Pop Aficionado

Paws Down Lil' Monsters: Anonymously Clueless


As you may have noticed, most of the comments I get on my blog come from anonymous writers. In the past, I didn’t accept them. But as soon as I opened the anonymous box, I was flooded by ignorant rants made by little monsters and haters people who don’t have the balls to associate their stupid and…

Wow… You’ve got to love Paws Down.

MDNA - Flop or Not?

Madonna is a polarizing artist. People love her or people hate her. Above all, people love to hate her. She gets criticism when she’s a bad girl, and when she is a good girl, the critics are unnecessarily harsher. When she is on the top of the world, critics praise her collaborators, when something goes not-so-picture-perfect, it’s all her fault: Madonna, the disgrace.

Madonna’s latest album received little to no promotion at all. Still, it managed to debut at the #1 position in over 30 countries (in the general charts), including the USA and the UK (breaking Elvis Presley’s record as the solo artist with more #1’s on the other side of the pond). On iTunes, it was #1 in 50 countries during pre-sale - an unprecedented feature.

On its second week in the market, MDNA’s sales dropped 86.7%. That’s what Madonna’s detractors have all been waiting for, like a tick patiently waiting for a mammal to brush against it. 

Headlines are being written to make us all think Madonna’s latest album, the brilliant MDNA, is a commercial flop:

Radar Online says: “Madonnas New Album BombsSets Record For Biggest SaleDrop”, while Forbes’s contributor and [as Matthew Rettenmund put it] ”disgraced journalistRoger Friedman keeps on his mission to diminish Madonna’s accomplishments. On Forbes, it started before the album even debuted at #1, and now that it dropped to #8, it became a feast for provocations and biased, ill-informed articles.

MDNA debuted on the top of the charts with no nationwide promotion. On its second week, still with no nationwide promotion, the album is still on the top 10, closing the week at #8. That is a big accomplishment for anyone. Newbies or veteran artists.

It is true, the sales drop between its first and second weeks (86.7%) is considerable. But it is not, in any way, shape or form, an indicator of a “flop”. In fact, it is normal that albums that debut so highly, like MDNA did, get a big drop on its following weeks, especially if there’s no follow-up overreaching promotion. 

Before “MDNA”, the biggest 2nd week sales drop for a No. 1-debuting album was Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” (sales dropped 84.28% on its second week). Before that, it wasMac Miller’s ”Blue Slide Park” (82.54%). Before that, it was ”Kingdom Come” by Jay-Z (79.42%), and before him, it was Kanye West’s "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" with a drop of 78.14%. In other words: the bigger the debut, the bigger the fall. That is the general rule. There are few exceptions to this.

Unlike Lady Gaga, who promoted “Born This Way” on every big TV show in America such as Jay Leno, Letterman, Ellen, American Idol and much more; or Jay-Z, and Kanye West (who did traditional TV promotion as well), Madonna did not promote MDNA to the general public:

Yes, she did perform at the Super Bowl in early February 2012. But there was no advertisement for her new album during the broadcast. Unless you were a Madonna fan and followed her websites, you did not find out she was about to release a new album during the Super Bowl. The average American who watched that record breaking halftime show headlined by Madonna did not find out she had an album on pre-sale that very weekend. Nothing of that was said or implied during her performance or the game.

If you do not “like” Madonna’s official Facebook page, you did not know she did a 30-minute interview with Jimmy Fallon on her Facebook page. Again, a very limited promotion to a very limited audience: her fans, the people who already follow/like her official Facebook page saw that interview and not an average Facebook user.

That was all the “promotion” MDNA received. And still, the album debuted at the #1 position. And even after a deep drop on its second week, the album is still on the top 10, on #8 precisely. Hardly a “flop” or “bomb”. But hey, Madonna detractors will distort it whichever way they can. 

Worldwide, MDNA also debuted on #1. It sold 740,000 copies on its first week. On its second week, it’s still up there on the podium, at the #3 position. Again, hardly a “flop” or “bomb”. As Guy Oseary (Madonna’s manager) points out, the album already went platinum in Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Brazil. Double platinum in Colombia, Greece and Russia. It’s already gold in Romania, Portugal, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Venezuela. But Madonna detractors would never publish something like that.

But to fight back this unnecessary wave of negativity, and the pressure of her fans, apparently, Madonna and her management finally decided to give the album a little well deserved promotion. Guy Oseary announced on his twitter that there might be one TV performance soon, before the tour starts, “but no promises”, he added.

The bottom-line is: MDNA is a great album. The fans and the critics reacted very positively. So the idea of having such a great album, with such good material wasted, leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth - except Madonna’s and her team. Apparently, they couldn’t care less.

As some fans have put it, a promo tour should not be seen as just a way of selling more albums, but a treat to the artist’s true fans. And they do have a point. When you think of Madonna’s greatest TV appearances and performances, they all happened during her promo tours:

The classic performances of Bad Girl and Fever on Saturday Night Live happened during the promo tour for her Erotica album. For Bedtime Stories, Madonna not only threw a Pajama party broadcast on MTV, but also performed in several events, such as award shows (American Music Awards, Brits Awards), performed at festivals (SanRemo) and on several TV shows. For Ray of Light, she performed on Oprah and in many European TV shows. All that in pre-Youtube world.

Now-a-days, one performance on Saturday Night Live, or Letterman, or any TV show in America, would not only announce to the rest of the country (meaning non-fans and possible new buyers) that Madonna has a new album out, but also  get worldwide attention on Youtube. In other words, at this point, any promo would only do well (for the album) and leave more material for the fans to enjoy.


Girl Gone Wild UNCENSORED.

More male nudity. Woop! 

Love the video. It’s Truth or Dare / In Bed with Madonna all over again.

Paws Down Lil' Monsters: Civil War in Madonnaland


You know, if you are going to share your thoughts with the world you either just give your personal opinion on something without attempting to make judgement value (you have the right to be an idiot), or if you decide to judge an object (or person), be prepared and have empirical evidence that…

Amen to that. I kinda feel sorry for the dude obsessed with the shrink, though. We should not make fun of [intellectually] handicap people. He was born this way.

How Do You Solve a Problem like Madonna? Reductive Reasoning


In 1984, the school newspaper where I went to college ran an editorial called “It’s Time to Get Really Mad About Madonna.” Her message, as the male writer repeated, was “fuck me.” If there was an additional message behind the “banal” songs and videos for “Material Girl” and “Like a Virgin” it was “fuck me again.” The world’s biggest slut had been born, and the country needed to stop caring about the arms race or Reaganomics or the widening income disparity between rich and poor, and obliterate the cunt among us. 

Something happened on the way to her circumcision, and Madonna, unlike most of her detractors, remained intact. More than 25 years later the vitriol mob remains, exhausted but as angry as ever, and they’ve added to her list of whore crimes, “fuck you.” Madonna is about as “over” as the Common Cold, and just as infuriating, and when you can’t stop someone you can only reduce them. Good luck with that. 

Gearing up for a new album, a new movie, and a Super Bowl half-time appearance, the Queen of Pop Provocation did a couple of talk shows and, as effortlessly as the reactions were strained, marketed a maelstrom. Never mind Madonna’s take on mothering a 15-year-old girl or her penchant for dating young men or even her just announced 40 million dollar record deal, all anyone cared about was Madonna’s opinion of Lady GaGa, and both Graham Norton and Cynthia McFadden were determined (rightfully so) to satisfy the audience. 

Madonna said lots of things about Lady GaGa; lots of good things. She called her “a very talented artist” and said, of her work, that “sometimes I think it’s amusing and fun.” None of that matters either. When she told McFadden that GaGa’s “Born This Way” tune “feels reductive,” the definition of the word was over before the search began. Madonna, the bitch, the shrew, the hag, the has-been, and, quite possibly the most critically reduced artist on the planet, had crossed a line. Ironically, she also invented the line. 

Whatever one personally thinks of Lady GaGa or the song “Born This Way,” the fact is that for the past year both the artist and the tune have been put under the Madonna microscope. No sooner did the single hit the airwaves than the other bleach-blond Italian American gay-loving pop star got accused of copying Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” inciting a plethora of YouTube parodies and mash-ups and criticisms that would make “reductive” sound like high praise. 

It probably didn’t help much that GaGa (who called any song similarities “retarded”) took a sudden liking to videos where she dances in her underwear and wears bullets for bras and throws in a lot of crosses and rosaries and pisses off the Catholic Church. It also probably didn’t help that, when GaGa won a Grammy for something other than “Born This Way,” she took to the stage in a Blond Ambition ponytail and cone-breast corset and thanked her “Born This Way” muse Whitney Houston—the woman who once said she’d kill her children if they turned out to be like Madonna. (I’m fairly certain that murdering your kids is a tad worse than calling a song “reductive,” yet that comment never put a dent in Houston’s, at the time, good Christian image.) And it also probably didn’t help that, when asked why people compare her with Madonna, Lady GaGa, wearing bright red lipstick and the “Express Yourself” platinum-blond locks, said it was because they “sort of” look alike. Yes, and I “sort of” look like Jake Gyllenhaal. 

The counter-argument most people give when the GaGa/Madonna imitations arise is that Madonna has copied everyone under the sun, and therefore has no right to criticize her predecessor. It’s a valid point, even if those same people don’t generally acknowledge that Madonna never did criticize GaGa until the McFadden interview, nor has she ever denied taking on the personas of other image makers. 

What Madonna accomplished is unprecedented genius. Colliding with the 1980s MTV Generation, and her spoof of Marilyn’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” the singer grabbed the 20thcentury’s most iconic ladies and photographs and films and fashions and trends, and spun them into three-minute movie musicals, complete with the catchiest soundtracks on tap, and all the while keeping her signature wink intact. She resembled a lot of women, but none of them more so than the one calling the shots. In her crass sentiment, Madonna did something utterly original. To sum it up as clever marketing, the one area where people begrudgingly give her credit, is reduction in the most demeaning sense. 

Madonna forever changed the way female pop artists are marketed and sold, and every girl with a material dream has studied or has been instructed by someone who’s studied Madonna. Whereas “re-invention” used to be frowned upon as too dangerous, it’s now de rigueur for longevity. Whereas “Bad Girls” used to be the victims of a Donna Summer song, they’re now the envy of innocent fools. From Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” to Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again” to every song by Ke$ha, if you want to prove yourself as a commodity, you have to light a fuse. 

If Madonna made a major mistake in her professional life, it wasn’t her acting career or her Sex book. It was getting older. We’re a country of ageists, especially in regards to women, and if there’s anything we hate more than a woman getting older it’s a woman who doesn’t apologize for her disgrace. Had Madonna any dignity, she’d have offed herself years ago. At 53, she may be the biggest selling female artist of all time and she may have more hits than Elvis Presley (a one-time looker/singer/provocateur who was smart enough to overdose), and she may still be one of the most famous women on earth, but none of that matters when she spits in god’s eye by deciding for herself what’s attractive. 

Last week, on the heels of the “reductive” comment, Madonna won a Golden Globe award for her song “Masterpiece.” If there’s another way to stop the unworthy, it’s to deny them praise, and Madonna’s career has been peppered with everything but legitimacy. Her critics dove right in, and, not surprisingly, the biggest offenders were women and gay men. The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley became psychic and said they only gave her the award because “everybody wants to see her,” that few will hear the song (it’s that rare thing when people listen to a Madonna track), and that they were forced to start the music to cut short her ego-laden speech. Stanley, apparently, missed the rest of the show, as pretty much everyone was cut off by the music, including that self-involved, talentless egomaniac Meryl Streep. 

The Huffington Post ran an “Onion”-worthy piece called “A Letter to Madonna from a Concerned Gay,” in which the writer, Domenick Scudera, whines over how disappointed he is in his former hero for calling wise-ass straight comedian Ricky Gervais a “girl” (yes, you read that correctly), and then goes on to pretty much fault Madonna for everything but Global Warming. He writes, at the end, “I am desperately seeking the Madonna of yesteryear: daring, a ray of light, in a league of her own. That girl is still inside you somewhere, I bet. Please bring her back. Open you heart, express yourself like you used to do, so that I can justify my love for you again.” I’m not sure what’s more offensive, that Scudera penned this piece of tripe or that Arianna Huffington allowed it to go to print. 

Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, expressed themselves in a way that set back gay men about 50 years. John started the Bitch Brunch on the red carpet, saying Madonna couldn’t win with her “fucking” song, then sat stone-faced when she did. His charming spouse took to facebook afterward, decrying Madonna’s win—“Madonna. Best song???? F**k off!!!”—defaming the Golden Globes as being without merit (an awards show that doesn’t always give to the most deserving? No!), and ending his tantrum by saying Madonna’s “criticism of GaGa shows how desperate she really is.” 

It’s always the work of the truly desperate to use the “D” word when describing Madonna. She must be desperate because she cannot be good. She’s not allowed to be attractive because she’s a whore. She certainly can’t be happy, because that will make us miserable. And she’s not allowed to criticize Lady GaGa because she never earned her place on top. 

Lady GaGa’s second chapter of fame has played out like a bad sequel to a great first flick. She started out wonderfully, with a strong voice and savvy song-writing skills. If there was a message behind her work it was to embrace your oddity and celebrate unconvention. In that regard, she resembled Cyndi Lauper or Bette Midler more than Madonna. Last year, on the heels of “Born This Way,” she set herself up for failure by repeatedly telling everyone how wonderful her new album would be, then started hammering out weak singles and ridiculous stunts to stay topical. Showing up to an awards show in an egg carries no message other than that you are showing up to an awards show in an egg.

Like countless other female stars, GaGa then read the Clift Notes for Madonna’s career and decided to re-invent herself as Madonna 2.0. That never works, especially when the first one is still in stores. Whereas Madonna hiccuped and the world reacted, GaGa tells us she’s about to cough and then informs us of its importance. Call her videos and outfits what you want; imitation, homage, copies—ultimately, they look like poorly designed remakes of Madonna’s material. Bigger budget, more pyrotechnics, but forced and lacking vision. The only rule of re-creation is to do it well, and she’s failed. If Lady GaGa is as smart as she is talented, she’ll pay attention to the woman who wanted “to rule the world” and carve out her own path to universal domination. Madonna’s message isn’t “fuck me” or “fuck you”; it’s “Fuck It!” And she does it better than anyone. yes

David Toussaint is the Senior Editor for GuySpy.

Paws Down Lil' Monsters: Mad Vs. Gaga


This was posted as a reply to an article published on the Inquirer.net:

I love it how the author shows his dislike for Madonna by saying “she doesn’t sing all that well”. LOL. Guess what Nestor? Neither does Gaga - but you forgot to mention that. Why?

Both, Gaga and Madonna have a…


If you can’t do it… why bother? LOL

(Source: themadgesty)

That was my reaction when I heard Madonna’s “Give me all your love”.Love it! 

That was my reaction when I heard Madonna’s “Give me all your love”.

Love it! 


—Give Me All Your Love


I’ve been saying this for years - she HAS GOT to change her team.

They are NOT reliable. There’s always someone leaking her first singles ahead of time, hurting their performance on the charts.

It JUST happened again. The problem is: the single was set to be released in February, and the album only in April or May. And the songs are already leaking… 


Madonna - Give Me All Your Love