In Defense of Madonna:
A "Flat-Earther" Confesses his Occasional Enjoyment of "Lame 80's Pop"
At work, we have a notable collection of records we play over the sales floor - maybe two-thirds donated and one-third collected intentionally by the store owners. My coworkers stick to a couple dozen of their favorites and the occasional something familiar. But I've made it my mission to give each record a turn no matter how garish or dated it may be. It's been quite the fun experiment with some truly unique offerings - and a lot of Bob Dylan.
A few nights ago, I thought I might get away with playing Madonna's Rebel Heart. I made it through most of the album - though I had to pull it when the heavy panting, over-the-top S.E.X. began. Several customers were politely oblivious as I rushed across the sales floor, that I might change my all too progressive musical selection. We entered the danger zone: Oh my god, your so hot / pull my hair, let me get on top... I felt forced to chastise the artist as I flipped to another record.
I enjoyed a few tracks off Rebel Heart and thought they were fun (most notably the title track, and Unapologetic Bitch worked while the store was empty), but for the most part, I felt the album falls shy of Madonna's best. In honor of Rebel Heart - and so I might solidify my opinions about it - I decided to revisit my Madonna collection and give it another listen - mostly as I drove to and from work. I currently have six albums: The Immaculate Collection, Bedtime Stories, Ray of Light, Music (where the crap is my copy of Music?!), American Life, and Confessions on a Dance Floor. I started by listening to Ray of Light, written and produced while Madonna was pregnant with her daughter, Laurdes Marie. For those that might be interested in Madonna's vast collection, Ray of Light is the icon's magnum opus IMHO (although I will also accept Music, True Blue, or Confessions on the Dance Floor as alternative answers).
I like Madonna. Although she may be Queen of the Illuminati: a soul-sucking, baby-killing, reptilian shapeshifter set on destroying human decency one dance track at a time, I often enjoy the talents of this celebrated, prolific, and controversial popular artist. Her aggressive sexual content and general disdain for propriety is both repulsive and alluring, often during the same song (Human Nature, Erotica, and Justify My Love come immediately to mind). The best of her music is catchy, exciting, revealing, and utterly repeatable. She is one of Homer's sirens - attracting far more than she repels.
But I do not love Madonna. I once suffered through half of Desperately Seeking Susan - and there is also Madonna's vague resemblance to a girl I knew, one of those evil rock-throwing types that will lie about a boy behind his back to all his friends - for these reasons (and the babies) I'm not sorry Madonna's acting career fell in the shitter. But I thank Baphomet for much of her music! For her sake, I hope she comes back as a beautiful, talented, world-class actress in her next life - one that just happens to sing like a cat.
M. Andrew Jones