Madonna: Banterview With The Vampyre
D'LUV: So, I actually kind of like "Celebration." It's nice to see SOMEONE thought recycling the backing track for DJ Sammy's cover of "Heaven" was a good idea.
MOOGABOO: Yes, Madonna's ahead of the curve, yet again. Nostalgia for 2002 isn't scheduled to start for another six months!
D: By the way, happy three-year banter-versary! Just think, these all started three years ago this month. But, let's get down to brass tacks—why is another Madonna greatest hits being foisted on the weary public again?
M: Well, to be fair, the last one was out nearly a decade ago, and M has had so many hits since then. You know, like "4 Minutes" and...uh...
D: I keep forgetting about "4 Minutes"—you know, like radio did once the payola checks started bouncing. (Just kidding, Madonna's lawyers!)
M: Hmm. Do you think a slightly-positive banterview will convince Guy O'Seary to book us a trip to the Bahamas?
D: Gasp! Maybe? Did I mention how good "Celebration" is?
M: "Celebration" is tragic like a wedding reception at Cici's Pizza, and that's why I love it. Fuck trendy! The fun Madonna is having comes through in the music for the first time in a long while—and not just in the press materials.
JD: Well, if they play this song at the next wedding reception I go to at Cici's Pizza—and, yes, I've been to at least two—I might have to jump out of the wedding cake and give the priest an HJ on the cheese plate.
M: I wish Madge would do another epic ballad, a la, "This Used To Be My Playground," "Live to Tell," or "Frozen." You know, the kind of song Jordin Sparks would sell her purity thong for.
M: I remember hating "I'll Remember" when I first heard it, thinking it was a total sell-out after the Sex/Erotica brouhaha. It didn't take long for me to realize its merits, though. A beautiful arrangement and melody, plus they wisely kept Joe Pesci out of the video. I think its timeless. Sigh.
JD: "Celebration" follows in the long line of Madonna singles that command her loyal (read: enslaved) fans to get on the dance floor. I imagine she's just behind the disco scrim, waiting with jaws open as they march to their doom.
M: Madge is the personification of wrinkles on a circuit queen's face, writ as large and unforgiving as all of time itself.
JD: Have you been spending time in the PopJustice forums again?
M: Babe, I remember when your mom bought you a used copy of Bedtime Stories from CD Zone and you shrieeeeked at how much you loved it. And BTW, it was 1998, and you were 24.
JD: Yeah, well, I still say that was her last truly great album! Of course, nostalgia might have a bit to do with this—the "straight" guy I was boinking in '94 used to play it all the time my first semester away at college.
M: Class. Meanwhile, how many straight guys do you think Madge has dated?
JD: Sigh. Remember that halcyon period when we actually gave a toss about Madonna? We used to hang out in your bedroom, play her cassette singles and eat blueberry popscicles, just dreaming about what she was doing. Or am I thinking of Tara Kemp?
M: I think that's what Tara Kemp is doing now, luv. And bless her for it—it keeps her off the streets. Sadly, you and I didn't know each other during our respective Madgedonna phases. But I like to think we were twirling simultaneously, albeit cities apart, to the tingle-making bridge of "True Blue." In 1987, I was literally head-over-heels for her!
JD: Yes, and in 1997, you were heels-over-head for her. So, when the mothball dust of Madonna's career finally settles years from now, I wonder if anyone is gonna remember any of her music from 2000 onward?
M: Does anyone remember any of it now?
JD: Good point. I hope she puts "Hanky Panky" on this upcoming set of trash. People need to be reminded that Madonna really took the art of music to a whole new level.
M: You so didn't need to bring up "Hanky Panky."
JD: Not only did I bring it up, but I'm postin' the single cover. The one with pink leopard print, just like the inside of her Madonna's pop taco.
M: When I think of the year 1990, I pretty much see just that.
JD: To its credit, this Celebration collection is gonna include "Everybody." That was a good jam. Here's hoping it also has those other misfit Madge hits that never made it onto The Immaculate Collection, like "Dress You Up," "Angel" and "Burning Up."
M: I love all of those "misfits" more than some of the hits, which is probably why we've both felt alienated from the herd of gay Madonna fandom. I love the entire Like A Virgin album, which is apparently like saying "I love rags soaked in gasoline" to some fans. To each his own, I suppose, but I pity anyone who can't muster a feverish twitch around the coffee table to "Over and Over."
JD: Now that Madonna's on the market again, she needs a good sex scandal to really jumpstart her career, like in the Warren Beatty days. Miley Cyrus is single, no?
M: I think she just needs to take the Kabbalah stick out of her butt, slap around some queeny dancers and get back to being The Real Madonna. You know, the one she had killed shortly before Evita.
JD: Well, I feel like "Celebration"—trite as it is, lyrically—is a true return to The Real Madonna. It's what her legion of fans have wanted for years from her. It's dancey, it's fun, it's, well, celebratory. So, naturally, you and I love it, and it'll probably peak at #87 on the chart.
M: Of course that's going to happen. But then again, that would probably happen even if we hated it, so we can enjoy it sans guilt. This is the first Madonna single I've really liked in years. Sure, there was the occasional it'll-do release: "Jump" was fine. But "Celebration" feels genuinely joyful where most of Confessions and Hard Candy felt forced.
JD: I wonder if a Madonna or a Whitney Houston can truly stay relevant in the post-music video age. Let's face it, since MTV switched formats from pop vids to Heidi Montag tit shots, the giants of yesteryear have slid into a slump. Is it that they're just past their prime, or that the careers they built on the cable music medium had the rug pulled out from under them?
M: Mmm, good point. Being "bigger than life" isn't where it's at now. Anyone can be a star, and just about anyone is. Big budgets and big egos, for better or for worse, have gone the way of TRL. So judging Madonna by today's pop music standards is really not fair. I almost feel bad for her. She seems downright quaint compared to her new peers, the flashy grostesques of YouTube.
JD: You're right! Screw Madonna—when's Chris Crocker putting out his greatest hits?