Yep, this was her debut album, yep, it came out this year, and yes, that means next year is her 25th anniversary. Which means if you're not a fan, or if you're merely someone who gives her the grudging respect due a woman who's career has far outlasted the bubblegum that formed her beginnings, it might be time to take that trip to the country that doesn't care about her music, or at least doesn't play it very often. Just make sure she's not there adopting someone else's children. (That leaves out Africa, but at this point, Antarctica looks pretty clean. It's only open for something like four months though, so make friends in Iceland. They only listen to Sigur Ros & Bjork.)
It's not "inexplicable" that Madonna has been around as long as she has--the woman knows this business better than all of those recent singers who've showed up on TMZ in the last two years. Unlike most older bands who survive solely on their core fanbase, or whatever niche market they've cornered, she's adapted, she's set trends, and she's added more fans to replace those who she leaves behind. That doesn't mean you have to like her, or her music--it doesn't mean you have to respect her as a person either--but it does mean that you have to give her the props due her as a businesswoman. All the contempt and derision that gets thrown out regarding her embrace of religion and sexuality, her omnipresence on MTV (when that mattered) doesn't really make sense when thrown against the stark contrast with which none of those exact same behaviors worked for any of the thousands of artists who did the same--nearly every mildly attractive pop singer has shown you her naked flesh, and she still hasn't come out with anything that sold as well as "Like A Prayer." While she may have not nailed the same amount of success in fashion or film, it's absurd to compare her to any of the tripe that claim themselves as her contemporary--Spears, Aguilera, Stefani, Knowles, or whomever, there's nobody like Madonna. Yes, there's plenty who have vocal chops that outshine Madonna, but when you're playing around this field of pop music, that's barely a concern.
It's unlikely that anybody involved with this album knew what was coming--after all, it was a dance album that had already gone through three producers, with simple vocals by a young woman who, while certainly pretty enough, didn't look that much different than any other New York club girl from the time period. Her voice, which critics referred to as a "girlish hiccup" wasn't the sort of thing that anybody could have expected to have lasting appeal. If anything, it was another 80's compilation of songs, some written by the singer and others the rejects of prior pop artists that would end up earning some royalties for all involved.
Except this was Madonna, and she, as simply as it can be put, doesn't lose. For every Body of Evidence, she's got an Evita, for every American Pie, she's got Confessions on a Dance Floor. It started here, with 8 songs. That's it. "Holiday," "Borderline," "Lucky Star," and "Burning Up" are four of them. What else can you say about that? You could say you don't like them--hell, this writer isn't sure how he feels about them, as object de artiste. But you can still, if you're so inclined, dance to them. Twenty-four years later, what other bubblegum pop can say that?
-Tucker Stone, 2007 isn't remotely sorry for filling the first two paragraphs with links, so it would be a waste of time to complain. Instead, try to find the link that takes you to the Church of Satan. It's there!