Fiona McCade: Madonna ruined pop music for women

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Fiona McCade: Madonna a ruiné la musique pop pour les femmes.


Published Date: 02 June 2011
By Fiona McCade

Do YOU remember Kate Bush? If you don't, Google her. She was talented, clever and beautiful, the writer of wonderful memorable songs, and a unique singer who also choreographed and performed her own material.
Women wanted to be her and men lusted after her ethereal, leotard-clad loveliness. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, with Kate blazing the trail, the future of women in pop looked very bright indeed. Then something happened.
That something was called Madonna. Madonna co-wrote some songs, and she also sang them, in her unremarkable fashion. She danced too, but her career has never really been about music. Music is just one of the many ways Madonna chooses to present her product. Her product is Madonna, in her myriad incarnations, and I would suggest that by far the most important method Madonna uses to sell Madonna is sex.
I'm not suggesting Madonna finished Kate Bush's career. Kate has always had her own agenda, but once Madonna took hold of the charts, something shifted. Madonna used shock-porn to make us notice her, perhaps because she knew her talent and looks alone could never hold our attention. She stripped off, simulated sex acts and canoodled with a half-naked Christ figure. The music took a back seat to what Madonna was doing with her body. The books, videos and stage shows were what made her famous. The hardcore sexualisation of female pop artists had started.
And it goes on, although it takes a brave record-industry executive to point it out. Luckily, Richard Russell of XL Records is a brave man. This week he said that the "faux porn" exhibited by some artists' performances makes him feel "queasy". "It's just so boring, crass and unoriginal," he added, before mentioning that as far as his own artist, Adele, is concerned: "The whole message is that it's just really good music …There are no gimmicks, no selling of sexuality …What a great thing, how amazing."
And how unusual, because thanks to Madonna and her ilk, it's almost impossible for a girl to make music these days without being forced to get her kit off.
True, there are some exceptions. Adele is an obvious one; Lily Allen is another, but back in 2007 she was called "a chick with a dick" by Cheryl Cole, who evidently thought Lily wasn't nearly good-looking and sexy enough to be a pop star.
Thankfully, when her beauty was being disparaged, Lily's brains came to her aid and she handled the spat in her usual, pithy manner, retorting: "Cheryl, if you're reading this, I may not be as pretty as you but at least I write and SING my own songs without the aid of Auto-Tune. I must say taking your clothes off, doing sexy dancing and marrying a rich footballer must be very gratifying, your mother must be so proud, stupid b****."
Interestingly, Cheryl - who is good-looking enough to be a pop star but definitely wouldn't be one if she had to rely solely on her musical talents - was recently told by a US TV executive that she should lose two stone if she wanted to be successful in America. Even if you're perceived as being a powerful woman in the music industry, it appears your body is still up for scrutiny.
It's not fair, is it? Nobody ever asks Will.i.am to strut his stuff in a thong, but Fergie is expected to gyrate like a pole-dancer on poppers.
And that's because Madonna not only sold her image, she sold a lot of impressionable young women the myth that looking like a tart in a brothel window is somehow a feminist statement. So now we have Gaga, Britney and Christina all being desperately outrageous, and Rihanna cavorting around in skimpy bondage gear, singing: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me," while offstage she has been the victim of domestic violence. So much for liberation.
Sadly, until female artistes free themselves from Madonna's legacy of sleazy sex and shock-porn, the Kate Bushes, Annie Lennoxes or Suzanne Vegas of the future will find it harder than ever to break through - and to keep their clothes on while they're doing it.

Source: The Scotsman.

Publié dans Music

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