Confessions On A Dance Floor is Madonna's tenth studio album that was released on November 9, 2005 by Warner Bros. Records.
- Hung Up 5:36
- Get Together 5:30
- Sorry 4:44
- Future Lovers 4:51
- I Love New York 4:11
- Let It Will Be 4:18
- Forbidden Love 4:22
- Jump 3:47
- How High 4:40
- Isaac 6:04
- Push 3:57
- Like It Or Not 4:32
"Confessions on a Dance Floor merged elements from 1970s disco, 1980s electropop and modern day club music.
Madonna decided to incorporate elements of disco in her songs, while trying not to remake her music from past, instead choosing to pay tribute towards artists like the Bee Gees and Giorgio Moroder. The songs reflected on her thoughts on love, fame and religion, hence the title "Confessions on a Dance Floor."
The album was the complete opposite direction from her previous studio effort "American Life." The songs on that album were a form of diatribe directed at the American society. However, Madonna decided to take a different direction with this album.
Regarding the development, Madonna commented: "When I wrote American Life, I was very agitated by what was going on in the world around me, [...] I was angry. I had a lot to get off my chest. I made a lot of political statements. But now, I feel that I just want to have fun; I want to dance; I want to feel buoyant. And I want to give other people the same feeling. There's a lot of madness in the world around us, and I want people to be happy."
She started to work with Mirwais Ahmadzaï with whom she had previously developed her eighth album Music."
However, that collaboration did not suit Madonna's musical direction. According to Madonna, "[Producer] Mirwais is also very political, seriously cerebral and intellectual. All we did was sit around, talking politics all the time. So, that couldn't help but find its way into the music. I think there's an angry aspect to the music that directly reflects my feelings at the time."
After recording tracks with Mirwais, Madonna decided to stop the project and start fresh. It was then that she turned to Stuart Price who had served as musical director on her two previous concert tours and co-wrote one song on "American Life."
In 2004, after the release of American Life, Madonna began working on two different musicals: one tentatively called" Hello Suckers" and another one with Luc Besson (who previously directed the music video for her single "Love Profusion") which would portray her as a woman on her deathbed looking back on her life.
Madonna collaborated with Patrick Leonard, Ahmadzaï and Price to write new songs, the latter being assigned to pen disco songs sounding like "ABBA on drugs." However, she found herself dissatisfied with the script written by Besson and scrapped it; hence, she and Price decided to use the compositions for the album instead.
According to Madonna, it was easy for her to shift from her previous album's sentiments, since she included those political views in her documentary "I'm Going to Tell You a Secret."
She elaborated: "I was running back and forth, literally, from the editing room with [the documentary's director] Jonas Akerlund to working with Stuart, who was also mixing the music in the film. We were together, non-stop, all of us. Cutting 350 hours of film down to two hours. There are a lot of serious aspects to the movie. I needed a release. When I would go to Stuart's, and we'd go up to his loft, it was like, 'Honey, I want to dance.' I wanted to be happy, silly and buoyant. I wanted to lift myself and others up with this record. So, yes, the new album was a reaction to all the other stuff I was doing, which was very serious in nature. I hope that doesn't imply that I wanted to make a superficial record, because it's not. I want people to smile when they hear this record. I wanted it to put a smile on my face, too."
The first three songs that were written for the album were "Hung Up", "Sorry" and "Future Lovers."
In an interview with Billboard, Madonna commented that the recording process was a give-and-take situation. According to her, Price used to stay up all night working on the songs; this was helped by the fact that he is a DJ and is used to staying awake all night.
This gave Madonna the chance to work on other aspects of the compositions. She noted the fact that she and Price had opposite characteristics, which helped in their collaboration.
The songs were mainly recorded at Price's home. Madonna said: "We did a lot of recording at his house. I'd come by in the morning and Stuart would answer the door in his stocking feet – as he'd been up all night. I'd bring him a cup of coffee and say, 'Stuart, your house is a mess, there's no food in the cupboard.' Then I'd call someone from my house to bring food over for him. And then we'd work all day. We're very much the odd couple."
She further elaborated that their camaraderie was also due to the fact that they had toured together for Madonna's Re-Invention World Tour.
Madonna reflected that her relationship with Price was more of a brother-sister kind than the formal collaborations she was accustomed to during the recording process.
"Confessions on a Dance Floor" is a full-on dance, electronic and disco record which is structured like a nightly set composed by a DJ.
The music starts out light and happy, and as it progresses, it becomes intense, with the lyrics dealing more about personal feelings, hence "Confessions".
According to Madonna, "[t]his is the direction of my record. That's what we intended, to make a record that you can play at a party or in your car, where you don't have to skip past a ballad. It's nonstop." She used samples and references of music by other disco artists.
In the album's first song, "Hung Up", she sampled ABBA's 1979 hit "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", for which she wrote a personal letter to songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, who gave Madonna permission to use the track.
References of other disco-influenced acts (including Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode and Daft Punk) were also used on the album, as were the disco hits of Parisian DJ Cerrone.
The album has a song called "Forbidden Love" (which is different from the same titled song from Madonna's sixth studio album, "Bedtime Stories").
Regarding sampling herself and her own song names, Madonna commented: "I did all of that on purpose, [...] I mean, if I'm going to plagiarize somebody, it might as well be me, right? I feel like I've earned the right to rip myself off. 'Talent borrows, genius steals,' [...] "Let's see how many other clichés I can throw in there. That's exactly it. I was only hinting early on, but then I tell it like it is. It's like, now that I have your attention, I have a few things to tell you."
A pulsating rhythm is present in the song "Isaac", which is regarded as the only song close to a ballad on the album.
However, the song was criticised heavily by a group of Israeli rabbis who commented that Madonna was committing a blasphemy with their religion. They said that the song was about sixteenth century Kabbalah scholar Yitzhak Luria. In reality, it was named after the featured vocalist Yitzhak Sinwani, who sang portions of the Yemenite Hebrew poem Im Nin'alu in the track.
Initially, Madonna toyed with the idea of calling the song as "Fear of Flying" since the idea behind the composition was to let go; however, at the end, she decided to just call it "Isaac" after the English version of Sinwani's name.
Regarding the song's development and the condemnation of the Rabbis, Madonna said:
"You do appreciate the absurdity of a group of rabbis in Israel claiming that I'm being blasphemous about someone when they haven't heard the record, right? And then, everyone in the media runs with it as if it's the truth. And that's a little weird. But what's even weirder is that the song is not about Isaac Lurier [sic], as the rabbis claim. It's named after Yitzhak Sinwani, who's singing in Yemenite on the track. I couldn't think of a title for the song. So I called it "Isaac" [the English translation of "Yitzhak"]. It's interesting how their minds work, those naughty rabbis. [...] He's saying, "If all of the doors of all of the generous peoples' homes are closed to you, the gates of heaven will always be open." The words are about 1,000 years old. [...] [Yitzhak] is an old friend of mine. He's never made a record. He comes from generations of beautiful singers. Stuart and I asked him to come into the studio one day. We said, "We're just going to record you. We don't know what we're going to do with it." He's flawless. One take, no bad notes. He doesn't even need a microphone. We took one of the songs he did and I said to Stuart, "Let's sample these bits. We'll create a chorus and then I'll write lyrics around it." That's how we constructed it."
The lyrics of the songs on the album incorporate bits of Madonna's musical history and are written in the form of confessions.
"Hung Up" contains lyrics from Madonna's 1989 duet with Prince called "Love Song", from the Like a Prayer album. "How High" continues the themes of two songs from Madonna's eighth studio album Music, namely "Nobody's Perfect" and "I Deserve It".
The lyrics of "Push" thank the person who challenged her to expand her limits and also incorporate elements of The Police's song "Every Breath You Take". Other tracks like "Sorry" include the title word in ten different languages (several of which are non-idiomatic).
In "I Love New York" (written at the time of American Life), she praises the city where her career began and replies to negative comments made by George W. Bush.
Elsewhere, Madonna sings about success and fame ("Let It Will Be") and the crossroads of past, present and future ("Like It or Not").
Despite being released late in the year, "Confessions on a Dance Floor" was ranked by the IFPI as the sixth biggest-selling album of 2005 worldwide, with sales of 6.3 million.
Worldwide sales of the album stand at 10 million copies.
In the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 350,000 copies in its first week.
It became Madonna's sixth number-one album on the Billboard 200 and her third consecutive album to debut at the top (following "Music" and "American Life").
On December 14, 2005, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of one million copies.
As of December 2016, "Confessions on a Dance Floor" has sold over 1.734 million copies in America (according to Nielsen SoundScan).
"Confessions on a Dance Floor" received critical acclaim.
At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 80, based on 28 reviews.
Keith Caulfield from Billboard commented that the album is a "welcome return to form for the Queen of Pop."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic commented that it is the first album where Madonna sounds like a veteran musician since she created the record for "the dance clubs or, in other words, Madonna's core audience."
Alan Braidwood from the BBC commented that "[t]his is the most commercial album Madonna has made in 15 years and it's magic."
David Browne from Entertainment Weekly noted that for "all its pretenses of being giddy and spontaneous, though, Confessions is rarely either."
Alexis Petridis from The Guardian said that the album "may be a return to core values, but there's still a bravery about Confessions on a Dancefloor. It revels in the delights of wilfully plastic dance pop in an era when lesser dance-pop artists – from Rachel Stevens to Price's protege Juliet – are having a desperately thin time of it."
Peter Robinson from Observer Music Monthly declared that the album ranks alongside Madonna's other albums like "True Blue" and "Like a Prayer." He credited producer Stuart Price for the album, noting that "Confessions clearly wouldn't exist without Madonna, but it's Price who steals the show."
Stephen M. Deusner from Pitchfork noted that with the album "Madonna again reinvents herself, and it appears she's nearly lapped herself." According to Deusner, the music also makes her appear young.
However he felt that the first half of the album till "I Love New York" was strong, while the second half "loses its delicate balance between pop frivolity and spiritual gravity."
Thomas Inskeep from Stylus Magazine stated that the album is "Madonna's most purely beat-driven album since her self-titled 1983 debut" and "easily her finest effort since Ray of Light."
Kelefa Sanneh from The New York Times called the album "exuberant."
Christian John Wikane from PopMatters commented that the album "proved that Madonna, approaching 50 years-old, is a vital force in the ever-expansive landscape of popular music."
Joan Morgan from The Village Voice noted that "[w]ith Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna at long last finds her musical footing. Easily dance record of the year, Confessions is an almost seamless tribute to the strobe-lit sensuality of the '80s New York club scene that gave Madge her roots, which she explores with compelling aplomb."
Josh Tyrangiel from Time magazine commented that "In dance music, words exist to be repeated, twisted, obscured and resurrected. How they sound in the moment is far more important than what they mean, and Madonna knows that better than anyone. Confessions on a Dance Floor is 56 minutes of energetic moments. It will leave you feeling silly for all the right reasons."
Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine was impressed with the album and said that "Madonna, with the help of Price, [...] has succeeded at creating a dance-pop odyssey with an emotional, if not necessarily narrative, arc — and one big continuously-mixed F you to the art-dismantling iPod Shuffle in the process."
He compared the album to Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue's studio album "Light Years", saying: "Comparisons to Light Years, Kylie Minogue's own discofied comeback album from 2000, are inevitable".
Alan Light from Rolling Stone declared that the album illustrated that "Madonna has never lost her faith in the power of the beat."
However, he opined that "Confessions on a Dance Floor won't stand the test of time like her glorious early club hits, but it proves its point. Like Rakim back in the day, Madonna can still move the crowd."
On November 4, 2005, Madonna opened the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards with her first performance of "Hung Up". She emerged from a glitter ball to perform the song, while wearing a purple leotard and matching leather boots.
During the next few days, Madonna performed "Hung Up" on TV shows such as Wetten, dass..? in Germany, and Star Academy in France, as well as on the Children in Need 2005 telethon in London
In order to promote the album's release, she appeared on Parkinson.
Madonna played a number of songs from the album at London's Koko Club and G-A-Y as well as in United States, Japan, Germany and France, as part of a promo tour to support the album.
The performances saw her emerge from a glitter ball while wearing a purple jacket, velvet pedal pushers and knee-high boots. Songs performed included "Hung Up", "Get Together", "Sorry", "I Love New York", "Ray of Light", "Let It Will Be" and "Everybody".
In December, Madonna travelled to Japan, where "Hung Up" was performed on TV show SMAP×SMAP and her concert at Studio Coast.
On February 8, 2006, she opened the 2006 Grammy Awards, by pairing up with the fictional animated band Gorillaz.
The band appeared on the stage via a three dimensional technique which projected their holograms on the stage. They performed their song "Feel Good Inc." while rappers De La Soul made a guest appearance.
Madonna then appeared on the stage and started performing the song while interchanging places with the hologram figures of the band. She was later joined by her own group of dancers and the performance was finished on the main stage rather than the virtual screen.
Another performance of "Hung Up" came on April 30, 2006 during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.