"What It Feels Like for a Girl" is the third and final single by American singer-songwriter Madonna from her 8th studio album Music and was released on April 17, 2001 by Maverick Records. The single was also released on DVD and VHS containing the controversial music video, directed by Guy Ritchie. Its depiction of violence and abuse caused MTV to ban it before 9pm. The music video contains a dance remix by Above & Beyond which contains only a sample of lyrics from the original album version. It became the biggest selling DVD single of all time in 2001.
A Spanish version of the song was especially recorded for inclusion on the single as the B-side. "Lo Que Siente la Mujer" was released as a promo-only single in Europe. Later it was added to the two-disc Tour Edition of Music and the Mexican Edition of the album along with the remix of the same track replacing "American Pie", and was performed live on Madonna's Drowned World Tour in the same summer.
The song attracted attention because of its music video, which premiered on America Online, but was banned from TV broadcast in many parts of the world. The video features a blonde Madonna (later revealed to be a major felon and con artist) donning a mechanics' outfit, black driving gloves and black stilettos, leaving her motel room and hotwiring a second generation Chevrolet Camaro to pick up an elderly woman (said in the GHV2 liner notes to be her grandmother) from the Ol Kuntz Guest Home. Madonna then causes various degrees of mischief, including tasering a man withdrawing cash from an ATM, firing a silver water pistol at police officers and blowing up a gas station, before finally crashing her car at full speed into a pole. It was directed by Madonna's husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie in February 2001 and filmed on location on Hill Street and 7th Street in Los Angeles, California. The video used an alternate remix edit by Above & Beyond which featured almost no vocals from the original song. This edit can be found on the European single.
Critics railed the video for being overly violent and graphic; Madonna defended the video, stating that male artists get away with the same, if not worse, in their own music videos. The video was nevertheless banned from most North American and European video stations including MTV and VH1, receiving only late-night play, if at all. The decision to ban the video was a source of argument, since it appeared to be no more violent than some television shows that aired at the time. Ironically, the video went into heavy rotation on the Oxygen channel and was streamed on America Online frequently. It was also later played frequently on VH1 Madonna programs, but in an edited format. Madonna released the video as a DVD single on April 17, 2001.
The video used the Above & Beyond remix of the track, which differs from the club-mix they produced. The remix was written in a small room hired out in the studios at the University Of Westminster by Jono Grant & Paavo Siljamki. The third member of the group, Tony McGuinness, joined the group as a result of the remix, having worked for Warner Music previously.
When aired on MTV and VH1, the video was given a TV-MA rating and when the DVD music video single was submitted to the MPAA, it received an R. Interestingly, the DVD single only received a 12 from the BBFC and a PG from the OFLC.
The acclaimed remixing duo was hired to do a remix of "What It Feels Like For A Girl". However, when they were almost finishing the mix, it was rejected because some people renamed the original version of the song as "Thunderpuss Mix" and spread it on the internet. The label thought the remix was leaked from Thunderpuss studio, after an employee claimed that he saw the Thunderpuss remix in rotation on the internet already. Barry Harris (from Thunderpuss duo) talked about this episode in an interview at About.Com website.
Ironically, the internet is the only way to get the Thunderpuss mixes. After the release of the official remixes, the T-Puss mixes were leaked to the internet, this time for real, since it was not going to be released and the remix was completed anyway.
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