Last night, there was an entire episode of "Glee" devoted to Madonna. It was about her music and about her personality. Sue was talking about her obsession with Madonna and it reminded me of how obsessed I was as a kid growing up in the 1980's. I wouldn't say I was as obsessed as Sue, but I was a huge fan.
I don't even remember how my obsession got started. I know one day I was given the "Like a Virgin" cassette and before I knew it, I was listening to it all the time. I think this was around 3rd grade. Maybe it had to do with seeing all her music videos on MTV. She just seemed so cool and had such a great voice. At the time, I didn’t even know how big of an icon she’d become. I had a friend in my class who also liked Madonna. One time we had to do a project and we made up a song about it by changing the lyrics to “Material Girl.” I had other friends with whom I’d also make up songs about Madonna. I recall one being about how we weren’t happy over her marriage to Sean Penn. Don’t ask...
Then there was this one time...at day camp...when I dressed up like Madonna for costume day. No one else seemed to get it though. I had blonde curly hair and a freckle above my lip. I thought that would add a natural appeal to the look I was attempting. In 5th grade art class, we all had to make these people out of construction paper. I made a replica of Madonna, of course. I got teased about it, but I still was obsessed with her. While it was around the time her “True Blue” album came out, I went with a “Dress You Up” look for the project.
I watched “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Who’s That Girl?” even though I didn’t understand much of the story when I was a kid. I didn’t want to see “Shanghai Surprise” though. I also saw movies she made later on down the road. I still love her in “Evita.” She was perfect for the role and I loved singing along with her when I played the soundtrack.
I think I lost some interest in Madonna when I got to junior high. I’d still play her music, but Tiffany and Debbie Gibson had grabbed my interest by then, later to be replaced by New Kids on the Block. Still, she was always around, becoming more and more controversial over time. I remember hearing a lecture about “Justify My Love” when I was at a Jewish youth group retreat during freshman year of high school. During junior year, I got to sing “More” from “I’m Breathless” (Madonna’s musical contribution to “Dick Tracy”) with the women’s choir I was in at the time. I didn’t really think about Madonna much in college though. Towards the end is when “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” came out and along with that was “Beautiful Stranger.” I still love that song and recently put it on a mix CD to play for road trips. After I graduated from college and started going to gay clubs with “Will,” I would hear more of her music being played along with her latest videos. When “Music” came out, I got the CD. I also got “The Immaculate Collection” and “GHV2” around that time. I also dressed like her for Halloween in 2001.
I still listen to her music nowadays. I think “Glee” definitely got me interested again, but I would occasionally come across one of my old Madonna cassettes and have the urge to play it. I was even playing “The Immaculate Collection” on my way to work today. It made me nostalgic and I also realized how her voice has changed so much without me even noticing it. It has flowed naturally with her age and I never gave it much thought. She sounds just as great now as she did when I was a kid. I’m impressed that such a great pop star from my youth is around for my children to hear (when they’re ready) and still seems young no matter how many years have passed.
Some of my favorite Madonna songs are: "Material Girl," "Like a Prayer," "Crazy for You," "Live to Tell," "Don't Tell Me," and "Beautiful Stranger." What are yours?