Freddie Matthews writes from London: All you have to do is turn on any TV music channel and there they are, female pop stars dressed in next to nothing, gyrating to the beat, trying to sell their latest song. I’d say the worst, or best depending on your viewpoint, example of this right now has to be Nicki Minaj. Her last single Starships was bad enough for a blatant sex sell but in the video of her current worldwide smash called Pound The Alarm she couldn’t have had fewer clothes on, despite her hips being the size of a baby elephant’s! It’s immaterial whether she can actually sing or not.
Sex sells, it’s a fact. Remember Madonna in the 80s? You couldn’t turn on a radio in the UK or USA in the 1980s and not hear a Madonna track every other hour. That was great at the time. She was a brand new artist doing big things for her generation. However, Madonna used sex to help the sell her music. I mean surely you realised even back then in the 80s that Like A Virgin was a blatant call to arms for teenagers and their parents alike to open the hell up and become a bit more liberated. It’s also noted for its profound effect on society with literally hundreds of media articles focused on the song themes and meanings and all of that from an untrained female singer who used sex to help her sell her, not so great at the time, records.
Madonna believed she had the right to utilise sex to sell her records in the 80s and 90s. Not just records, as she also released a book of her photos called SEX in 1992 which sold over 5 million copies. This was almost perfectly acceptable in the first two decades of her music career. Even ‘she’ started pushing the barriers back when she continued with the same themes into the 00s and 10s when this ‘sex sell’ became ‘bad taste’. There should be a time limit on how long sex can help any artist sell their product. OK, The Rolling Stones are still regarded as sexy men, even into their late 60s and early 70s. However unlike Madonna they don’t get their ‘bits’ out. A man in his old age with his top off is nowhere near as scary as a grandma of the same age doing the same. Madonna should tour and sing. I couldn’t agree more but she certainly should no longer need to do it with her body on full show in say, a tight, see-through leotard. It couldn’t be more wrong, she’s old enough to be someone’s grandma. At 54 years of age Madonna’s still a very beautiful woman but please, Madge, leave the sex selling to one of the artists two-thirds your age, like Lady Gaga.
Which brings me to Lady Gaga. Everyone I know with even a thought about the music industry agreed with me that she was to become the next Madonna, regardless of her singing ability and of course she has. It’s as if Lady Gaga sat down and watched the full Madonna back catalogue and told her stylists and video directors to take it 10 if not 100 steps further: more edge, more filth, more suggestive, more skin, more sex and definitely less taste left to the imagination. Whereas Madonna was the bad girl your boyfriend couldn’t stop watching, Lady Gaga is like a whore you’d normally have to pay money to visit and then squeezed into a 3-minute music video. It’s music marketing at the pinnacle of possibility and more importantly legal, well just about anyway, as there are always some unedited versions of the videos that get banned.
What about Cher? I’m sorry but just the thought of Cher in a (like Madonna) tight, see through, black-lace body suit makes me get a little bit of sick in my mouth. Cher is 66 years old. Her music career is untouched by the majority with a remarkable over 100 million albums sold. She was a complete stunner in her youth and all the way up and into her 40’s but why didn’t someone just tell her to stop? Is she SO much of a diva that even long term agents are petrified to tell her to dress her age and not like she did 40 years ago. Haha probably.
I’m sure we’d all like to see our yesteryear-pop heroes tour in later life but please just not if they’re bondage clad with whips and chains and still claiming to be ‘like a virgin’. That is just wrong.