4 Minutes (Madonna song)


"4 Minutes" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna from her eleventh studio album Hard Candy. It was released as the lead single from the album on March 17, 2008 by Warner Bros. Records and features American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake and Timbaland who also co-wrote and produced the song. It was mixed by Demacio Castellon. The single scored Madonna her 37th Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hit, making her the artist with the most Top 10 hits in the history of the chart, surpassing Elvis Presley. In the UK, she retained her record for the most number one singles for a female artist, this being her 13th. The video has been one of the most watched videos on YouTube in 2008, and the most watched video of Madonna's career, with over 50 million views in just 6 months, as of October 8th, 2008.

Song information

The song is sometimes referred to as "4 Minutes to Save the World", including by Madonna herself. The song received its first airing when co-producer Timbaland played part of the song at a concert on December 16, 2007 in Philadelphia. After brief appearances on YouTube and Perez Hilton, Warner Bros. quickly got the clips removed for copyright infringement. Additionally, part of the song was played on a French radio station on February 29, 2008, later leaking online as a radio rip from the broadcast.

Despite the title, the song lasts slightly more than four minutes while the radio version lasts around 3 minutes.

The single officially debuted on radio on March 17, 2008, and was released digitally in the UK on the same day. It was released digitally worldwide (except USA) on March 18, 2008 and in the US on March 25, 2008. The song was also used for a television advertisement for Sunsilk that began to air on March 17. The song was also included in the 2008 film Get Smart as well as being used in the end credits (and here is where the "4 Minutes to Save the World" title comes into play: in the film, the song is used to relay a message to Maxwell Smart about a bomb that's about to detonate in the Walt Disney Concert Hall). The Music Video has been viewed over 50 million times as of October 8th, 2008.

The song was performed during the Hard Candy Promo Tour and the Sticky & Sweet World Tour.


The Rolling Stone magazine described the song as having "a marching band aesthetic as blasting brass play a scale-like riff", and called the song "a loud, busy, energetic track." Billboard magazine reviewer and editor Chuck Taylor said that with the song Madonna "is poised to score her first top 10 hit since 2005's 'Hung Up.' ... There's an awful lot going on in the busy dance track ... but the trade-off chorus between Madge and Justin ... is hooky enough unto itself to sell the song. BBC Music described "4 Minutes" as sounding "so futuristic it could realistically have been beamed in from the end of the world. "4 Minutes" was called one of Hard Candy's saviors by The Independent, who noted that "the Mardi Gras marching-band bumping rumbustiously along" is one of the album's "most ambitious offerings. Heidi Kotanski of Common Sense Media wrote, "While the afrobeat horn breaks drive the energy of the single, Madonna takes back stage to Timberlake's best impersonation of Michael Jackson and the overpowering erratic electronic sounds signature of Timbaland's production. Chris Sosa of Musicouch described the song as "big, loud, and borderline obnoxious" but still mainting a "summer-anthem quality".

Radio success

The single broke a record in Canada when it debuted at number one on the Canadian CHR Audience chart. This was the first time any single debuted at the top of the chart. The song entered Canada's CHR Spin's Chart at number 5, the second song to debut within the Top 10. This song also entered Canada's All Format Audience chart at number 2, the highest debut ever on the chart.

"4 Minutes" debuted at number twenty-three on United States' CHR/Top 40 National Airplay radio chart. It was also that chart's most added song of the week, with over seventy new stations. "4 Minutes" debuted at number eighteen on the Radio & Records Pop Chart on March 26, 2008.

Chart performance

"4 Minutes" has topped the charts in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom and reached the Top 5 in Austria, France, Japan, Russia, Sweden and the United States, becoming Madonna's first chart-topper single in two years since "Sorry" and one of her most successful releases in her career.

"4 Minutes" has also become a success in Oceania. "4 Minutes" made its debut at number-three on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, and ascended to its peak at number-one two weeks later, where it spent three consecutive weeks. "4 Minutes" has since been certified Platinum by ARIA for sales in excess of 70,000 copies. In New Zealand "4 Minutes" made its debut at number-fifteen on the New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart, and ascended into the top ten in its third week on the chart. "4 Minutes" eventually reached its peak at number-three in its fifth week. "4 Minutes" is certified Gold by RIANZ for sales in excess of 7,500 copies.

"4 Minutes" Madonna's 61st UK hit single made its debut on the Official UK Singles Chart at number-seven on March 23, 2008 based on download sales alone. On April 20, 2008, 5 weeks after release it finally made No.1, "4 Minutes" became Madonna's record-breaking 13th number one single, and spent four consecutive weeks at number-one. To date, "4 Minutes" has sold 411,060+ downloads/singles in the UK and is so far the 5th best selling single in the UK of 2008. "4 Minutes" is also her most successful single in the US to date.

"4 Minutes" became Madonna's first Top 10 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 since "Hung Up" in 2005 and her highest-charting U.S. single since "Music" in 2000. With the song Madonna scored her 37th Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hit, making her the artist with the most Top 10 hits in the history of the chart, surpassing Elvis Presley. Based on its first week of airplay, the song made its debut on the U.S. Mediabase Top 40/Pop Airplay Chart at number 23 with an airplay bullet of over 2000. The single jumped from number 68 to number three on the Billboard Hot 100, spurred by digital download sales. The song sold 217,000 in its first week of wide release and entered the Hot Digital Songs chart at number two. The single has reached number one on both Hot Digital Songs and Hot Digital Tracks. It has sold over 2,000,000 downloads in only a few weeks, and was certified Platinum by the RIAA on June 12, 2008. It is Madonna's first Platinum single since Hung Up. In July of 2008, it reached double platinum status in the US. Her last single to reach double platinum status was Vogue. In Spain, the single was certified 3x Platinum for more than 60,000 downloads.

Music video

The music video was filmed in four days at Black Island Studios in London: January 30, 2008 with Timbaland and from January 31 to February 2, 2008 with Madonna and Timberlake, directed by French duo Jonas & François (Justice's "D.A.N.C.E."), with choreography by Jamie King.

The music video begins with Timbaland performing his opening lines, in front of a screen showing exactly four minutes in the format of minutes:seconds:frames (SMPTE). A black graphic line seems to destroy his speaker equipment, turning the vibrating part to dust, and liquefying the volume knob. After some brief scenes of Madonna and Timberlake standing faced back to the camera, it shows Madonna leaning on car while pushing it back into a house where Timberlake and Madonna both sing while removing a piece of clothing as the black graphic line that supposedly has 'got' Timbaland follows them both, the people living in the house seem oblivious to the black crystalline background as it turns their skin and part of their flesh transparent. Madonna and Timberlake then jump out the window (the fact that the house is just a set is not hidden as the other side of the window is shown to be a set) and end up in car junk yard where they begin to dance and evade the black shapes at the same time, as a dancing duo stand on top of a car (Japanese hip-hop dancing duo "Hamutsun Serve). Their fate is unknown, but supposedly they are eaten away by the black background as well. After this they both run into a supermarket while the same black background follows them, Madonna and Timberlake begin singing in the aisle of the supermarket while shoppers carry on as normal. Madonna and Timberlake move on to start dancing on the conveyor belt at the checkouts. Madonna is then seen (legs only) walking through an office building while the black background stalks her. They then run into a bathroom and remove another piece of clothing while the black background follows outside, they then run out of the bathroom and appear to walk in to the same room Timbaland was seen in before, they immediately start performing choreography in front of the screen, now counting down from four minutes. They continually dance and remove a final piece of clothing from each other as the black background comes at them from both sides. The video ends with the black background finally catching up to them while they stop dancing and move closer to each other, as it starts to turn their skin and flesh transparent, Timberlake's chest disappearing to reveal his ribcage, and the right of Madonna's jaw disappearing.

The music video was released in some countries on iTunes Store on April 3, 2008. It also made a television premiere on MuchMusic at midnight on April 6, 2008 and on MTV's TRL on April 7, 2008.

The video has been nominated for a VMA at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards in the "Best Dancing In A Video" category

As of September 12, 2008, the video is the 14th most watched music video by an artist on YouTube.

  • Directors: Jonas & François
  • Producer: Greg Panteix
  • Director of Photography: Dan Landin
  • Editor: Danny Tull
  • Production Company: 75

Track listings and formats

4 Minutes was released in a staggering amount of formats, and unusually, each format was accorded a separate release date. In the UK, almost two months separated the release of the song as a download and the final format release of a 12" picture disc.UK CD 1
(slimline jewelcase)(2-471292 0-5439-19939-5-3)

  1. "4 Minutes" (Album Version) — 4:04
  2. "4 Minutes" (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Remix) — 5:39UK / AUS CD Single
    (slimline jewelcase)
  3. "4 Minutes" (Album Version) — 4:04
  4. "4 Minutes" (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Remix) — 5:39
  5. "4 Minutes" (Junkie XL Remix) — 6:16UK 12" Vinyl
    (Picture Disc)(0-9362-49860-1-0)
  6. A1. "4 Minutes" (Radio Edit) — 3:10
  7. A2. "4 Minutes" (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Edit) — 4:57
  8. B1. "4 Minutes" (Junkie XL Remix Edit) — 4:39
  9. B2. "4 Minutes" (Tracy Young House Radio) — 3:33International CD Single
    (cardsleeve)(2-471356 0-5439-19939-4-6)
  10. "4 Minutes" (Album Version) — 4:04
  11. "4 Minutes" (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Remix) — 5:39US 7 TRACK PROMOTIONAL CD
  12. "4 Minutes" Same 6 tracks as US Maxi-Single but includes the otherwise unavailable (Tracy Young House Dub) — 7:54
EU / US Maxi CD Single
(2-463036 0-9362-49871-2-3)

  1. "4 Minutes" (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Remix) — 5:39
  2. "4 Minutes" (Junkie XL Remix) — 6:16
  3. "4 Minutes" (Tracy Young House Mix) — 7:55
  4. "4 Minutes" (Peter Saves Paris Remix) — 8:52 (misprinted as 8:37)
  5. "4 Minutes" (Rebirth Remix) — 7:57
  6. "4 Minutes" (Junkie XL Dirty Dub) — 4:52U.S. Digital Maxi Single
  7. "4 Minutes" (Edit) — 3:11
  8. "4 Minutes" (Peter Saves Paris Edit) — 4;49
  9. "4 Minutes" (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Edit) — 3:23
  10. "4 Minutes" (Junkie XL Dirty Dub Edit) — 4:05U.S. 2 x 12" Vinyl
    (Special Jacket)(0-463228 0-9362-49870-9-3)
  11. A1. "4 Minutes" (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Remix) — 5:39
  12. A2. "4 Minutes" (Peter Saves Paris Remix) — 8:52 (misprinted as 8:37)
  13. B1. "4 Minutes" (Tracy Young House Mix) — 7:55
  14. B2. "4 Minutes" (Junkie XL Dirty Dub) — 4:52
  15. C1. "4 Minutes" (Album Version) — 4:05
  16. C2. "4 Minutes" (Rebirth Remix) — 7:57
  17. D1. "4 Minutes" (Junkie XL Remix) — 6:16

Release history

Region Date Format
Germany April 11, 2008 CD
France April 14, 2008 CD
Australia March 17, 2008 Digital download
April 18, 2008 Remixes Digital download
April 19, 2008 CD
United Kingdom March 17, 2008 Digital download
April 21, 2008 CD
June 2, 2008 12" Picture disc
Worldwide March 18, 2008 Digital download
United States March 25, 2008 Digital download
April 15, 2008 Remixes Digital download
April 29, 2008 CD single


Chart (2008) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart 1
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart 1
Canadian Hot 100 1
Dutch Singles Chart 1
Billboard Eurochart Hot 100 1
Finnish Singles Chart 1
Finnish Download Chart 1
French Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 1
Greek IFPI Singles Chart 1
Israeli Singles Chart 1
Italian FIMI Singles Chart 1
Japanese Oricon International Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 3
Norway Singles Top 20 1
México Top 100 Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Polish National Top 50 1
Portuguese National Top 50 1
Romanian Top 100 1
Russian Airplay Chart 5
Spanish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
Turkey Top 20 Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Airplay 1

Worldwide sales

Country Certification Sales
Digital Singles
Australia Platinum 70,000
Belgium Gold 15,000
Canada Platinum 126,591
Denmark 2x Platinum 30,000
France 108,000+
Germany Platinum 300,000+
Norway Platinum 50,000
New Zealand Gold 7,500+
Spain 3 x Platinum 60,000
Sweden Gold 10,000
U.K. Gold 415,060+
U.S. 2x Platinum 2,208,194 20,000


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