Music is the eighth studio album by American singer Madonna, released on September 18, 2000, by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records. Following the success of her previous album Ray of Light in 1998, the music scene was being dominated by a younger generation of singers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, prompting Madonna to look for a distinctive sound within this market. Her collaborations with Mirwais Ahmadzaï and William Orbit resulted in a more experimental direction for the album. Music incorporates many different genres into its overall dance-pop and electronica vibe, taking influences from funk, house, rock, country and folk. Elaborating a western theme for the album, Madonna reinvented her image as a cowgirl.

Music
Madonna wearing a blue cowboy outfit and hat. On the right, a box in the shape of a cowboy buckle contains the text: Madonna, Music, Maverick/Warner Bros.
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 18, 2000
Recorded1999–2000
Studio
Genre
Length44:40
Label
Producer
Madonna chronology
Ray of Light
(1998)
Music
(2000)
GHV2
(2001)
Singles from Music
  1. "Music"
    Released: August 21, 2000
  2. "Don't Tell Me"
    Released: November 14, 2000
  3. "What It Feels Like for a Girl"
    Released: April 16, 2001

Music received positive reviews from music critics, with many comparing its production to Ray of Light. The album earned a total of five Grammy Award nominations, winning one for Best Recording Package at the 43rd ceremony. The record was also a commercial success, debuting at number one in 23 countries with four million copies sold in its first ten days of release. In the United States, Music debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 420,000 copies, making it her first album to top the chart in more than a decade. It received multiple certifications in several regions, and became the 19th best-selling album of 2001 with a total of over 11 million copies sold worldwide.

To promote Music, Madonna embarked on a small promotional tour, consisting of televised performances in occasions such as the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards and the 43rd Grammy Awards, and with two free concerts at Roseland Ballroom and Brixton Academy limited to contest winners. It was also supported by the Drowned World Tour in the following year, her first concert tour eight years; the tour visited North America and Europe, grossing over US$75 million and making it the highest-grossing tour by a solo act of the year and fourth overall.

Three official singles were released from the album. The title track was the lead single, topping the record charts in 25 countries worldwide and became Madonna's 12th and most recent number-one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was followed with another top-five hit "Don't Tell Me", and "What It Feels Like for a Girl" which attained the top-ten in several countries worldwide. "Impressive Instant" was released as a promotional single in the United States, topping the Dance Club Songs chart. "Amazing" was also briefly released as a promotional single in selected countries before being withdrawn shortly afterwards. Retrospectively, Music has been recognized by music journalists for anticipating a number of musical trends.

Background and development edit

In 1998, Madonna released her seventh studio album Ray of Light, which became a critical and commercial success, winning four Grammy Awards at the 41st ceremony.[1] Madonna intended to embark on a new concert tour to promote it in 1999, after filming The Next Best Thing; however, the film's production suffered a delay and due to limited time, plans for a tour were eventually cancelled.[2] The Next Best Thing was released in March 2000, receiving unfavorable reviews from critics.[3] As part of the film's soundtrack, she recorded a cover version of Don McLean's "American Pie" (1971) at request of her co-star Rupert Everett, which garnered mixed reactions from critics and the public.[4] However, it became a commercial success worldwide, topping the charts in several countries throughout Europe.[5][6] The song also became her ninth number-one single in the United Kingdom, extending her record of most chart-topping singles by a female artist in the region.[7] Despite not being released commercially in the United States, it was also a radio success, reaching number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[8][9] The success of "American Pie" increased the public's anticipation for Madonna's next album at the time.[10]

Shortly after releasing "American Pie", Madonna announced she was pregnant with her son Rocco, from her relationship with director Guy Ritchie.[11] Wanting to distract herself from the media frenzy surrounding this news, Madonna concentrated on the development of her eighth studio album, entitled Music. Buoyed by the commercial success of her previous album, she was keen on getting back to the studio to record new music. 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 a younger generation of singers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and peers from her own generation like Prince and Janet Jackson were experiencing diminishing record sales, prompting Madonna to look for a distinctive sound within this market.[12] She was then introduced to French DJ and producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï. Madonna instantly liked his pitch-shifting, pulverizing rhythms and his utilization of acid bass in his songs. Ahmadzaï always preferred taking musical risks and hence he wanted the collaborations with Madonna to get out the best from the singer.[13]

Writing and recording edit

 
The album was recorded at a number of studios, including the Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London (pictured).

Recording sessions for Music began in September 1999 at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, where she had recently moved at the time, and were almost completed by January 2000.[14][15][16] Madonna first began collaborating with Orbit.[17] During his sessions with Madonna, he invited DJ Sasha to work on music for possible inclusion on the effort, as they were "looking for a trancey sound".[18] Orbit commented that the material was "quite a little edgier" and a follow-up "without stopping still" to her previous album, and elaborated, "It's almost like we started off with a lot of slow ballad songs and she's started to kind of chuck 'em out in favor of more edgy tracks. The album is getting more kind of fast, very European sounding, very English and French sounding, naturally, 'cause everybody working on it apart from her is English or French. Pretty exciting, actually".[19] After some recording sessions with Orbit, she felt she needed a different sound for her project and scrapped most of the material recorded up to that point.[20] The singer revealed that they had composed nine songs and thought that they were too similar to those of her previous record, prompting her to "threw out everything and started all over again".[21] Madonna also stated she did not want her records to sound like everyone else's, as Orbit became popular among other mainstream artists after collaborating with her.[22]

While seeking another collaborator to start over, Madonna wanted someone "new and edgy and undiscovered" with real talent and a different sound.[22] She was introduced to Ahmadzaï by her manager and partner at Maverick Records, Guy Oseary. He had received a demo to songs from his album Production through French photographer Stéphane Sednaoui, and was considering signing him as an artist for the record company.[23][24] When Madonna listened to the tape, she felt his sound was exactly what she needed for her next record, and within three weeks they got together to work on the album at Sarm West.[1][25] Madonna has always considered competition between her producers to be the way to get the best out of them, but Orbit later revealed that he was not at all offended with her change of mind, "as long as she uses good people. And I love what Mirwais has done."[16][25] Three of his tracks eventually appeared on Music.[21] For his part, Ahmadzaï was relaxed with the offer to work with Madonna, because he knew she was interested in him for his own work, and not for his ability as a performer or for his past work with another artist.[23] The producer felt free to work but within her limits, as he thought it was important to respect the artist's work ethic.[26] According to Ahmadzaï, there were no plans at the beginning of the sessions, with Madonna only asking for something more extreme and rough.[27]

On their first days together, Madonna faced communication problems with Ahmadzaï since he barely spoke English, which made her want to "rip [her] hair out", and his manager stepped in to act as a translator. As time went by, the pair got to know each other better, and the vibe in the studio changed into a more relaxed mood. Madonna said she was intent on making their relationship work, because she believed that he was a "genious" and "so incredibly smart and visionary".[22] The first song they worked on was "Impressive Instant", since it was almost complete on the demo that he had sent to the singer. The singer also wanted to sing "Paradise (Not for Me)", another track present on the demo; however, Ahmadzaï wanted it for his own album, prompting him to make slightly different versions for both records.[23] According to Madonna, the title track was one of the first songs they wrote and produced together and set the tone of the rest of the album.[14] Within the first ten days, they had recorded the backing vocals and acoustic guitars on a Sony 48-track and transferred it to a Logic Audio workstation, using the converters of TC Electronic Finalizer. Feeling that their ideas for the tracks would be difficult to create in Sarm West, Ahmadzaï wanted to return to Paris and work there alone on his own computer.[23] She wanted him to treat her voice differently, and although he did not want any effects on her vocals at first, the producer used the Antares Auto-Tune plug-in set for the pitch correction on some tracks as per the singer's request.[27] The audio processor kept the characteristic of Madonna's vocals, and she sang a little out of tune and vibrato. However, other songs such as "I Deserve It" had no effects other than acoustic instrumentation.[23]

Madonna became interested on working with Guy Sigsworth as she admired his love of understated technology in music, and contacted him for adding an ambient feel to her record. Madonna played him the rough demo tracks developed for Music, including the songs created with Ahmadzaï.[28] She chose one of two sketches he had sent her, which was almost finished but was still kept unpolished so that Madonna could continue writing on top of it.[29] The backing track contained a sample from the 1993 British film The Cement Garden, with the voice of actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, which later became "What It Feels Like for a Girl". He worked on the track at Sarm West rather than his own studio since he did not want to "fuck up" working with Madonna.[28] The song was finished quickly and within four days they were able to create the final version. From the first day onward, Madonna and Sigsworth decided to keep all the musical noises from the demo. So the producer had to find a way to reposition her vocals around the segments, utilizing Pro Tools on a SSL 9000 J console.[29][30] Madonna insisted Sigsworth to give her a rough approximate sound, rather than work on the music for two-three hours. That way they would know if it can be kept or rejected and save time on production. During recording, Sigsworth noticed that the verses were out of sync with the music and wanted to add extra bar which would help them be coherent. However, Madonna dismissed it, and he had to cut up the individual music to put it in his computer for accompanying her vocals. Sigsworth thought it made the song sound more "fluid and magical" and commended Madonna for not taking the cop-out solution.[28]

Composition edit

Sound and themes edit

"This record, more than any other records, covers all the areas of my life. I left off partying on Ray of Light. But I'd just had a baby, so my mood was complete, like wonderment of life, and I was incredibly thoughtful and retrospective and intrigued by the mystical aspects of life."

—Madonna discussing the album's themes.[31]

Sonically, Music is predominantly a pop, dance-pop, and electronica album,[21][32][33] which contains influences of a wide array of genres such as funk, house, techno, rock, country, folk, and R&B.[32][33][34][35] It was seen as a continuation of the electronic-oriented work that was present on Ray of Light.[36] Madonna described Music as "edgier and a bit funkier" than Ray of Light,[37] and "funky, electronic music blended with futuristic folk", complete with "jangly guitars and moody melancholic lines".[38] Shaad D'Souza of Pitchfork viewed the record as "an album designed to unite the disparate tastes of America and Europe, to act as a bridge between teen pop and sophisti-pop, the mainstream and the underground."[21] For Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani, Madonna took a "more experimental direction" with the album,[39] whereas David Browne of Entertainment Weekly thought that the folktronica style of Ahmadzaï was the "dominant musical force" on six of the songs.[32]

Thematically, it could be divided into two categories; partying and love, which Madonna described respectively as the frivolous and non-frivolous sides of her life. She declared that she usually makes "a record that's one or the other", but felt that she covered both themes at the same time on Music.[31] Madonna also explained that the album reflected her need to dance, as opposed to her introspective mood on Ray of Light, as she felt like an animal "ready to be sprung from a cage" after living a low-key domestic life in the previous years, and was missing performing and being on stage.[31][22] She defined Music as a record made to "join the coldness or the remoteness of living in the machine age in the world of high technology with warmth and compassion and a sense of humor", and saw it as "a reflection of what's going on in society, and as far as I'm concerned, we've become too complacent."[40] For D'Souza, unlike her previous or future records, the album has no concept and relies on spontaneity.[21]

Music and lyrics edit

"Music", the title track, is the first featured on the record, and features a disco and funk production.[41] The whole production has a dry sound with heavy usage of equalization which created contrast in the vocal, continuing until the first chorus.[42] Starting with Madonna's vocodered voice uttering "Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on, I wanna dance with my baby", it reiterates the uniting power of music.[42] The primary hook was deemed as having political implications, with Madonna renouncing the bourgeoisie.[41] The second track "Impressive Instant" has been described as a "club-savvy stomper" marked by futuristic keyboard lines, with Madonna's vocals changing from "distorted, robotic lines" to "playful, child like chants".[22] The vocals are often isolated and are backed by laser noises and an octave bass. A "burbling" synth arrives at the 2:30 mark, and then the chorus of "I'm in a trance" is repeated, ending the song with a solo vocal phrase.[43] Lyrically, the track deals with love at first sight as Madonna affirms, "You're the one that I've been waiting for / I don't even know your name".[44] It also talks about being in a trance and comparison with various cosmic phenomena in lines like "Cosmic systems in a twine, astral bodies drip like wine", but ultimately returns to the subject of dance.[43] "Runaway Lover" features a "hard stepping techno pulse" while lyrically dealing with Madonna rebuking a man for not being beholden to just one woman, as exemplified in the line "Just like a ship that's lost at sea / You don't care where you drop your anchor / Make sure it doesn't land on me".[32][43]

"I Deserve It" is the fourth song present on the album. It is dedicated to her then-partner Guy Ritchie, signalled by the sequence of wordplays with "this guy";[43] on the track, Madonna states that Ritchie was made for her and believes that true love belongs to those who deserve it.[35][33] The song is an acoustic-framed track supported by a folk and hip-hop inflected groove, featuring double-tracked guitar and a three-chord sequence.[43][45] The fifth song, "Amazing", opens with a music-box-like combination of keyboards and strings as Madonna tells a tale of love and desire that she can not get rid of.[22] It transforms into a rock-tinged pop track with a dreamy, soaraway chorus, featuring a rhythm-section Sixties beat topped off with gruff electric guitar arpeggios in stereo. At 2:30 the chorus "It's amazing what a boy can do" is repeated without much instrumentation in the mix before it returns.[46][47] On the next track, "Nobody's Perfect", an apologetic Madonna confesses that maybe she has been unfaithful to someone, but at the same time she recognizes that nobody is perfect.[46][34] She juxtaposes her human emotions with vocals manipulated with a vocoder on the song.[39][46]

"Don't Tell Me" is the seventh track on Music and was described as an "electonica meets country rock" song. It begins with the sound of an acoustic guitar edited to sound like a CD player "skipping"; every fourth beat is followed by a small silence that eventually builds into the chorus.[22][48] Lyrically, Madonna urges her lover to stop controlling her actions and feelings, while conjuring up unnatural imagery through the lyrics by singing "Tell the bed not to lay / Like the open mouth of a grave, yeah / Not to stare up at me / Like a calf down on its knees".[49][50] "What It Feels Like for a Girl" begins with Gainsbourg's monologue from the film The Sement Garden which is followed by drum sounds, a rhythm section supported by string pads, and the chord sequence which highlights the melody. The ambient production has a number of sounds floating in-and-out of the track, long echos and vocals being pulled back.[48] It also features the same sound of a CD player "skipping" heard on the previous song.[29] Lyrically, Madonna condemns male chauvinism by addressing hurtful myths about female inferiority and female role-playing in society, and invites male listeners to imagine themselves as girls.[51]

The following track, "Paradise (Not for Me)", is a ballad which finds the singer "trampled and sad". It begins with the juxtaposition of a marimba and a child-like half-whispered voice, and from time to time Madonna's vocals are joined by an android. She also sings some lines in French.[52] The album's final track in the United States and Canada, "Gone" continues the depressed mood of the previous tracks, featuring a "schizophrenic future-folk" production, contrasting acoustic guitars with electronic elements.[22][36][52] Lyrically, it presents a spiritually disquiet Madonna who proclaims that "selling out is not my thing",[34][53] apparently addressing how fame has affected her personal life.[54] Other versions of Music present "American Pie" as the closing song; the production combines futuristic electro-pop elements with rock from the 1970s decade.[55] Actor Rupert Everett also provides backing vocals.[56] Madonna's version cuts most of the lyrical content from the original song.[52] Another bonus track, "Cyber-raga", was included on the Japanese release of the album.[22] It is sung in Sanskrit and is an ode of devotion to a higher power and a wish for peace on earth.[57]

Artwork and release edit

Photo sessions for Music were conducted by Jean Baptiste Mondino, who had worked previously with the singer on a number of photoshoots and music videos.[58] The art direction and design were done by Kevin Reagan.[30] The artwork depicted Madonna as a cowgirl, wearing pink and blue stetsons and embroidered jeans, among hay bales and 1950s cars.[58] The images and typographical style paid homage to the iconography of the western United States, relishing Americana culture while at the same time satirizing it.[58][59] Mondino had the idea of the western themes for the album; Madonna was not sure at first, but was convinced by the photographer and eventually appreciated the final result.[60] Santiago Fouz-Hernández, author of Madonna's Drowned Worlds: New Approaches to Her Subcultural Transformations, described the visual as "a complete celebration of camp", which was highlighted by Madonna's combination of western clothing with expensive shoes such as bright red high heels.[61][62] He also thought it was inspired by Miss Rodeo America and the photo book Rodeo Girl (2000) by Lisa Eisner, and also defined it as an evocation of Judy Garland.[59][62] Madonna also used her cowgirl style during her public appearances to promote the album, including jeans, shirts and cowboy hats,[63] and eventually became one of her most recognized reinventions.[64][65]

 
A cowgirl hat and pink shades, two of the various promotional items produced to support the album's release.

On August 22, 2000, a month before the album's official release, all tracks from Music were leaked online through Napster.[66] Maverick and Warner Bros. Records first published it on September 18, 2000 in regions including Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom, containing two bonus tracks, "American Pie" and "Cyber-raga", in the first two countries.[67][68][27] It was released a day later in the United States.[69][70] A limited edition was also released, which contained a 24-page booklet about the album, a copper brooch with the album's logo and two stickers, wrapped in a linen cloth available in four different colors.[71] Additionally, the international version included "American Pie" as a bonus track, a decision Madonna later regretted, explaining it was "something a certain record company executive twisted my arm into doing".[10][72] As a result, it was not added as a bonus track in the United States and Canada.[30] The album was also made available on digital download through Madonna's website on Apple's QuickTime format, including exclusive access to two remixes of "Music".[70] The edition released in Mexico contains as bonus tracks the Spanish version of "What It Feels Like for a Girl", titled "Lo Que Siente la Mujer", and a remix of the song by Above & Beyond.[73] A special edition was released to promote the Drowned World Tour with a bonus CD with remixes and the video of "What It Feels Like for a Girl".[74]

Madonna chatted with fans through her first live chat on AOL on the day of Music's release in the United Kingdom.[75] In order to celebrate the album's release, she had a release party at dance emporium Catch One in Los Angeles, on September 20, 2000. The £1.4 million party was attended by 600 selected guests who received special invitations. The invitations were sent out in white leather boxes, lined with black fur. A gold necklace was inside with letters spelling out the album's title, and only those wearing the necklaces would be allowed into the club. More than a dozen strippers were in attendance as a reference to the music video for "Music".[76] She sported a five-carat diamond ring Ritchie gave her for her birthday, and a black T-shirt that read "Snatch Coming Soon" promoting Ritchie's film, while he promoted Madonna's album wearing a T-shirt with the word Music emblazoned on it.[77] Among those who attended the party were Sheryl Crow, Gwen Stefani, Guy Oseary, and George Clinton, who arrived with Macy Gray in a horse-drawn carriage. Ritchie was initially denied access into the VIP lounge by a security guard who did not know who he was, and reportedly got into a shoving match with him.[78]

Promotion edit

Live performances edit

 
Madonna and her dancers perform second single "Don't Tell Me" dressed as cowboys on one of the concerts of 2001's Drowned World Tour.

Following the album's release, Madonna embarked on a tour to promote the album in several television shows. She gave an interview and performed "Don't Tell Me" on The Late Show with David Letterman on November 3, 2000, becoming the first time since her controversial appearance in 1994.[79] She then traveled to Europe to further promote the album. The singer performed "Don't Tell Me" on German game-show Wetten, dass..? on November 11, 2000.[80] At the MTV Europe Music Awards 2000, Madonna performed "Music" on November 16, in Stockholm, Sweden. After being introduced by Ali G as "Maradona", she performed the song wearing a T-shirt with the name of Australian singer Kylie Minogue printed on it.[81] She later performed "Don't Tell Me" and "Music" on British television program Top of The Pops, in an appearance aired on November 17.[82] One week later, the singer performed the aforementioned songs live on French television program Nulle Part Ailleurs.[83] Madonna additionally performed "Don't Tell Me" on Carràmba! Che fortuna in Italy, on December 2, 2000, hosted by Raffaella Carrà.[84]

On February 21, 2001, she performed "Music" at the 43rd ceremony of the Grammy Awards.[85] For the performance, the stage had five giant video screens, which showed images from several moments of her career. Madonna entered onto the stage in a classic Cadillac driven by rapper Bow Wow. The singer 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.[86] She removed her jacket to reveal a black tank top with the words "Material Girl" printed on it, a reference to her 1984 single.[87] Host Jon Stewart commented 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".[88]

Madonna also made two small promotional concerts to release Music. The first was on November 5, 2000, at Roseland Ballroom in New York; it was a free concert for an audience of 3,000 people, exclusively for contest winners and select celebrities.[89] The costumes and set were designed by Dolce & Gabbana and reflected Madonna's cowgirl persona, with the stage decked as a neo-Western wonderland, with bales of hay, yellow-lit horseshoes and silver cacti throughout the lobby and entrance.[89] Songs performed included "Impressive Instant", "Runaway Lover", "Don't Tell Me", "What It Feels Like for a Girl", and "Music".[90] For the performance, she wore a T-shirt with "Britney Spears" written on it.[91] Another concert was held at Brixton Academy in London, on November 29, 2000. It was broadcast via the internet through MSN's website to an estimated record-breaking 9 million viewers across the world. The setlist was the same from the Roseland Ballroom's concert, with "Holiday" (1983) being added to the setlist.[92] For the London concert, Madonna's T-shirt displayed the names of her children Rocco on the front, and Lola on the back.[93] Another concert was planned to take place in Paris, but it did not happen.[94]

Tour edit

To promote Music and Ray of Light, Madonna embarked on the Drowned World Tour, her fifth concert tour. Originally planned to start in 1999, it was pushed back to 2001 and was her first tour since The Girlie Show (1993).[85][95] When Madonna decided to go on tour, time was short and she had to prepare the show within three months. Jamie King was signed up as the creative director and the choreographer of the show.[96] The concert was divided into different thematic acts: Rock 'n' Roll Punk Girl, Geisha Girl, Cyber Cowgirl, and Spanish Girl/Ghetto Girl, with each act representing a phase of Madonna's career.[97][98] The tour received positive reviews and was a commercial success: with a gross of US$75 million, it was the year's highest-grossing tour by a solo artist and fourth overall.[99][100] Drowned World was nominated for Major Tour of the Year and Most Creative Stage Production at the 2001 Pollstar awards, but lost them to U2.[101] The concert was broadcast live on HBO from The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan on August 26, 2001.[102] On November 13, it was released on home video under the title Drowned World Tour 2001.[103]

Singles edit

 
Released as lead single, title track "Music" became Madonna's 12th number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. In the image, the artist sings the track on 2015-2016's Rebel Heart Tour.

"Music" was made available commercially as the lead single from the album on August 21, 2000, after being leaked onto the internet in websites like Napster, which prompted Madonna's team to issue a statement threatening legal action against them.[66][104] It has been praised by contemporary critics.[39][105][106] The single achieved international success by topping the charts in 25 countries worldwide.[107] It became Madonna's 12th number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100, making her tie the Supremes as the fifth artist with most Hot 100 number-ones.[108] In the United Kingdom, "Music" also reached at number one on the UK Singles Chart, with the singer becoming the first solo female artist to collect ten number-one singles.[109]

"Don't Tell Me" was released to radios in the United States on November 28, 2000, as the second single from the album, while "Music" was slowly descending on the charts.[110] It reached number four on the Hot 100 chart, tying Madonna with the Beatles as the artist with the second-most top-ten singles in the chart history.[111] In 2015, Billboard ranked "Don't Tell Me" at number 26 on their list of "Madonna's 40 Biggest Hits" on the Hot 100.[112] The song topped the music charts in Canada, Italy, and New Zealand, while attaining top-ten positions on the charts in a number of European nations.[113][114][115] In 2005, the song was placed at number 285 on Blender magazine's The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born.[116]

"What It Feels Like for a Girl" was released to North American contemporary hit radios as the third and final single from the album, on April 6, 2001.[117] It received positive commentary from contemporary critics.[35] The song was not able to reach the top 20 on the Hot 100, but topped the US Dance Club Songs chart.[9][118] However, "What It Feels Like for a Girl" attained the top-ten in several other countries worldwide.[119] The music video, directed by Guy Ritchie, portrays Madonna as an angry woman on a crime spree. Reviewers criticized the video for being overly violent and graphic, and was banned from most North American and European video stations, receiving only early hours play.[120][121]

"Impressive Instant" was released as a promotional single with remixes commissioned by Peter Rauhofer.[122] It was not released commercially and was not promoted to radio; therefore it did not appear on any sales or airplay charts of Billboard.[123] It went to number one on the Dance Club Songs chart where it stayed for two weeks, becoming Madonna's 27th number-one song on the chart.[118][123] The song was intended by Madonna to be released as the fourth official single off Music, but her recording company had plans to release "Amazing", with promos and test pressings for the track being also issued;[124][125] however, as the parts did not come to an agreement, no further singles were released.[126]

Critical reception edit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic80/100[127]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [128]
Blender     [129]
Entertainment WeeklyB[32]
The Guardian     [130]
NME8/10[131]
Pitchfork8.0/10[21]
Q     [34]
Rolling Stone     [35]
Spin7/10[132]
The Village VoiceA[133]

Music received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 80, based on 16 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[127] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic praised the album's layered music and described Madonna's collaboration with Ahmadzaï as the reason why the album "comes alive with spark and style".[128] Robert Christgau from The Village Voice said that it has "consistency and flow" because all of its songs are good and lowbrow, and affirmed that Madonna "[has] got her sass back."[133] Vibe's Dimitri Ehrlich complimented the record's "brilliantly arranged keyboards, futuristic drums, and electronica dressings" and felt it was a "weird and fresh-sounding album".[105] Alex Pappademas from Spin said that the album is "a much-needed breath of fresh VapoRub", and noted that it is "the first Madonna record in years that feels as effortless as the dance-pop of her Ciccone youth".[132] Danny Eccleston, in a review for Q, called it "brave, radical and punchy", as well as "Madonna without a safety net".[34] Billboard's Michael Paoletta noted how "much of the set is vibrant and uplifting in tone" and although the project is "decidedly steeped in youth culture", it "rarely courts the teens that seemingly control the charts".[134]

Gary Crossing of Dotmusic described Music as a "generally an upbeat dancey album which finds Madonna still ahead of the game sixteen years into her career".[46] John Hand of the BBC News said that the melancholic tone of Ray of Light had been replaced by "real energy and a renewed sense of fun" on Music, and wrote that "the production may be breathtaking thanks to Orbit and Mirwais but at the centre of it all is Madonna, resolutely doing it her way".[135] Classifying it as Madonna's first "headphones album", Blender's Tony Power also observed that it was "more playful and less pompous than Ray of Light."[129] In the same vein, Greg Kot from Chicago Tribune called Music the "groove-happiest" Madonna had been since The Immaculate Collection (1990), and said it was more dance-friendly in contrast to the "highly introspective" Ray of Light.[53] In a review for Rolling Stone, Barry Walters also compared Music to Ray of Light, stating that the former was a rough and improvised version of the latter, but lauded that Madonna had chosen to make a more "instinctive" record than her previous endeavours.[35] Jason Ferguson of MTV also thought it was more exciting than any mainstream record since Ray of Light, as well as "an incredibly engaging and thoroughly interesting album".[36]

Michael Hubbard of MusicOMH stated that Orbit's work on the album was "rather too similar" to some tracks on Ray of Light, but complimented Madonna for coming back "with something else that proves she's still the best out there".[56] In a review for Slant Magazine, Sal Cinquemani criticized Madonna's collaborations with Orbit, calling them repetitive and uninteresting, despite being catchy; he also felt the record seemed "more like a collection of songs than a cohesive album".[39] David Browne was less enthusiastic in Entertainment Weekly, calling it "her most patchwork record since the Sean Penn years" and "frustratingly inconsistent", which "feels like a collection of sounds -- clever, intriguing ones, to be sure -- that seek to compensate for ordinary melodies and Madonna's stoic delivery."[32] Victoria Segal from NME said that Music is "deliberately upstaged by beats so showy they belong in a strip joint", which almost managed to make Madonna disappear on the record. Segal also stated that the "bluntly explicit title" was not ironic as the record was "about the music, not Madonna; about the sounds, not the image."[131] For WhatCulture's Reece Shrewsbury, "[Music] just isn't as iconic or impressive" and "doesn't hold up as well" as the singer's other works.[136] Stephen Thompson of The A.V. Club panned it as "a dreadfully dull misstep" with "plenty of studio tricks but virtually no personality".[137] The Guardian's Garry Mulholland dissmissed it as "screamingly, amusingly, hypnotically naff [...] the sound of a bunch of middle-aged trend-watchers second-guessing what today's kids go for."[130]

Commercial performance edit

The CNN reported that Music had sold over four million copies worldwide 10 days after its release.[1] The album set a record in Warner Music Group as the biggest album shipment in the company, with three million copies worldwide in its first week of release.[138] It debuted at number one in 23 countries.[139] Overall, the record was the 19th best-selling album of 2001 worldwide, selling 4.1 million copies.[140] As of October 2008, Music has sold more than 11 million units around the world.[141]

Music debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with over 420,000 copies sold in its first week, becoming the first Madonna album to top the chart in more than a decade since Like a Prayer (1989).[142] The album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on November 21, 2005.[143] As of August 2016, Music has sold 2,934,000 copies there according to Nielsen SoundScan.[144] It sold additional 97,000 units through the BMG Music Club, whose sales are not counted by the Nielsen SoundScan.[145] In Canada, the album debuted at the top of the Canadian RPM Albums Chart with first-week sales of 50,300 copies and was certified platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for shipments of 300,000 units.[146][147] The album experienced success in Latin America, topping the charts in Argentina and receiving a two times platinum certification by the Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers (CAPIF).[148] It was also certified gold in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico.[149][150][151]

The album enjoyed success in Asia-Pacific countries. In Australia, Music debuted at number two on the ARIA Charts on October 1, 2000, failing to reach the top spot due to the success of The Games of the XXVII Olympiad: Official Music from the Opening Ceremony.[152] It spent 41 weeks on the chart and was eventually certified triple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[67][153] The album was also highlighted by ARIA as one of the biggest releases in their year-end report of 2000.[154] In New Zealand, Music also debuted at number two on October 8, 2000, only behind Robbie Williams' Sing When You're Winning;[155] it charted for 33 weeks and was certified two times platinum by Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ).[156][157] The album debuted at number seven on the Oricon Albums Chart in Japan.[68] It was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for sales of 200,000 copies.[158] In Hong Kong, Music was honored at the 2001 Hong Kong Record Sales Award by the IFPI Hong Kong for becoming one of ten biggest-selling international album of the year.[159]

In Europe, Music topped the European Top 100 Albums chart, selling two million units in its first 10 days,[160][161] for which she broke records according to Billboard's Paul Sexton.[162] It ended as one of the highest certified albums in Europe by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), being certified five times platinum.[163] The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart in the United Kingdom with 152,000 copies sold,[164][165] and was certified five times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[166] As of January 2020, Music has sold 1,640,000 copies in the region.[167] In Denmark, it topped the charts and was fifth best selling album in Denmark with 66,996 copies sold in 2000.[168][169] The album was later certified two times platinum by the IFPI Danmark for sales of 100,000 units.[170] After debuting at the top the charts in France, Music stayed for 67 weeks on the chart, before falling out on June 29, 2002.[171] The album was certified two times platinum by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP).[172] The album sold 50,000 units in Poland in its first five days and was later certified with platinum by the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry (ZPAV) for sales of 100,000 units;[173] it ended as the best-selling foreign album of 2000 in the country.[174]

Legacy edit

"By the turn of the Millenium, Madonna had completely nailed the art of shape-shifting. Meanwhile, a new young generation of teen stars were breaking through in pop [...] Though Madonna, by this time 42, sometimes paid tribute to this next wave [...] Music's campy cowboy visuals and twisted, unpolished pop felt worlds apart from the rest of the pack. Most importantly, it felt like she was having fun letting loose".

—El Hunt discussing Music on the Evening Standard's ranking of Madonna albums, where it came in at number four.[175]

Tom Breihan from Stereogum wrote that Music anticipated "a lot of things", and while Madonna did not invent any of them, they were "absent from mainstream pop music around the turn of the millennium". In his review, he added examples such as "thudding big-room" electro-house, "aggressive" vocal manipulation, "ecstatic" lyrical meaninglessness, acoustic guitars chopped up and refracted into unrecognizable shapes, joyous hedonism, robot voices and the embrace of cowboy kitsch.[176] Writing for the Grammy Awards' official website, Zel McCarthy called this Madonna era as "a reminder of a less complicated time and a blueprint for our future", noting that Madonna could be analog and digital, acoustic or electronic.[177] He particularly praised "Impressive Instant", describing it like "nothing anyone had heard before—20 years later, it still does."[177]

In 2015, Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone said that Music is still Madonna's "hardest-rocking and most seductive album."[178] In the 20th anniversary of the album, Joe Lynch from Billboard called it "a key piece of 21st century dancefloor canon".[179] The album was conceived in the time that America was divided by music genres and also presented an ageing Madonna in an era dominated by newer artists focused in teen pop and urban-style oriented music.[177] Lynch praised the fact that the dance-pop was hardly dominant genre in the United States dawn of the new millennium against teen pop or hip-hop-flavored R&B styles.[179] McCarthy commented that Madonna "deftly eschewed the petty cultural battles between genres and generations".[177] The Straits Times also noted the dominance of boybands and teen pop artists, while Madonna ushered 1980s-electro as "a new retro-fad".[180]

After the release of its title track, Billboard's Silvio Pietroluongo called "a move that could be considered either unusual or genius" about the decision of release various formats, maxi-CD and vinyl one week cassette and CD the next. It was described as a "phenomenal week at retail" and helped push "Music" to the number one at the Billboard Hot 100, giving Madonna her best one-week sales total of the Nielsen SoundScan era for a single at that time with 62,000 units, as Pietroluongo also said: "I'm finding it quite difficult to think of another maxi-CD that has scanned that many units in a week".[179]

Accolades and rankings edit

Music earned a total of five Grammy Award nominations. In 2001, it won Best Recording Package, given to art director Kevin Reagan, and was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album, while the title track was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 43rd edition.[181] In 2002, Madonna received one more nomination for "Don't Tell Me" in the category of Best Short Form Music Video.[181] Additionally, the album was recognized as the Best International Album at the Danish Music Awards,[182] the International Pop Album of the Year at the Hungarian Music Awards,[183] and the International Album of the Year at the NRJ Music Awards in 2001.[184]

Music was voted the 16th and 18th best record of 2001 in the Pazz & Jop and Dean's List, both annual polls published by The Village Voice.[185][186] Spin also named the record the 18th best album of 2000.[187] On NME's list of the 50 best albums of 2000, the album was ranked at number 47.[188] Three editors of Billboard also chose Music in their top five of best-of albums of 2000.[189] It was also featured in a number of the best albums of the decade; Slant Magazine included the album on their list of "The Best Albums of the Aughts" at number 31,[190] while it was included at WFPK's 500 Albums of the 2000s at number 223.[191] In 2003, the album was listed at number 452 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It is Madonna's fourth album on the list, the most among female artists.[10][192] Music also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[193]

Track listing edit

All tracks produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï, except where noted.

Music – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Music"  3:44
2."Impressive Instant"  3:37
3."Runaway Lover"
  • Madonna
  • Orbit
4:46
4."I Deserve It"  4:23
5."Amazing"
  • Madonna
  • Orbit
  • Madonna
  • Orbit
3:43
6."Nobody's Perfect"  4:58
7."Don't Tell Me"
 4:40
8."What It Feels Like for a Girl"
4:43
9."Paradise (Not for Me)"  6:33
10."Gone"
  • Madonna
  • Damian LeGassick
  • Nik Young
  • Madonna
  • Orbit
  • Stent
3:24
Total length:44:40
Music – International edition / 2016 North American vinyl reissue (bonus track)[30][194]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
11."American Pie"Don McLean
  • Madonna
  • Orbit
4:33
Total length:49:13
Music – Japanese and Australian edition (bonus tracks)[195]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
12."Cyber-Raga" (adapted from traditional text)
  • Madonna
  • Singh
5:33
Music – Mexican edition (bonus tracks)[73]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
11."Lo Que Siente La Mujer" (What It Feels Like for a Girl)Madonna, Sigsworth (Spanish translation: Alberto Ferraras)
  • Madonna
  • Sigsworth
  • Stent
4:44
12."What It Feels Like for a Girl" (Above & Beyond Club Radio Edit)
  • Madonna
  • Sigsworth
  • Madonna
  • Sigsworth
  • Stent
3:45
Music – 2001 Special Tour edition (bonus disc)[74]
No.TitleWriter(s)Remixer(s)/Producer(s)Length
1."Music" (Deep Dish Dot Com Remix)
  • Madonna
  • Ahmadzaï
Dubfire and Sharam for Deep Dish11:22
2."Music" (HQ2 Club Mix)
  • Madonna
  • Ahmadzaï
8:51
3."Don't Tell Me" (Timo Maas Mix)
  • Madonna
  • Ahmadzaï
  • Henry
6:55
4."Don't Tell Me" (Tracy Young Club Mix)
  • Madonna
  • Ahmadzaï
  • Henry
  • Tracy Young
  • Chris Crane
(co-producer)
11:00
5."What It Feels Like for a Girl" (Paul Oakenfold Perfecto Mix)
  • Madonna
  • Sigsworth
7:20
6."Lo Que Siente La Mujer" (What It Feels Like for a Girl)
  • Madonna
  • Sigsworth
(Spanish translation: Alberto Ferraras)
  • Madonna
  • Sigsworth
  • Stent
4:44
7."What It Feels Like for a Girl" (video)
  • Madonna
  • Sigsworth
  • Torn
Above & Beyond4:36

Notes

Personnel edit

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[30]

Musicians edit

Technical edit

  • Madonna – production
  • William Orbit – production (tracks: 3, 5, 10)
  • Guy Sigsworth – production (track 8)
  • Mirwais Ahmadzaï – production (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9)
  • Mark "Spike" Stent – production (tracks: 8, 10); mixing
  • Jake Davies – engineering
  • Mark Endert – engineering
  • Geoff Foster – engineering, string engineer
  • Sean Spuehler – engineering
  • Tim Lambert – engineering assistance
  • Chris Ribando – engineering assistance
  • Dan Vickers – engineering assistance
  • Tim Young – mastering

Artwork edit

Charts edit

Certifications and sales edit

Certifications and sales for Music
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[148] 2× Platinum 120,000^
Australia (ARIA)[261] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[262] Platinum 50,000*
Belgium (BEA)[263] 3× Platinum 150,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[149] Gold 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[147] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Chile[150] Gold 15,000[150]
Czech Republic[264] Platinum  
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[170] 2× Platinum 100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[265] Gold 32,515[265]
France (SNEP)[172] 2× Platinum 900,000[266]
Germany (BVMI)[267] 2× Platinum 600,000^
Hungary (MAHASZ)[268] Gold  
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[264] Platinum  
Ireland (IRMA)[264] Platinum 15,000^
Israel 35,000[269]
Italy (FIMI)[264] Platinum 250,000[270]
Japan (RIAJ)[158] Platinum 200,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[151] Gold 75,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[271] 2× Platinum 160,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[157] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Norway 100,000[272]
Poland (ZPAV)[273] Platinum 100,000*
Singapore (RIAS)[264] Platinum  
South Korea 21,528[274]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[217] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Sweden (GLF)[276] Platinum 100,000[275]
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[277] 2× Platinum 100,000^
Taiwan (RIT)[264] Platinum  
Thailand[264] Platinum  
United Kingdom (BPI)[166] 5× Platinum 1,640,000[167]
United States (RIAA)[143] 3× Platinum 3,031,000[144][145]
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[163] 5× Platinum 5,000,000*
Worldwide 11,000,000[141]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also edit

Notes edit

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References edit

External links edit