Funny how things change with a little time seasoning. I did not appreciate Madonna when I first heard her, probably the song “Holiday,” finding her music too bubble gum and her vamp style too demeaning to women with her kitten sexo-fascist look and a less than subtle attempt to capitalize on sex. It was 1983, and I was still into Joni Mitchell and the Rolling Stones, suffering through Michael Jackson’s Thriller, admittedly a great album, though far too pop for me, rock-alternative elitist in my own mind and leftover feminist hippy. My heyday was in the 70s.
Like many amateur critics of the time, I thought the 80s were bereft of music with soul–all that techno machinery replacing actual musicians and musicianship swapped for computers. It wasn’t until her song “Live to Tell” from the movie At Close Range that I stopped to listen to her, her voice, her passion, her captivating eeriness. The movie was a tough movie, and I thought the song was rendered well against the backdrop of the grim and complex themes only one of which was rape. I did not see the movie–only read about it and opted out–but felt it in her song. I thought that was a telling tribute to her talent as a singer/songwriter (though a collaborative effort).
After that, I listened to her music through the years with a more open mind and attuned ear about both music and sex. Some songs I liked and some I did not. When I truly began to appreciate her was when I saw the imitators–ostensible innovators to the uninitiated–follow along on her coattails, thriving off the capital of her inroads into the hip and campy hypno-sex as music scene, only one of whom I consider the most famous and imitative, Lady GaGa. Imitation is not necessarily the litmus test of greatness but combined with prolific productivity and time, there is something there that will turn Madonna (yes, some would argue already is) into the icon she deserves to be, even in my mind. Maybe that something is maturity, mostly mine.
On October 2 1992, Madonna’s “Erotica” video premiered on MTV.
The “Erotica” video was directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron, and featured a masked Madonna in a dominatrix costume. It also featured celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini and Big Daddy Kane. The video was highly controversial, being aired by MTV a total of three times, before becoming Madonna’s second video to be banned, after “Justify My Love” in 1990.
MTV spokeswoman Linda Alexander said, “The themes of the video are clearly aimed at a more adult audience. It is not appropriate for a general viewing audience”.
The footage of Madonna lip-synching the song in her S&M dominatrix costume was filmed on August 22, 1992 at The Kitchen in New York City, while the rest of the footage for the video was shot during the photo sessions for Madonna’s “Sex” book.
In order to imitate the look of old home-made movies, the entire video…
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4 Replies to “Today in Madonna History: October 2, 1992”
The description of your critical process of the time, your reference point, it is very much like mine was. Being a seasoned musician I based my evaluation of her on pure technical ability, raw talent.
There are two things she did that totally sold me on her as a legitimate star:
1. She nailed Evita. Not her most popular work, but I believe she did it to prove and solidify to critics, the depth of her ability and thus justify the seemingly “sell out” sexual image she was tagged with.
2. In 1998 she did a World Rain Forest Benefit. Just recently she had been accused of lip-synching, being over sexualized. To prove herself she came out alone in a mid length, black dress. The kind a conservative woman might wear to the office. She had a black, electric guitar. She performed “Ray of Light”, sang it live, sang it in tune, sang it alone with no back up. Just a woman, a guitar and a song. I was never more impressed with a musician, songwriter and their courage and ability.
There ya go, anything else she may do gets a pass from me, she has bills to pay too.
She was always kick ass in my book, just not talented in my estimation right away. I agree about Evita and do have renewed respect learning of that World Rain Forest Benefit rebuttal. Good on her!
I was never able to take Madonna seriously because of the overt sexuality in her videos. I’m not suggesting that she doesn’t have talent, l am merely suggesting that her sexuality was pandering to the audience to gain attention to her as a person rather than her as a true talent.
Yes, MPM, that was my initial turn off, the pandering, until I started to listen.