Madonna: Black-haired ambition

Madonna is a chameleon. She blends in with her environment perfectly, reinventing and adapting constantly, always willing to try new things and evolve. One of the ways in which she changes is by changing the color of her hair. LIke many women before her a woman´s hair is part of the trademark. We will go into a deeper exploration of females and their hairstyles in another post but for now lets take a look at Madonna and her hair dyed black phase. ´Blonde Ambition´ was the name of Madonna´s third world concert tour, today we are going to look at 3 videos she did while trying on her black hair look.

From her 5th album ´Erotica´ we chose the song Rain.

Rain – Madonna

The song was released in 1993. It was written and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone. This was her fifth album and it was released in 1992. It was also released by Maverick Records (Madonna´s record and film production company founded in 1992 and active until 2008). She released the album along with the her controversial first book Sex (we found this which shows the contents of that book). Erotica is considered a concept album centered around sex and sexuality. I remember the controversy and scandal surrounding all this, which seems like ages ago now. Things have and have not changed in that area, and I don’t want to get into an argument, but people are still shocked when it comes to celebrities and artists talking about sex. Although critics called it adventurous and it was generally well received, it was her first studio album not to top the chart. It includes great tracks such as ‘Deeper and Deeper’ and the one we feature here.

I think Madonna was a pioneer in the way female artists displayed their sexuality to the public. She had a say in how she was going to be portrayed by the music industry, she was not a naive puppet. She realized they were going to merchandize her sex appeal and she wanted in on it, she wanted to be a part of shaping the audience perception of her. I don’t know if aesthetically I would call it ground breaking or magnificent, but at least she tackled the issue straightforwardly. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus grew up post-Madonna, and have a lot to thank her for breaking barriers and confronting taboos and it took a lot of brains and courage and character to do so. I will forever respect Madonna for that.

Her following album was Bedtime Stories, which includes hits like ´Take a Bow´ and my favorite Madonna song: Secret.  It also includes this great song and video:

 Human Nature – Madonna

This album was released in 1994 also by Maverick Records. She goes into an R&B direction to try and clean her image after the controversy created by Erotica. I chose this song because I love the video, it´s a great track, and it is also her reply to everyone regarding Erotica. The song was written and produced by Madonna and Dave Hall, the video although it is inspired by bondage images, is meant to be more humourous than sexy. I really don’t have a lot to say about this album. It was commercially successful but nothing extraordinary.

Her seventh studio album is Ray of Light. It was released in 1998 by Maverick Records. With this album she goes back to pop and dance, with elements of Electronic music (you can hear that clearly in her single Ray of light). The album was a success for critics and also commercially, and it was number one in at least 17 countries. Frozen was the lead single released for this album, in February 1998. The video was directed by Chris Cunningham. It is enchanting and captivating. I personally love it.

Frozen – Madonna

We have 5 more albums to go, 2 of which I really love and there are videos I can’t wait to revisit. As for Madonna in black hair? I find it rude to say blondes are dumb, but I also find it interesting that 4 of

Madonna´s most interesting songs (these 3 here and LIke a Prayer) were while she was in her dark hair phase. Coincidence?

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7 thoughts on “Madonna: Black-haired ambition

  1. Perfect word for Madonna, Chameleon. I loved her black hair phase, it made her eyes pop and enhanced her delicate facial features. Frozen is one of my favorite songs by her, the videos for Frozen and Rain are exquisite. Once again you dragged me from my housework (not hard to do) when I heard Human Nature (just had to watch it)
    Thank you for the reprieve from my house slavery and the article~

    1. jajajaja I am glad you stopped and read and listened!
      I also think her eyes popped and she looked pretty!
      Thank you for reading friend!

  2. Two of my favorite Madonna tunes…. I love the way Rain was shot. Almost every second of the video can be a dramatic photograph or piece of art. Sometimes videos are bigger than the songs, sometimes it is vice versa…this was one of those perfect marriages of sound and visuals…With the creation of Human Nature Madonna had done about everything that would be “allowed” in music videos…most of what followed were either poor imitations or folks who were trying too hard to shock and offend instead of just creating good music and letting the rest “happen”. In this video even though she is restrained in some form or another throughout she is actually the person in control…love that! Frozen…loved the song and the video was very innovative and creative for that time and to this day does not look or feel “dated” I agree that many of the so called pop “princesses” should probably continue to pay a duty to Madonna for the rest of their days…while good they are but a flickering flame of pop influence compared to Madonna’s Super Nova!!!

    1. You are right about a perfect marriage between sound and visuals in Rain. When I was writing this I remembered the controversy a year after Rain when she released “I remember” (in the soundtrack for the movie “With Honors”) and how people said it was the same song, what do you think?

      I love Human Nature… fun and making fun of herself provocatively, only Madonna can pull that of no?

      Thanks for your comments! I LOVE THEM!!!!!!!

  3. Interesting question. Of the two I lean toward I’ll remember..I ADORE that necklace…but moving away from the superficial(ahem) I think the problem was the look and feel of the video, Rain was shot as I stated before, in a stunning fashion, but BOTH videos are a recording session/behind the scenes type thing AND she is sporting her ebony tresses in both..the studios and setting themselves both have dark framed backgrounds and utilize blue and grey hues to set the tone for her, so I get the comparisons. Also I have heard complaints about the background harmonies being very similar. Bottom line – I think the videos add to the similarity arguments but I hear the subtleties and differences in each song so I have a different experience with each.
    I’m glad you like my comments!!! I enjoy leaving them after reading your fine posts!!!

    1. YES!!! Music videos (especially in the early days) had a tremendous influence on fashion trends!!! It is also great because the fashion and style of teens, men, and women from all over the world were available to you in your living room to emulate or denigrate!!! It would be a very interesting post and discussion.

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