Charlie Murphy (1958-2017)

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Acting Your Age

Pop music is all about the here and now, the promise of eternal youth. So it is very hard to age in pop music.

When I first saw the black and white head shot on Madonna‘s Rebel Heart, . . .

. . . I immediately thought of the cover of her first album (for my review) . . .
Madonna,_debut_album_cover

. . . which made me realize how long it’d been since her debut. And it seems a little sad that someone who was once as big as she was has been reduced to such attention-grabbing stunts as talking about dating Tupac two decades ago or dissing Beyonce.

The music on Rebel Heart does not help relevance either. Her listing of drugs on “Devil Pray” seems cheap, like she is now chasing trends instead of starting them:

I can’t take “Bitch I’m Madonna” seriously.

It just makes me think of Dave Chappelle‘s Rick James routine.

And quoting from “Vogue” on two separate tracks simply invites unflattering comparisons between her new music and her classic hits.

It is possible to age well in rock, even without resorting to cover albums of the Great American Songbook, as so many have. David Bowie managed it on The Next Day.

Of course, there is more than a little sexism at play here, that men are allowed to age in our culture, whereas women aren’t, but even that can be worked around. Viv Albertine has accomplished this by acting her age, by exposing her life as an adult instead of trying to convince anyone she is still a kid: