Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Beat Goes On

Song: The Beat Goes On
Artist: Madonna
Album: Title TBD - Nov. 2007

In music, is there anything that is truly a sure thing? I’ve seen too many songs and albums that seem like sure-fire hits stall, and become disappointments. It’s no secret that in the world of pop music, the producer is becoming more and more the star, with the likes of Rick Ruben, Steve Lillywhite, and Daniel Lanois becoming the go-to guys to “guarantee” rock/pop record. Even more so is the role of producer in hip hop, who seem to have as much at stake as the star for a track to be a hit. Unlike the three guys I mention above, if Timbaland starts to have top collaborations bomb, he’s no longer the sure thing.

I was pretty happy to hear, what basically seems rather quickly after “Confessions on a Dancefloor” that Madonna was working on a new record. And it’s already slated to be released this November. What would it be? I thought to myself… well, she may be going after that sure thing… and it’s a hip hop record? She is working with the aforementioned Timbaland, Pharell of the Neptunes, Swizz Beats, and Stuart Price; whom produced the majority of “Confessions.” Can a white woman in her fifties make a hip hop record? Can we ponder this for a second... I mean, is there another that’s ever done this?

Madge has tried R&B before (the very uneven “Bedtime Stories”) with admittedly mixed results, and I wonder if she’ll be able to pull this one off. In the past Madonna has been the trend setter, and I fee like when she has started to chase what is already popular she falls a little flat. I’ve liked that for the past few records she’s taken more underground collaborators and worked her pop magic on musical trends that aren’t yet mainstream. She did this with ambient techno (William Orbit; “Ray of Light”,) French Dance & Folktronica (Mirwais; “Music” & “American Life”,) and French House (Stuart Price; “Confessions.”) This time she’s basically hooking up with hit makers… can she co-op hip hop?

A listen to “The Beat Goes On,” the first of the new Madonna tracks to leak confirms nothing to me really. At first listen I thought it sounded a bit goofy, but it has really grown on me. You’ll hear elements of Timberlake’s “Like I Love You” in the beginning, and some of Maddy’s cringe worth “American Life-like” rapping. (“Instrumentation.”) But in the end, despite the very Pharell production… it sounds like, well Madonna. And a look back through her discography proves that she has always tried new musical boundaries, and they all end up sounding like Madonna songs. I think this proves just how much of an artist that she is, no matter whom the producer is, it’s a Madonna record… but I must confess, I’m a super fan. I even like “American Life,” the only thing I can’t handle is that Evita stuff… ugh. I am not convinced that this will be the first single… I think she has something better up her sleeve.

It is rumored that Madonna is going to perform a new duet with Justin Timberlake, a new track produced by Timbaland at MTV’s Video Music Awards. This follows news that former lip lock partner Britney recently bowed out of a recording session with Justin and Timbaland to record a Justin penned sure-fire come back single for Brit. She is also rumored to be performing a new single at the VMA’s as well… we’ll see.

Madonna has been quoted as saying that Gwen Stefani has stolen her “thing” and I would argue that she is now doing the opposite. What do you think? Have you heard “the Beat Goes On?” Do you think this 50+ white mother of two can throw it down next to the likes of Rihanna and Kelis? Or… if it’s Madonna, does it even matter?


1 comment:

Naugus said...

Dear Ageist:

Madonna just turned 49, and is only 6 years older than your partner. As Tina Turner might say... What's Age Got To Do With It?

This train of thought is part of the problem with the whole industry - performers can only deliver worthy product when they are under the age of 30 and should be sent to the glue factory shortly thereafter.

Every move Madonna makes is greeted in the media with a deluge of "can she pull it off?" commentary. She'll do it. Some will love it. Some will hate it. She'll sell millions. On to the next transformation.