When trying to figure out how how important, or unimportant, pop music has become, one of the problems you run into is differentiating between music being discussed as art and entertainment, and music being discussed as a sort of hobby for celebrities. A creepy article about Madonna on Tina Brown’s new blog thing is a good working definition of the latter, and the audio clip accompanying it is just plain odd.
It’s teased as “music that’s never before been released,” then gets downgraded to “a combination of Madonna’s acceptance speech when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, interspersed with her early recordings.” What it turns out to be is a few seconds of Madonna actually playing music, and a whole lot of Madonna either talking to or about the guy who made the recording. (If you recall Madge’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech, you may remember him as one of the brothers who lived in an abandoned synagogue and taught her to play drums. Weird fact–he still lives in the abandoned synagogue!) After the audio clip, there’s finally some truth in advertising: they’re “some of her earliest recordings of her performing– as well as her thoughts on life, nose picking and scratching her ass.” If that sounds appealing to you, go ahead and click through, but be prepared to get a real Cable Guy sort of vibe.
The accompanying article, in Brownian fashion, doesn’t have much to say about the audio clip or about Madonna’s music per se–beyond the fact that it exists, and people like it–but has lots to say about Madonna’s personality. Last I checked, Madonna was in her mockable phase, what with the fake British accent and the borderline body dysmorphia and the albums no one cares about. But maybe with her divorce, a focus of the article, we’re moving into her grande dame phase. Which is to say, she’s being rehabilitated, though I’m no expert on this sort of thing. The article is written by Madge’s biographer, and Brown has always been a fan, but the amount of rooting going on seems wholly at odds with her current public perception. Here’s a representative sentence: “Even though she is only 5ft, 5ins and weighs in around 120 lbs soaking wet, she is a financial heavyweight with street smart ring-craft learned over her early years of struggle.” Can we be too far away from an all-acoustic Rick Rubin-produced covers album?
The Lost Madonna Tapes [The Daily Beast]