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5 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ Right This Second

“You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You’re frozen
When your heart’s not open”

Coos a breathy, newly conformed Madonna on her chilly late-’90s smash, “Frozen,” a song that would not only deliver an accompanying gothic desert draped video that had all of us clutching our Madonna pearls when it premiered on MTV (Feb 16th, 1998. to be exact.), but the somber sonnet would also hold the key into Madonna’s brilliantly beautiful Ray of Light music gates.

After returning to pop music to get her Lourdes and Evita on, Ms. Madonna linked up with legendary techno producer William Orbit as her collaborator for the project in what was indeed an esteemed effort to keep her music claws sharp in staying on top of contemporary music trends-and it worked like an “Ashtangi” charm.

Because of Madonna and Orbit’s subtle, brilliant attack they took the eccentricities of electronica to new levels while managing to retain Madonna’s foundation-her feisty flair for soaring pop melodies. Together, the dynamic duo succeeded in creating what was the first mainstream pop album that embraced techno..and got it right.

Also, Madonna’s vocals were just simply on point. While, yes, Light is one of her most adventurous music rides, the album soars because of the wonderfully constructed Evita-like mannerisms of Madonna’s precise singing. Whether it’s on the electronically twisted title track, the whispering opener, “Substitute for Love,” the Molly-dripping, “Skin,” or the mind numbing, “Frozen,” Ray of Light is just that record.

Here at Philly Mixtape, we would never ask you stop what you’re doing in your day, but when it comes to Ray of Light, you absolutely need to get lost in Madonna’s Grammy-winning set right this second–and here are 5 reasons why.

 

1.It’s the perfect record for those “ugh” days…

While we all wish everyday to be as perky as Kelly Ripa, we indeed all have those days when we’re feeling more like Fiona Apple in ’96. Lucky for all of us, Madonna served us with the perfect album for when you just want to zen out and not smack somebody with your Boy Toy belt.

Blessed with a set list of wild, whirling grooves, deep tones, and lyrics about coming closer to just maybe figuring it all the f#$k out, (I mean, “Sky Fits Heaven“..bliss.), Madonna’s wonderful seventh studio set not only showcased a tremendous amount of growth for her as an artist, but her fans also grew up;basking in a record that still has the ability to musically lift us up no matter what kind of Britney-in-’07 day were having. 

2.It will take your workout to new spiritual levels…

Planning on hitting the gym today? Or, maybe you’ll be doing some yoga and Pilates in a room full of hotties? Well, you need to immediately turn on the Light and prepare to really put the Jane back in your Fonda during your workout while getting musically served with this classic record.

The opening orbs of “Drowned World/Substitute for Love” will play out perfectly for those opening stretches. The deep house decadence of “Nothing Really Matters” will have you hitting that bench press for your life, and the wonderfully weird electro-drums of “Ashanti/Shantagi” will have you getting into yoga positions you never thought possible.

But indeed, it’s the album’s title track that really gets the blood pumping with its heart-attack inducing Orbit throb, which is blended with perfection to coincide with Madonna’s zephyr-licious vocals.

Ready…set….Stair Master.

3.It’s a ’90s record….that doesn’t sound ’90s at all.

While Light was served up in the ’90s, it doesn’t have the feel or the sound of the sometimes musically ratchet decade. In fact, it doesn’t even sound like 2015. Meaning that Madonna and Orbit knew what they were doing by creating a world of sounds that were meant to be in a futuristic time warp of their very own.

The murky music tones of “Swim” still play out like an apocalyptic anthem-for-the-ages. The Jetsons-esque vibe of  “Skin” still feels like something Rosie would get down to in an after hours dance club in the future. Even softer Light spots, “To Have and Not To Hold,” “Little Star,” and third single,”The Power of Goodbye” still contain the strength to make that music love kick in just a little bit harder.

4.All those remixes….

While each of the offerings on Ray of Light were already tailor-made for the dance floor of life, a handful of legendary DJs came along and pretty much took every track from Madge’s synth-soaked set and turned them into an even better versions of themselves. 

The most daring remix during the Ray of Light era (for more, click here) came when DJ legends Peter Rauhofer and Victor Calderone took the spaced-out “Skin” and turned it into even more a futuristic music mind fuck than it already is. You just have to put those headphones on and listen….right now.

5.It’s one of Madonna’s best records. Red strings down. 

If you were to ask any Madonna fan what their favorite Queen of Pop album is, there’s no doubt that each and every answer would be different. But if you were to ask them to make a list of their top 3 favorite Madge studio sets, Ray of Light is the one album that would be on everybody‘s lists.

Not only is Madonna’s incredible music journey just all wrapped in great music, but it still stirs up all of the right music feelings and emotions. Ms. Ciccone’s Ray of Light also still plays out like breath of fresh of air that it was nearly 20 years ago–and that’s the best part.

“Shanti/Ashtangi” for life.

 

 

 

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5 Reasons Why Janet Jackson’s Career Comeback Is on Point

“A diva is a female version of a hustla,” chimes Beyoncé in her subsequent single, “Diva.” Well, she hustles until middle-age kicks in…and then as we’ve seen…the hustle struggle can get pretty real, really quick. 

By now, we know that time can be cruel to the female pop star rounding middle age. No matter how much talent she still might possess, once under the spotlight’s glare, critics (and all of us, admit it.) gleefully count ­out the wrinkles and search for the endless “Help, I’ve fallen on stage and can’t get up” memes. Really, just ask Madonna, 56, or 45-year-old Mariah Carey, whose career trails into middle age have been very challenging. There’s also Britney Spears, 33, Jennifer Lopez, 46, Celine Dion, 47, and Shania Twain, 49, who’ve already have taken the Vegas route. (Granted, Cher at 69 seems immune, but she’s the exception to everything, isn’t she?) So, can Ms. Janet Jackson survive the “aging diva” syndrome? The answer is in fact, yes.

Ever since this past May when she teased us with “new music, new world tour, a new movement,” Jackson has peeled off the layers of hype regarding the launch of her own Rhythm Nation Records (a worldwide partnership with BMG), her first studio album in seven years and the initial two legs of a world tour, which kicks off next month (Aug 31st) in Vancouver. In fact, Jackson’s new single, “No Sleeep,” has risen to No. 5 in its second week on Billboard’s Adult R&B airplay chart — her first top five hit on that tally in 11 years — and the track is getting even more heat now that red-hot rapper J. Cole has jumped on for a cameo. But most of all, her 65-date Unbreakable Tour is selling tickets at rapid fire. According to promoter Live Nation, 88 percent of the tickets on the trek’s first leg (Aug. 31 to Nov. 15) were purchased two weeks after going on sale; nearly 80 percent of the tickets for the second leg (Jan. 12 to March 9) were gone in two days. Not too shabby…

So, why is Janet’s big career comeback working for her and not those other divas who’ve crossed the middle age barrier? Philly Mixtape took a look at Ms. J’s triumphant return and came up with 5 Reasons Why it’s working like a charm-even if we’re only in the beginning of great things to come from Ms. Janet. Get lost in the music truth below.

1.She’s sticking to the music and producers that werk for her….

By now, we know that Ms. Janet is the Queen of the Bedroom;serving us with the perfect baby makin’ music during her illustrious four decade career. With Unbreakable lead single, “No Sleeep,” she delivers another headboard banger that’s complete with a fierce beat and sexy groove, which are all mixed to perfection along with Ms. J’s trademark coos.

While some fans grumbled that she didn’t deliver a dance smash a la “Feedback,” (I was one of those people, for a moment, anyway) “Sleeep” has proven to be a success on the charts, setting the perfect tone for her long-awaited new set. It also doesn’t hurt that she once again linked up with long time collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for the tantalizing budder beat. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? In Janet’s case, that theory is working like a charm during her comeback trail. 

2.The accompanying video for “No Sleeep” is a delightful, subtle piece of the comeback puzzle…

Another reason that Janet is playing her comeback smart is that the accompanying video for “No Sleeep” features just Janet. There are no back up dancers to distract us, a million-and-one scene changes…and no bulls. While she may not serving us with memorable dance moves, the somber video is every bit as effective, showing just how fabulous and fierce Janet still looks after all these years. Now, is it one of Janet’s best videos? Absolutely not. But it creates just the right amount of sexy buzz for whatever is next on her elusive return to grand diva form. 

3.She’s using just the right amount of spotlight…

It’s no secret that our divas love the spotlight (ahem, Mariah), but sometimes they can be all up in it so much on a comeback that it turns quickly into annoyances of “ugh, this bitch again.” (ask yourself, how many times have you said that about Madonna during her Rebel Heart trail this year?) While we know Janet is very shy and has never been one to hijack the spotlight, it’s because she knows her boundaries. While we can hope that she makes a handful of appearances before the album drops, we can bet that it will never get to that “ugh” level. Case in point, this year’ BET Awards when Ms. J only appeared for a short time, but had all of us clutching our music pearls and reveling in just how fabulous she looked. No flashing her ass on the red carpet was needed–and that’s what makes a true comeback diva. Hustle on.

4.She knows her audience…..

One of the biggest issues with our aging divas is that they go out of their way to find a new audience–while ignoring their loyal fan base (ahem, Madonna.) With Janet, you can tell she has nothing but love for her fan base with “No Sleeep” and isn’t linking up with whoever the kids are listening to these days to sell records. She isn’t going out of her way with countless appearances, writing lyrics about corn chips or putting on a Vegas show. She’s confident enough to know that while new fans are great, her loyal fans will follow her every move–and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing since May. 

5.There are no gimmicks….it’s just Janet.

What it all comes down to is this…we’re getting served with the Janet that we were left after ’08’s Discipline cooled off in the headphones. There are no gimmicks, no annoying #RebelConversationsinACafe, no breakdowns on stage and no acting like a complete f$%kwad. It’s just Janet. Really, don’t we want to see all of our divas just being themselves during a grand return? These days, that theory seems like a lost art.

Those other ladies should take a note or two out of the music book because Janet is serving it up just right-and that’s why all of us have welcomed her back with open arms. Because, at the end of the day, there’s only one Janet, so why would we want anybody else? We don’t.

 

 

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5 Reasons Why We’re Ready for Britney, Bitch

You guys all know by now that Philly Mixtape is obsessed with all things Ms. Britney Spears. Why you ask? Well, does anyone really know why? Maybe it’s her I’m-that-bitch-yet-I-really-don’t-want-to be demeanor. Or, maybe it’s because girlfriend has been through it (no rehash needed), and has survived with flying colors. Most of all, as all of us ‘Godney’ fans know, it’s the music that makes us bow down to her…case closed. For almost two decades (!), Ms. Spears has delivered hits that are sugary sweet brazen pop tunes, that end of the day, really have no filler, but have satisfied us to the core for all these years…

Since the release of her last set, the “ugh” ‘Britney Jean,’ we’ve seen our girl looking fit, healthy and transform herself from pop diva to THAT Las Vegas bitch as her ‘Piece of Me’ residency at Planet Hollywood has been bringing home the music bacon–and then some. Since its launch in December ’13, ‘Piece’ has brought home millions, as well as a number of new contracts which will keep the show going strong. Now that ‘Piece’ has settled into a nice groove, it looks like we can get ready for all things Britney again as our beloved, yet been-through-it queen is gearing up to release her ninth studio album at some point this year. Philly Mixtape thinks we’re ready for a big Britney music comeback, but we just couldn’t do it with one….so we’ve got 5 reasons we’re all ready for Britney, bitch….

1.She’s in grand diva form again….

….well, except when she falls. This morning, video surfaced of Britney taking quite a spill while performing a dance heavy rendition of her ’99 hit, “Crazy,” during her Planet Hollywood show. Always a grand champion diva, Britney tweeted that she “had quite a scare” when she fell, but that she was “doing fine.” Besides the tumble (all the great divas fall…ahem, Madonna.), Britney has shown us recently that she looks hotter than ever, all the while taking her ‘Piece of Me’ Vegas residency to sexier new heights, complete with dazzling new costumes, new dance routines and a healthy new multi-million dollar contract. Throw in the quality time she spent with her sons Jayden James and Sean Preston while ‘Piece of Me’ was on a break, and we would say that Ms. Spears is ready to go….which is great for us.

 

2.’Pretty Girls’ is about to become the first official song of summer 2015…..

Always the trendsetter, Britney is on top of the summer music game this year, hyping us all up for “Pretty Girls,” her sexy new collaboration with “Fancy” rap bitch, Iggy Azalea, which is set to hit headphones everywhere on May 5th. While details on the clip and video are sealed tighter than Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, what we do know is the video for the single is all wrapped up in ‘Thelma & Louise” nostalgia lovin’ and Ms. Azalea WILL NOT be dancing in it. The best part of all this “Pretty” news is that the new found besties will perform their new tune at the Billboard Music Awards next month. (May 17th, 8 o’clock, ABC, to be exact.) If you’ll remember back to this time last year when Ms. Ariana released her Iggy collabo ‘Problem’ to song of the summer results, which ultimately ended up as the beginning of a string of hits off of her hit album, ‘My Everything.’ Hey, if the same kind of summer jump off success is on the horizon for Britney, then we’re so ready…. 

3.Because we need a hot new Britney album to wash away the pain of ‘Britney Jean’….

Let’s go back to 2013 for a moment when Britney released, “Work Bitch,” the lead single from her eighth studio set, ‘Britney Jean.’ The second she came roaring back with the sleek, expensive clip for ‘Work,’ we all thought the album accompanying it would have us putting in more work, bitch. Sadly, this wasn’t the case, as ‘BJ’ would highly disappoint fans and critics, being oversatured with Will.i.am and boring EDM tracks that we’re just, um, boring. With the exception of Sia’s moments on the set (“Perfume,” “Alien”), and the underrated, ‘Tik Tik Boom, ” Britney’s last set proved to be a major fail, y’all. At this point, it’s safe to say that we are beyond ready to forget about Brit’s last lackluster set as a hot new helping of Britney vocals on top of grimy beats will help wash away the pain caused by all things ‘Britney Jean.’ Meaning we don’t want to hear tracks, “It Should Be Easy” or “Chillin Wit U” EVER again….

 

4.Because ‘Oops…I Did it Again’ is about to turn 15….and we need some fresh Britney to make us feel young again!

Next week, Britney’s chart destroying second album, ‘Oops…I Did it Again,’ will be unlocked in the Mixtape Music Vault as it gets ready to turn…..15 next month. Not to make anyone feel old, but wtf? How is this album that old already? It seems like just yesterday we were squeezing into our red leather cat suits and getting lost in all that cheeky “Oops” choreography. But, don’t go reaching for the Botox just yet, a hot new Britney album always makes us feel younger the second we press play, and now that it’s expected to be released this summer, well. that’s like a music botox treatment, cucumber eye peel and face lift all rolled into one! 

5.Because it’s Britney, bitch…

Do you really need another reason?