Madonna – Material Girl
On January 23, 1985 (and in Europe the following week) one of the most famous 80s singles was released, and we are talking about the undisputed queen of the eighties. Three months had passed since the release of “Like a virgin” and of the album with the same name, Madonna’s second studio album. We learned to know Madonna less dance girl and more pop star than in the first album, and she was also more adult and above all much more aware of herself and her own means.
“Material girl” was in a sense exactly the song that the audience expected from her at that time: after the stylish provocation dressed as a bride on the gondola in Venice, here is now Madonna attacking the taboo of venality, with the image of a maneater apparently celebrating her passion for luxury and glamour.
Just apparently though, because the song is absolutely ironic. When the producers proposed “Like a Virgin” and “Material girl” to Madonna for the album, she could not choose and accepted both. As she explained in various interviews, she accepted them because, in addition to being undoubtedly very catchy songs designed for success, they described exactly what Madonna… was not! And her final comment was, “I wasn’t a material girl, and I certainly wasn’t a virgin, so I chose them.”
The success of “Material girl” was definitely supported by a video that is really part of the history of the 80s. Madonna appears as a star of musicals, blonde and glossy as Marylin Monroe, surrounded by men trying to impress her with gifts and jewelry, in an atmosphere that reminds the scenes of movies like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
Actually, if we look closely, the video tells exactly the opposite story. Madonna is an actress who is shooting scenes for a video within the real video (as Human League did with “Don’t you want me“). The backstage scenes, however, tell us about a Madonna who refuses the attentions of the boy who accompanies her with a luxurious car, precisely because he tries to impress her with expensive gifts. And in effect, having out of stage clothes, we find the girl dressed as an 80s teenager who accepts simple daisies and accepts to go on an old fashioned second hand car.
“Material girl” was definitely one of the songs that made Madonna famous all over the world; it is certainly one of her most famous songs, and the video came out at the top of MTV’s popularity and became one of the most streamed clips from any music network on the planet.
Madonna was able to quickly detach herself from this image, and moreover one of her greatest skills has always been the ability to constantly change, for each new song, for every new story, for every new look she decided to adopt. This continuous evolution definitely helped to make her the undisputed queen of the 80s.
Madonna on Wikipedia