Is Madonna’s new music still relevant today?

Let’s start with a dry question: What year is the last Madonna song that you remember? And what are your five favorite songs by Lady Ciccone, among those released in the last ten years? Of course the answers will be simple for the most loyal fans of the pop diva, those who never miss a single release, but we are reasonably certain that most readers, even those who have appreciated her music for years, would have a lot of difficulty answer, especially the second question. Let’s immediately clear the field of misunderstandings: Madonna is still today the undisputed queen of pop, as certified by the seven Grammy Awards, three World Music Awards, three American Music Awards, two Golden Globes and over forty Billboard Music Awards won. With three hundred and fifty million records sold in her career, of which ninety-five in the USA alone, Louise Veronica Ciccone is an icon of music, cinema (nineteen films as an actress and two as a director) and pop culture, a model to follow for young girls colleagues for her ferocious determination, for her perfectionism and for her uncommon ability to reinvent herself and to always know how to surround herself with the right producers.

For those who write, albums Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005) are two pop masterpieces, masterfully produced by William Orbit and Stuart Price, which still sound fresh in their sonorities and which are destined to remain in the collective imagination for years. Having made this necessary and lengthy premise, it is evident that Madonna’s production of the last ten years, from MDNA extension of 2012 until the disappointing flop Madame X of 2019, is quite irrelevant, with the only exception of the discrete Rebel Heart of 2015. By relevance, beyond the numbers of physical sales and streaming (which are always interpretable to one’s liking), we mean the ability of a song to be loved and remembered, thus becoming part of our lives and binding double-edged to a particular personal period. Let’s spread, then, a pitiful veil on the last single Back That Up to the Beatwhich will be launched on January 20: the song, written by Madonna with Brittany Hazzard and Pharrell Williams and produced by Madonna and Pharrell themselves with Jeff Bhasker and Mike Dean, it’s a soulless, repetitive dance track that feels like a compilation filler a la Euro Dance 2004. Luckily for us, the song is not the taste of a new album of unreleased songs, but, in a different version, was already present in the deluxe edition of Madame X of 2019. In short, a “new” piece was needed to be thrown into the sea ​​magnum of streaming, always hungry for throwaway news, to launch the world tour The Celebration Tour, where the artist will retrace all his greatest hits of the last forty years. After eight years of absence in the Bel Paese, Madonna will perform in Italy on 23 and 25 November at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan. The tour was announced through a video, which is a nod to his film Truth or Darewhich features Diplo, Judd Apatow, Jack Black, Lil Wayne, Bob The Drag Queen, Kate Berlant, Larry Owens, Meg Stalter and Eric Andre, ending with Amy Schumer challenging the pop star to tour and perform with her four decades of great successes.

It is no coincidence that Madonna is the solo female artist who has sold the most tickets worldwide: her concerts are real multimedia shows studied in every detail, with futuristic staging, breathtaking choreography and real direction, as if it were a great Broadway musical in which the songs are always functional to tell a story. This (in part) explains the high cost of concert tickets in Milan: the First Numbered Sector has a price of €345.00, while the Second Numbered Sector and the Third Numbered Sector cost €287.50 and €201.25 respectively . The Parterre tickets are slightly lower: €287.50 for Parterre A standing, €201.25 for Parterre B standing. More “accessible” are the coupons for the Fourth Numbered Sector, Fifth Numbered Sector and Sixth Numbered Sector with Limited Visibility, which cost €138.00, €92.00 and €46.00 respectively: not exactly popular figures for such peripheral places . Unfortunately it is not new that ticket prices (especially those of the big names) have risen considerably after the almost two-year stop of the great live shows due to the pandemic, increasingly making concerts a luxury item reserved for the few, even if not it is difficult to foresee the sold out in a few hours for the dates at the Assago Forum.

Already the title The Celebration Tour, a sort of greatest hits evening, confirms our initial thesis on the substantial irrelevance of Louise Veronica Ciccone’s most recent production, an artist who has always been projected towards the future, who, for once, looks back, re-proposing the hits of the eighties, nineties and two thousand, while for years she has built the entire tour around her latest studio project, starting from first name. It is no coincidence, then, that the last two releases of the American artist, True Blue (35th Anniversary Edition) of 2021 and the collection of remixes Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones of 2022, are essentially a celebration of his glorious repertoire, without risking, with unreleased songs, having to collide with the younger and fiercer rivals Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello and Rosalia. On the other hand, Madonna is in good company: think of Sting and Simply Red who, despite having recently produced quality albums, in their last concerts reproduce a good 95% of their classics, with an almost total absence in the lineup , of their most recent songs.

An emblematic case is that of the Rolling Stones, who in their crowded concerts range from the iconic hits of the Sixties up to Start me up, recorded way back in 1981. Someone could object (rightly) that the prevailing way of enjoying music today, streaming, often leads to fast and bulimic listening, while physical albums, via cassette, CD and vinyl, allowed passages to cement themselves little by little in the memory. Furthermore, it is undeniable that albums, compared to singles, have today lost the centrality they once had for an artist, both from a musical and economic point of view, so much so that works published only in digital versions are increasingly frequent. For this reason, it is probable that Madonna will devote herself less and less to her albums in the coming years, occasionally releasing singles to satisfy the thirst for novelty of her many fans, while her concerts will remain her true core business. Of course, if the Bay City artist is able to prove us wrong with new works comparable in quality to Ray of Light oa Confessions on a Dancefoor, we will be the first to rejoice. One thing is certain: Louise Veronica Ciccone will find a way to amaze us once again.

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Is Madonna’s new music still relevant today?