Madge and Mariah Switch Beds

On Friday night at the Ritz, that trumped-up gay bar up in Hells Kitchen, something entirely too ordinary happened once too often: Madonna’s “Get Together” came on.

That’s the one that goes: “Can we get together? / I really, I really want to be with you.” (OMG, LOL, she’s so like deep.)

The gays pretty much always freak when something from her 2005 album Confessions on a Dance Floor gets played. It has hit its expiration date hard. They like it—but at this point, it’s as inflected with nostalgia as “Borderline” or “La Isla Bonita.” And on Friday night, according to two attendees, a distinct expression of “meh” accompanied the ritual playing of the Madge.

The DJ might as well have brought out some Laura Nyro. Immaterial, girl!

And so Madonna’s sterling collection of gay mini-anthems is played out. Time goes by—so quickly!

The Asperger-techno affect of Confessions (“In the evidence of its brilliance,” she repeats unfeelingly on one track) and its intention-span disorder (“I’m gonna tell you about love,” she promises, on the same track—but then she never does! What up?) made for intensely irritating listening … the first eight times around.

But and then. Last year I bought a mildly expensive pair of Bose over-ear headphones—and I found out that the album was actually brilliantly assembled. It was a noncommercial, Euro-friendly whomp of giddy-serious club music. (Lesson learned. Throw those awful iPod earbuds away.)

It might even be her only real album.

But while it took her deeper into gay hearts, it took her out of the increasingly segmented radio world of America. And that seems to be where she now intends to return—the radio.

Over the past week, her newest single, “4 Minutes,” to be released later this month, has been leaking in lawyer-influenced stops and starts on the Internet.

It is an incredible mess. From what can be judged through the clippy audio of the leak, at least, it is awful. It has Justin Timberlake on it, which is just weird, and tardy.

And, fine, let’s just say it, and risk the everlasting wrath of her empire. Why is Justin Timberlake cutting a track with his mom?

It sounds like something cheesy for the soundtrack of a “Heroes” tie-in giveaway CD, with her vocal way back and a thumpy beat not quite thumpy enough and a terrible non-hook hook. (O.K., yes: In a month, for two whole days, I’ll think it’s the best song ever. That’ll pass.)

So the gays are in a quandary. They’re done with Confessions. What if they hate Hard Candy—release date April 29—this newest calculated collection of semi-music?

They really might. This album isn’t intended to buy their love. (Unlike last time around. For Confessions, Madonna showed at the New York gay clubs to hand-sell it to her longtime influencers.)

But now: “Madonna remains ensconced in club mode but this time adds an urban hip hop beat,” goes the press release for the new album. Oh … an URBAN hip-hop beat. Good grief!

Meanwhile, back in New York—because, despite her silly “I Love New York” track on the last album, Madonna left us for England, in an unfortunate trade for David Beckham’s wife; heck, she bought an actual pub in the West End the other day—Mariah Carey is preparing to eat the rest of Madonna’s lunch with her incredibly titled E=mc².

Madge and Mariah Switch Beds