Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Which Pop Princess Will Usurp The Queen?

Magic Madge, the Queen of pop, has spent the last few decades at the top of the popular music tree. But as the clocks wind on, the years fade by and leotard manufacturers become increasingly reticent to clothe Ms Ciccone, the question ascends. As Madonna becomes the Queen Mother of pop, who will become Queen?

If you'd asked that question to early noughties pop fans, they would have probably rattled off a list of potential candidates, including Britney, Christina and P!nk. But in the intervening years the madness, plagiarism, madness, fake tan, madness and generally being shit have all gotten in the way a little. These days it seems like Sarah Palin might be a better candidate!

The thing is that Madonna hasn't simply been musically significant (which she certainly has), but also culturally, sartorially and inspirationally. Like her or not, it's difficult to argue against the fact that she has pushed boundaries artistically, commercially (Pepsi wanted their money back!), and sexually (the D.H. Lawrence picture book). Are there any contemporary Fempops who can hold a candle to her?

Maybe there's Beyonce? Getting the obvious stuff out of the way; she's been phenomenally successful, both in Destiny's Child and as a solo artist. Her music has pretty wide appeal and few could argue with the brilliance of Bills, Bills, Bills and Crazy In Love. At the moment, though, she seems to be playing it extremely safe. The concept for I Am... Sacha Fierce is clever, but the songs are lacking in sass. Did the independent woman up and leave as soon as Jay-Z put a ring on her finger?

What about Gwen then? Stefani's first album was a hoot and the lead track, What You Waiting For? is indescribably brilliant. She also has a successful band career and lots of support from some pretty cool peers. Although the last album wasn't quite up to snuff, she has retained the bleeding edge of cool and is definitely a unique force in music (would anyone else have been absurd enough to try Wind It Up?). All this could be for nought, though, as she saddles up with the No Doubt boys once again.

And what of Britney? She may well have collected the fragile pieces of her mind up off the bathroom floor but her music is now verging on the criminally insane (if I was dating a girl who said the word Womanizer anywhere near as much, I'm sure I'd have put cyanide on her cheesy chips some time ago). Has Britney consistently produced the classic tracks that we need from a pop Queen? Baby One More Time or Toxic are pretty good I guess, but she's yet to blow us all away.

It could be anyone of these artists, or none. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place and it'll be a Lily Allen, an M.I.A. or a Cheryl Cole. Or maybe it's just that the age of the superstar is over. With music available by the track in a hundred different formats, we don't all have to buy the same vinyl or watch the same TOTP any more. If and when the right time and artist comes along, I'm pretty sure Queen Madge will still be in the ring to put the newbie through her paces.

Jordan Stead

Currently listening to...

Alphabeat - Alphabeat

Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island

Cibo Matto - Viva La Woman

No comments: