The Madonna Timeline: Song #26 – ‘Music’ – September 2000

 {Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}

Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on,
I wanna dance with my baby…

In a vocoder-enhanced robotic voice of the future, the opening salvo of ‘Music’ found Madonna entering the new millennium ready to boogie-woogie. This song reminds me of my husband. Fun, funky, and instantly-classic. It came out just after I met him, and as such will always hold a special place in my heart.

It was September of 2000. I was traveling between Boston and Albany as Andy and I figured out what we were becoming. On a weekend alone, I heard this song on the radio for the first time. I sat there in the condo, ear up against the speaker, stunned and enraptured and slightly underwhelmed as I am the first time I hear any new Madonna song (it’s a good omen – see ‘Frozen’ and ‘Like A Prayer’). This was both a throw-back to her earliest R&B-dance roots, and an unflinching look to the future thanks to the computerized blips and stuttering booms of Mirwais. It was just before Internet leaks took over, and it was still possible to remain in the dark as to what a song sounded like until it premiered on the radio, and somehow I caught it at just the right moment. By the end of it, I was even dancing a little.

Do you like to Boogie Woogie?
Do you like my acid-rock?

Oh I more than liked it, I loved it. And I more than liked Andy. It was a time of celebration, a time of gleeful abandon, of giving it up to the beat, to the music, and to the prospect of loving and being loved.

And when the music starts, I never wanna stop,
It’s gonna drive me crazy…

Simple. Powerful. To the point. It was Madonna bringing it like only she could, staking another musical milestone with a memory that would burn brightly as one of the happiest in my life. As Summer ripened into Fall, and Andy and I felt our way into our relationship, Madonna was the soundtrack that formed the backdrop to all of the fun.

Music makes the people come together – yeah,
Music makes the bourgeoisie and a rebel…

That September marked our first trip together. We drove up to Ogunquit, Maine where Andy knew a few people, and it felt like we were a world away from everything else. In this fantastical place there was a beautiful ocean shore, a breathtaking seaside walk, a jewel-box of restaurants, and a couple of bars and dance clubs to fill the nights with adventure.

Don’t think of yesterday and I don’t look at the clock
I like to boogie-woogie.
It’s like riding on the wind and it never goes away
Touches everything I’m in, got to have it every day.

Andy’s friend Al ran MaineStreet at the time, and, while still relatively new, it had already established itself as a go-to spot for the good-time crowd. As the bar began to fill, and the lights flashed, the throbbing dance beat built to the first of many crescendos. Soon the dance floor was moving with the collective break-neck motions of the music-mad masses. It was then when I felt, more than heard, the opening strains of the Calderone Anthem Mix. Victor Calderone has a way with crafting a killer Madonna remix, steadily building and adding to his creation until it gives glorious way to the thundering pinnacle of its climax, and there it dangles for a delicious moment before its precipitous drop and heady whoosh to a racing conclusion.

I’ve got a bad-gay admission to make: I don’t go out to dance clubs a lot. I never have. I usually prefer the quiet atmosphere of a bar to the techno-deadened bass attack of a club any day. But once in a while I’ll have a night out when a club is exactly what I’m looking for, and if there’s a Madonna song on (as there more than likely will be) it makes it all the better, as if I’m meant to be exactly there, at that moment.

It’s happened a few times – a Calderone remix of ‘Frozen’ in the chilly Rochester winter, a transcendent bit of ‘Isaac’ and the exhilarating rush of ‘Vogue’ reborn in Chelsea, and Tracy Young’s whirling take on ‘Don’t Tell Me’ on a rare Saturday at Waterworks. This time it was ‘Music’ in Ogunquit, with a new boyfriend by my side, a new club in the midst of establishing itself, and a new Madonna album on the horizon. For that one moment, all was right with the world.

Music makes the people come together – yeah,
Music makes the bourgeoisie and a rebel…

On a technical side-note, ‘Music’ marked Madonna’s 12th Number One hit on the Billboard charts (and her last one, thus far). The album also debuted at #1 – her first number one album since 1989 (she’s been luckier in that of late, as every one of her studio albums since Music has managed to hit the top spot for at least a week – American Life, Confessions on a Dance Floor, and Hard Candy).

While spottier than its predecessor of perfection (the magnificent and yet-to-be-topped Ray of Light), Music was a more-fun companion-piece. I made my customary pilgrimage to Tower Records on Newbury Street (I think it was still Tower Records at that point – if not, then Virgin) for the midnight release, and got a free poster because I bought the Limited Edition special CD. The poster featured Madonna in high-cowgirl mode, a style that at first seemed jarring (she did once proclaim that she would never date a guy who wore cowboy boots) but ended up working better than even she probably anticipated. (Picture a smattering of pink cowboy hats at her ‘Drowned World Tour’ stops.)

As for the video, directed by Jonas Akerlund, Madonna also went back to old-school MTV fun, with a cheeky bit by Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G, girl support from Niki Haris and Debi Mazar, and a requisite animated sequence that found a cartoon Madonna super-heroine in a Metropolis-like world with buildings and signs featuring the names of past hits. At that stage in her career, she could already look back with a wink, confident that the release of a new Madonna album was still a momentous event.

There have been a number of memorable live performances of ‘Music’ – most notably its limo-centric free-for-all at the Grammy Awards, an incredible Live 8 version, and the finale to the Drowned World Tour. But I think it was her mash-up of ‘Music’ and ‘Disco Inferno’ from the ‘Confessions Tour’ that holds status as my favorite performance of the song:

Do you like to Boogie Woogie?
Song #26: ‘Music’– September 2000
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