Madonna: Alt-rock queen?

First there was Madonna’s Grammy duet with Gorillaz; now comes the news that she’s going to make her rock festival debut on April 30 at Coachella, before heading off on her club tour. Is Madge going alternative on us? Do you think she’ll mesh well on a bill that includes Franz Ferdinand, Tool, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, My Morning Jacket, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? I don’t know, but I’d love to be a fly on the wall backstage to hear what Madonna and Karen O or Cat Power have to say to each other.


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  • Cliff

    Madonna’s rise to fame was alongside the kind of bands that Franz Ferdinand is aping, and Karen O’s wardrobe and stage persona owes a pretty heavy debt to Madonna as well. I’m sure everyone will get along fine. After all, David Bowie sent Madonna in his place to the Rock n Roll hall of fame, and in I’m Going To Tell You A Secret, she looked pretty chummy with Iggy. Her alt cred is secure. Cat Power might think she’s alternative, but Madonna took on the Pope. That’s downright punk.

  • Ep Sato

    In the days when radio stations never played “alternative rock”, that music meant something. Now, it’s pop with guitars and a little “edge”. Given Madonna’s status as a popstar with plenty of “edge” herself, she seems a perfect fit!

  • Paul U.

    i just hope those kids show her the proper respect!

  • cRAIG

    she’ll fit in fine. i could care less about her music these days, just like i could care less about franz ferdinand or the yeah yeah yeahs…

  • brandonk

    Madonna is plenty versatile, and although her experiments don’t always work, they’re usually interesting.

  • Carlos

    Are you people high?? Am I the only person who is witnessing the travesty behind all of this? Do these people live off of MTV 24 hours a day? This is outrageous!! Madonna being a ‘perfect fit’ among the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Franz Ferdinand? Have these people even listened to any of their music?! When I think of the Coachella festival, I, like most of the country, think of original groundbreaking rock/indie bands like Radiohead, The Cure, The Pixies, Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, etc. An aging popstar still trying to appeal to young ‘hipsters’ with disco music shouldn’t come anywhere close to mind. And to those people who believe that Madonna was billed because of her ‘edge,’ well, yes, Madonna was edgy… in the early 90’s. Now Madonna doesn’t have as much as a smooth surface, let alone an edge. So don’t feed me this nonsense on how Madonna is ‘punk’ for taking on the Pope. BIG DEAL. That is nothing but a feeble attempt at publicity, which pretty much sums up how Madonna got and kept a career in the first place (that and how people seem to think that changing a hair and clothes style is way of ‘reinventing one’s self. Those people don’t seem to really know what they’re talking about). I’m mostly disappointed with the baseheads who thought booking Madonna on this festival would be something of an original idea, when really it’s diminishing the overall spirit of the festival that brought not-so-credited rock bands to the fore front. I guess it just goes to show how they assumed how musically uneducated and unappreciative this country really is.

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    Madonna gave up her right as an alt-queen when she left the 80’s alt-dance group “The Breakfast Club”!

  • Maya

    Madonna, Scottish castles, faux English accent, mink-and-diamond eye-lashes and all, is about as alternative as…the Pope! I’m not a Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Franz Ferdinand fan, but booking Madonna for Coachella is LUDICROUS! Is she going to open her show by — gasp — kissing Karen O?! Oooh, risque Madonna, there she goes again, taking on Big Bad Social Institutions. Is Britney going to be there too? And Christina? Now, booking K Fed — *that* would be a hoot.

  • Yo

    When are people going to finally understand not to question Madonna and just see what happens with an open-mind?

  • Carlos

    Excuse me, but the reason why people normally go to Coachella in the first place is because they HAVE an ‘open mind’ about music. They want to listen to some real music and escape all the other garbage that is being normally being played on the radio like, for example… MADONNA! Do you see where Maya, Stephanie and I are getting at, ‘Yo’? Or are you trying to tell us that you’re sick of hearing the Pixies or the Flaming Lips being played on the radio day after day and that Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’ is an underrated tune that should be a hit song? Ask yourself who REALLY has the open mind.

  • Nicole

    “Are you trying to tell us that you’re sick of hearing the Pixies or the Flaming Lips being played on the radio day after day and that Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’ is an underrated tune that should be a hit song?”
    LOL!!! Carlos, I agree with you 100%. Coachella is about getting away from the mainstream and from the constant crap spewed by radio (even so-called “alternative” stations choose to play it safe instead of playing ACTUAL alternative music – I can’t remember the last time I heard Pixies, Wolf Parade or Modest Mouse on my local alt station). When I heard that Madonna was playing Coachella I couldn’t believe it. What a disappointment. Why don’t they just add Black Eyed Peas and Mariah, change the name to PopFest and call it a day? Jeez, what a sad state of affairs.

  • Carlos

    Well, Nicole, its people like yourself that give me hope in knowing that there are at least SOME people who know what true music is and what kind of ‘sad state of affairs’ we are truly in. Amen to your statement about alternative radio as well. I myself have pretty much given up on radio at this point. I’m just glad somebody else recognizes how absurd all of this is. Coachella was something I’ve always looked forward to every year, so it goes w/o saying I was just as P.O.ed as you were regarding the Madonna thing. Thanx for the support in my statements.

  • Mario

    Carlos, Maya and all others unhappy about Madonna being booked at Coachella — You don’t have to go. Simple as that; why bother moaning and groaning about something that is obviously beyond YOUR control? Obviously, you would have never booked her yoursel). You simply don’t have to go, period. Secondly, why sit here and type up an entire book about it on popwatch?
    Good on her for actually agreeing to do this festival, she’s a phenomenal businesswoman who always has an uncanny way of figuring out how to market her product, music, persona, etc. Ultimately, all of these bands would give an arm or their “left testicle” to have an opportunity to achieve the stardom and success she has managed to achieve and maintain over the past 20+ years. If that isn’t the case, why then are they even in the music business? If it’s for the love of music, there’s always church.. you can sing there for free or why not set up a volunteer band that visits old folk’s homes or cancer patients to cheer them up — for free — but the truth is that these bands will also benefit from having someone NOT from their normal fan base see them perform, who knows, they might actually gain some fans; after all, Madonna fans also like other types of music, not just Madonna. At least in my case anyway. But isn’t that where we differ? While those of us who like Madonna and have been fans of Madonna have an open mind on just about anything, it seems that those who are supposed to be ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT and PRO-DIVERSITY are anything but either of those things.

  • Carlos

    “Secondly, why sit here and type up an entire book about it on popwatch?”
    Well, judging by the length of your statement, would you care to be the pot or the kettle? Our moaning and groaning obviously hasn’t stopped you from doing the exact same thing. I’m proud to admit that I personally have nothing better to do at this current time. What’s your excuse?
    “But isn’t that where we differ? While those of us who like Madonna and have been fans of Madonna have an open mind on just about anything, it seems that those who are supposed to be ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT and PRO-DIVERSITY are anything but either of those things.”
    First and foremost, just because I have a certain distaste for Madonna, her booking in Coachella and the current trends in modern rock radio doesn’t necessarily make me or any other person on this blog “anti-establishment.” We just have our preferences; It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re ready to say ‘down with corporations’ and that ‘only the bands we like aren’t about the money but about the music.’ Don’t be so quick to judge people by the opinions that they have about one or two things. Secondly, it’s not like any of us have never heard Madonna’s music and aren’t willing to have an open mind about it. Actually, none of us can help but hear Madonna’s music one way or another because it’s been jammed down our throats for the past couple of decades by MTV, VH1, radio or any other music outlet that won’t stop promoting her music. That is why certain people go to Coachella because they won’t have to be concerned with very much of that kind of crap. And if you’re accusing us of not having an open-mind about music, people go to alternative concerts to see ALTERNATIVE music. It doesn’t mean we don’t have an open mind about music in general, it just means we’re not going to a rock festival to hear pop music. Do you think the average fan of the Lilith Fair would go to that show if Slipknot were billed? Of course not. Well, the Madonna thing is just an example of that. And if you think that Madonna is doing this to possibly gain a greater fan base like all the other bands on the tour, this is MADONNA we’re talking about here. Does she seem like the kind of artist who really NEEDS a greater fan base at this point in her career? She’s had an enormous fan base for years now; Why would she have to go on Coachella to prove herself to people who predominantly have no intention of hearing her music?
    To sum it up, don’t be so surprised that people are disappointed with the Madonna at Coachella thing. If you looked at past billings of the Coachella tour, that should have given you an indication of why we are reacting we are.

  • Mario

    Carlos, I wrote one (1) statement about it and left it alone, unlike you who continue to make entries, running around in cirlces professing your distaste for Madonna. Is it really that important? When she comes on stage, leave.. go use the bathroom, take a smoke break, go take a dump or do whatever. It is really NOT that serious dude, life is too short.

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