musical supremacy. For every sign that she was still driving things (she seemed fully present during Sticky & Sweet even if Hard Candy felt like a pretty good album nonetheless made to fill out a contract), there would be other signs that she might be more interested in backing away from music.
Who could blame her? Radio programmers have made it clear she's old news to them and a chunk of her fanbase is so jaded it seems to pre-reject anything she comes up with.
Now, after her longest-ever time between studio albums, Madonna is back and she's convincingly engaged on MDNA, which I hear as arguably (with myself, mostly) her best effort since Ray of Light.
Older than Joan Collins on Dynasty, yet shiny and new
Some of Madonna's critics like to call her "desperate," the ultimate insult. But I think her desperation is what makes this album rock, what makes it push into new territory while still serving as a massive reinforcement of her 30-year-old brand and what, more simply, helps to make all of her new songs work as well as they do.
She has a desperation, but it's a helpful desperation—to be taken seriously, to have and to cause fun, to make people squirm, to provoke thought. In other words, Madonna still has not lost the artistic neediness that defines all creators and that almost invariably evaporates after so many creative cycles. She's still hungry, still wants it. In fact, she wants it back.
MDNA has neither the introductory boldness of Madonna nor does it forge an entirely new sonic path as did Ray of Light, but it radiates knowledge of self and wisdom alongside an equal dose of unabashed hedonism. It's a huge gamble at her age, but one that pays off for both Madonna and any open-minded, open-hearted listener still in awe of the reparative power of dance. Overall rating: 8.7/10
Keith Caulfield's Billboard track-by-track of MDNA is out—and it's superpositive. I agree with most of it, too, and might've written parts of it had I had a better chance to really hear and live with the music. Anyone still not looking forward to this record after all the recent good buzz might just be through with Madonna. There's always Selena Gomez!