I love Madonna. I do.
But now that I am comfortable enough to declare this in public I also have to qualify it – to say that I don’t love her now, but to say that you could still call me a fan. I love old school Madonna. Circa “Borderline” all the way up to and including her 2003 album American Life, which recently made the cut (I used to peak at the Grammy wining Ray of Light) after a thorough re-listen and a real love for the sixth track, “Nothing Fails”.
I love eighties Madonna with the black lace and ribbons and fingerless gloves and poofy skirts. The odes to dancing (Get into the Groove) and celebrations (Holiday) and the sweetly controversial love songs (Like a Virgin). And then there was the Madonna I also really got to appreciate. The nineties Madonna of Human Nature and Erotica — unashamed and challenging. The unending question of why her actions are causing controversy when her male counterparts are doing the exact same things (“would it be better if I were a man?”). Her challenges to the status-quo about gender and sexuality–one of my all-time favorite moments in a song is the prologue for “What it Feels Like for a Girl”:
“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short because it’s ok for a girl to look like a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, because you think that being a girl is degrading…”
So there’s that, her being conscious of being a woman in a man’s world. But also, really, she has made some seriously good music and her voice does have some honey-ish tones to it when she’s intimate and strumming a guitar. She can dance, we all Vogue’d – and did that cowboy dance in the video for “Don’t Tell Me”—and several songs like “Material Girl” stand the pop-cultural test of time.
According to Billboard, the Queen Mother of Pop (as I have maybe just decided to nickname her) had the highest grossing live tour in 2012 for her latest album MDNA, with $228.4 million in ticket sales.
“Who the hell is buying Madonna tickets?” You might find yourself asking out loud.
People like me, that’s who. People who want to see the tear-inducing choral moments of “Like a Prayer” or the different renditions of “Vogue” with modern day stars replacing the Grace Kellys and Harlow Jeans. To experience it live and maybe get drinks and go to the loo during the songs on MDNA. Not to hear her being an (with all due respect) idiot asking the audience if they have seen “her friend” Molly – and such like ridiculous headline evoking nonsense. And she can keep that stuff at home because we liked her when she was a woman, acting her age and putting out a strong and slightly outrageous role model for girls who wanted to do stuff. And dance.
So I’m making this playlist in honor of that Madonna; and as a form of self – defense for the next time I happen to clear a party with Madonna Appreciation Hour. Because when it comes down to it, I would probably (actually definitely, given the funds) pay to see her live. And apparently I’m not the only one.