Monday, February 6, 2012

M & M

I'm from New York but I live in New England. This meant that yesterday's Super Bowl was a win-win for me. Whichever team took the championship, half of the people I love would be happy.

As for me, I'm in it for two things: the ads and the half-time show. Especially this year.


You may love her, you may hate her. But, you have to admit she's still got it. As my brother posted midway through her set, "53 is the new 23." (I kind of wish she hadn't injected whatever she injected into her face; those shiny cheekbones make her look like a burn victim. But, otherwise, she is one fine figure of a fifty-something.)

Madge and I go way back. I bought her first album during my senior year at college. I danced to "Like a Virgin" at Limelight in a short skirt, ankle socks and high heels. (Really.) I was pleasantly surprised by her performance in Evita. I read my daughter The English Roses. And, I still have a stack of black rubber bracelets. (Really really.)

I wonder what my tween daughter thinks when she sees and hears her. Do the songs sound old-fashioned and out-of-date? Does she think of it as my generation's music rather than hers? My parents listened to opera and Broadway musicals when I was growing up, so I don't really have a reference. I wonder what it was like for the children of Elvis Presley or Beatles fans.

Just in case, Madonna (or the NFL or NBC or some combination thereof) was smart to include a handful of contemporary stars in her extravaganza: M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo Green and LMFAO. That last one, for the record, was unknown to me or my husband but our daughter was thrilled. (LMFAO is billed as an electro-rap duo and their first hit was "I'm in Miami B*tch." Now you know. Oh, and the asterisk is mine.)

Well, no matter how big any of these stars are (in Florida or elsewhere), they were onstage at the Super Bowl for just one reason. To make the material girl look good. She came in as Cleopatra and she certainly proved that she is the queen. I'd try and be cute here and say she's "the queen of the vinyl" (get it?) but Madonna has transitioned without missing a beat from LPs to CDs to iTunes. In 2011, her Celebration was the second top selling album after Adele's 21. Not too shabby thirty years later (and thirty years older).

If you had to name the most iconic superstars of the 80s and 90s, Madonna would be right up at the head of your list. Of course, the other artist that would be vying for the top spot is the late great Michael Jackson.

Whether or not my daughter thinks of M & M as has-been mom-music, she and her friends are very familiar with at least some of their songs. And, it's not because of the Super Bowl. Or my old lady radio station. Or even commercials that spend gazillions of dollars to use "Ray of Light" to sell Microsoft or "Billie Jean" to sell Pepsi.

My daughter knows the songs of Madonna and Michael Jackson because of Glee. And, she's not the only one apparently. When Glee pre-released its The Power of Madonna album last season, it was number one on the Billboard charts with 98,000 sales in its first week. More recently, the ten songs from the show's tribute to the gloved one were all within the top thirty iTunes downloads.

So, we have something to listen to together. "Like a Prayer" and "Like a Virgin" take me back in time. "Thriller" is still thrilling; "Vogue" is still in vogue. And "Ben" is (and was) a beautiful song — even if it's about a rat. In fact, my daughter claims that the new recordings by talented Glee kids Leah Michele, Darren Criss, Naya Rivera, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and the rest are better than the golden oldies.

Well, on that note, we'll have to agree to disagree.

1 comment:

  1. There's nothing like the music of your teens, even when you have teens yourself!
    I often wonder how many of the hits of the 80s I knew and loved were really 'cover's of older songs, reinvented!!! We still claim them for our own generation though!