Fifteen seconds ago, I walked outside my room and caught a glimpse of "Reverend" Jesse Jackson on CNN, with my grandmother watching intensely at the developing story of his "Obama's a n*****" comment. I can barely speak--a cold has left my throat a barren desert of razor blades--but I managed to let her know how I felt about the controversy: "I hate Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I hate them. They're terrorists in our own country." And now I've slunk back into my room, newly re-re-designed, to sit here and enjoy the afternoon I took off from work.
I am a fan of Madonna, not only because of her music, but because she such a rebel. The lyrics of "Give It 2 Me," one of her better tracks off the faceless Hard Candy, speak on so many levels. A friend of mine claims they're all about sex ("undress me"), I always assumed it was about dancing ("When there's no one left, I can go on and on and on"), but if you think about who Madonna really is, the lyrics are nothing but spit in the face of her detractors. Ask any middle-aged mother and she'll tell you one thing about Madonna: "She's too old to act the way she does." Her pedophile-tastic performance with Justin Timberlake a few months ago is no exception.
But she's still kind of hot, at least from the neck down. If you cut off her arms. And can forget she's nearly fifty years old. But she really can go on and on, and with her Live Nation deal kickstarting next year, I doubt anyone will be able to stop her--not even an army of concerned mothers of the mid-forties set. Granted, I'm pretty creeped out that her Live Nation contract lasts ten years. Can she actually sing sexual lyrics at sixty? The answer to that question is no, and she can't get around that, no matter how many face lifts she incurs. But Madonna's a survivor, and up until American Life, she was future-pop indicator: where Madonna goes, the rest of music will follow.
Paul Oakenfold, another aging artist (though one becoming less and less relevant with each passing year), has actually crafted a lush remix of Madonna's "Give It 2 Me," maybe giving it enough life (ha!) to break the Billboard Top 40. I don't think airplay will increase, as radio has clearly not connected with Madonna's first non-Timbaland track, but if she can top the Club Airplay and Hot Club lists she may turn that around.
The "Give It 2 Me" redeux has been dubbed the "Drums-In Mix," for reasons unknown to me, but it's actually stronger than the original. Don't get me wrong, Pharell Williams is my favorite producer of pop music, and Oakenfold is kind of 2001 to me (as I've said before: bad year for music), but he's given the track a maturity by slowing down Madonna's vocals and cutting out Pharell's frenzied synths during the chorus. While those rapid-fire effects had an organic sound to them--almost as if Pharell himself had tapped out the beats rather than Garageband--they were kind of scary, especially when all listeners can picture is Madonna dominating an older-than-he-looks Justin Timberlake.
[I mean, just look at that image. That's freaking scary. Like...revenge of the GILFs or something. Timberlake's really trying to escape too--all he can think about is Jessica Biel!]
Oakenfold takes it slow, rendering the lyrics (sex/dancing/aging/morning vitamins/whatever) far more effective than before. Rather than being one of the best tracks off Hard Candy, the "Drums-In Mix" sounds more like the strongest song Confessions On a Dance Floor, an album that is still far more future-conscious than Candy. The grown-up sound suits her better, which makes one wonder if perhaps Madonna shouldn't have taken this hip hop route in the first place.