Stop Worrying and Complaining about Madonna

She’s too old for this. She looks like she’s going to break a hip. It’s…reductive.

Those are just a few of the comments I’ve seen in response to Madonna’s current media blitz. Chances are, you’ve seen at least a little of it at this point, possibly during a little program called the Super Bowl. All of this has been promotional work for Madonna’s upcoming album, MDNA, and the Madonna World Tour.

Obviously, Madonna’s been in the public eye for a while. Her first single, “Everybody,” was released in 1982. Yeah, that’s right…30 years ago. And while Madonna has shown signs of releasing music that’s at least topically “age-appropriate,” her past few albums have clearly shown that she wants to continue to make fun dance music.

You know what I say? More power to her.

I mean, she’s been working for 30+ years now, and she’s still covering new territory. These days, it’s mostly about being a woman who’s still a powerful force in pop music. If you think about it, there’s not really an example of a female pop star who’s still wildly successful and productive this deep into her career. As for the men who’ve sustained lengthy careers, how many are told to retire in their 50s?

Just look at any of her fellow pop superstars from the 80s. Prince can sell out a tour fairly easily, but when was the last time he had a hit single? As for Michael and Whitney, their deaths at relatively early ages came after years of glaring tabloid coverage and limited bursts of productivity.

Meanwhile, Madonna’s never really been gone. Sure, she may not sell as many albums or singles these days, but compared to her original pop peers, she’s still the most successful. That doesn’t even take into account her tour sales; her last tour alone is the highest-grossing tour ever for a solo artist. And no pop star today can touch the spectacle of a Madonna concert.

Seriously…if you think Madonna’s going to break something while she’s dancing on stage, I encourage you to look at the woman. She may not dance as much as she did 20 years ago, but she can still move. Just watch her shuffling with LMFAO at the Super Bowl. She still knows how to work her body.

As for the songs: yes, they’re not her deepest songs. Most of her songs, as classic as they are, aren’t that deep. The last time she tried to go deep over the course of an album—American Life—many of her fans said she needed to lighten up. Now that she’s done that, many of the same fans want her to dig deep. There’s really no satisfying some people.

In any case, these new songs aren’t meant to dominate the charts the way her classics did – they’re meant for live performances, in the place where Madonna dominates today.

Just think about the person we’re talking about, though. It’s Madonna. Of course she’s singing about dancing in a club. Would you really rather have her put out a dance song about, say, riding horses or drinking a cup of tea? The woman fought hard for her spotlight, and she’s going to fight just as hard to keep it. From my perspective, she’s doing a bang-up job.

_____

Originally published on March 7, 2012 in David Atlanta.

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