Well friends, it is finally time to tackle the Queen of Pop and the most important female superstar of the last 30 years. She is also one of the artists that got the importance of music videos and knew how to ride that wave. She is unique, influential, talented, intelligent and undeniably an icon and the world´s most famous female pop performer.
Since she has a long career and a long video trajectory, I think the best way to approach this is by choosing a video (or 2 when they are extremely good) per album. Let´s star with her first album: Madonna. Released in 1983. There are several good tracks in there but I would like to focus on my favorite video (and song) for that one: Borderline.
Madonna – Borderline
First of all I never really thought about the lyrics of the song until I read an Interview (about 15 years ago) where she was praised for this song specifically because she had wrote a song about an orgasm. Yes, I think it is a good description so that made me listen to the song with new ears.
Before getting into the video I have to comment on her look. When I was growing up everyone started to look like her. Her hair I dare say was bigger than Rachel´s hair in the 90´s. (If you don´t know what I am talking about look it up and try to keep up with your pop culture and basically the important things in life).
Madonna´s hair and make up:
I personally think she looked great!!!! Is it because that is what all the girls in high school looked like when I was growing up? Most certainly.That boy-toy casual look was great. It was inclusive: cheap, comfortable, one size fits all and casual. She was smart even by taking that into account. See her bracelets? She was not wearing jewelry, or exclusive designs. Your average store would sell you that and you would immediately feel “in”.
Now let´s take a look at the outfit:
Again: comfy, girl next door, chilled. Easy to copy. Did she know this would happen? Could she foresee that millions of teens worldwide were going to try to copy it?
Now for the song: It was written by Madonna and it is supposed to be deal with unfulfilled love. Mhhh…really?
“Keep on pushing me baby
Don’t you know you drive me crazy
You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline”
For full lyrics click here.
I prefer to stick with the orgasm interpretation.
Now about the video: It was filmed in Los Angeles. It was Madonna´s first collaboration with director Mary Lambert (who later directed “Material Girl”, “Like a Virgin” and “Like a Prayer”.) In the video Madonna is dating a Latino guy and cheats on hm with a photographer. Yes, the photographer is much cuter than the boyfriend, but at the end she ends up going back to her true love. The story is the classic story of a “poor” girl seduced by fame and fortune and the prospect of a better future, only to find out she doesn’t really love the new guy or belong there and go back to her roots. The director was very clever and she shows us the two stories by mixing color and black and white. We personally think it is one of the reasons this video was one of Madonna´s defining career moments: they had never done that.
“When I screened ‘Borderline’ for Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, he was hysterical that I had combined black-and-white footage with color footage. Nobody had done that before. He made me screen it for all the secretaries in the office and see how they reacted, because he felt I had crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed.” — Director Mary Lambert on the use of color and black-and-white footage in the music video.