Contributed by Madfan:
Biases aside, let’s do a Madonna and Britney Spears Career Assessment.
Let’s begin with Madonna:
Madonna, Madonna, Madonna. Tsk, tsk, tsk… So this is where we’ve come to. She has always been called by many as a career planning genius. I doubt that statement now. All she did since mid-1998 was a series of career missteps.
Let’s begin with “Evita” in 1996. It provided her a fresh start. What did she do? She wasted it. “Evita” could’ve been the start of the movie career that she has always dreamed of. She was supposed to be Velma Kelly in “Chicago” after that. If she did “Chicago” (thank heavens, she didn’t — she would have just destroyed it), she could have been the new Queen of Movie Musicals. Just imagine … after “Chicago,” she could have been Fantine in a movie version of the musical “Les Miserables” … then she could have been Norma Desmond in a movie version of the musical “Sunset Boulevard.” She could have been perfect in both roles … roles which were right for her age and talent. She could have been the Queen of Broadway Musicals Turned Movies. But no, she wanted to be “relevant” and cool to the younger generation … so she chose did that terrible and boring film “The Next Best Thing,” a film which the younger generation simply ignored. Do I have to mention “Swept Away”? It’s unfair, people always attack “Glitter” and “Gigli,” but they don’t even mention “Swept Away” whenever they talk about the biggest box office disasters. Is it that bad that it doesn’t even deserve mention in the Annals of the Greatest Flops? Mistake No. 1.
On the music front, after “Evita,” where she took voice lessons, she could’ve easily shifted to recording Broadway and Broadway-like tunes, a la Streisand, LuPone, Brightman … and even Dion. She could’ve gotten the respect of a much mature-er audience, the generation of people who ACTUALLY are familiar and aware of her existence and presence. But no, she wanted to be “relevant” and cool to the younger generation … so she delved into electronica. Good for her, the “Ray of Light” CD and her collaboration with the talented William Orbit turned out to be successful. This gave her the courage to push the musical envelopes even further. “Music,” her first collaboration with that Mirwais person, was okay, tolerable … but not VERY good. But we forgave her. “GHV-2” appeared to be a scam (what??? a “greatest hits” package with no actual huge hits and NO new songs to satisfy loyal Madonna CD collectors???). Again we forgave her. Then came that horrible, horrible “American Life” project. You can fool the people most of the time, but you can’t fool the people ALL the time. Obviously, she’s lost it here. And observers at last had the courage to say that this was the beginning of the end. Mistake No. 2.
On the image front, after “Evita,” we actually believed that the Material Girl has turned into the Spiritual Mother, a mature mother of two and a loving wife who practices Kabbalah and writes stories for children. THE KISS opened our eyes … all that “metaphysics S.H.I.T” and spiritual C.R.A.P. was just a game, a publicity stunt. Mistake No. 3.
Saturday Night Live perfectly sums up Madonna’s struggle to remain famous and visible: “sad desperation.” My greatest fear has happened … Madonna has joined the League of Fallen Icons (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey). She has been reduced to a laughing stock and the butt of late-night show jokes, along with Jacko, Whitney and poor Mariah.
If I were Madonna (thank heavens, I’m not … I’d rather be Beyonce or Hilary Duff at the moment … no, that’s too ambitious of me, make that Laura Pausini), I’d sign out of the Britney Spears video, ask the Britney management to remove my vocals from that horrific “me Against The Music” single, do a Cher-like farewell concert, and retire with dignity and integrity and just enjoy Guy Ritchie. That’s heaven enough. If she goes on, she’ll make more career missteps. 20 years is enough. Thank you. We love you.
As for Britney Spears, let’s just concentrate on the music. Well, given everything that’s happening to her career at the moment, all I can say is, and I hate eating my own vomit, Christina Aguilera has done better musical choices. OK, OK, Britney has 3 consecutive No. 1 CDs. But you’ve gotta have hit singles as well to maintain your existence in pop life. Since when has she actually last appeared in the Billboard Top 10 Singles chart AFTER the first single “… Baby One More Time”? The answer to that will be my Britney Spears Career Assessment.
Britney and Madonna maturing, evolving and developing music to higher levels with “Me Against the Music”? Are you kidding??? Development and maturity means evolution into something better. It means moving forward, not backward. Britney and Madonna, with that ill-fated “Me Against The Music,” are taking us back to the ancient period when man was just starting to learn the art of sound and music.