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Madonna at 60: It's time to celebrate 🎉🎊🌈

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headonfire

 

Madonna Louise Ciccone is about to turn 60 on the 16th August, so to mark the occasion here in GGD, I have created this new topic to open the conversation about Madonna's many decades entertaining us, supporting us, pushing the envelop, challenging the status quo, and along the way, establishing herself as the Queen of Pop and blueprint for contemporary female pop artists.

To get the conversation going, I'm posting below a series of opinion pieces published today in the Guardian on Sunday and the Observer's The New Review, with a few passages highlighted.

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Barbara Ellen on Madonna: ‘Popular culture still reeks of her influence’https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/15/barbara-ellen-on-madonna-sexist-slurs-pop-surivor

At this stage, perhaps Madonna’s greatest achievement is that she’s a survivor. Of her era of superstars (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince), she’s the last one left standing, living proof that maturing in music doesn’t just mean the Rolling Stones – it can be a wild, untamed feminine energy too.

Nor has she done it via endless comebacks and the nostalgia trail. Sure, she’d be idiotic (and ungenerous) not to perform songs from her extensive back catalogue, but Madonna has been genuinely active and creative all the way through, always with a new project on the horizon. So, happy birthday to Madonna. She’s sung, danced, acted, yapped, provoked, riled, worked her butt off, kept a sense of humour and taken all the sexist slurs with her head held high. Here’s to an artist who can’t come back because she never went away.

 

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Nancy Whang on Madonna: ‘She set an example for a lot of women’https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/15/nancy-whang-on-madonna-set-example-women-persona

There aren’t that many artists like her. That she has the staying power she has is remarkable in itself. She’s influenced a lot of other artists, especially other fellow female artists and she’s remained culturally relevant. Her whole ability to reinvent herself is pretty impressive. She set an example for a lot of women and fellow artists to take on a persona. This idea of a solo female artist being this massive figure and occupying a stage – a musical stage and a cultural stage – there aren’t a lot of examples like that, besides her, for other female artists. And forget about the fact that she’s a woman – just as an artist, full stop.

 

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Matt Cain on Madonna: ‘She opened up gay culture to the mainstream’https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/15/matt-cain-on-madonna-homophobic-interviewers-gay-culture

People forget the role Madonna played in opening up gay culture to the mainstream. She wasn’t gay herself, but from the beginning she talked about how gay people were part of her life: her gay mentor, her dance teacher, Christopher Flynn; the artists and photographers she hung around with like Keith Haring and Herb Ritts; the gay dancers she paraded around so proudly in the film In Bed With Madonna. You cannot imagine what it was like to witness her doing that when you were being mercilessly bullied about your sexuality at school, as I was. This was when George Michael, Freddie Mercury and the Pet Shop Boys didn’t dare to come out.

Nowadays, online, it’s easy to know that there are other people like you in the world. But in the 1980s, you existed in your own bubble. This was also the time of Aids emerging. The album Like a Prayer came with a copy of a handwritten note from Madonna – I remember so clearly opening it, and how tenderly it was worded, declaring that everyone with Aids deserved respect and compassion, “regardless of their sexual orientation”. Madonna was accused in TV interviews at the time of being irresponsible because of her support for gay culture – you can still see clips of this on YouTube. But she ripped into homophobic interviewers with such ferocity, like a lioness protecting her cubs. It had an incredible impact on me.

Before Madonna, it felt like all gay icons had been tragic figures. And yes, Madonna had endured great tragedy in her life – her mother died when she was five – but you never saw an ounce of fragility in her. Think of her in that Jean Paul Gaultier basque – it was like a suit of armour. She was all steely defiance and I wanted to channel this to get through the challenges life was throwing at me.

[...]

But I love how Madonna’s never wanted to be seen as a nostalgia artist and how in recent years she’s become even more politically outspoken. Her speech at the Billboard women in music awards in 2016; she called out the “blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse” she’d experienced as a woman in the music industry. So many people have relied on Madonna’s music for emotional support in their lives and I’m so glad she’s still here, still expressing herself, absolutely on her own terms. Because if she hadn’t been doing that when I was younger, I’m not sure I’d be here now – and I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today.

 

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Dancer Carlton Wilborn on Madonna: ‘Rehearsal truly was like boot camp’https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/15/dancer-carlton-wilborn-on-madonna-rehearsal-boot-camp-tour

Madonna continues to be special because she’s just balls-out as an artist. At the core of what she represents is the secret longing of every human being: we all have quiet thoughts, we all have hungry thoughts, but most of us have been conditioned to think it’s inappropriate to let this be known. So when you have an example of somebody who is living their life against all the constructs that are blasted through the world and the media, it’s intoxicating.

Madonna has always been a very generous person. There was a particular time in my life [in 1995, when Wilborn was going through a difficult time, Madonna let him live with her for several months] where she really showed me the human side of her – I’m not saying that’s the first time she showed this to me, but it was the degree of it. It was really amazing when she offered me that. After that our paths went in different directions. I auditioned for the Drowned World tour and didn’t get chosen. I started going after different things, she was doing different things. Life happened. What I would say to her now is: happy 60th birthday! And thank you. Thank you for allowing me to let all of my power be seen and expressed.

 

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Sophie on Madonna: ‘Her work is so vast – there’s a reference for any situation’https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/15/sophie-on-madonna-work-vast-musical-influence

In my mind, Madonna created the blueprint for modern pop stars. Her creativity has gone further, wider and longer than anyone else I can think of; I feel like her songs have been consistently memorable and meaningful. I have loved all of Madonna’s different phases at different points, but I think the Bedtime Stories era [1994] is really intriguing, especially the production – it has a unique feeling. It’s so much more fully formed and sexy than a lot of the trip-hop stuff that was coming out around that time. It’s definitely been an influence on my own music.

[...]

Madonna’s work is so vast – there’s an appropriate Madonna reference for any situation. But I think the factor that sets her apart from others is that each phase seems to be a byproduct of a genuine journey of self-discovery, and always addresses some prejudice or other.

Whatever is the established, easy‑to-consume current thing, Madonna always seems to push past that. I think anyone who has struggled with having their voice heard can relate to what Madonna stands for and feel empowered by her story and her music. She is not buying into people’s bullshit.

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Sarah Churchwell on Madonna: ‘She remains the hero of her own story’https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/15/sarah-churchwell-on-madonna-power-success-feminist-legacy

But it was with her 1990 Blond Ambition tour that Madonna catapulted herself into megastardom, shaping the music industry, taking firm hold of her own business reins and sending a clear message while she was at it. Blond Ambition – blonde without the feminine “e”, presumably to underscore the pun on “blind ambition”, but with the added advantage of rejecting the trappings of normative gender. The Blond Ambition tour, Madonna’s third, is widely acknowledged as the mother of today’s multimedia concert extravaganzas, fusing performance art, theatre, dance, fashion and video with pop songs. It broke box-office records and taboos, mixing themes of female sexuality, power, religion and gender fluidity. It prompted Forbes magazine to ask if she was “America’s smartest businesswoman”; 23 years later, the magazine would identify her as the highest-paid celebrity in the world, earning $125m (£77.4m) in 2012-2013. She has sold more than 300m records worldwide and her singles have made her the most successful solo artist in the history of the American charts.

 

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Thurston Moore on Madonna: ‘She had credibility, she was really ahead of the game’https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jul/15/thurston-moore-on-madonna-credibility-new-york-downtown-scene

She was really ahead of the game. She was taking elements of what was cool at that time – punk rock, new wave, dance music, hip-hop and Latino music all clashing in this great non-hierarchical playground of New York. It was all kind of new; everybody was trying different things. Madonna was actually in a couple of no-wave bands that nobody ever talks about. She was in a band with these two twins, Dan and Josh Braun, who were the first members of Swans, Michael Gira’s band. Nobody really knows about that part of her history; she was in a pre-Swans no wave band! There’s all that interconnected history in New York with Madonna and the no wave scene.

She was really able to tap into the sound of what was genuine and the culture at the time, where it was free from any gender or sexual persuasion distinctions. There was no concern about any inequality or [the boundaries of] gender or race – that’s how we felt, it was totally revolutionary. And [there was] this balance between Latino, black and white culture on the scene. She was really significant in giving voice to that and consistently doing it – you never got the sense that she was doing it as a gesture of being hip. She was a person, I think, who was really very loving toward people who were historically disenfranchised by society.

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Along the coming weeks, there will be a lot more pieces, videos and tributes marking such a special birthday, so if any members come across anything they would like to share, please do so. 

To mark Madonna's 60th birthday, I would also invite GGD members to share their Madonna stories, how they discovered her, what she means to them. That would be a nice way to celebrate the occasion here on the site.

To those who aren't fans, please be civil and respectful, or just ignore the thread. Thank you.

Edited by headonfire
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GagaInTheZone

She's absolutely incredible, no one will ever come close to having a career like her. She released incredible albums for decades, iconic videos, tours, always came back stronger when people called her over, remained fearless over the years and stayed true to herself. She's a total queen and anyone discrediting her probably knows nothing about her

Erotica, Ray Of Light, American Life and Confessions on a Dancefloor will remain as some of the best albums ever recorded

I swear if anyone didn't give her a chance yet, it's time to do it, you won't regret it

Edited by GagaInTheZone
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nerdfacekillah

i cant believe she is almost 60:saladga: her energy is incredible for her age:golfclap:

If you don’t have any shadows, you’re not standing in the light.
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HIMER0S

Queen (regent) 👸💖

I don't need eyes to see
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Sneaky Oliver

I think Madonna is the biggest icon ever. I know it bothers a lot of people because they think Michael or Prince or Bowie are bigger than M but they're not. She was the one who had to pick every battle and face every monster from this industry and still thrive among them. And maybe that's not the right word but she's a survivor. How many famous people literally died trying to be just as much as great as she is?! She did THAT and she's still doing it!

Edited by Sneaky Oliver
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nikolag14

I was not her fan until I listened the Ray of Light album and this is my favourite song. Why not chosen as a single? :hmm:  It's really heavenly.

 

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River

Mazal Tov Esther!!!🎉

I'm not serious 99% of the times ;)
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SolidSnake
2 hours ago, Sneaky Oliver said:

I think Madonna is the biggest icon ever. I know it bothers a lot of people because they think Michael or Prince or Bowie are bigger than M but they're not. She was the one who had to pick every battle and face every monster from this industry and still thrive among them. And maybe that's not the right word but she's a survivor. How many famous people literally died trying to be just as much as great as she is?! She did THAT and she's still doing it!

Michael and The Beatles are far bigger icons, Madonna is close tho. I would suspect more people can name Beatles or MJ songs. 

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bleed dior

An iconic legend. Confessions On A Dance Floor is the greatest pop album of all time.

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HorusRa2

I agree that she is probably the most influential of the group (MJ and the others). I agree that she's literally the blueprint for what it means to be a star. 

I love her for who she is and what she stands for. I don't always agree on the "how" she does it but that has everything to do with her life experiences and struggles she's lived through. So I do not by any means begrudge her for it. 

I admit to loving most of her albums, some of them being among my absolute favorites.

 

I just feel feel like her latest content has consistently missed the mark (MDNA & Rebel Heart) with few exceptions (girl gone wild, rebel heart, living for love and devil pray to name a few). I do hope she fixes this with a new album. 

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Joshie

Madonna is untouchable in my opinion. Noone will ever reach her level.

I'm 26, grown up with all these pop princesses but I recognise this bitch as the ****ing God. God is a woman.

Ray of Light, Confessions - just insane.

She is incredible.

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Joshie
On 7/16/2018 at 1:01 AM, nikolag14 said:

I was not her fan until I listened the Ray of Light album and this is my favourite song. Why not chosen as a single? :hmm:  It's really heavenly.

 

Yasss, I love this song. But I also ****ing love Skin from Ray of Light 

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nikolag14
2 hours ago, Joshie said:

Yasss, I love this song. But I also ****ing love Skin from Ray of Light 

Skin is my second favourite :)))

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Irrelevant

ugh last time I went back to Taiwan Madonna was doing the RHT there, but the adults ditched me and went there themselves :rip:

døʇ | ɐƃɐƃ ʎpɐl | ǝpuɐɹƃ ɐuɐᴉɹɐ
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