Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Week 7 - Madonna and Rihanna

Madonna was not only an important musical figure of the 1980s but her music videos helped her to become the established icon that she became recognized as. I chose the song 'Material Girl' released in November 1984 because of the impact it had on her image as an artist. The video revolves around Madonna's character, which links to Marilyn Monroe's performance in "Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend". Madonna is shown ignoring and pushing away the several men that surround her while singing about living in a 'material world' and that she is a 'material girl'.

The reason this video played an important role in the 1980s is because it created a different image for women, through Madonna, by her making the decision to choose money and material goods over romance and relationships. It shows that female roles were changing during the 1980s and Madonna was a feminist icon of this movement. Although there has been some confusion about the exact meaning of the lyrics in relation to the video it is clear that the message that Madonna was trying to create was about female choice, whether the choice was being materialistic or choosing to reject the diamonds in the video. The legacy of the nickname "material girl" that surrounds Madonna's persona shows the cultural impact that the song has had. The phrase is still relevant today as Madonna has named her clothing line "material girl".

Similarly to Madonna, Rihanna's career is surrounded by the way she presents herself as a female. Rihanna is known for her provocative image and songs and the above song is a perfect example of this. 'Rude Boy' was released in February 2010 and has left a lasting memory of what kind of performer and artist Rihanna is. The song immediately caused attention because of it's explicit nature and in some ways creates a new meaning to phrase "sex sells" in music. The song was very popular because of it's musical style but it was clear that much of the attention was brought about by the image that Rihanna was creating.

The reason i believe that this song will be remembered in 30+ years from now is because it not only caused popularity and attention but it helped mold the persona and style that Rihanna has and it foreshadows the numerous similarly provocative videos that followed. I believe it will be looked back on as one of Rihanna's most iconic songs because of the influence she has in the music industry and how this song and this video helped shape the person she is perceived as.

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