Watching Madonna perform live in concert on her MDNA tour at Madison Square Gardens, I witnessed why she still deservedly owns the title ‘Queen of Pop’.
No artist has ever reinvented theirself and yet stayed original and current like Madonna has. Sadly the medias obsession with putting artists on a pedestal to knock them off again is to blame for much of her constant criticism.
She breaks records, so why is she hounded by negativity.
After the release of Madonnas first album, “Madonna”, Billboard editor Paul Grein predicted that ”Cyndi Lauper will be around for a long time; Madonna will be out of the business in six months,” but Madonna stuck around, and her second album (Like a Virgin) eventually sold 15 million worldwide in the 80s.
Madonna breaks records and sticks her middle finger up at her haters. Does the mud slinging reveal more about her critics prejudices than it does about Madonna herself?
What critics seem to forget is that Madonna has released a catalogue of the most defining dance floor moments of the last three decades.
Despite causing much controversy, Madonna’s sold-out 72-date MDNA tour, which performed to 1,635,176 people, earned a reported $296m according to Pollstar, and was named the highest-grossing tour of 2012 by Billboard. MDNA also became the tenth highest grossing tour of all time and the second highest grossing tour by a female artist behind her own Sticky & Sweet Tour. Add to that the first woman to ever headline at the Yankee Stadium and after headlining halftime at Super Bowl, Madonna was the most-watched halftime show in history, with 114 million viewers, and 3 million more than the actual game itself.
The tour marked Madonna’s first performances in the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Scotland and Colombia.
Madonna described the theme of MDNA as a journey from darkness to light. The tour tackled subjects such as violence, firearms, human rights, nudity and politics and was divided into four secions: Transgression, where guns and violence was the main theme, Prophecy, where a mix of joyful songs that bring people together are performed, Masculine/Feminine, a combination of sensuality and fashion with a few of Madonna’s classic songs performed in a French Cabaret-style, and Redemption, which Madonna labeled as “a big party and celebration”. The tour received both positive reception and critical acclaim.
The show started with a cathedral setting, Kalakan trio doing religious chanting and dancers dressed in red robes, seen pulling a rope that rings a bell. The middle screen split into two, revealing a silhouette of Madonna in a “glass confession box” praying. The glass breaks, revealing Madonna dressed in a tight black suit and starts singing Girl Gone Wild, cue captivated audience for the entirety of the show.
According to Rolling Stone’s review of MDNA, the icon’s music “has always been about liberation from oppression, but for the first time the oppression is internal: loss and sadness.”
This very much refers to Madonna’s 2008 divorce from Guy Ritchie, and with no prenup inplace cost her at least $76m up to a reported possible $96m.
Being open and frank about herself has always been part of her art, but MDNA stands as Madonna’s most explicit and personaly revealing work todate. Lyrics such as “Wake up, ex-wife/This is your life.” “I tried to be your wife/Diminished myself, I swallowed my light.” “Lawyers/Suck it up/Didn’t have a prenup.”, “Would you have married me if I were poor?”). “Every man that walks through that door will be compared to you for evermore.”
After her marriage to Sean Penn ended, Madonna found herself craving fun and stepped out onto the New York gay club scene which has always been a huge part of Madonna’s life and influence. 20 years on, Madonna again finds herself single, and again relying on the dancefloor.
Madonna shows no stopping what she does best, and I love the fact she challenges peoples perceptions and sterotypes every step of the way.
Haters gonna hate, but as Nicki Minaj says at the end of ‘I don’t give a’ ”There’s only one queen and that’s Madonna.”
Madonna curator: Todd Campbell
The Rolling Stones