A time when she was making proclamations about wanting to rule the world or telling anybody how she could easily identify her navel from a line up (1984: a stellar year for quotes).
But as we got to know her and she pretty much divided public opinion, her interviews often focused on her huge public persona, the controversy she was stoking and the public’s perception of her.
In the No Bull special with Kurt Loder (1994/5) she just spelled it out in case it still wasn’t clear ten years on; “I’m sweet and I’m a bitch.”
Musically she’s been known to sit in both camps.
In addition to her dancefloor bangers and her gorgeous, lush ballads, some of Madonna’s best comes from her dualism.
She’d eventually label these flip sides as Rebel/Heart but I think there’s a better argument to be made for Madonna’s [Bitter]/Sweet music (no, not that Rumi song).
Consider the best of her (bitter)sweet contenders in the #madonna60:
- Borderline (Madonna, 1983)
- Cherish (LAP, 1989)
- Rain (E, 1992)
- Love Tried To Welcome Me
- Take a Bow (hell, almost all of Bedtime Stories, 1994)
- Drowned World/Substitute for Love (ROL, 1998)
- Paradise (Music, 2000)
- Love Profusion (AL, 2013)
- Burning Up (Madonna, 1983)
- Bad Girl (hell, most of Erotica and all of the Sex book could be inserted here, 1992)
- Human Nature (BS, 1994 okay, call her a bitch, just don’t hang your shit on me)
Her lyrics have often been criticised for resembling a school girl’s diary but it’s precisely what makes her music so accessible, especially to international audiences.
Paired with that expressive (yes yes she can’t compete with the belters) voice, her mastery of melody and often brilliant collaborative decisions, we end up with another 12, very dissimilar classics in her catalogue that get to the heart of Madonna’s music.