Even with 44 No. 1s, Queen of Pop @Madonna can’t seem to catch a break w/ #LivingForLove #RadioAirplay #RebelHeart

Madonna Singles CollageForty-four No. 1s. That is a lot for one artist to amass. And Madonna has done that time and again on the Billboard Dance Club Charts. Her latest smash “Living For Love,” a thumping call-back to her “Like A Prayer” choral productions and ’90s club stompers (see “Vogue“) for good effect, “officially” introduced music enthusiasts and critics alike to Madonna’s latest reinvention. Take a look/listen below:

Side note: I say “officially” because this whole Rebel Heart era has been a fiasco. But, I’ll cover that later…

“Love” joins the ranks of other hits such as “Holiday,”  “Like A Virgin,” “Frozen,” and “4 Minutes.” Here is a list (taken from the Billboard article above) of her 44 No. 1s on the chart:

  1. 1983, “Holiday”/”Lucky Star” (five weeks at No. 1) –> a double-sided release
  2. 1984, “Like A Virgin” (three) 
  3. 1985, “Material Girl
  4. 1985, “Angel“/”Into the Groove” –> also a double-sided release
  5. 1987, “Open Your Heart
  6. 1987, “Causing a Commotion (Remix)
  7. 1988, You Can Dance (LP Cuts) –> the whole EP charted, but the main single was “Spotlight
  8. 1989, “Like A Prayer” (two)
  9. 1989, “Express Yourself” (three)
  10. 1990, “Keep It Together
  11. 1990, “Vogue” (two)
  12. 1991, “Justify My Love” (two)
  13. 1992, “Erotica
  14. 1993, “Deeper and Deeper
  15. 1993, “Fever
  16. 1994, “Secret” (two)
  17. 1995, “Bedtime Story
  18. 1997, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina
  19. 1998, “Frozen” (two)
  20. 1998, “Ray Of Light” (four)
  21. 1999, “Nothing Really Matters” (two)
  22. 1999, “Beautiful Stranger” (two)
  23. 2000, “American Pie
  24. 2000, “Music” (five)
  25. 2001, “Don’t Tell Me
  26. 2001, “What It Feels Like For A Girl” –> most probably because of the Above & Beyond Remix, which was trance at its best
  27. 2001, “Impressive Instant” (two)
  28. 2002, “Die Another Day” (two)
  29. 2003, “American Life” –> check out the banned video version here
  30. 2003, “Hollywood
  31. 2003, “Me Against the Music” Feat. Madonna (By Britney Spears) (two)
  32. 2004, “Nothing Fails
  33. 2004, “Love Profusion
  34. 2005, “Hung Up” (four)
  35. 2006, “Sorry” (two)
  36. 2006, “Get Together
  37. 2006, “Jump” (two)
  38. 2008, “4 Minutes” Feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland (two)
  39. 2008, “Give It 2 Me
  40. 2009, “Celebration” –> Madonna only created a video for the Benny Benassi Remix
  41. 2012, “Give Me All Your Luvin’” Feat. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
  42. 2012, “Girl Gone Wild
  43. 2012, “Turn Up the Radio
  44. 2015, “Living for Love”

In terms of the songs not featured on the mammoth No. 1s list, I have broken them down by decade. The most surprising part of this whole exercise was that many of Madonna’s staple dance classics from the ’80s did not reach the pinnacle of the dance chart as expected. For example, singles like “Dress You Up” and “Burning Up,” which characterized that ’80s dance-pop sound and influenced numerous ’90s and more recent pop-electro hits, were just shy of the top spot. And also, there were only TWO songs that did not hit the No. 1 spot from 2000 to 2015. Only two singles!

So essentially, twelve songs from the ’80s, twelve songs from the ’90s and only two from the ’00s to present.

“Living For Love” sounds right at home within the spectrum of the Madonna canon while maintaining that re-invented feel we have grown to expect from Madge herself. Lyrically, it inspires listeners to live for the positive moments in life. Madonna stresses that her love (probably for herself) will lift her up to new heights. An ode to all of the haters out there, Madonna wants them to know that she has no need for their approval. Even in her visuals for the music video, the Queen of Pop remains victorious while faceless minotaur-like Swarovski-donning strapping men charge at her (I’m guessing they represent ex-lovers, hackers, members of the press, rival popstars, their fanbases, etc.).

And this lady has dealt with her share of adversity in the past five months. From the premature leaks of almost every demo from this album back in December to the leak of the official album versions on the Super Deluxe Edition (I’m talking 25 tracks in CD quality), I’m sure Madonna and her team have had one too many sleepless nights the past couple of months. She essentially half-Beyoncé’d an album on accident! The last time demos like this leaked it was for Brit Brit’s masterpiece Blackout. Initial sales for that LP were so low compared to the rest of Spears’ albums that it became one of her only albums to debut at No. 2 (at the time; Britney Jean certainly solidified the fact that not everything Britney releases will be accepted by the public). Side note: Björk also suffered a CD leak months ahead of her official release; but then is the public really quitting their day job to purchase her music? (IS the public quitting its day job to purchase Madonna’s either, though? Sadly, I think not 😦 ) 

It’s a PR nightmare – a whole CD available in an unfinished format for listeners to critique and judge months before an official release – and Madonna and her team have had to refocus efforts to keep people interested. I believe they have made the best lemonade given the lemons they have been handed, but I think this release should make the industry really question the sanctity of unfinished products and how they can really screw up public perception of a project. It should challenge record labels to think outside of the box and create contingency plans when things of this nature occur.

To add to her troubles, radio has refused to play her new music, citing that listeners are just not interested in hearing it. If that were truly the case, though, why would people be purchasing her music on iTunes in droves and tuning into award shows like the GRAMMYs to catch a glimpse of her doing what she does best? Her fans are clamoring for stations like Radio 1 to get with the program, and I agree.

OMG! Thanks you guys! I ❤️you! True ❤️#rebelhearts

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Whether she will be paving the way for a new genre to take over pop is another story, but based on what we have heard through the leaks and released music, her sound is definitely not outdated and encapsulates the current state of pop music. Overall, I am very impressed with her work so far and can’t wait to see what else she has in store for this era and her eras to come. I’ll be waiting for her to pull out another 44 No. 1s! 🙂