Madonna, Ageism and Pop Music


“Like fine wine”…most men tend to get better with age while us women…shrivel up like grapes!  I recently came across Madonna’s interview in Rolling Stone Magazine which touched on her racy climb up the pop music ladder, claiming the throne as one of pop musics iconic queens, and the frustration she is facing as she continues to redefine herself and the pop music industry for a woman in her 50’s.  So I went on a hunt and pparently what I found was the “tame” version of feedback on Madonna’s music career:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/madonna-on-making-rebel-heart-the-age-of-distraction-and-joan-of-arc-20150305

“OLDonna.”  That is what she has unaffectionately been dubbed in this particular articles mini-feed.  Even as I read it, I couldn’t help but think how, no matter who you are, what you do, and with what intent, there are going to be naysayers, haters, and people who are going to be find something nasty to say about you.  It is part of being in the “limelight.”  I find it interesting Madonna is bothered by it, especially the particular “limelight” she has always ascribed to, as it appears as though record labels could be less concerned about her “squeakbox voice” and “wrinkley face” with the release of her latest album “Rebel Heart.”

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Yet, Madonna fought back with this article in Rolling Stone:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/madonna-fights-back-inside-rolling-stones-new-issue-20150225

She reserves her most passionate and eloquent remarks for the topic of ageism, in pop writing and in society, claiming that she is musically judged by her age.  As I continued to think about pop music and women vocalists in their 40s and 50s, artists like Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall, Kate Bush, Bonnie Raitt, and Joan Jett came to mind.  They have not faced the same social media onslaught as Madonna; so is it really ageism?

As my fellow musicians of all ages and fellow listeners of the same peruse this post, I wonder what you think about ageism in the music industry?

Renee Ruth

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