Monday, November 12, 2007

The Evolution of Hung Up

Madonna first rocked the music world [and the world in general] in 1983 when she released her first album Madonna, with hit singles such as Everybody, Burning Up, Holiday, Borderline, and Lucky Star. And now, 24 years later, Madonna still knows how to turn the world into one huge dancefloor with the 2005 release of her 10th studio album, Confessions on a Dancefloor.

Hung Up is undoubtedly one hell of a song, and I bet you agree with me. If you do not, it's either you do not have taste, unaware of true fabulosity unless it bites you on your flat ass, or you have lived like a hermit somewhere in Nepal during the last two years. I kid, I kid. If you are not in the know, Hung Up is the first single from Madonna's Confessions on a Dancefloor album, and to say that the song is phenomenal would be an understatement. The evolution of the song’s live performance would be the focus of this blog entry.

Confessions on a Dancefloor was released on November 15, 2005, and Madonna simultaneously performed several of its songs at various clubs, discos, and other venues to promote her new album. On the same date of the album's release, Madonna performed at KoKo Nightclub in London, England. This is the first live production of Hung Up, which would pave the way for future performances.

Just several months later, Madonna was tasked to open the 48th annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006 with the animated group Gorillaz and De La Soul, and together, they wowed the world with a medley of Feel Good Inc. and Hung Up. Madonna's performance of Hung Up was similar to the one on her Hung Up promo tour, but her dancing here is stellar to say the least, especially her entrance number with Gorillaz.

On May 21, 2006, Madonna embarked on her Confessions Tour which proved to be very successful. Although it sparked numerous international controversies, the world tour set the record for the top-grossing tour ever by a female artist in history. In her US shows alone, she grossed $80 million throughout the summer. On April 8, 2006, Madonna sold 30,000 tickets in under 40 minutes in Montreal, breaking a record previously held by U2. On July 9, 2006, 50,000 tickets went on sale for Madonna's Osaka and Tokyo shows. The tickets were sold out in a record 5 minutes. Her performance of Hung Up, which closed her shows, has completely evolved from her KoKo and Grammy performances, complete with gold balloons that floated down from the ceiling during the end.

On November 2, 2006, Madonna opened the 13th MTV Europe Music Awards which was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her performance, which took place after the Confessions Tour, surprisingly was identical to those of her first productions. What I love about her performance here is the energy of the crowd. You can practically feel the orgasmic frenzy as Madonna delivered the hypnotic lines of the cult song.

The latest, and hopefully not the last, performance of Hung Up was on July 7, 2007, at the Wembley Stadium, London, England for the London leg of Live Earth, a series of concerts that initiated a three-year campaign to combat climate change. Madonna was among 150 musicians who performed on the luckiest day of the millenium [07-07-07], and she performed Hey You, Ray Of Light, La Isla Bonita, and of course, Hung Up. Her perfomance of Hung Up was similar to her Confessions tour, except this was not as grand as her finale in the tour. It was shorter, but so far, I like this mix better.

Also, we must not forget the official video, the visual apotheosis of the song that turned the world into one huge dancefloor. The video had its worldwide premiere on October 27, 2005, and it was well-received. It was nominated for 5 MTV Video Music Awards in 2006 [Video Of The Year, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, and Best Choreography in a Video], and 1 MuchMusic Video Award in the same year [Best International Video]. The video was an homage to the film Saturday Night Fever. Her scenes in the rehearsal studio are reminiscent of a scene in the movie when John Travolta's character Tony Manero approaches Karen Lynn Gorney's character Stephanie Mangano. Madonna proved her tenacity and resiliency in the making of this video because just a few weeks before shooting, she broke 8 bones in a horse-riding accident [which she embraced in her Confessions tour, especially in her Like A Virgin performance].

Like wine, it just gets better and better. But of course, we must not forget the essence of her fantastic productions. The song. The song that is considered by many to be one of the biggest hit singles in Madonna's career, ranked by the United World Chart as the 3rd most successful song of the decade and the 43rd most successful song in music history. Due to the single's worldwide success, it currently holds the record of reaching the number-one position in the most countries [45 countries] for a single. This record was listed in the 2007 edition of Guinness Book of World Records. Hung Up is also the 3rd biggest-selling dance single of all time. With this song, Madonna achieved her 25th gold single, surpassing the Beatles for the most gold singles of all time.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Madonna was wrong. Madonna was dead wrong.

Madonna was wrong. Madonna was dead wrong when she said that time goes by slowly. Time actually goes by fast, very fast, and we just don't notice it because of all the trivial activities we consume ourselves with. It seems like only yesterday that I was struggling with my grades, going out almost every night, and wrecking my entire life with my decadent irresponsibility.

I barely attended my classes then [there are times when I wonder if the only reason why I go to UST was to drink iced teas with my friends and burn my lungs away]. Often, I think about my stay in UST and I end up regretting wasting two years of my life. I was accepted at one of the premiere science schools in the country, yet I threw it all away by boycotting classes, learning to smoke, and passing only three subjects [during my first semester in my first year]. I was given so many opportunities but I threw them all away. Not only was I accepted for my first choice in a prestigious university, but I was also handpicked [I was one of the first who were picked] to write as a features writer for the college publication. I was eventually let go because of the deteriorating quality of my articles.

I was a staple in Makati and Malate. I would always be in the late night hotspots, drinking, dancing, and incessantly smoking. I even tried ecstasy once. I must admit, it was a fantastic feeling, but it quickly wore off when I realized that the phone I begged from my mom for many months got lost. All my money was alloted to cab fares and notoriously expensive drinks.

Once, I stumbled on a blog I used to maintain and I can't tell you how shocked I was at what I read. I was embarrassed at its content, and the only feeling I felt while browsing through my entries was a feeling of happiness, bliss, no, relief, when I realized I was using a pseudonym. Yes, I'm not going to deny I wrote well, but the image I projected was that of a slut, and not of an intellectual. I don't know what went through my head when I remembered I was proud of being labelled a whore. I was not just a whore. I was trailer trash. I guess it was that infantile mentality that a lot of men found me sexually attractive that thrilled me into a promiscuous frenzy.

For two straight years I was intellectually stagnant. I juggled boys, sex, cigarettes, friends, and parties. I called that phase my Paris Hilton years. I spent my time sleeping, sitting pretty, clubbing, and posing for the camera.

Things changed when I met Quincy, the man responsible for my image overhaul. I guess it's different when you really love a person. Thinking back to all the men I've slept with, the men I've dated, and those I've had "relationships" with, Quincy was the only man I honestly loved. I still consider him the love of my life, and I must admit there are times when I hope things would eventually turn out for the better between us. I believe that a relationship is healthy [and good] if your partner brings out the best in you, and Quincy did just that. His over-achieving mentality rubbed off on me and I became focused, determined, and ambitious. I tired of the club scene [I discerned that there are far more productive things to do than go clubbing every week], and my priorities in life were set straight. True love would do that to you, all right. I've changed. I've completely changed. A lot of people could attest to that, and they were very surprised. I've been told many times that the new me was not the Koji they knew. "That's not you!", they would often say. This is the new me, all right, and maybe the real me. Loving someone for the first time made me realize who I truly am. I miss Quincy. Yes, I still love him. Maybe the reason why I am still alone since we dated is because I am looking for someone who is just like him.

Time goes by quickly. Life zips by you if you let it go unnoticed. One minute I was in UST, enjoying the company of Ysa, Kay, and Eunice [the three people I consider my true friends], in Coffee Indulgence, smoking pack after pack of Marlboros while sipping iced teas, and the next, I am in Perpetual, slaving away to get stellar grades.

Here I am now. It's four in the morning and my first class of my second semester in Perpetual will start in five hours. I slept ten in the evening, woke sometime around midnight, and I've been awake since. I can't sleep, but I'm happy. After toiling my ass off, I passed the first semester with flying colors [Fil3: 1.75, FCL1: 1.75, English+: 1.75, Nat.Sci.1: 2.50, Nat.Sci.3: 2.25, Logic: 1.75, NSTP: 1.25]. I spent my semester break drinking with my friends [the last being in Cavite to celebrate JM's birthday], going shopping [clothes and books], and bonding with the folks.

This is the new me. I'm still talkative and bubbly, but not as loud as before. My grades are my top priority. Not far behind are my family and friends. Yes, I still go out, but I have decided to change scenes. These days, I go to friends houses and have drinks, but I still go clubbing once in a while. I'm not dating anyone [it's so hard to find someone to replace your great love], and in turn, I'm busying myself with extracurriculars. I'm involved in the university-wide publication of Perpetual, and I'll have my day soon. I'll be the editor-in-chief in a few years [Elydia, the EIC, has been dropping colossal hints about this]. I quit smoking. And of course, I still shop. Lately, I'm going crazy over plain tees and statement shirts.

I have no regrets. I did not regretting boycotting my Zoology Lec. class in UST because that was the time Kay and I became really close. Neither did I regret failing my Zoology Lab. class because I met Ysa during our second take. And for sure I did not regret learning to smoke, because it was between cigarettes that Eunice and I divulged our innermost secrets. I also did not regret clubbing my life away because it was at a party that I met Arvin, one of my most treasured friends. Most of all, I did not regret transferring to Perpetual. It may not be as esteemed as UST, but my friends here are just as genuine.

I have accepted the fact that time does not go by slowly. But I believe in the saying that time flies when you're having fun. I may die tomorrow, I may get struck by thunder this very moment [it started to rain, oh no! I was planning to wear my vintage aviator sunglasses to make a fantastic entrance], but I can assure you my life was stellar to say the least. And you can take that to Paris Fashion Week.
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