The medieval Italian poem Paradiso is often considered the pinnacle of Italian lyric poetry. Dante wrote the poem during his exile from the city of Florence in the early 1300s, during what is referred to as the “Ghibelline” phase of his career.


With sales of over 300 million records worldwide, Madonna is noted as the best-selling female music artist of all time by Guinness World Records. She is the most successful solo artist in the history of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and holds the record for the most number-one singles by a female artist in Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. With a revenue of over U.S. $1.5 billion from her concert tickets, she remains the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time. Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, her first year of eligibility. She was ranked as the greatest woman in music by VH1, and as the greatest music video artist of all time by MTV and Billboard. Rolling Stone also listed Madonna among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

The pop-music world around Madonna has expanded in such shockingly strange new ways in the past couple of years that her precisely executed performance almost seemed too delicate (“Medellín” is down-tempo for a Madonna song; at the all-inclusive Mexican resort I visited over spring break, the poolside aerobics teacher played the song as a warm-up). Teenagers have always dominated pop, but now that most new music in the United States is streamed, how many times a song is listened to by one person counts much more than how many people listen to a song — and kids simply have more time to stream music than adults. When I checked the charts after the show, rappers born after President Bill Clinton’s election were in the top slots (Lil Nas X, Lil Skies, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert). Older musicians had to pander to the teenage demographic or even younger; Swift’s new single, “ME!” sounded like a Kidz Bop version of a Taylor Swift single and actually featured her shouting, during the bridge, “Spelling is fun!” (Source: www.nytimes.com)

She was a single mom of six now. Her second husband, Guy Ritchie, was gone, along with what her spokeswoman at the time said was $75 million of her money — immortalized in her song “I Don’t Give A” with the lines “lawyers, suck it up/didn’t have a prenup.” The removal of this amount may have made the Jenga tower of her fortune shiver but not fall down. For the past few years, she has been in London less than in the hilltop village of Sintra, Portugal, where her son David Banda, 13, attended a top soccer academy and she became perhaps the world’s most famous globe-trotting soccer mom. She told me she wasn’t yet over the release of her last album, “Rebel Heart,” in 2015, which sold less than her others. The songs had leaked online several months early, far from perfection. “There are no words to describe how devastated I was,” she said. “It took me a while to recover, and put such a bad taste in my mouth I wasn’t really interested in making music.” She added, “I felt raped.” It didn’t feel right to explain that women these days were trying not to use that word metaphorically. (Source: www.nytimes.com)

The conventional wisdom is that Madonna became more famous than everyone else because she was dying to become famous. What set her apart was her bottomless maw of ambition. And over the years, her statements — “I want to rule the world” — supported this theory. Today she put it this way: “First of all, I wanted to make a living. I was tired of being broke. But second of all, all I wanted was a song to get played on the radio. That’s all I was praying for. One song.” In Portugal, she felt like a girl without that desperate desire, less brittle than she had been — playful, interactive, open to diverse influences, as she was in the past. “When I was living on the Lower East Side and I didn’t see many concerts, I knew about Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde and the Talking Heads and David Bowie, but there was no pressure for me to be anything specifically, to sound a certain way, to look a certain way,” she recalled. “That’s an important thing, because it allowed me to develop as an artist and to be pure, without any influences. What I try to do now is to remember that girl.” (Source: www.nytimes.com)

MADONNA: I like Banksy. I think he’s inspiring and he speaks to what’s going on in the world, socially. I like JR. Like [Jean-Michel] Basquiat and Keith Haring, who both started off as graffiti artists—their art is on the street, available for anyone to see. It’s not elitist. You can see Banksy’s work driving by it on the street, and JR’s work—the way he takes photographs of people and turns them into heroes in their communities and makes people proud of who they are. My son is interning with JR right now and that’s a great education for him. (Source: www.interviewmagazine.com)



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