Tuesday, April 29, 2008

HARD CANDY

Madonna's new album Hard Candy came out today. As you may have gathered from past entries, I have been very VERY excited about Madge's new treat.


I got the album last night at midnight. I have listened to it. I have a lot to say about it.


But first, let me tell you all about last night. As Madonna once said, I have a tale to tell.....


For the past two Madonna album releases, American Life and Confessions On a Dance Floor, I joined my sister at the Boston Virgin Megastore on Newbury Street to buy the new CD at midnight. My sister introduced me to Madonna way back in the day, so celebrating her new albums or going to see her shows together has become a tradition for us. The Boston releases were usually pretty tame. We would arrive at around 11 or 11:30, line up with about 50 other fans, and impatiently wait to purchase the new music while Madonna grooves taunted us from the store speakers. The atmosphere at these events was always really electric and exciting but what we all really wanted to do, of course, was buy the damn CD and go listen to it! After my sister and I bought American Life we immediately set out for a walk around Boston and listened to it sharing my discman, an earbud each. I remember hearing the song Nobody Knows Me pounding through my sole earbud and knowing right then and there that Madonna had yet again given it to me good. For the Confessions On a Dance Floor release I met up with my sister again but this time we were joined by her good friend Dang. Her real name is Allison, her African name is Dang.....long story, but Dang is a cooler name so I call her Dang. Anyway, we bought the CD and then drove around Boston in Dang's car listening to Confessions as it exploded its way through the car speakers.....it was quite an experience. That time around I remember hearing the opening invitation of Future Lovers and feeling those same goosebumps....the Madonna Moment goosebumps. I love both albums dearly and still listen to them.


Last night was quite different. First of all, I'm in New York City so this time around I was gonna have to go get the CD without my sister. Thankfully, my boo Paul is in town so he agreed to come with me. Also, my friend Ashley joined us when she got off work.


Virgin Megastore in Times Square was having an event in which the first 100 people to arrive for the CD release would automatically get put into a competition in which they had 30 seconds to hop up on a little stage and prove to a panel of judges why they deserved tickets to Madonna's promo tour which happens here in the city tomorrow night.....more on that later. I arrived at around 9:30 with Paul and was unfortunately too late to sign up for the competition since there was already a pretty big group there. I was told, though, that if they had time at the end to see more people they would.


The show was hosted by a drag queen called Shequida who was pretty funny and more than a little offensive.....fitting for a Madonna event I suppose. The judges were a random group of NYC quasi-celebrities who were more than a little offensive and not funny at all. Madonna has a wide variety of fans, they come from all over the damn place. This, of course, is the reason why she's such a global megastar.......people all over the world adore her or at least know who she is. A lot of the contestants who were justifying their love (mmhmm, I said it) for Madonna spoke little to no English at all. They had come from all over the world (Japan, Russia, Israel, England) for a shot at free Madonna tickets. Unfortunately, they got a good solid dose of American rudeness from some of the judges. It was not fun to watch....it was actually pretty uncomfortable. I man who was apparently of Arab descent got up onstage for his 30 seconds and had a rough time trying to express his love for Madge. When he was leaving the stage one of the judges actually said "If you see something, say something....." Now, either I didn't get the joke or I have a horrid sense of humor cause that was not so funny to me. Ugh, what a douchebag.


The contestants begged, the contestants sang, they danced, they stripped, they pined.


Every now and then the host and judges would take a break and a new Hard Candy track would be played. I was a little pissed about this because I didn't want anything spoiled for me. I just wanted to buy the CD and go home to listen to it on my own. But now that I think about it, it was actually pretty thrilling to hear the tracks in their full booming glory over some seriously sexy speakers.


The competition was drawing to a close as midnight neared and I was certain now that I didn't have a shot in hell at my 30 seconds of Madonna fame. Suddenly, Shequida announced that she was gonna pull four people from the audience to join the competition. It was now or never. My hand shot up. She picked one person, then another, yet another, then.........she picked ME. I actually had a piece of hard candy which they were giving out in my mouth at the time so I nearly choked. I chewed it up as fast as I could as I got up to the front and onto the stage. We were lined up and then Shequida explained that we had 30 seconds to dance for the tickets. Easy. Madonna is all about dance, I love to dance, I was golden. I just had to give it.....I just had to WORK.


Sooooooo.....this is how it all went down. The music started. I immediately moved to the front of the stage and allowed myself to be driven absolutely insane by the beat. I envisioned myself as a young Madonna dancing freely to a hard beat back in the early 80's before she became famous. She has always said that when she dances she feels free so I took that motto and completely lived it. Madonna is all about not caring what people think, no matter how ridiculous you may look or seem. If it feels good to you, go for it. Well, I went for it. And, apparently, it was quite ridiculous. I barely remember any of it. At one point I was right in front of crowd going absolutely nuts. The next moment I was attempting to get down with some random guy next to me who had somehow lost his shirt in the process. Suddenly, I was shimmying next to some random woman who looked terrified. Then, as quickly as it had begun, it was all over. Shequida lined us up again and that's when I noticed it....everyone was half naked.....but me. Somewhere in those 30 seconds all shirts had come off, some mans large belly and moobs had been exposed, and apparently a woman's nipple had "accidentally" slipped out. Shequida then went down the line asking the crowd who deserved the tickets. She would stand by each of us one by one and whoever got the most applause would win. I think I was second or third in line and I'm definitely not one to be outdone so I decided that I was gonna have to take my clothes off too. The first two people got a pretty good amount of applause so I realized that if I ripped my shirt off right when Shequida came to stand by me I would most definitely get a large cheering from the crowd.


What happened next has become a defining moment in my life. As soon as Shequida got to me, I ripped my shirt off and screamed "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I was expecting thunderous applause. Instead, I heard one enthusiastic "WOO!" in response. It was Paul, screaming and clapping for me in the back. Aside from that there was basically total silence and I am NOT exaggerating. TOTAL silence.


Shequida quickly moved onto the next few contestants who both received my coveted thunderous applause.


I was floored. These were Madonna fans. These were people like me! They had fully betrayed me. They hadn't even given me a fighting chance at the tickets. Bitches.


But then I realized something. Out of all the people who had danced onstage maniacally for the tickets, I was the one who had truly stuck to Madonna's message and way of life. I had gotten up there, danced like there was no one watching, NOT given in to what everyone else was doing and joined the masses by stripping, saved my controversial moment for just the right time when no one was expecting it in order to reap full benefits, and had had to suffer stoically through an unsupportive crowd........something I'm sure Madonna has had to deal with throughout her career, she probably still deals with it.


Or maybe I'm just making excuses. I was mortified.......for reals. Whatever, I'll get over it.


I shamefully put my shirt back on and went back to Paul where I immediately buried my face in his shoulder. Then, I gave him a big kiss, took a breath, and tried to have a laugh about the whole damn thing. Plus, how lucky was I that he hadn't run off after having seen me being ridiculed by my fellow Madonna lovers?


Ashley arrived shortly after my "performance" and we then watched as some random fans danced onstage to some more new tracks. Now, I LOVE Madonna, but some of these dancers seem to be seriously involved in meaningful long-term cohabitation relationships with her. They played a new song called Miles Away and this one lady decided to give us performance. She was imaging, as we would call it back at Boston Conservatory. Not even Madonna goes as far as this woman went. She was emoting for the last person in the room.....hell, she was emoting for all of Times Square. Ashley summed up my attitude toward the end of the contest most perfectly, we were not having it. The fans, the dancers, the emoting lady, the judges, Shequida, we were not having it. We just wanted some Hard Candy.


Midnight FINALLY rolled around and we were all herded outside Virgin to wait in the cold. To make matters a little worse, a construction crew began pounding away with a jackhammer right in front of us.....perfect timing, guys. Thanks.


Ashley had finally had enough after about four minutes (HA!) so she stormed into Virgin demanding answers and, hopefully, some candy. She called me about two minutes later and told me to come downstairs and look as inconspicuous as possible. Of course, she was already standing in line near the cash register, three Hard Candy CD's in hand.


Ashley and I purchased the Hard Candy special edition which comes in a sexy black box. Paul bought the regular album since he's a Madonna newbie.


Paul and I said bye to Ashley, then headed home to finally listen to the album.


It's good. It's really good. It's juicy, funky, stinky face music. Stinky face music is the kinda music that makes you scrunch your face up, nod your head, and grunt 'uh' here and there appreciatively and in time to the music. To me, it's even more 70's disco than Confessions, but not gay disco.......it's funky disco.


Strangely enough, most fans have been complaining about two tracks that I absolutely love. Candy Shop, the opening track, is the perfect invitation into Madonna's candy store. It's got a simple heavy beat, stupid ass lyrics, and a clear message.....have fun, have some candy, dance bitches. Lots of fans are up in arms over the song. They say it's one of her worst tracks ever. Easy, people. Haven't we learned from the beginning that to appreciate Madonna fully we are supposed to approach her with a sense of humor? Whatever, to each his own.


Another song that has people pressing the skip button is Spanish Lesson. Admittedly, she sounds pretty retarded when she proclaims in the poorest Spanish I have ever heard from her, "Entiendo means I get it." But then the song breaks down into a delicious tribal section that takes me right back to Brasil as she informs us that "If you do your homework, baby I will give you more" as she chants "work" insistently underneath it all. I love it. LOVE it. Work.


My favorite so far, though, is Beat Goes On. This song leaked months ago but the final version sounds nothing like the song that leaked. I actually hated the leaked song. It was terrible. The new Beat Goes On is an especially funky track with a bit of a 90's dance background. Madonna sounds great and ridiculously sassy. It also happens to feature a random Kanye West rap that pops in for no apparent reason. I'm pretty sure he isn't even rapping about Madonna. He's just going on about himself and how great he is again.....same old Kanye. But I still love him.


Like all Madonna albums, some of the songs have to grow on me and I'm sure they will. All in all, though, Hard Candy is another success. I can't wait to see the concert in the fall.


Speaking of concerts, like I said before she is putting on a show tomorrow night at the Roseland Ballroom. I've tried to get tickets and have obviously failed. Will you all send me some positive energy and good vibes tomorrow? I'm heading over there right after work to try and get tickets. We'll see what happens. Pray for me, alright?


In celebration of Madonna Day, here are some concert videos of hers. They are performances of the songs I was telling you about earlier, Nobody Knows Me and Future Lovers. I'll post pics of the Virgin event soon, but for now this should do. Enjoy!

Nobody Knows Me



Future Lovers


Love you all :)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bummer on the tickets - thought you had it in the bag! Good luck seeing the show and thanks for the review.

Evan said...

I wish i was there to see your performance at Virgin.

Maju said...

i just saw your blog! First of all... I absolutely loooove how you describe things! I felt like I was lining up with you, Paul and Ashley haha! I soooo wish I could have seen you dance... I bet I would have been all crazy twirling in the audience too haha! Hey, onto the Madonna subject... well u know I am not a big fan of hers, I mean I respect her work,... it is awsome, I just am not as huge a fan as you are... but reading about your thoughts on the songs YOU GOT ME ALL PUMPED UP! aahha! Im soooo buying her CD now! haha! luv ya kiddo ! xoxo!

Anonymous said...

Found my favorite song on the album - INCREDIBLE.

YES, YES, YES!



Your sister.

Anonymous said...

Dang? What kind of name is that? Freak.
I love you Joni. I miss you.


SoDANGe