Rolling Stone 1 / 3

By Dana Flax

Having played covergal for Rolling Stone a dozen times now, Madonna is pretty much the Queen of RS covers. In the latest (on stands today), Madge opens up about her "challenging year," her most "retarded" (her word) songs and questionable fashion and her most recent "SNL"-catfight-cum-fauxmosexual-make-out-partner, Lady GaGa. Read some highlights from her interview below, and then go to RollingStone.com to check out more.

Madonna Looks Back: The New Issue of Rolling Stone

On identifying with Lady GaGa:

"I think Lady Gaga is great. When we saw her, I actually felt a kind of recognition. I thought, 'She's got something.' There's something quirky about her. She's fearless and funny, and when she spoke to the audience, she sounded intelligent and clever. She's unique."

Madonna becomes the only person to ever describe Lady GaGa's beginnings as humble:

"There's people like Justin Timberlake, who's really good-looking and laid back. He's sort of a Cary Grant. I love him, I love working with him, but I don't recognize myself in him. But I can see myself in Lady Gaga. In the early part of my career, for sure. When I saw her, she didn't have a lot of money for her production, she's got holes in her fishnets, and there's mistakes everywhere. It was kind of a mess, but I can see that she's got that 'It' factor. It's nice to see that at a raw stage."

On throwing herself into work during difficult times:

"What can you say? It was a challenging year. I think work saved me, and I'm very grateful that I had work to do. I may have thrown myself off a building. Life is an adjustment. It's different. My sons aren't with me right now, they're with their father, and I'm not very comfortable with the idea of my children not living together. There are pros and cons, but I feel good now."

On her most surprisingly popular songs, as evaluated in a Guy Ritchie dialect:

"The songs that I think are the most retarded songs I've written, like 'Cherish' and 'Sorry,' a pretty big hit off my last album, end up being the biggest hits. 'Into the Groove' is another song I feel retarded singing, but everybody seems to like it."

On whether any artists have (gasp!) turned down working with her:

"I wanted to work with Eminem. I don't think he wanted to work with me. [Smiles] Maybe he's shy."

Her self-described worst look ever (and how we should take it with a grain of '80s amnesty):

"I think it was the purple lipstick, fluorescent-green sweater combo. So many of those hairstyles. It's OK, it was the '80s. It was a bad-hairstyle era, let's face it."

RELATED LINKS

More on Wonderwall:

Is Madonna heir to the throne of Queen of Pop?

See more pictures of Madonna

Follow Wonderwall on Twitter

Video: The Top-Earning Musicians

More on RollingStone.com:

Celebrating Madonna: The Queen of Pop's 50 Most Iconic Moments

Madonna: The Rolling Stone Covers