“People have always been trying to silence me for one reason or another, whether it’s that I’m not pretty enough, I don’t sing well enough, I’m not talented enough, I’m not married enough, and now it’s that I’m not young enough,”
Ray of Light, Into the Groove, Like a Virgin and of course Don’t Tell Me. These are the ultimate classic bangers, by Queen of Pop Madonna. Madge, has been around for as long as I’ve been alive, she’s graced most of our playlists on Spotify she’s an ultimate classic. This year, at the age of 60, yes 60, she released her latest album, ‘Madame X‘ which to me and most fans, describe as a ‘new fresh politically rich sound’. Yet, despite her fresh Number 1 selling album, critically a-claimed new sound and album, she still faces the criticism towards her age.
Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and of course Bruce Springsteen all are over the age they’d get ID’d and still create music and tour the music yet, do they face the same criticisms that the likes of Madonn and Kylie Minogue face? No, they bloody don’t. And, before the anti-feminists get on my comment thread; this is not a matter of gender and equality at the heart of this argument. What’s at the route of this issue, is that we as a society still believe, that when a woman reaches a certain age, she should retire, hide away, buy the doilies and play bingo. I do, think, however when gender is bought in, it does have some merit to it. We cannot ignore it; gender whether we accept it or not, plays a large part in a lot of contemporary arguments and will arguably play an important role here, in this argument right now. For example, when Mick Jagger, just got back on stage after an operation, we praised him for his great show and what a medical miracle he was. Whenever Paul McCartney comes and performs, yet another version of Hey Jude, we never tell him to pack it in, we say ‘well done, even at his age he does a great thing’. Not, hold on a minute, pipe down and put Jude to bed. Yet, with Madonna, when she performs anything, we jump on our high horses and squash it. We criticise, her vocals, her ability to perform and her performance abilities. We never say, WOW, even at her age, she does a cracking show or she still knows to put the ‘er’ into banger. We, instead make her age, the critical part of the argument.
I’ll be the first to admit, her performance at Eurovision this year, was poor. It was not her best performance, she was trying to get political, at an event, that didn’t deserve it. It deserved, unfortunately, a medley of the best hits. The hits, we as fans, get bored of, but her critics would appreciate. Her vocals, were not the best either but when scrolling through socials, during and after the performance, we get ‘act your age‘, ‘give it up‘, ‘she’s lost it’.
Right, let’s discuss those through points folks. No1) ‘act your age’- let’s take Little Mix, who perform on stage with little clothing and do look like they’d catch pneumonia. These girls, as lovely as they are, the females, our young generation are looking up to and yet, Madonna, is making a statement, bringing our attention as viewers to the issues over in the Middle East. We, are too bothered by the fact a woman over 25, is performing and doing something the younger generation fails to do, other than show their booty gains. No2), ‘give it up‘, would we have told Michael Jackson to give it up, when he released album after album? Even, when when he released, political tracks like Earth song. No, we watched , praised and applauded his ability to craft cracking albums all whilst being at the heart of a child grooming case, still yet to be believed, questioned or proven thanks to the untimely death of Jacko. Either way, his age was never used as a critical reference point. The Rolling Stones, do we bring their age up, as a matter of criticism? No, the point of age is used as a praise. What a liberty. No3) ‘she’s lost it’, as I said previously, the performance at eurovision was not it’s strongest and her interview with Graham Norton, did not put her in a good light. I’d be the first to point it out. I’m not wearing Madonna rose tinted specs!! However, she has not lost it, she’s taken her anger towards politics and made it the focus of the album and ran with it. Her sound, is different, but is no different to the likes of Calvin Harris changing his sound. That change, was partly for the better, but you cannot beat, Calvin Harris’ album Motion. What a banger. Other performers, who make these changes, are praised for their balls, Madonna was not by the public. Critics and fans, are patting on her back and saying ‘gimme a fist pump girl’.
Our Radio Stations do not help, this argument and my point. Radio 1, Kiss & Capital refuse to play Madonna, Kylie or anyone really over the age of 50, unless for a quiz or as a joke. Now, this to me puts these artists into a box, that confines their talent into the generation they were launched into. Now, Madonna’s recent single, Medllin, is an absolute banger. It actually sounds very much like every other single of last year; by that I mean, the latino pop sounds that Madge, bought into fashion with La Isla Bonita. See trendsetter people. If you weren’t a Madonna fan, you’d think it wasn’t her- I know lots who have listened to it, and not realised it was Madge until the host said ‘and that was Madonna ft…whatever his name is’. Yet, are Radio 1 playing it? I’ve got more chance of Madonna at my front door right now, asking me if I fancy being her a backing vocalist for Ray of Light. We, all listen to radio stations, whether in our cars, in the kitchen or just in the office so this is a way in which we are being socialised into our beliefs, actions etc. We’re accusing social media of constructing our beliefs of body image, normality and reality vs fantasy yet, television and radio does exactly the same. By, not playing the Queens of Pop on the radio, what we’re saying to listeners, again, regardless of their age, is, that once you reach over a certain age, your talents, your credit to the industry, is irrelevant because someone newer fresh is along to make shite pop sounds. We’re also suggesting to our listeners, that anyone of the 80s/90’s who still produces absolute bangers, is not worth your time listening to, because they’re over 50 now. This is ageism at it’s finest; if it was in an employment situation, we’d be ringing our Union rep up immediately without questioning it- here in the spotlight however, we accept it and move on like nothing has happened or is happening.
When I raise these points in an open discussion, my colleagues friends and family members would go onto say the following; 1) Would you want your relative of that age acting that way? Now, I’m not related to Madonna, but if I was, I’d look at the fact that she has paved the way for this generations pop superstars, she kick started a wave of feminism within the pop industry and thirdly, she at the age of 60, if I could look that good in those clothes, why the hell not? Also, if your Mother is Madonna, who cares she’s gracing the stage in few clothes, she can, she’s Madonna. We as children, all get occasionally embarrassed by our parents, whether it’s because of their clothes, chat or ability to use an iPhone so i’m sure as heck, Madge is the same with her children.
So a middle finger up to patriarchy & age & a salute to the new era of Madonna. I will also agree, that Madonna’s current ticket prices are absolutely bonkers and my bank account does not agree to pay such prices, even in an intimate set up. Soz, Madge, I’ll just admire the tour i did see and the Confessions Tour aka the best tour.