For the Love of Madonna

One of my friends said he was watching the Brit Awards this year with his teenage daughter, which sparked a discussion about if Madonna was still relevant in this day. 

Then she stacked it, daughter pointed at the screen and said 'case in point - she's too old for this!'. He told me about this, my face dropped in absolute horror and I said of 'course she's still relevant to music today, that's like saying The Beatles aren't relevant!'

My love for this woman runs deep and spans decades

You see, Madonna was who I wanted to be when I grew up. In my years I've burned through two VHS copies of The Virgin Tour (perils of spending hours learning every dance routine), bought every album on cassette, then upgraded them all to CD, bought films, concert dvds and seen her live at Wembley a few years back. I remember album releases in line with significant times of my life. True Blue came out when I met my junior school best friend. Ray of Light came out when I'd just started uni. Confessions on a Dancefloor came out when I'd just moved into my own place for the first time - Madonna has punctuated my life and I've grown up with her. Was she still relevant? Are you fucking kidding me?! She's my musical big sister, she's never left my side. 

I mean yes, she's badass; a fantastic feminist role model,  a hard working artist who's not afraid to branch out with her skills and gives not one fuck what people think about her but when it comes down to her being relevant it can be answered easily: 

Name me a Madonna song. Now. Any of them.

Your favourite, the one you hate, the one with the most inappropriate video, that one where she's dressed as a flamenco dancer, the one with Britney ... 

Easy wasn't it?

Because she's still here. She has been since the early eighties and probably will be until she's into her eighties. Madonna is pretty timeless. Like The Beatles (yes, I'm an huge fan of that band and have their entire backcatalog too) and her albums are of the same ilk too - each one has a pretty different sound (I'm Breathless is totally a concept album!). I love that about Madonna, I've loved watching her evolve and see where she lands next. Don't get me wrong, not everything lands well but the ones that do are magnificent. 

Inspired by this article on the release of her latest album Rebel Heart, here are my top five Madonna albums. 

5. True Blue
I've had a look over the track listing of this album again now and I love almost every song. It's pure pop. Open Your Heart still stand out to me as a favourite. I loved all the videos that accompanied the singles on this album too. La Isla Bonita is still my karaoke song. 

4. Confessions on a Dancefloor
I think I listened to this album on repeat when I bought it. I fell hard for this album, every time Hung Up comes up on a Spotify mix I'll start dancing. Like I said above, this album came out when I'd just moved into my own place for the first time so Jump resonated; it felt like it landed in my life at just the right time, I love it when things like that happen. 

3. Like a Prayer
Ahhh, the album which made my mum wonder why I was so interested in her Rosary Beads all of a sudden. It has the most empowering song in the world on it (Express Yourself), one of the cutest love songs (Cherish) and one that makes me think about home (Keep it Together). It just reminds me of growing up, it was played right throughout my teenage years. 

2. Ray of Light
It was my first year at uni I bought this album, took it back to my room in the halls, closed the door and turned my stereo up. Dear god, her voice! All that operatic training from Evita really paid off and you can hear it in every track of this album. Nothing Really Matters stands out as a favourite; it got beautiful lyrics, makes me want to dance and sing along. What a treat for my neighbours. 

1. Like a Virgin
This was my first and therefore the one I will always love the most. It also contains my favourite Madonna song of all time - Material Girl - because I'm a sucker for a catchy tune and clever lyrics (also, if you don't think she looks like perfection in that video we can never be friends). Over and Over is the song that lifts me up and bad days and tells me to get my act together, Angel is what my university housemates used to have to put up with me singing a lot and Dress You Up makes me think of her live show, The Virgin Tour, as it was the opening song - to this day when I hear the opening of that song I still get goosebumps. Old habits die so hard. This album IS the early 1980s for me, it's my childhood, it made my mum create skirts for my dressing up box which were effectively made from net curtains, I've been listening to it for 30 years and I still love it. 

I've not attached much musical journalism to these albums, I've attached times of my life, feelings and emotions. Madonna has partially raised me and if she raised me she raised a couple of other generations of women too.

Is she still relevant? Yes, and she always will be. That's the good thing about a good artist and their music - they never die. Just ask Elvis. 

See you at the Rebel Heart Tour on December 1st. Drink in the bar and a discussion about my list? You're on. 

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