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.