Justifying My Love / by Deborah Clague

I'm trying my hardest for this to not turn into a music blog, but gosh-darnit, rock and roll is in my soul. I had aspirations to be a rock star in my youth. The only thing holding me back from being the next Dylan was my propensity for saying things like "gosh-darnit". Oh yeah - and stage fright...and also lack of any discernible musical talent. But that hasn't stopped others from achieving worldwide fame. Many would argue that one of the most celebrated icons of our time made her way to the top by sheer luck (and the more misogynistic would argue she slept her way there). I, however, see a woman who encapsulated the very essence of what a good rock star should be: confident, controversial and cool armed with ear candy that rates second-to-none. I grew up wanting to be her. I STILL want to be her. Viva Madonna!

I recently bought 'Celebration', and spent most of this evening watching old clips from the 80s. The first I heard of Madonna was in 1984 when 'Like a Virgin' hit the airwaves. I was four-years-old and didn't know what the song was about...but even still, I sensed this woman was obscene. The accompanying video, possibly subsidized by the Venice Tourism Board, confirmed my suspicions. Regardless, I was intrigued. Madonna was like no other performer I had ever seen. The opposite of submissive, whether that be considered honest or brash, she appeared to always be in complete control. Predatory. A mix of enlightenment with entertainment. In addition to owning a replica 'Thriller'  jacket, to my parent's dismay I now also wanted lace clothing to mimic the first female I idolized. I was met with a strong, firm "no". Good thing I didn't discover her music during the infamous cone bra phase. 

My favorite Madonna song - then and now - is 'Like a Prayer'. I'm impressed not only by its aural arrangement, but also the fact that a 5 minute ditty could piss off SO many people: Prudes, Puritans, Pepsi. Sure, the song is about fellatio and the accompanying video did depict burning crosses and Jesus...but it was catchy as hell! Let the choir sing!!! This era was also my favorite in Madge's history as it consisted of more lyrical depth. After the 'Sex' book and those pictures of her getting down with a dog (and I don't mean Vanilla Ice), things just got weird. 

Some may find her influence questionable, but I must say that I'm probably a more well-rounded person as an adult than any Debbie Gibson fan. And that is why I love Madonna.