pop culture

Happy 50th, Madonna!

I’m still on Olympics schedule, although I have been done with the nights schedule since last weekend. After finishing those on last Saturday morning, I then worked in New Jersey/Englewood on Monday and Tuesday, then had Wednesday and Thursday ‘off’. I say ‘off’, because on Wednesday some crap hit the fan at work so I spent a few hours remotely working from home. But at least Wednesday evening I got to have some fun as Shelly, Larry and I went over to our friend Claudia’s new apartment in Jersey City Heights for a rooftop dinner. She and her husband just moved to this Fantastic building and their apartment is riduclously nice, with some absurdly high ceilings, a gorgeous living room and kitchen, and an amazing bedroom and literally has a shower room. Unreal. But what was cool was up on the roof, there’s a nice patio deck up on top which has a 360 degree view of the area, with Manhattan in its full splendor as the main attraction though. So as we ate, and it got darker, Manhattan lit up. It was amazing. Then on Thursday, again, I had it ‘off’, but I had to go in for a meeting where I was giving an update to my boss’s boss’s boss about my software application. Oh fun. It went relatively well, all things considered.

But having to go in for that was okay as afterwards, I met up with Larry to finally see [title of show], one of the newer Broadway shows that opened up. It’s quite good and much different than anything I’ve seen yet, as it’s a musical that is about the creation of a Broadway musical, and it stars only 4 people, who play themselves as they created the musical. The songs and cast are great and it’s quite a funny show too. Good times! Here’s an embedded ad to give you a taste of the humor:

Yeah, the show ended up being awesome. But then I had to begin my 3 day-shifts, which are Friday – Sunday. As you can surmise, I’m at the beginning of my 2nd day-shift, which is 7am – 7pm. That is horrendous, as I am sooooo not used to waking up at the buttcrack of dawn anymore. And that is exactly what I have to do in order to get to work on time. Especially today and tomorrow, as the ferry doesn’t start running until 8am, so I have to take the light rail and then the PATH train into Manhattan, so my commute starts around 5:50am. Eff that.

So here I am now, surfing the web and sorta waking up. I went to my site and saw one of the featured articles was a rundown of Entertainment Weekly’s 27 favorite Madonna videos, in honor of her birthday. Since I really don’t have much to do at work on a Saturday, I’ve decided to watch all the embedded videos they put in the article, and man, talk about a walk down memory lane!

This is the link to the article:,,20195949,00.html

And here’s my thoughts on the videos while watching them, as honestly, I’ve really not got much better to do this morning!

Everybody – 1982: Wow….the 80s never looked so….80s. I love the song, but it’s actually kind of a long song, and this ‘video’, well, needed to be a lot shorter. But in 1982, I guess we weren’t really sure about this whole video thing just yet. Love the dance moves though. I was 6 years old when this come out!!! Crikey.,,20195949_1,00.html

Like a Virgin – 1984: Ah, here’s where we start to see Classic Madonna. I can never get the Reservoir Dogs scene out of my head though when watching this video or listening to the song, as that interpretation of the song is probably the most accurate one, considering Madonna… But what the hell is up with LionMan?,,20195949_2,00.html

Material Girl – 1985: One of my all-time favorite Madonna songs and videos. I still remember this being one of my favorite songs when I was a little 9-year old listening to this on the radio. In fact, this tape was the very first tape I remember getting as a kid. That probably should have been an indicator. πŸ™‚ But how awesome is this video?,,20195949_3,00.html

Dress You Up – 1985: I like the song, but this video/tour footage is absolutely hilarious. It really brings back to you the fact how much Madonna influenced pop culture at the time, with all the girls becoming clones of her images.,,20195949_4,00.html

Papa Don’t Preach – 1986: I swear, when this first came out and was playing on the radio, I swore it used to be “Papa Don’t Breathe”. It makes the song take on a whole new meaning. I know my mom loves this video….mainly because of the guy that Madonna gets knocked up by! It’s a cool video though, and definitely shows the grittier side of NYC.,,20195949_5,00.html

Like A Prayer – 1989: I guess Open Your Heart didn’t make the cut….but I guess that’s not really all that great a video, and a little pervy. But this has to be one of my all-time favorite songs and videos of Madonna’s. The song itself is so catchy and memorable, plus the no-holds barred video and the associated controversy definitely put her on the map as one who was willing to go further than you ever thought she would. Burning crosses and bleeding black Jesus-eyes? yep, they’re here.,,20195949_6,00.html

Express Yourself – 1989: Uh, this video is fantastic. Another great song off of a fantastic album….but let’s be honest here, this video is fantastic for a whole ‘nother reason: the ridiculous amount of hotness contained within. Probably the video of hers that has the highest hotness per second ratio, what with all the wet, muscled guys doing push-ups and fighting and stuff. Even as a young 13-year old, I think I knew at that point I liked this video for reasons that weren’t quite making sense to me….,,20195949_7,00.html

Vogue – 1990: ….Greta Garbo and Monroe, Dietrich and DiMaggio….. even if you’re straight, you know that ‘rap/spoken-word’ section late in the song when she lists off all the classic icons from the first half of the 1900s. What a fantastic song and video…which are so intrinsically linked. Madonna definitely hit her stride at this point of her career. You gotta love that top she’s wearing at the beginning of the video…seriously, are her nipples there or were they edited out?,,20195949_8,00.html

Justify My Love – 1990: Geesh! This video is pretty damn explicit, and freaky. But again, most of my associations with this video got back to a SNL skit they did for Wayne’s World, when Garth and Wayne do a Dream Flashback and end up in this video with Madonna, and Garth ends up being the freaky interpretive dancer with the giant package. Awesome. But talk about a crazy video, but this definitely was when Madonna was all about SEX.,,20195949_9,00.html

Erotica – 1992: And to hammer that SEX point home, here is another utterly sex/fetish-obsessed video. Very interesting, no doubt about that. And it’s a great song, definitely in retrospect. I remember when it first came out that I was less than impressed with this title track and much preferred other songs from the Erotica album, but looking back, the whole album is really one of those that takes some time to better appreciate. And basically this video serves as a video companion to the images from her Sex book, which I’ve only seen bits and pieces of. I remember working at B. Dalton and we had copies of her Sex book, but the French version, as the English version sold out. I was so tempted to buy one but I just couldn’t figure out how the hell to not only buy it but then bring it home and try to explain having it to my parents. And that wasn’t a book you could easily sneak, as it was a HUGE, metal-covered book!,,20195949_10,00.html

Take a Bow – 1994: I loved the song immediately upon hearing it on the Bedtime Stories album (a wildly uneven album in my opinion, although it has some GREAT songs). Not a huge fan of the video though. Don’t care about the whole bullfighting thing, but I see where she was trying to go with it as Evita was right around the corner in her career.,,20195949_11,00.html

Bedtime Story – 1995: Love love love this video. Love it love it love it. One of my first true experiences with electronic-style music and I liked it. And the video is a freakin’ trip. Always get chills near the end of the video when the music amps up and just devolves into electronic chaos and is accompanied by her orgasmically flying through space. And who can’t enjoy seeing Madonna’s eyes replaced with two mouths and her mouth becoming an eye? I remember my mom telling me that while the rest of the video was fine, seeing it at 4:30 in the morning while getting ready for work freaked her out. LOL.,,20195949_12,00.html

Human Nature – 1995: One of those great songs that I would’ve imagined being a totally different video….and nothing at all like what was created. So it’s good I have nothing to do with videos, as what they did here was a great interpretation, with lots of black latex and enclosed spaces and surprisingly, lots of humor.,,20195949_13,00.html

Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina – 1996: You know, I have to admit that considering this isn’t the easiest song to sing, Madonna does a pretty good job with it. She’s not Patti Lupone by any stretch, but considering this is the woman who sang Like a Virgin, this is a stellar job. I will admit I prefer the dance remix of this song though. It’s got a great hook in it that sounds like the harpsichord from 12 Monkeys. If you have seen 12 Monkeys and heard the remix, you’ll know what I’m talking about.,,20195949_14,00.html

Frozen – 1998: Ah, the Ray of Light album’s first single and Madonna’s next era begins, as she enters something where she no longer seems to be a Pop Sensation and tries to do something more. This is definitely a fantastic album and Frozen was definitely a great song and interesting video, but I remember being nervous when this video was first released, because while I appreciate progression and heartfelt ethereal songs, I still liked my Madonna with catchy pop songs too…which fortunately the album did have, as did later albums.,,20195949_15,00.html

Ray of Light – 1998: Hyperactive and award-winning, I’ll always remember my first listen to the Ray of Light CD (yes, CD – not on mp3/iPod yet as those weren’t to be popular for another year or so) while working on Linear Algebra homework. I was sitting in my Casa Ophir apartment in Westwood (UCLA), working on solving matrices in the chair by balcony, and this song came on. I just couldn’t help dancing when this song came on the first time. I was trying to concentrate on matrices, but Ray of Light blasting in your headphones is impossible to ignore, especially the first time! I love this video, especially this one shot of Madonna late in the video where she’s on the dancefloor and she has this ultimately sexy and slow-motion thing going on.,,20195949_16,00.html

Beautiful Stranger – 1999: Austin Powers vs. Madonna = a fairly entertaining video. She looks good in this video and the chemistry between Mike Myers and Madonna is great. I’ll always love the fact that Madonna was on SNL with Mike Myers in the infamous Coffee Talk segment where Barbra Streisand made the surprise appearance at the end. As if Coffee Talk wasn’t hilarious enough, but Mike Myers, Madonna, and Roseanne Barr were fantastic together.,,20195949_17,00.html

American Pie – 2000: Really…? This was one of the 27 best? I didn’t hate this version of the song by her, as some did who thought you can’t touch the sacred original. But I usually forget that she even covered this song….,,20195949_18,00.html

Music – 2000: HELLS yeah. This song and video are fantastic. And she had Da Ali G around her long before he was known at all in the states (whether as Sacha Baron Cohen or Borat). But let’s talk about what matters: this song is such a dance classic now and the video definitely kicks it into high gear, even if she’s so obviously pregnant in it!,,20195949_19,00.html

Don’t Tell Me – 2000: You know, I remember first hearing this song and not really thinking it could be interpreted in a Cowboy way. Then you see the video once and it’s impossible not to think of it like that. And it’s a very sexy video, and those cowboy background guys are smokin’. I’ve not really been into that as a fetish, but it certainly can’t be argued that a well-made man wearing tight cowboy gear = the HAWT. On a purely technical note, I love the way that the video combines the soundstage and background visuals. Pretty cool and clever.,,20195949_20,00.html

What It Feels Like For a Girl – 2001: I think I’ve seen this video three times ever, with one of those times being today. This is another one of those videos that definitely doesn’t really seem to match up with what you would have imagined the video to be, especially considering the song’s sound. She definitely takes the old woman for a violence-filled ride!,,20195949_21,00.html

Die Another Day – 2002: I absolutely love this song, while I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority for thinking that. I loved it as a James Bond theme and while it’s not my favorite Bond theme (that goes to View to a Kill), it is right up there. Another video I haven’t really seen that many times, but it’s pretty interesting, that’s for sure. It fits right in with the theme and visual style of the movie. I do remember driving my team in Lajes (the Azores) nuts though with the uber-techno remix of this song I found in London….,,20195949_22,00.html

American Life – 2003: This album is so disliked by most Madonna fans…and I can’t figure out that sentiment, as this is possibly one of my most favorite albums of hers. Yeah, her rap is silly in this song, but it’s a cool song regardless and the album as a whole is damn good (except for the song I’m So Stupid – I absolutely HATE that song). I never saw the original video which is apparently hard-to-find, and this video really doesn’t do much, except show lots of world flags…which I get enough of out here at Rockefeller Plaza!,,20195949_23,00.html

Hollywood – 2003: Now this is actually quite an interesting and entertaining video. She’s got all these cool 70s looks going on, from glamour queen to go-go dancer in the dance studio. But ewww at the Botox shot, although I get the message she’s sending about the ultimate fake ‘reality’ of Hollywood. Another great song from American Life – it’s a good album, I swear!,,20195949_24,00.html

Me Against the Music – 2003: Ah, pre-meltdown Britney! Love her! But I luv this song and video starring both Britney and Madonna. These last few videos (American Life, Hollywood, MatM…) always remind me of Las Vegas, as these came out all during my time living there. Ah, the memories. But of course, I digress. It was cool to see Madonna as a guest star here on a Britney track, and at one point you might have thought it was a little like watching the mantle being passed on from an ‘old’ pro to the new generation. But as has been shown time and time again, Madonna had to prove herself in a far different environment (the 80s music video scene) than what is found in today’s much-more corporate-created culture; today’s acts don’t seem to have the longevity or drive to be truly successful. And here’s Madonna still kicking around, and while not nearly as successful as she was in her glory days….damn if she isn’t still a presence!,,20195949_25,00.html

Hung Up – 2005: EW calls it a comeback hit….and I guess that’s true. But did she really ‘come back’ or was it just reminding the world that Madonna is not to be ignored? Another fantastic song – c’mon, you know you like it just a little – and the video is awesome. I nearly fell out of my chair the first time I saw it though, especially at the end when she’s on a Dance Dance Revolution arcade setup. And as you may or may not know, Hobie LOVES the DDR.,,20195949_26,00.html

4 Minutes – 2008: I wasn’t sure what they were going to put for the last of the 27 videos – I guess it makes sense to put the hit from her latest album. It is a pretty interesting video and a great track from a decent album. It is trippy to see people become living body slices. And I’ll give this to her – for 50, she looks outstanding. Recent pictures show she needs to gain some weight though! ….Ma-Donnnnnnn-a!,,20195949_27,00.html

Love her or loathe her, there is NO denying her influence on pop music and pop culture and her amazing career. She’s outlasted so many other artists and trends, frequently being the one to set the trend. She’s not as successful as she once was (notice – or not – that her new album isn’t anywhere near the Top 40 albums right now) but still a visible presence nonetheless. And I would wager a guess that many females half her age would still love to look like her, even at 50. Her music has definitely been a constant theme in my life, like many gay men, I suppose, but it’s frankly the truth. I grew up loving her music, starting in the early 80s and all through the next 25 years of her career, I was still along for the ride, enjoying whatever she had to offer. Writing the stuff above brought back a lot of my life’s memories, and it’s crazy to think I’m turning 32 this year; Madonna has been such a constant soundtrack to my life that it sometimes feels unreal to remember back to the 80s and 90s.

So thanks for letting me indulge and reminisce a little. It was a fun way to kill nearly THREE (!) hours, watching all those videos and writing my thoughts.

And just to leave you laughing, here’s an awesome video I just saw on line:

One reply on “Happy 50th, Madonna!”

what evs…
I have to agree w/View To A Kill. It replaced Live & Let Die as the best Bond theme. Die Another Day is definitely up there too. I totally have the cowboy fetish, they don’t shave their body hair…, so that is one of my TOP Madge vids for sure! And, um, I knew exactly why I loved the Express Yourself video. Of course I was 11 by that time, but I knew when I was (different), back in 4th grade, so I was 7 or 8 yrs old. I had (feelings) for our P.E. Teacher, David O’Toole. I don’t even know what I would have done with him had the opportunity presented itself. I had no idea about sex, thinking about sex or even about masturbation at that age. I just knew I loved being around him. He was definitely my favorite teacher. He was the Cuoolest(That’s cute and cool…)teacher ever. Anyway, it’s late(or is that early), so my last comment will be on Human Nature. I had no conceptual ideas for that video. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE that song. The only thing I remember from the video was her whip(hmmm….yet another fetish)and those leather boxes(not a fetish). I’m not you bitch don’t hang your shit on me. I think I’ll make that my new tagline. Go Phelps! Although Lochte’s hotter…

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