Despite her “fall” from grace last night, Madonna has not really set the world alight since her Music album of 2000. For the last fifteen years we’ve had albums that were mediocre at best and public appearances and videos hat were embarrassing rather than crowning for the “Queen of Pop”.
This is not about her age, it’s about her music. She was a pioneer for female artists with her visual reinvention, great writing and collaborations with interesting and new producers. Now her music is unmemorable and you wouldn’t rush out to buy it anymore. Is it because other artists have claimed her spot? Not particularly there is only Lady Gaga that could fill the space left by Madge, but she instead has made her own impact and stands in her very own position of greatness amongst musicians – anyone who watched her performance at the Oscars will agree with that.
Through the eighties, Madonna produced great pop songs that had a depth and longevity to them – “Like a Prayer” for me is one of the best pop songs ever written and her first Greatest Hits “The Immaculate Collection” is a deserved classic album with sales into the tens of millions worldwide. But “Ray of Light” and “Music” are the only albums that can really be held alongside those early efforts. All her focus has been on the shock and image front rather than making great music.
Does that mean we dismiss her? No, of course not but when you falling off a stage gets you more attention than your latest album or single and you are this Icon, then it says something about your stature in the industry these days. If there were less revelations about her life, religious beliefs, younger boyfriends, her children and publicity stunts we’d have more time for her. She got away with her softcore porn book “Sex” and her varied film appearances because the music was so good – take away that catalogue of achievement and it’s just a rather sad woman doing exercises to dance beats. No one needs to see that.
She will always be one of the greats, but I’d rather she went away and did more interesting music as she did in the early nineties. There she played and experimented with her style, writing and music. She doesn’t need to be the bombastic, explosive and attention grabbing artist – we have Miley for that – we’d rather have the person who wrote the soundtrack to our lives.