08 July 2008

Genre-bending only goes so far

Yesterday, I read this in the Washington Post:

Madonna is one of the most successful rock stars of all time, with global album sales estimated at more than 200 million copies. A multi-Grammy award winner, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.

The Hall has no argument from me about including Madonna. She has earned the recognition and I think it is great that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has taken a big-tent charter. There is so much back and forth and blending that there would be practically impossible to draw lines between pop and rock or between blues and rock, it would be a giant politcal bloodbath, and there would be no benefit to it anyway. You go, RnR HoF!

This does mean, though, that induction into the Hall doesn't certify someone as "rock". Are there any criteria by which you could call Madonna a "rock star"? Has Madonna ever recorded a single track that could be called "rock"? Has she ever recorded anything anywhere near the border of what she does and "rock"?

I found an article online (CLICK HERE.) that points out that she drummed and sang in rock bands for three years before she went over to dance music and that she uses some vocal inflection techniques from rock. I'm not convinced. That argument would not get any of the many classical and jazz performers who dabbled in rock as kids called "rock stars". Lots of rock singers started out singing in church, but that doesn't get them called "gospel stars" in the Post.

I am not going to write a letter to the editor or anything. The Post can call her anything they want. That doesn't mean it makes any sense, though. Can anyone think of anything she did that is anything at all like rock?

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