The war is over and there’s a new queen of pop: Miss Mariah Carey.
How do we know?
Hitsdailydouble.com is reporting that estimated first week sales for Madonna’s Hard Candy album will range between 275,000-300,000.
Mariah’s “E=MC2” sold 475,000 in its first week and was Carey’s biggest debut ever.
In addition to that, Madonna’s numbers are a slide downwards from her last album, "Confessions on a Dance Floor," which 350,000 copies its first week out and went on to sell 1.7 million copies in the U.S. That was three years ago.
So what happened? Kabbalah and Malawi didn’t help, neither did dependence on Justin Timberlake singing like Michael Jackson on the debut single, “4 Minutes to Save the World.”
Madonna is also hobbled by the Warner M. Group’s broken marketing machine and the company’s sinking stock. It’s a good bet that Wall Street analysts will be asking about “Hard Candy” on next week’s conference call with Bronfman and Cohen.
Madonna will keep pumping “Hard Candy” tonight at 10 p.m. with a six song set at the Roseland Ballroom that may feature a whooping Timberlake and the 50-year-old singer wearing leather chain mail.
If it’s anything like her Roseland performance several years ago, though, on Monday, November 6, 2000, I wrote that night: that stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna's pal
Rupert Everett, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner with his boyfriend, Matt Nye and actor John Leguizamo were all there, but the hoi polloi dressed like a Rocky Horror Halloween.
There were a lot of rhinestones and cowboy hats. There were also drag queens of every size and shape, boys in dresses, the whole thing. No one would have been surprised to see deceased Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell rise from the dead.
The show that night lasted 20 minutes. There were almost no live instruments used except in a semi-acoustic "Don't Tell Me," which had a cadre of cowgirl violinists and was the best number of the five. Otherwise, it was all deadly pre-recorded synthesizer. As one security guard said, "Four days work, and it was just 20 minutes?"
The show had a forced feeling. There was no spontaneity. And if Madonna really cared for those thousands of fans who'd been hanging around for three hours, a couple of her hits wouldn't have been so hard to perform.
We’ll see how different tonight’s show is…
Yes, folks, it’s true: Lindsay Lohan is busy recording her third album. She’s left the auspices of Tommy Mottola and his non-starter revival of Casablanca Records, but stayed in the Universal Music Group family.
Following in the hallowed footsteps of Mary Wells, the Supremes and Martha Reeves, not to mention more recently Erykah Badu, Lindsay is now on Motown. You’re snickering, but don’t: Motown once was called "The Sound of Young America." And La Lohan at 21 fits that bill.
I am told that among her collaborators is Snoop Dogg, who has cut a track with Lindsay that insiders say sounds "amazing." UMG is sparing no expense on this recording, bringing in all the usual suspects like Timbaland and Pharrell to make a good record for the rehabbed and revived Lindsay.
Meanwhile, Lindsay’s little sister, Ali, age 14, is in the studio recording her own album for another branch of UMG: Jimmy Lovine’s Interscope via Maloof Music. The latter is owned by the Maloof Brothers of Las Vegas, whose Palms Hotel is a hotspot on the strip. The Maloofs not only are underwriting the album but also the reality series Ali and mom, Dina, are starring in for "E!"
The brothers let the Lohans stay at the Palm, just as Michael Jackson and his brood have been living in another part of the hotel. It makes you wonder if there are any paying guests in that place.
I ran into Dina Lohan on Monday night with her brother Paul at the premiere of "Made of Honor." After reading about her in the tabs and seeing her on the syndicated shows, I was prepared for just about anything. But I’ll tell you: Dina is much more attractive and younger-looking in person.
She lives on Long Island but was raised in the Bronx, which means: She’s tough. She seemed like a straight-shooter to me, although we did not get into any tab-like questions. Her biggest news: With the advent of the reality series and Ali’s burgeoning career, she’s thinking of spending the summer on the West Coast with Lindsay, Ali and her two sons.
As for Dina’s notorious ex-husband, Michael Lohan, she told me: "Don’t get me started! I have total custody of my kids. He has nothing."
Nothing — except a daughter who’s recording with Snoop Dogg.
Carly Simon is still sultry at almost 63 years old; it’s hard to believe her landmark album, "No Secrets," was released in 1972, some 35 years ago. Oprah should be doing two specials on that this week, if you ask me. But that’s another story.
Tuesday night Simon and her band — including musician-son Ben Taylor and singer-songwriter David Saw — launched her newest album, "This Kind of Love," at Joe’s Pub to a room overstuffed with fans and friends. Some of the latter included famed songwriter Jimmy Webb, who co-wrote and produced some of the tracks.
So here is Simon, a breast cancer survivor, winner of an Oscar (for "Let the River Run") and countless other awards. Her place in rock history is secure and she’s well-fixed for life. What does she need with this? Her old label, Elektra Records, barely exists anymore.
But Simon is among the last of a dying breed: a real composer and performer. "This Kind of Love" — released on Starbucks’ Hear Music label, now a part of Concord Records — is full of real songs with strong memorable melodies and delicious lyrics.
The title track already is getting some action on "adult" radio, but there’s a lot more, including "Island," written by son Ben; "How Can You Ever Forget," co-authored with Saw; and "In My Dreams," with Webb and Peter Calo.
In concert, Simon is full of surprises. Not that she performs live very often: She’s known for stage fright. Tuesday night’s two-hour set didn’t show any sign of it. In fact, new arrangements of old hits such as "You’re So Vain" and "Anticipation" were so fresh-sounding that Simon is being urged to record an "unplugged" album in that vein. It’s a smart idea.
It’s kind of ironic that Simon and Madonna each have released albums on the same day. While Madonna’s feels like the usual commercial enterprise, Simon’s is the artistic success. The former is full of tricks; the latter has no artifice.
In small Joe’s Pub, Simon hit all her notes, including some astonishingly high ones. Her band just played; there was no augmentation. Unlike Madonna, Simon has no secrets. At least, not on stage.
You may know actor Evan Handler as Charlotte’s nice Jewish hubby, Harry Goldenblatt, on "Sex and the City." He’s also David Duchovny’s pal on Showtime’s "Californication."
What you may not know: 23 years ago, Handler almost died. He was 24 and diagnosed with leukemia. The prognosis was not good. But after a bone marrow transplant and five years of treatment, he was cancer-free.
Now Handler has written his second book — the first was published a few years ago. "It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive" is published officially this week, right before he reprises his role in the big-screen "SATC."
Evan tells me he has four readings set up, and that some "SATC" cast members may stop by. Even if they don’t, the readings should be hot tickets. They are May 1, New York, Barnes and Noble at 66th and Broadway, 7:30 p.m.; May 6, L.A., Barnes and Noble at The Grove, 7:30 p.m.; May 12, L.A., Booksoup on Sunset (W. Hollywood), 7 p.m.; May 23, Pasadens, Vroman's, 7 p.m.
And the book? It’s very funny and full of insightful recollections. But the best Evan Handler story will wait, I guess, for his next memoir: How back in 1991, erratic British actor Nicol Williamson injured him in a swordfight one night while they were performing "I Hate Hamlet" on Broadway. Handler left the show before its run ended. Now, there’s a story!