Houston Calling

The American Dream?

May 29th, 2003 · No Comments

So last night I awoke from one of my many catnaps to find an interview with Madonna on Bravo. Being too lazy to reach for the remote, I watched it.

The Today Show‘s Matt Lauer was, in one of the most unabashed displays of biased journalism I have ever witnessed, interviewing the queen of pop for the seventh time. In his defense, he at least attempted to ask a few pointed questions but he certainly didn’t push when she refused to answer certain questions or asked him not to read her the reviews of her latest flop attempt at acting (she claimed not to have read any of them at all).

I have never been a fan of Madonna or her music (sure, a song here or there was okay and I was always a fan of her breasts), but I can respect the fact she’s been around for more than 20 years. I always thought she was a bit confused, overwhelmed by her success, and just plain trying too hard to be cutting edge or provocative.

By now, I am sure everyone has at least heard something about the video for her single “American Life” from her most recent album. She reshot the video after clips of her dancing around in camo and tossing a grenade made the headlines (the video was set to be released shortly after the war in Iraq began). I read something recently where she claims to have done this because her “child has to walk down the street.” That’s fine. I don’t care if she censored herself–doesn’t bother me at all. I understand. I just wish she had censored the entire song. It’s horrible.

Anyway, while watching her crucify her own songs in her first in-store concert (she was either really off or is just horrible live) and the accompanying interview footage with Matt Lauer, I realized that Madonna is basically just like most people. Sure, she might be a multimillionaire but she’s got to have her crutch like everyone else. In the 80’s and early 90’s it was sex and money (the “Boy Toy” and “Material Girl”– remember them?), in the mid-90’s it was men, and now it seems like Madonna now needs religion. Or does she?

In the interview, Mrs. Ritchie said she doesn’t consider herself to be any particular religion (her song “American Life” contains the lyrics, “…I’m not a Christian, and I’m not a Jew…”). But she’s jumped on the Hollywood bandwagon and has embraced Kabalism (“a mystical form of Judaism which predates organized religions,” according to MSNBC). The Guardian reported that she spent close to $6 million dollars to buy a building in London for her spiritual guru Philip Berg to use as one of his Kaballah Centers.

Of course, I am not saying Madonna doesn’t need the crutch. She seems a lot more mellow than in the past, but she is definitely living in a fantasy world. The interview clearly shows that. When asked about her decreasing album sales and if she feel she is relevant to the youth of today (uh huh–good question Matt), Madonna said she hopes so because she has positive things to say to the kids who follow the Christinas and Brittanys of the world today.

Her new spiritualism–or her fad du jour, however you wish to view it–is something I wish musicians would just avoid making public. When will they realize that no one cares about their quest for inner peace unless it produces a good song? No one cares that they like to spend their precious free time campaigning for or against Greenpeace or PETA or the Green Party or Walden Woods or Ticketmaster or even George Bush (yes, I am sure there are some).

We don’t want to hear about their new church, new savior, new cause, new restaurant, new anything–well maybe a new album. And an album free of your politics and preaching. If I want to be preached to, well, let’s just say I have my ways.

But hey, Madonna sure can play a mean version of “Stairway to Heaven” on the acoustic guitar. For what that’s worth.

And it gives me something to write about.

I guess at least we can be happy she’s no longer posing nude with Vanilla Ice or Big Daddy Kane…

Now Playing in my iPOD: Spiritualized — Amazing Grace

Tags: Music