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MerGirl

DOES MADONNA NEED KATY PERRY MORE THAN KATY PERRY NEEDS MADONNA?

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If you were an alien from another planet, or say, someone who was too busy trying to make the world a better place to follow a Twitter feed or even vaguely care about the Internet’s mindless natterings, you’d probably look at Katy Perry and Madonna’s V Magazine shoot from this week and think something along the lines of, “Those two 25 year olds are being quite sexy.” It’s a confusing image, and the concept of a 29-year-old Perry and the 55-year-old Madonna looking equal in age as they played out an S&M fantasy, made me ask: who needs who more in order to be relevant?

Katy Perry—despite meeting Michael Jackson’s record for five number one hits from the same album and being the only woman to do so—is a relative newcomer to pop. Particularly in comparison to Madonna, veteran who radically altered the way we see sex and women in pop music. Ergo, being photographed for a high fashion mag with Madge legitimizes her as a “serious” popstar/woman/sex symbol. On the other hand, Madonna, despite her icon status, has been putting out mediocre records and not really adding anything of particular pertinence to the pop culture conversation, needs to be photographed with hot young thing Katy Perry in order to maintain relevance in the fickle public consciousness. It could be that both women need each other equally, but Madonnna, despite her legend, seems increasingly unequal as her flirtations with the new guard seem to be the only thing keeping her from fading into contemporary irrelevance. And it’s not like Madonna to fade.

Madonna has been Madonna going on 35 years now, and in the heyday of her career revolutionized pop, femininity, sex, and fashion. We agree on this. We should also agree that Madonna is obsessed with youth and in maintaining the illusion of her own. Essentially, all Madonna has done in the last decade is attempt to convince us that she’s still 20, with varying degrees of success. In my opinion, the last good album Madonna put out was Ray of Light in 1998 (everything before this was—and it should go without saying—The Best). Music, released in 2000, was passable, and depending on your mood, quite possibly enjoyable. “What It Feels Like For A Girl” actually holds up better than I thought it would. Then came the middling This American Life in 2003 and the very special moment that opened the MTV Music Awards: the Britney-Madonna-Xtina kiss sandwich, which we still haven’t stopped talking about.

Despite her stuttering musical output, in 2003 Madonna still had the clout to take two young chart toppers, at the apex of their careers, and turn them into icons. Madonna won’t be remembered because she was the lady that kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, but they will be remembered for being the girls who smooched Madonna. If, in 2003, anyone had any doubt that Brit and Xtina were the reigning princesses of pop, such doubt was erased when God herself came down and bestowed her kisses upon them. And next to their young bodies, Madonna pulled off the deceit she’s been obsessed with ever since—she made us forget that her body was old.

Since then, Madonna’s mostly been accused of “desperation.” She certainly has not been accused of making a great album. With Confessions on the Dancefloor and that purple leotard in “Hung Up,” Madonna gave up the ghost, and it was that moment in which we became collectively aware of her crusade for youthfulness. And now, Madonna—icon, boundary-breaker, history-maker—relies on the appeal of fresh young stars to legitimize her continued participation in pop music. From Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. flanking her at the Super Bowl to her appearing with Miley Cyrus for the younger woman’s MTV Unplugged special (and painfully mimicking Miley’s trademark tongue), Madonna could be accused as riding on infant coattails. Having brought nothing interesting to music or performance in arguably a decade, Madonna is like that little kitten on a string, just hanging in there, hoping that the glow of youth will reflect off her and we won’t notice that she’s old hat.

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Madonna’s appearance with Katy Perry in V Magazine will, ultimately, do more for her than it will for Perry, who, in the midst of a world tour, would likely garner as much attention posed on her own. Ironically, Madonna as the submissive in the S&M shoot says a lot about the authorial voice in pop—it still belongs with the younger woman. Which is a sad thing for women because, with age comes experience, and with experience comes a more interesting conversation. It pains me that men, The Rolling Stones for instance, strut about stages like saggy nutsacks just barely holding together their contents, ragged with years and wrinkles and drugs and stories, and women like Madonna, who are just as accomplished, cling to their own shadows.

People listen to Keith Richards tell stories about drinking piss out of the carpet or whatever the fuck other disgusting shit men do when they’re spastic on drugs like they’re listening to a church sermon. I want the same for this woman, for this Madonna, who’s been to hell and back, who changed everything for women in pop, who was challenging and different and brave, who was beaten down and who got back up again. I want more for her than the stretched mask made of her own skin that’s taut across her face as she emulates a barely-accomplished-by-comparison Katy Perry. I want to see her as we so often see iconic men, absolutely falling apart from the years of changing the face of our culture, and absolutely unashamed for the basic crime that belongs to women and women alone: the crime of getting older.

Kat George risks life and limb (see below) to put her well thought opinions out there and for that we thank her. She's on Twitter - @Kat_George.

I see a lot of bullshit in this "think piece"
Thoughts?

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Yet it's ok for other well established artists to work with young artist and no one calls them desperate. Ugh another ass long bullshit article!

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Someone should tweet her why always single out Madonna when others work with young artists like Elton, Queen, Bennett, list goes on and on. Also it's the media that has problem with older women.

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The article also forgets to mention that for a lot of people including me the first they ever heard of Katy Perry was when Madonna mentioned her song Ur so Gay in an interview. So Madonna has long liked her long before Katy became a superstar. So it's not as the article portrays that Madonna has just recently latched on to her to become "relevant".

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I also think it's ridiculous the article dismisses Confessions on a Dance floor as Madonna giving up the ghost. I thought it was widely accepted as one of Madonna's best records.

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I've stopped reading this piece of ….when I've reached this "On the other hand, Madonna, despite her icon status, has been putting out mediocre records and not really adding anything of particular pertinence to the pop culture"… :angry:

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She's been called desperate for 30 years. NEXT!

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I see it as Madonna helping out younger artists, and Madonna is probably the last person who needs other people to get attention. She gets enough on her own.

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Another pathetic article by an ex fan of Madonna. Honestly, the so called fans who have not liked her since Ray of Light are worse than her haters. Their constant whinging, along with the nasty put-downs while pretending to still be fans is nauseating.

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Another pathetic article by an ex fan of Madonna. Honestly, the so called fans who have not liked her since Ray of Light are worse than her haters. Their constant whinging, along with the nasty put-downs while pretending to still be fans is nauseating.

I agree, those are the worst. Just admit you no longer like her and move on.

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Madonna collaborated on a PHOTO SHOOT with Perry

Other older artists do it with younger artists all the time

What the fucks the problem?

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Zzzzz.zzzz..... yet another article on how irrelevant / old / pointless etc. etc. she is. Let's party like it's 1993.

Journalists are so dumb sometimes.

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Another pathetic article by an ex fan of Madonna. Honestly, the so called fans who have not liked her since Ray of Light are worse than her haters. Their constant whinging, along with the nasty put-downs while pretending to still be fans is nauseating.

Totally agree, i didn't even read the article until the end. It's not worth it, it's ALWAYS the same biased shit.

Ex-fans are really the worst.

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I also think it's ridiculous the article dismisses Confessions on a Dance floor as Madonna giving up the ghost. I thought it was widely accepted as one of Madonna's best records.

It is.

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I'm sorry but someone who thinks Ray of light is her best album should never be allowed to write about pop music and Madonna. EVER.

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1400867786o_KATY_PERRY_MADONNA_V_MAG_fac

Madonna’s appearance with Katy Perry in V Magazine will, ultimately, do more for her than it will for Perry, who, in the midst of a world tour, would likely garner as much attention posed on her own. Ironically, Madonna as the submissive in the S&M shoot says a lot about the authorial voice in pop—it still belongs with the younger woman.

This comment is annoying. Although I didn't appreciate seeing M submitting to a lessor, jumping to that conclusion that it's saying only young women dominate is really stretching it. Not saying that statement isn't true, but don't agree that's what the SHOOT was trying to convey. People read so much into shit when it suits them.

I also think it's ridiculous the article dismisses Confessions on a Dance floor as Madonna giving up the ghost. I thought it was widely accepted as one of Madonna's best records.

It is. The writer's an idiot, jumping to the cliche conclusion that M's output the last decade has been mediocre, in comparison to her 90s/80s work. While I agree her videos are less inspired, despite at least 4 I can think of post 2000 being some of my absolute favorite (WIFLFAG, Bedtime Stories interlude, Paradise Not For Me and Future Lovers), I think her music's been as good as ever. Yeah there's been duds (TUTR), but the 90s had duds for me too (Bye Bye Baby).

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Ray of Light was her last good album?! What a bizarre thing to write.

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I'm sorry but someone who thinks Ray of light is her best album should never be allowed to write about pop music and Madonna. EVER.

A bit harsh. Considering ROL her best album is completely valid. I don't agree, but I can see where someone's coming from who would say that.

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It's not her best since it does not reflect her whole discography. It lacks something essential on a Madonna record : fun !

It's a very good album but not her best.

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The people writing articles like this don't even notice how ageist they are being, and it's really sad.

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oh and how irrelevant she is! being the n.1 top earner celebrity IN THE WORLD does not count.

and i hate when it is said she has not brought anything remotely artistic or interesting IN PERFORMANCE this last decade when her past and recent tours are basically the template for all the pop princesses currently on the road with a show ( i am not including you know who because her show is just shit)

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ageism and sexism at its best

Exactly. The writer is mentioning Keith Richards, that people respect him, and that she wants the same for Madonna, and then she goes on and writes a bullshit piece about how old and desperate Madonna is. Instead she could have written something more respectful, and actually done what she wants other people to do.

The scrutiny Madonna gets vs other artists is mind boggling to me. She has to be 10x better than anyone else all the time, or else they think she is over and has nothing to offer. They all cling to this idea that she is obsessed with youth because she take care of her body, and because she is still sexual. Guess what? Some people actually want to look good even when they are in their 50's, and they are still sexual beings. Sex is not only for the young.

Actually, what Madonna is doing is great. She is STILL pushing boundaries when it comes to female sexuality, and maybe even more so now.

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