Friday, August 14, 2009

Week 1: James Reviews Madonna


About one song into this 10-for-10, I had to clarify the rules with Donell about just how critical I am allowed to be. "Am I allowed to hate this?" is essentially the question I asked, since the purpose of this project is not to rip apart eachother's musical taste, but rather to expand our own musical libraries. Ultimately, however, we both agreed that this project is about complete musical honesty, and I will expect no less from Donell when I inevitably reccommend him some music that he despises. Brutal honesty. And after the extensive research I've done this week, I have no choice but to come clean.

Right then. What is the most bone-jarring, disturbing sound you can think of? Fingers running down a chalk board? People screaming in agony? That hideously low-budget radio commercial for Dan's Air-Conditioning & Repair? Roll all those up into a piece of tragedy paper, and light this newly-formed joint with a match made out of mental scarring and the sad, salty tears of a thousand crying sea otter pups. Now take a deep breath. In case you didn't know this already, long ago, the elders of our world coined a term for this exact scenario (the universe was more abstract back then and cuddly otters in greater demand). What was it? Are you ready for this? Madonna. This word passed down through the generations to the Ancient Pygmies, who used an abbreviated definition: "apocalypse. See also: famine, pestilence."

In an early draft of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, it was posited that Madonna Louise Ciccone was originally named Thelma Louise Ciccone, but after studying Ancient Pygmie lore, made a deal with the Devil to exploit a wormhole in the space-time continuum, travel back in time, cause herself to be named Madonna, and fulfill her destiny of destruction and ruin. In an interesting side note, the Modern Webster's Dictionary has extened its definition of "Madonna" to include the phrase "disease-ridden prostitute," an ex-post-facto prophesy of sorts.

Madonna is the complete package, much like the Tsar Bomba was the complete package; she's a great musician the same way Stalin was a great dictator and Obama is a great president. It takes a kind of ethereally sick talent and ability to be able to successfully achieve the paradoxical popular music trifecta: terrible voice, reptitive/mundane music, and the most mind-numbingly trashy lyrics to be found north, west, east, and south of the Misssissippi. To modify an expression I once heard, she may have no creative talent, but at least she can't sing.

Let's move on. The songs.

1: Like A Virgin (Like A Virgin)
Before I go any further, I need to clarify that "song" in this case is used loosely. It's more an endurance contest. I can't find out for sure (damn CIA), but I'd say it's likely that the Guantanamo Bay Torture Soundtrack consisted almost entirely of these songs. It's kind of like Russian Roulette, except with your soul at stake and six times as many bullets in play. Now, with that said, this song is completely lyrically implausible, since its base premise assumes that Madonna ever knew what it was like to be a virgin. Numerous studies have shown that she had already done the dirty with at least 70 partners by the time she was conceived.

2: Crazy For You (Vision Quest)
Crazy For You is intended to be a love ballad, which makes perfect sense, since that is the exact opposite of what the song is. It conveys perfectly the depth of emotion and intellect with which Madonna understands what it means to love someone. The entire chorus consists of 13 lines, 6 of which are (reproduced in their exact form), "I'm crazy for you." The other 7 lines are variations of "It's all brand new/you know it's true." Thank you, Madonna. Thank you so much for teaching me what love isn't.

3: Papa Don't Preach (True Blue)
As I'm reviewing Iron Man Triathlon Equivalent #3, it's suddenly occurred to me that I haven't said much about the music itself so far. I've been avoiding talking about it, much like I would avoid talking about being sat on by Rosie O'Donnell. And even though it's not fun to talk about, I feel I must address it. Only then can the healing begin. It's shallow, repetitive, obnoxious, and probably carcinogenic. In fact, the other day I was at the doctor's office for a heart tremor, and the diagnosis came back, "overexposure to Madonna."

4: Like A Prayer (Like A Prayer)
Finally, an area from which Madonna has expertise: her knees. Yes, think of all the nice, fuzzy images you have associated with prayer and answers thereof: Jesus, your loved ones, your job promotion, the fact that good music does actually exist, etc. Now spill nuclear waste all over those associations. You can thank Madonna for your extra appendages and third-degree burns. This whole song is about her and her powerful pair of lungs doing what she does best (hint: it's not singing), which she equates with the act of meta-universal connection with Deity.

5: Vogue (I'm Breathless)
For a moment, I thought the music to this song might be decent, but nope. It's literally exactly the same as every other Madonna song, which is another reason I'm not focusing too much on the musical aspect of this. Also, I take special issue with the lyrics in this song, since they mention some of the classiest, most talented people to ever grace the silver screen. I can't help but think that the mere mention of these modern angels taints their respective legacies. It would be like Mao Tse Tung listing you as a role model or Adolf Hitler saying "for James" in the dedication section of Mein Kampf. So help me, if this trashy skank had mentioned Audrey Hepburn, not only would I currently be breaking out into a piercing string of profanities, I might have had to assassinate a certain someone. I'm getting furious at the possibility that this could have even happened. Phew. Close one. It's already bad enough; how dare she mention Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Grace Kelly, but it gets so much worse. She mentions the name of the man whose name is not to be mentioned without a thorough ceremonial washing and the blessings of at least 3 Hassidic rabbis: Gene Kelly, the man who did this:

And Madonna thinks that dancing means humping a stage. Calm down, James, calm down. Stop shaking. Anyone have a paper bag?

6: Justify My Love (The Immaculate Collection)
OHHH SPLENDID. Madonna decided to do a tribal chant. Oh well, at least she talks about incest. The biggest joke on Madonna ever is this: the one song where the music is almost slightly catchy downplays the music to the point where it's a non-factor.

7: Take A Bow (Bedtime Stories)
I can't tell you how my heartstrings pulled at me as I scrolled down the list of songs by the name of "Take A Bow." The 30 results for the Rihanna song of the same name called to me like they were starving Asian children and I was eating the only bowl of rice in the village. The themes for the two songs are the same, and the two songs are actually very similar, with the one difference being that Rihanna's version doesn't suck.

8: Frozen (Ray of Light)
Okay, I actually like the tune to this song. It's catchy. But, I can't forgive Madonna for almost mentioning Audrey Hepburn in "Vogue", so it sucks.

9: Music (Music)
Does not live up to its name.

10: Give it To Me (Hard Candy)
Get stupid, indeed.

There's one last thing I need to address: Madonna writes her own music and lyrics. That would seem honorable, right? But then you start thinking about it. She came up with all this. It's not like I can spread the blame over a bunch of different producers or songwriters. It's not like I can blame corporate America. No, there is someone out there who actually thought that all this, as a cumulative whole, was a good idea.

Now that's scary.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Donell!

    This is a great idea for a site! I followed you using all of my accounts, but could you follow me as well at That would be awesome! Hope you are well! :)