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Arts and Entertainment

Public celebrates Madonna’s musical journey

By Justin Quinn
Published: December 2009

Madonna: actress, author, designer, mother, entrepreneur, director, activist, and of course musician. Everyone knows and holds an opinion about her, but in the end, it all comes back to Madonna, the person.

Now, after releasing her ultimate greatest hits collection Celebration, winning top tour at the 2009 Billboard Touring Awards, and a week away from releasing her newest single “Revolver, Madonna is still riding high in her third decade of her career. But what keeps her fans enthralled and the public eternally curious after all this time?

Throughout the years, Madonna has been praised and criticized, but has never been forgotten. The sticker on the Celebration CD boasts that it consists of “34 songs that changed the world.

Although Madonna’s legacy is much more profound than just those 34 songs, it all stems from her music. Since her start in 1982, Madonna has been captivating audiences everywhere with her fearlessness, surprising many. Madonna’s first hit single, “Everybody, was a simple, pulsing invitation to the dance floor and opened the door to the classics, concerts, and controversy still following her today.

Madonna’s 80s years launched her from an unknown club singer trying to make it in New York City to a world renowned superstar. This decade spawned classic albums such as “Madonna, “Like a Virgin, “True Blue, and “Like a Prayer, each of which produced hit songs.

Controversy followed as Madonna was criticized for commending teenage pregnancy when she released “Papa Don’t Preach and for insulting the Catholic Church when she released “Like a Prayer. But the radios constantly played the singles, the media could not keep away, and it was impossible for anyone not to notice this force of nature Madonna had become.

A starring role in the classic movie Desperately Seeking Susan and the 1985 Virgin Tour were highly successful endeavors as well. As word of Madonna spread around the world, Madonna embarked on the Who’s That Girl Tour in 1987, selling out in stadiums around the world. In just one decade, Madonna had become a worldwide sensation.

Madonna kicked off the year 1990 with the start of her Blond Ambition Tour, touring to support the personal album Like a Prayer and the jazzy soundtrack to Dick Tracy, I’m Breathless. This tour combined theatrics with music, revolutionizing the way artists now tour.

In the early 90s, Madonna experimented with racy topics and released a music video for her song “Justify My Love that was deemed “too hot for MTV to play.
In 1992, Madonna went on to release an explicit photo book titled Sex and an album titled Erotica. Many criticized Madonna during this time for her provocative actions, but she seemed unaffected, expanding her influence in the music industry by co-founding a record label called Maverick.

She toured the next year on the Girlie Show World Tour, a spectacle that built upon the themes conceived the year before.

Bedtime Stories, a mellow-themed album, followed.

Next, Madonna prepared for the acting role of a lifetime, landing a starring in Evita. Madonna received critical acclaim for her role in this political musical, thus beginning a new phase in her career.

The dance floor queen from the 80s gave way to the new mother Madonna had become, and her music reflected that. Ray of Light, Madonna’s 1998 Grammy-winning album, showed off a new electro sound and a more mature look. Madonna took that album and the successful album Music on the road again with the dark, dramatic show, the Drowned World Tour in 2001.

By 2003, Madonna continued and expanded upon this new sound and produced the album American Life, causing controversy for its politically charged, anti-war first single. The album didn’t sell as well as previous ones, but her greatest-hits tour, Reinvention became a fan favorite, relieving any doubt that Madonna was off her mark immediately.

Madonna’s next two albums, Confessions on a Dance Floor and Hard Candy sold millions of copies worldwide joining her loyal, initial fans from the beginning of her career with new fans who had only recently discovered her music.

The Confessions Tour in 2006 was a theatrical, dance-oriented tour intending to support Confessions on a Dance Floor, returning her to dance roots. The award winning, record breaking Sticky and Sweet Tour took place in 2008 into 2009 and affirmed why Madonna is so unique.

In just under two hours, Madonna danced, sang, skipped rope, and played guitar with just as much, if not more, passion and enthusiasm as when she took the stage and toured for the first time in 1985.

From Everybody to Revolver, the collection of songs on Celebration, selected by Madonna and her fans, are a reminder of the success she has shared with us and what is still to occur. Her contributions to the music world are immense and no one knows what she is planning next. But, why do we still care about Madonna? Because after all of this, how could we not!

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