Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"Material Girl" by Madonna

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2216
Date:  02/09/1985
Debut:  43
Peak:  2
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Synthpop, Dance

Pop Bits:  The title track to Madonna's second album, Like a Virgin, established her as a star. The song spent six weeks at #1 and became a gold-selling record. If that song made her a star, then this follow-up tune put her on the road to becoming an 80s (and beyond) icon. The bouncy track nearly debuted within the Top 40 and proceeded to head towards the Top 10. It was denied the top spot, but its #2 showing gave Madonna her fourth Top 10 in a row. The video, in which Madonna mimics Marilyn Monroe's dance segment in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, became very popular and remained in heavy rotation on MTV for quite a while. The album would be blocked out of the #1 spot for a long time due to a couple of massive hits (the Purple Rain soundtrack and Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A), but it would finally reach the top for three weeks in February while this song was making its way to the Top 10.

ReduxReview:  This song certainly set off a lot of conversations. People had discussions about what Madonna meant by this song, what it meant for women, it's social impact/message, etc. It was as if Madonna had some big message loaded into the song and everyone had their interpretations. In reality, Madonna had hear the demo and thought the song was fun. According to her, she is not materialistic at all and even in the video, her character ends up ditching the glam in favor of regular clothes, a cool boyfriend, and a crummy car. But the image she projected in the video and the song's lyrics really got pinned to her like a scarlet letter. It may not have been her intent for this to happen, but it was hard to deny that combined with "Like a Virgin," the two songs certainly made Madonna the most talked about artist in music at the time. Of course I liked this song when it came out. It has that same awesome production style as "Virgin," courtesy of Nile Rodgers, and it was just pure juicy bubble pop. I actually don't think the song has aged that well, but it's still a fun listen.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Quad Shot!  1) This song was written by Peter Brown and Robert Rans. Brown had been a recording star himself a few years earlier. In 1977, his disco song "Do You Wanna Get Funky with Me" reached #3 at R&B, #18 Pop and #9 Dance. His follow-up song, 1978's "Dance with Me," did even better reaching #5 R&B, #8 Pop, and #4 Dance. He continued to have a few minor chart entries after the pair of hits, but by the end of '85 his own solo career came to an end. Oddly, his last charting song, 1985's "Zie Zie Won't Dance" (#20 Dance)," was nominated for an MTV Music Video Award for Best Art Direction. Also nominated in that category was Madonna's "Like a Virgin" video. They were both beat out by Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" video.  2) This song unexpectedly gave Madonna the nickname of the Material Girl. Many years later, Madonna expressed her regret at recording the song because of the moniker she gained from it.  3) Actor/singer Keith Carradine portrayed the director part in this song's video. Although more known for his numerous acting roles on TV, in film and on Broadway, Carradine had a very brief music career in the 70s. While starring in Robert Altman's Nashville, Carradine wrote and performed the song "I'm Easy" in the film. The song became popular and reached #17 in 1976. The song would earn him an Oscar for Best Original Song. A couple of albums would follow, but nothing came of them and he returned to acting full-time.  4) Madonna met her future husband Sean Penn on the set of the video for his song. Apparently, Penn's former assistant was working on the shoot and Penn dropped by to discuss a project with her and then asked to meet Madonna.

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