Enrico

Madonna's writing credits

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A recent thread has been investigating why people say Madonna has no talent.

I have been trying to figure out the limits of her musicianship (for instance, the heavy use of backing tracks and bad musical direction in her recent tours) and I also said that she recently gets “fake” writing credits because she is not writing songs as she used to. I thought it could be nice to investigate more about this and believe, I hope I can be proven wrong. I really think Madonna is a great artist and has changed music forever. She has written immortal songs (most of all Like a prayer album), but I have the impression that in the past decade she gets writing credits for changing just a line or two. There was also a lawsuit with Ingrid Chavez for Justify my love, if I remember well (actually her demo sounds exactly the same).

 

This is what I can tell from listening to the original writer’s demos that have surfaced (made as a demonstration for M - you can find almost all of them in the Audio section):

CANDY PERFUME GIRL: almost identical

NOTHING FAILS/SILLY THING: minor changes (“the tree of life”; “you washed away my fears”)

HEARTBEAT: change from 3rd person to 1st person in the chorus and a few lines in the verse

GIRL GONE WILD: just a few lines (“Get fired up like a smoking gun”; “It must be the Tanqueray”) + Act of Contrition

SOME GIRLS: almost identical

LOVE SPENT: a few lines in the verse

FALLING FREE: just a few single words

 

I am not saying she hasn’t done anything in the composition, but she hasn’t really written those songs, but gave an almost irrelevant contribution. Other songs, on the contrary, show relevant changes:

SWIM: totally revised lyrics

RAY OF LIGHT: second verse added

SPANISH LESSON: the Pharrell demo just has “working lyrics”

GANG BANG: very different from the Mika demo

TURN UP THE RADIO: new lyrics

I’M A SINNER: the “all saints prayer” addition

HOLD TIGHT: change in the structure and the pre-chorus

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Didn't she also just change a couple of words in Papa Don't Preach, and then get the writing credit? And I remember hearing several years ago that In Jump, she wrote only the simple chorus, and the rest was Joe Henry. I could be incorrect of course

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8 minutes ago, PWCCA said:

Didn't she also just change a couple of words in Papa Don't Preach, and then get the writing credit? And I remember hearing several years ago that In Jump, she wrote only the simple chorus, and the rest was Joe Henry. I could be incorrect of course

Well, I don't know about Jump because the original version is not available. When she changed Joe Henry's "Stop" into "Don't tell me", she made it her own and created a masterpiece!

 

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11 minutes ago, PWCCA said:

Didn't she also just change a couple of words in Papa Don't Preach, and then get the writing credit? 

Additional Lyrics only.

14 minutes ago, PWCCA said:

... And I remember hearing several years ago that In Jump, she wrote only the simple chorus, and the rest was Joe Henry. I could be incorrect of course

Personally, never heard about that.

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On 10/11/2018 at 7:29 AM, Enrico said:

... There was also a lawsuit with Ingrid Chavez for Justify my love, if I remember well (actually her demo sounds exactly the same).

 

Additional lyrics, i really doubt Madonna 's rights in that song is more than 30%, mainly because of her name. 

I gotta say if you think Madonna is the only one who does that then you're all wrong; Paul McCartney once said John Lennon wrote nothing on Hey Jude and other songs too, and some songs were mostly written only by John Lennon, but that didn't stop them from being credited as co-writers.

Some very (somehow and god knows why) respected artists have ghost songwriters, i'm not gonna bring names here.

Madonna is a great songwriter, but in my opinion, after Cabala her written became very simplistic ( i'm not saying the songs before were all high level writing, but make something that is simple and yet great is not easy); lately it seems that she only knows how to write about Cabala or spiritual subjects, maybe that's why she's been using more other people's music and doesn't write the whole lyric like she used to do. 

I also read some people saying: "she only writes the lyrics" (which is not true) to deminish her songwriting abilities, but in fact  several songwriters say the lyric is the most difficult part of a song.

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55 minutes ago, Dazedmadonna said:

The leaked Ingrid demo for Justify My Love is a fake, tribute cover.

I never knew about that, but i never heard that demo until i joined here. What i know about the song is that Ingrid wrote a love letter to Lenny Kravitz, while they were having an affair, he liked and turned that letter into a music and presented to Madonna; she signed  an agreement giving up the rights over the letter's content and therefore the song, later, i believe after the success the song reached, she changed her mind about it and sued Madonna, that's what i know.

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41 minutes ago, BringUrLUV said:

We can add Revolver.  She was given main writing credit & the demo w/ the demo singer's vocals that leaked sounds the same as her version word for word.

 

But Madonna's version features an additional verse I think:

You've been hit by a smooth criminal
A bad girl
I got you cryin' to your mama
Sayin'
I can't believe it
I seen ya tight
Bring ya knife into a gun fight
Caught up in love right
Think I'm in love, I

 

 

15 minutes ago, poserdemadonna said:

In Don't Tell Me she changed ONE word and got credits as a writer.

At least she totally revised the melody line in this one!

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1 hour ago, Enrico said:

But Madonna's version features an additional verse I think:

You've been hit by a smooth criminal
A bad girl
I got you cryin' to your mama
Sayin'
I can't believe it
I seen ya tight
Bring ya knife into a gun fight
Caught up in love right
Think I'm in love, I

 

 

At least she totally revised the melody line in this one!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIE3HBY64dc

It's always been there - 1:03 same verse...when it was announced Madonna was picking up this demo 3 different ones leaked, two with just RaVaugh and one with Lil Wayne. Around 1:50 is unused lyrics that as far as I know Madonna didn't use.

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47 minutes ago, Dita Parlo said:

So is the point of this thread to discredit M as a songwriter?

Not at all, but to analize her specific contribution. The fact that she recently complained with Guy Oseary about the songwriting camps ("where no one can sit still for more than 15 minutes") gives me hope that she wants to go back to a more personal way of writing songs.

I find that some of the songs that she gets unique writing credits, like Sidewalk talk and especially Gambler, are really really good!! :clapp:

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Well I don't what's the truth but I think she's enough smart to write some good lyrics. :Madonna048: Looking at the songs you mentioned, most of the songs that she didn't contributed that much, are her worst. While Swim has amazing lyrics. :Madonna043:

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Just because we have session singers singing alternate versions doesn’t mean m didn’t contribute to writing the song. William Orbit discussed this when mDNA was recorded, because M had limited studio time she would write and session singers did demo vocals, also in terms Of Falling Free the other writer was clear that Madonna co-wrote.

how do we know that this method of working hasn’t been used on other demos??

i don’t doubt that for some songs she perhaps doesn’t add  a lit, but melodies etc can earn credit

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10 hours ago, poserdemadonna said:

Everybody and Lucky Star are also 100% Madonna

Everybody is half Stephen Bray half Madonna. They worked out a deal in which, M was given solo writing credit for Everybody & Stephen was given solo writing credit for Ain't No Big Deal. Madonna's name alone appears on the credits for Physical Attraction when first filed in 1982 but when re-filed Reggie Lucas was the only name that appeared.

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10 hours ago, Popeline said:

Ingrid chavez demo ha no music and it's a poem. The most famous line from it (at the end of the video) is not in the original "demo".

 

Yeah it was Lenny who added the music and turned the poem into the song which he then presented to Madonna, she had no idea about Ingrid until she was sued. 

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9 hours ago, Candy Perfume Boy said:

Just because we have session singers singing alternate versions doesn’t mean m didn’t contribute to writing the song. William Orbit discussed this when mDNA was recorded, because M had limited studio time she would write and session singers did demo vocals, also in terms Of Falling Free the other writer was clear that Madonna co-wrote.

how do we know that this method of working hasn’t been used on other demos??

i don’t doubt that for some songs she perhaps doesn’t add  a lit, but melodies etc can earn credit

If you change a word of a song you should get writing credit. I remember Cher saying she changed a few words on Believe but she is listed nowhere on the credits, it's truly a shame if that's true. I remember a quote from Stephen Bray on Madonna, that she wouldn't sing/record anything unless it had her name on it, he was talking about if that's Madonna singing on Lies In Your Eyes by Level 1 thats been passed around for years as her. 

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My take on this, for what it's worth is this. If i'm a detective, I investigate, interview and get the suspect charged where he goes to court. Someone else may have taken statements for me, collected the CCTV, may have even done the arrest. Someone else does fingerprints, DNA and photo. Someone else charges. Lawyers fight the case at court  overseen by a judge, guided by a court clerk and a jury of 12 decide guilt. So many others involved. However, it's my case my win. I get the credit if we win, I take the blame if we lose. 

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I think her best lyrics ever are Promise to try. Really honest, no one has ever been able to describe so well how you feel when someone dies... And I would say also Live to tell, which goes very deep despite never expressely saying the precise theme, and Mer girl, so original, pure poetry.

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1 hour ago, Enrico said:

I think her best lyrics ever are Promise to try. Really honest, no one has ever been able to describe so well how you feel when someone dies... And I would say also Live to tell, which goes very deep despite never expressely saying the precise theme, and Mer girl, so original, pure poetry.

i think her best lyrics are secret garden .

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