I’ve been feeling a bit left out of my normal circle of blogger friends lately, because so many folks are going hog wild over the upcoming Madonna greatest hits collection/end of an era/landmark. I have seen that cover so many times over the past week that I haven’t been paying as much attention to articles that I normally would read from start to finish.
Having said all of this, and knowing that certain people who frequent this blog know of my “meh” attitude toward Ms Ciccone, I must acknowledge that this attitude would have been unfathomable 15-20 years ago. In fact, I was a pretty big fan of the early years, with specific landmarks along the way:
– I remember sitting with my stepdad in the parking lot of a hospital, waiting for my mom to come out, when “Holiday” came on the radio. For some reason, I wondered what he thought of the song, although I never asked the question. He was very much into the classic rock stations, so it didn’t seem like a conversation I wanted to have and still have my dignity intact.
– The “Dress You Up” video, to this day, gives me goosebumps. I have no idea what it is about that specific performance, but it has an energy that I believe is incredibly difficult to replicate. There were afternoons during the “World Exclusive” airings on MTV where I wouldn’t leave the house so I could watch the video at the top of every hour.
– How sad is it that I remember the parody video that religious groups came up with in response to “Papa Don’t Preach”? That was just HORRIBLE!
– I drove to Buffalo from Fredonia to pick up the “Justify My Love” video for a friend who was an even bigger Madonna fan than I was. Of course, I picked up the CD single for myself at the same time as buying the video, but it didn’t hurt that I just wanted an excuse to get out of town and up to the big city.
– Erotica and the Sex book both came out around the time I became an assistant manager at Record Town. Talk about anti-climatic…neither of those releases really spawned the radical reaction that you would have pictured, given all of the news coverage they had received.
– Bedtime Stories remains my favorite Madonna CD. I played that bad boy out, and I never felt she was “selling out” by going R&B, because I felt like she pulled it off like it was a natural progression. Besides, “let’s get unconscious honey” has to be one of my all-time favorite lines in any song.
– Although I wasn’t a fan of most of the soundtrack stuff (“Hanky Panky”? Seriously?), Evita was the first serious miss for me. I had no interest in that whatsoever, and thought that her vocals, although better than usual, just seemed thin compared to the bombastic material she was singing. Ray of Light halted the slide slightly, but then American Life killed any momentum that might have been there.
– Confessions is my second-favorite after Bedtime, but it became clear that I would never look at her as an Idol again. The musician and entertainer clashed too much with her public facade, and I haven’t been able to get past that since. Even Hard Candy, which had some good stuff on it, never fully landed with me.
I guess the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t put too much weight on one figure to maintain the same level of mystique for a long time, because that’s just a recipe for failure. Especially when their expected shelf life is much shorter than what everyone else expects.
I’m guessing Miss Ciccone never really “took” with you back in the day, which is cool. I pretty much fell out after Erotica, but there were other considerations going on at the time. When all that shit “cleared up”, my mania came back in force in time for Music and American Life, which I thought was a disappointment at the time. It’s aged very well, though. Confessions is my second fave too, but Like a Prayer is my all-time fave.
Prayer comes in at #3 for me. “Til Death” is one of the coolest songs that she’s ever recorded.
I certainly feel she is a legend, but I kind of feel like, other than for her superfans, she has lost her relevancy in terms of the mainstream top 40. I love love loved “Give It To Me” and it’s remixes, to be sure, but most of her new stuff just sounds like her old stuff, remixed. Plus, I feel like her truly great stuff was her early stuff, and we already have a greatest hits for that.
Plus, the Andy Warhol thing is such a Marilyn rip off…hmm.
Well, in her defense, the Marilyn thing was a big part of her career. If there’s one spot she can get away with using it, it’s a Greatest Hits collection.
I gave up on that old slut way back in 1990. I couldn’t care less about her upcoming GH. I have the early albums and I really don’t need to hear the sad shit that’s been tarnishing her legacy ever since.
Tell us how you REALLY feel!
I totally agree with you and what you said about the whole lifelong fan thing, I think she has some very just ok songs over the years. We know much more about stars than we did back in the 80s, even if she blows her nose its on a website,
I think that she is madonna, popstar, public figure, mother etc and v much businesswoman and that she has always had a tough side and that people are v aware of that,
she still makes me happy because of the huge amount of music over the years,
I really liked Paul’s post, Madonna should count her lucky stars to have her fans, (like all my fave bloggers),
I completely think that as bloggers we don’t all have to agree with what others feel about an artist,
Thanks, David. It’s just interesting to me when people that you seem so aligned with normally have a radically different take on a particular song or artist. Sometimes you can’t help but feel left out of the excitement.
Totally agree. I just don’t feel the spark anymore. It amuses me that Madonna fans are so excited about the same stuff being served on a different plate, with a couple new garnishes.
Well, it is a Greatest Hits. Or does she have to innovate every time to be seen as credible?
I guess I’m a diehard, because I’m really excited about this. I’m listening to “Ray of Light” at the moment actually. Madonna was my first pop music love back in 1987 (Who’s That Girl was the second pop music tape I ever owned). And she’s remained my greatest ever since.
Your excitement is palpable, and I’m a little jealous of it.
Will! I thought you were excited about the new song too?! I guess like with Whitney, I liked Madonna so much that I do have a sense of loyalty and I do enjoy much of her recent output, particularly Confessions. I think Celebration is a lot of fun and I’m excited for the next stage of her career.
As we discussed the other day, Take A Bow is my fave Madonna song of all time, i love it. Erotica crept up the list to be one of my fave albums over the years, though Prayer still wins that hands down 🙂
Paul, you bring up an interesting point. What DO you see for her next stage?
Aw, it’s nice to read some nice things about Madge, even if they are from her first decade as an artist. You know I’m crazy about her and could totally pee myself when I listen to “Celebration,” but I know you and I will never see eye-to-eye on Madonna, but I love you anyway! 🙂
I’m fair, if nothing else, Buck.