Sometimes, I get to do really fun things.
This weekend is one of those times. I'm off to present a paper at a conference, and this will be my third time doing so. The people involved in this extravaganza are basically the best: academic nerds and geeks who, like me, find endless things to say about popular culture, to the point where all our friends are sick of hearing it. (Not coincidentally, that's why we have to gather ourselves together once a year--to give those near and dear to us a bit of a respite.) This year, I'm "gonna have a celebration," as it were, and talk about the Queen of Pop herself, her Madgesty: Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.
That's right, kids. It's "all Madonna, all the time," as they would say on KUNT (and for the record, I JUST NOW figured out that's what the call letters are; I used to think the DJ said, "KUMD").
My basic premise is this: Ray of Light was--and remains--the lynchpin of Madonna's career, the central hub of her musical output. Like the stylized sun imprinted on the disc itself, the 13 tracks of her seventh studio album (out of 12 so far) serve as spokes connecting the past with the future. From the opening line to the final note, a listener (i.e., me) can make arguments to support this thesis.
When I return from said conference, I'll be sharing my paper in its entirety with you over the course of two weeks (so as to break it up into bloggable chunks) and with the added bonus of links to a few of the songs and articles I cite. It's sort of my way of "dress[ing] you up in my love" of Madonna's music. I hope y'all are ready, because it can get a little intense when I get into that groove.
Okay, I'm done with the jokes, if only because I've learned, through a great deal of recent personal experience with Madonna's '80s oeuvre, that it's all fun and games until everything starts to sound like synth keyboards. Tune in starting on Monday for the full Ray of Light treatment!