Madonna Hard Candy Outtakes

The excellent Homotography blog features left-overs from Steven Klein's Madonna photoshoot for "Hard Candy." Some fantastic shots. I wonder how she dreamed up the whole pimped out boxer persona that has been the visual brand for "Hard Candy." It's a pretty iconic look for her.

While on the topic of "Hard Candy," I have to say that I'm not sure how much more milage the record still has. I consider the disc a decent effort, but it didn't push the envelop like some of her earlier work. Working with Timbaland, Pharrell and Timberlake was a pretty safe bet in this hip hop and R&B dominated music era.

For her next record, I'd love to see her collobrate with the makers of French electro music. People like Alan Braxe, Justice, Fred Falke or even Daft Punk. Or how about an unusual collaboration with up and coming indie rockers. It could be like fire and water, generating a whole lot of steam and energy to keep people paying attention.

But I wonder if being the Queen of Pop has become a burden more than a status symbol for Madonna. How left-field can she go to innovate and surprise people? In the end, she is the purveyor of pop who has very little room to move. Fans have expecations and Madonna, being the savvy marketer she is, will be more than happy to oblige.

December 27, 2008 in Madonna | Permalink | Comments (12)

The Thursday Crunch: GRAMMY Nominations Announced Today

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The 2009 GRAMMY Award nominations were announced this morning and the list is full of surprises. In a good way! The usually he stuffy GRAMMY Academy got some of the categories and nominees totally right this year, showing that they are keeping up with the times. I'm mostly excited about worthy nominations for Janelle Monae, Sam Sparro, Robyn, Cyndi Lauper, Rufus Wainwright, Kenna and Kylie Minogue. This year might also be a break-through year for Adele who is up for multiple nominations, including Song of the Year.

Adele, Leona Lewis, Coldplay and Sara Bareilles are the stand out artists with each over three nominations in the pop categories. Coldplay also a multiple nominations in the rock categories totaling 7 nominations. Lil' Wayne might be the big winner with 8 potential awards. I'm surprised Keane is not appearing in any of the categories.

Lady GaGa and Sam Sparro (!) are both up for Best Dance Song Award together with Hot Chip, Madonna, Rihanna and Daft Punk.

Competing in the Best Album category are Lil' Wayne, Ne-Yo, Coldplay, Radiohead and Robert Plant with Allison Kraus. This one is Coldplay's to loose.

Finally the GRAMMY folks got with the times. Cyndi Lauper, Robyn and Kylie Minogue are competing in the Best Dance Album category. I don't have an immediate favorite, but I'm leaning towards Cyndi Lauper just because that record was so fresh and unexpected.

Rufus Wainwright is nominated for Traditional Pop Vocal Album for the recording of his Judy Garland show at Radio City Music Hall. I'm sure he's thrilled right now.

Beyonce, J-Hud and Alicia Keyes are competing in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. All very worthy competitors. Beyonce really took her act to a whole new level and should be recognized for that.

HOORAY! ArjanWrites.com fave Janelle Monae is up for a Best Urban Performance Award for "Many Moons." Not sure if the categy fits her as this as much a pop record as it is an "urban" record. But I guess if you break the mold, people have a hard time fitting you in categories.

This is so awesome: Kenna's "Say Goodbye To Love" is up for Best Urban Performance as well.

Jazmine Sullivan is most definitely the R&B break out artist with nods in almost all R&B/urban categories.

Crooner Lila Downs gets a deserving nod in the World Music category.

Rick Rubin, will.i.am and Danger Mouse compete in the Producer of the Year category. Surprisingly, Timbaland and Pharrell are not included.

My fellow Dutchman JunkieXL is up in the Best Remix Category for Madonna's "4 Minutes." Gefeliceerd!. One of my favorites remixes of the year, the Deadmau5's remix of Morgan Page's "The Longest Road," is up as well. I'm bummed Paul Oakenfold's remix of Madonna's "Give It To Me" was ignored. That was hands-down one of the best of the year as well.

Get the entire list of nominations.

December 4, 2008 in Cyndi Lauper, Duffy, Janelle Monae, Katy Perry, Kenna, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Morgan Page, Robyn, Rufus Wainwright, Sam Sparro | Permalink | Comments (5)

On-X Remixes Madonna "Miles Away"

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Remixers are sure having a ball with Madonna's new single. Check out Patrick & Rollie's On-X remix of "Miles Away." The two DJs put a nice kick to the original with a pacing new drum track and a nice string section that adds some dancefloor drama. Listen to it on their MySpace page.

November 28, 2008 in Madonna | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Crowd Electric Remixes Madonna

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David and Seth of emerging Brooklyn synth outfit A Crowd Electric grew quickly tired of the big, massive remixes of Madonna's new single "Miles Away." And you can't blame them. Instead of creating another wild dancefloor romp, they decided to put together a remix that stays a little closer to the original. Something that Madonna purists will most certainly be able to appreciate.

The duo writes ArjanWrites, "We're both big Madonna fans and noticed that all the commissioned remixes of this song were these big, anthemic club versions with massively sped-up elements. We wanted to make a mix that maintained the groove of the original but was still totally danceable." You can listen to it on their MySpace page.

"We've both been working on lyrics for our original material and much of them had to do with emotional and physical distance," David and Seth add. They also explain that the male voice that they added to their Madonna revamp is taken from the song "The Waiter" that is featured on their forthcoming album, titled "2 Blue Wolves."

November 21, 2008 in Dance, Madonna | Permalink | Comments (5)

Madonna "Miles Away" Remixes Available Now

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After several remixes of Madonna's new single "Miles Away" leaked online over the past couple of weeks, Warner Music has made the "unprecedented move" to exclusively offer the leaked remixes to the online dance music retailer Masterbeat.com.  "Warner chose to partner with Masterbeat because the niche retailer was able to make the remixes for sale immediately, as opposed to retail giants, who require weeks to offer items for sale," according to a statement.

Click here to listen and download the remixes in high-quality MP3 format. Remixers include Morgan Page (my favorite), Thin White Duke, Johnny Vicious and Aaron Lacrate & Samir B-More.

Morgan Page recently spoke with ArjanWrites.com about his remix of "Miles Away." "Warner had been digging the other mixes I've done for them, so they gave me a shot," he comments. "It sounds a little bit like the Katy Perry remix [I did]. It is kinda an electro-house vibe with a progressive twist."

November 14, 2008 in Madonna | Permalink | Comments (8)