Oh Madonna, you really shouldn’t have.
Three years after her last album, Madonna has burst on the scene again with a new single and a new album “American Dreams.” I’ve not had the chance to hear the new album yet but I have heard the new single and I have one word to sum it all up: ick.
Seems that since Ray of Light, every Madonna song sound exactly the same. And I am really tired of listening to that vocal effect of digitizing the voice that seemed to be really popular after Cher started to overuse it on all her recent releases. And the rapping … oh please … kill me now!
I have never been a huge Madonna fan, but I always respected her ability to market herself. She’s not a talented singer or songwriter, but she has always known how to put on a good show and cause a controversy. Perhaps I have always had a bone to pick with her because I believe that she stole Cyndi Lauper’s thunder. Still, I recall Madonna being the star that all the “cool, naughty, 8th grade girls, who French kiss and wear lace gloves” listened to when I was in 6th grade. I secretly saved up my allowance to buy “True Blue” as that my parents did not approve of that “Madonna Woman.”
Life went by and I grew up and all the way was Madonna. I watched her in the press and listen to whatever new single was on the radio and I was never truly moved by her music but I did like her as a person because she seemed to do what she wanted and was so brash. I commended her on her willingness to push the envelope. When I became a DJ for a bit in the late ’90s and 2000, my specialty was being an ’80s DJ, and “Holiday” was always one of my top requests.
Then … something happened. Madonna started to have children, got married (again) and began to tone down. I was terribly disappointed in her as that in the end; I felt that she had taken a cop out. Sure she was getting older but to me I see men twice her age still acting that way with the Vim, Vigor, and Vitality (look at Huge Heffner) and were still seen as being relevant and exciting. Madonna’s recent behavior in the past few years has seemed “forced” to me … as if to say “Look, I’m still that woman who pushes your buttons … only I need to tone it down more because I have the responsibility of my family to think about.”
In the meantime, the cheesy fun of her pop tunes has diminished as well over time. We’re lucky now if there is one good song on the album … and even if it reaches the top of the charts, does it do it on its own or because it’s “Madonna’s New Song.” This brings me full circle to “American Life.” Already there is hoopla over the song … is it anti-war, anti-Bush … etc …
If you read any of the press on it, they keep talking about the video and was it made as a statement. Madonna claims in interviews that she had the ideas for the video long before the war broke out. Even so, Madonna is at her best when in the midst of a controversy and in this case, riding the coattails of one. In this case, if her first single is anything to represent the rest of the album … Perhaps it’s best she’s stuck in the middle of a controversy, instead of us focusing on how awful the song is.