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Madonna covers Elle France


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I really liked that look would've loved to see her use it more during promos.

me too. when i first saw them i thought they were outtakes from meisel 91!

LICK BALLS!

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The two newsstand close to my house were out of ELLE. To the delight of my dogs i had to walk to another one further down.

I cried reading this article. For real. It's so fucking positive. Virginie Despentes is not just another author, she's a punk author, the "new" voice of french feminism and she got Madonna completly. Her enthusiasm brought tears to my eyes.

I wish i had time to translate this rather long fan letter she wrote. I'm foinf to as soon as i can if somebody does not do it before me. A must read. It feels so good to read that.

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Virginie Despentes is feminist, punk and hard-hitting. When she sees herself in the most iconic pop star we do too.

The most provocative pop star portraited by the most punk french author, the most incisive and carnal portrait we've read. In the middle of her "Rebel heart tour", the sexy almost 60 something gets her groove back.

I drifted away from Madonna a long time ago. The last time i lived with one of her records was "Confessions on a dancefloor", in november of 2005. 10 years ago. The winter french suburbs were rioting. At the time we were not talking about Islam, they were burning cars, it was neverending. Madonna was 47. She was singing "Hung up" while performing impressive cardio squats. She was inventing a body : one of an almost 50 something in a leotard in full control of herself; she was inventing an in your face energy, effective and calculated. Madonna does not push borderlines : she invents new countries.

Then it wasn't so much Lady Gaga - her direct wannabe heir- that made her less relevant, neither Rihanna or Beyoncé not even Beth Ditto, all of them straight out of the Madonna factory in their own ways. No, it was Amy Winehouse. The first pin-up that wasn't getting her inspiration from her. Then came Adele. New models of singers. Around 2010, it seemed possible for the first time in 3 decades to think about pop feminism without talking about Madonna...But last summer, i saw her video "Bitch i'm Madonnae and i thought to myself : No one can take her throne. This almost 60 y/o woman down on all fours in the corridors of a crazy party, jumping on the back of young girls, slapping the butts of boys and rolling on the floor, kinky and laughing hile claimind "Bitch i'm Madonna". It should be pathetic. It's sublime. It's not her body that is fascinating - you can always think she had work done-, it's her attitude. You can't photoshop attitude. Madonna is at the age she should hide. We hear people saying with a sorry tone one use to say some unpleasant truth after witnessing something you can't fight : "She does not want to age, it's sad, you should know when to give up". Something you never hear about George Clooney, Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford, we demand it from Madonna.

A mature woman should be sobbing in nostalgia of the time of the sex appeal she lost, regretting men don't check her like they used to and let younger girls take front stage. In lieu of all that the queen of pop say : "I'm the queen pimp, this is my stage, my sidewalk, i'm gonna dance in undies, french the new girls and jump on the back of young studs with my 12 inch heels".

If heterosexual men are put off by what she embodies, maybe it's because they fear she's can still arouse them. She's breaking a taboo : you can be touched by a creature of her age but you can't get a hard on. She's still on the opposite side of convinience. She does what she always did : what should not be done. Bitch, she's Madonna...

Night of the show, i get inside Bercy, people are taking their seats

There's a lot of 30 somethings, not many very young ones came to see Madonna. We all have an age to have spent our lives with Madonna. The speakers are playing "Wanna be startin'" by Michael Jackson. The curtain hiding the stage is being removed and we discover a giant screen showing a glamourous battered and bruised Madonna, chatting with Mike Tyson. Everything is oversized, it's the show of a giant. Then we see the words "I want to start a revolution" and the first act starts, an epic battle between Tsui hark (a Hongkongese director) and an episode of "games of thrones". When she gets on stage her body is very small, a little blonde creature but she dominates the show.

[i must go to my NYE party. I wish you all a Happy new year and i promise to translate the rest of this great piece on Madonna as soon as i can (there's a lot more. She talks about past incarnations and writes like a certified loon). Bonne année à toutes et à tous ]

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Virginie Despentes is feminist, punk and hard-hitting. When she sees herself in the most iconic pop star we do too.

The most provocative pop star portraited by the most punk french author, the most incisive and carnal portrait we've read. In the middle of her "Rebel heart tour", the sexy almost 60 something gets her groove back.

I drifted away from Madonna a long time ago. The last time i lived with one of her records was "Confessions on a dancefloor", in november of 2005. 10 years ago. The winter french suburbs were rioting. At the time we were not talking about Islam, they were burning cars, it was neverending. Madonna was 47. She was singing "Hung up" while performing impressive cardio squats. She was inventing a body : one of an almost 50 something in a leotard in full control of herself; she was inventing an in your face energy, effective and calculated. Madonna does not push borderlines : she invents new countries.

Then it wasn't so much Lady Gaga - her direct wannabe heir- that made her less relevant, neither Rihanna or Beyoncé not even Beth Ditto, all of them straight out of the Madonna factory in their own ways. No, it was Amy Winehouse. The first pin-up that wasn't getting her inspiration from her. Then came Adele. New models of singers. Around 2010, it seemed possible for the first time in 3 decades to think about pop feminism without talking about Madonna...But last summer, i saw her video "Bitch i'm Madonnae and i thought to myself : No one can take her throne. This almost 60 y/o woman down on all fours in the corridors of a crazy party, jumping on the back of young girls, slapping the butts of boys and rolling on the floor, kinky and laughing hile claimind "Bitch i'm Madonna". It should be pathetic. It's sublime. It's not her body that is fascinating - you can always think she had work done-, it's her attitude. You can't photoshop attitude. Madonna is at the age she should hide. We hear people saying with a sorry tone one use to say some unpleasant truth after witnessing something you can't fight : "She does not want to age, it's sad, you should know when to give up". Something you never hear about George Clooney, Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford, we demand it from Madonna.

A mature woman should be sobbing in nostalgia of the time of the sex appeal she lost, regretting men don't check her like they used to and let younger girls take front stage. In lieu of all that the queen of pop say : "I'm the queen pimp, this is my stage, my sidewalk, i'm gonna dance in undies, french the new girls and jump on the back of young studs with my 12 inch heels".

If heterosexual men are put off by what she embodies, maybe it's because they fear she's can still arouse them. She's breaking a taboo : you can be touched by a creature of her age but you can't get a hard on. She's still on the opposite side of convinience. She does what she always did : what should not be done. Bitch, she's Madonna...

Night of the show, i get inside Bercy, people are taking their seats

There's a lot of 30 somethings, not many very young ones came to see Madonna. We all have an age to have spent our lives with Madonna. The speakers are playing "Wanna be startin'" by Michael Jackson. The curtain hiding the stage is being removed and we discover a giant screen showing a glamourous battered and bruised Madonna, chatting with Mike Tyson. Everything is oversized, it's the show of a giant. Then we see the words "I want to start a revolution" and the first act starts, an epic battle between Tsui hark (a Hongkongese director) and an episode of "games of thrones". When she gets on stage her body is very small, a little blonde creature but she dominates the show.

[i must go to my NYE party. I wish you all a Happy new year and i promise to translate the rest of this great piece on Madonna as soon as i can (there's a lot more. She talks about past incarnations and writes like a certified loon). Bonne année à toutes et à tous ]

This is glorious. Thank you so much!! I can't wait to read the rest. :)

Happy new year!!!

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|I am drunk. Why do all NYE parties always kind of suck a bit ? LOL. Anyway. Here's the rest, sorry for the mistakes, i was powered by rose champagne. Happy New Year Mnationers <3 ]

She leads a team of dancers and acrobats to whom she leaves the stage more. Today, for the first time in her career it feels like Madonna finally understood that she is Madonna. She said in an interview that she did not prepare for this tour like she did for the previous ones. She has 4 children. She says she must choose, she can't be with them and work out 6 hours every day. This looks good on her. She conquered her territory. She knows no one can take her crown. A 2 hours show, 450 costumes, 20 dancers, a garage, a cabaret, a spanish setting - in Madonna's language it means corrida, Brasil and "La isla bonita", in a unashamed and intuitive geographical disorder, very american- and the unavoidable lithurgical par : nuns wearing g-strings, a nod to Femen, doing pole dance around cross shaped poles. she invites her son David on stage to sing "Redemption song" during the 10 minutes devoted to the Paris attacks. She starts by citing Joan of Arc then Piaf, Aznavour and Gainsbourg. Madonna lived 9/11. She knows after these kinds of events one should be careful. It was not ok to say something against the invasion of Iraq after 9/11. The Dixie Chicks paid the price. Madonna that night was the total icon, reclaiming her status as an occidental female who used her freedom of speech like no other. Later, she interrupts the Music intro and let in some bars of "La Marseillaise", the whole venue starts singing the national anthem. It was the most fascinating part of the show. Not because the 18 000 people there that night wanted to sing - and even less because to my horror i realize that a lot of my fellow contrymen know the second verse of our hymn- but the ease with which Madonna reacts. She stops her musicians, her dancers, as if it was they were in rehearsal, and she listens to the audience. She's interested in what she's witnessing in the middle of her show. this is new.

I asked myself if she already knew she was going to Place de la Republique then. Maybe not. One can think when she left Bercy, she put on her best puff jacket, took her son and her guitar because she had something to tell us after that evening : i heard you. They played three acoustic songs, with a few bodyguards, before twenty people who were there around midnight that night. One can scream she's appropriating this. But you can also bow to her : what better place, what better song, better timing, better images to tell us she thinks about us ? Madonna never played the social media game. Except that night. The short video of Madonna with her son singing for 20 people was everywhere the next day. When she plays internet she, of course, does it better than anyone else.
Then you can always say it could have been better : personally i would have loved her to have come topless to Place de la République that night wearing a leather g-string and a flag saying "Fuck Daesh" in one hand and another saying "fuck the National Front too" in the other and sing Holiday. Because that is everything she incarnates that is targeted in Paris. I believe in individuality and particularism,in people being atypical but it's hard to picture a Daesh meeting where they listen to the new Madonna album to unwind. A salafist admitting publicly to singing "Papa don't preach", it does not match. Neither do we imagine "Bitch i'm Madonna" being played in the corridors of the Vatican. This is what's great with Madonna : assholes always hated her. Or feared. Madonna does not only incarnates consumerism. Reducing her to numbers would be insulting her public because there's a message she was the first to put on the marquee of every big stadiums in the world and that she endlessly incarnates : a feminity at war with what religion demands from people born females but a feminity that never turns her back on spirituality. She incarnates the unapologetic bitch, the right to reinvent yourself, to be different persons in a lifetime, to be a mother outside of marriage, to be an adoptive mother, to have mixed influences, to never respects the codes of gender, flaming queerness, inventing a new maturity, the refusal to abdicate, the freedom to lust, and most of all the pleasure of flesh, not to produce, reproduce or seduce - just for the pleasure to enjoy being a body made of flesh full of enthusiasm and in tune with what in each one of us goes beyond us, breaks our molds and disturbs.
Nobody fucks with the queen.
In 1984 when Bercy opened Madonna had her first success. She released Borderline, the fifth single from her first album. A scrunchy in her crippled blond hair, graffiti on her jean jacket, lace fingerless gloves, navel on show, chewing her gum while hitting on a bad boy that was not paying attention to her. Then Like a virgin, 21 millions records sold. Dancing on a gondola or shaking in a wedding dress, she was already fresh and full of energy but nothing then predicted the undisputed queen she is now. She was an hyperactive and hot little singer among many. Like the author Fatou Diome says "to have long teeth one must have a strong jawline". Meaning ambition is not enough if you don't walk the walk.Madonna was about to show us.
In 1985 playing susan in "Desperately seeking Susan" directed by Susan Seidelman made her an icon.She became a model in attitude, the ultimate newyorker of the 80's - street smart, self assured, friendly, immoral and bold. She was a look of course, but most of all she was an attitude. *For years Madonna like Bowie in the 70's she reinvented herself on each album. In 1989 she's a brunette again and released Like a Prayer.Her problems with the Vatican become serious, they ask for her excommunication. Watching the video today, you don't know what really disturbed them : the idea of a black saint, Madonna kissing his feet, the finale scene where she's dancing freely in a spaghetti straps form fitting dress like she's in her bedroom making us voyeurs peeping her intimacy. This woman body in a church, self assured in her joy, unashamed, showing her joy of dancing, maybe that's the real blashpemy. And Madonna, all along her career will go back to that theme : when she thinks of Jesus, je wants to fuck. The Vatican is right to protest : it's a blashphemy. Her pleasure is offensive to the idea of what is a good woman at the time.
In 1990 she's blonde again for the movie Dick Tracy. She starts her Blond Ambition tour. An apotheosis. I urge any pop fan having the winter blues to watch this tour. Seeing her move gives you incredible pleasure. She does not focus on technic. It looks effortless, no discipline, only her pleasure. It's the era of the Gaultier pointy bras worn over a man 3 pieces. She conquers the stage, behind her only back up singers and 10 dancers. It's enough. SHE is the show. This girl who grew up in Detroit, the city of Motown and Punk, succeeds in mixing brashness and agressivity. Madonna takes from masculinity, escaping from the rules of her gender with boldness. She's a pin-up and a trucker, she mixes the messages and opposite roles.Without any guilt.The catholic church bans her concert in Rome. They are right to do so, no other mainstream artist before her broke the myth of the good wife, shy and virtuous like Madonna did. She never apologizes to be good, she takes advantage of it. A whole generation hears her message and is ready to follow her.
At the time of the Blond Ambition tour, i was not interested in Madonna. Her music hurt my ears. I even missed the Justify my love video directed by Mondino ans it's a big deal. It's during the Erotica era that she hit me in the face. When she released Sex. For the first time, i paid attention to Madonna seriously. Every commenters were saying she went too far this time. I adore this book. I'm not the only one. This b&w picture of her hitch hiking naked, this other one in pastel colors, showing her from the back wearing big boots, butt naked. Her muscular body, the body of somebody who enjoys herself and of a soldier. The tattooed lesbians with their heads shaved she kisses and laughs with, i had never seen girls like that. Her trio with Naomi Campbell and Big Daddy Kane. The Madonna in leather harness and black mask, legs open with the words "I'll teach you how to fuck" next to the picture. the thighs of Madonna, the ass of Madonna, her nudity is a declaration of power. Troubling because she's the one running the show, saying something very clearly : i am the active subject of my pornography. I want sex. And i want it hardcore please. No girly cutie things. She does not care about modesty, romance she can do without, morality is not of her concern. Sex is about all this and it's wonderful.
Madonna is going to pay for it. Her first slap in the face. The book is a huge success, the million of printed copies all found a public. But for the critic it's too much for putitans and not enough for radicals. Like everytime an artist plays with pornography it's never how it should be. Never at the right time or the right place. It's never our fascination for pornography that is criticized but the way we do it, it's never the "right way". This way we keep repeating that the right place for pornography is in a ghetto. It should be kept a taboo. Nobody is shocked but everybody has an opinion - wether to feel sorry for her because only a troubled woman could deny herslef like this. Or to say that "She's an aging artist using provocation and scandal to stay in the spotlight" like Martin Amis wrote it in The Observer - In the 90's a 33 y/o woman was considered too old to pretend arousing men. They did not understand that the book was made for women. When Madonna published Sex, a lot of people were thinking that women did not have libido, they were just there to satisfy men. Critics crucified her. They were not letting her taking from them without a fight. People said she was over. She was going to pay with her career the price of her impudence. Little did they know that Madonna's forte is not to avoid falling but to always stand back up. Even today when she falls - it happens a lot- we"re amazed : fuck she stands back up so well. She's the Terminator in micro-shorts. She transitions sweetly. With Bedtime Story her first incursion in electronic music.
She's a brunette again, puts her clothes on, discovers the Kaballah and at the end of the 90's cements her position of international star with Ray of Light. She invents a new character, more political, more spiritual, less provocative, and makes a wonderful record. It's only a step on the left, to give people time to forget Sex. She's back in bitch mode with Music, the record she made with Mirwais. The brashness that his her trademark is back too, dance is her manifesto. The album is her biggest success since Like a Prayer. American Life her second album with the french guy from Taxi Girl will not know the same success. Her comments on the Bush era America did not sell, it's even her worst selling album. It's a very different album, she doubts, contradicts herself. Maybe her most intimate.
Then the music industry starts showing signs of collapse because of illegal downloading. Madonna adapts herself : records are an excuse to tour. Starting with the Confessions tour she became the solo artist making the most money on tour. She even beat her own record of attendance with the Sticky and Sweet tour in 2008. She always was mostly a performer and it's on stage that she reigns supreme.
Her shows are gigantic, a marathon during 2 hours this Picasso of pop sums up and mixes all her sides. Madonna goes after her audience with her teeth, with her pin-up-trucker energy, it looks like her life depends on convincing the guy way in the backthat yes, she is the best. You get out of her boxing match stunned and happy, feeling good and fluffy like someone who had the best time.
In the end, she's always repeating the same thing over 3 decades, taping on her shoulder like an angel a bit pissed off but full of enthusiasm "Don't give up, it's gonna be alright".
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