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iFeature | MADONNA …40 Years Later

A Pop Music Feature

The Queen of Pop’s first album turns 40 and marks an era of forever-changed popular culture! MADONNA would revolutionize the video age of music and herald the beginning of a landmark career that would endure beyond any expectations.

The 80s are easily a cultural enigma. It’s an era wrapped in amalgamation and existential analysis wrestling with the accumulation of excess wealth while struggling with social instability and accountability. The United States was moving into the controversies of the Reagan Years, as conservatism sought to spread its ideology across the world, while AIDS was devastating a sect of the world’s population, with many turning a blind eye to the crisis as it decimated the gay community, and a Cold War was starting to show cracks in the ice.

The 80s may not have appeared as tumultuous to most, though looking back now history reveals just how calamitous a decade it was indeed. Those historians chronicling the pop-culture movement were captivated by the changing fabric of entertainment. The blockbuster franchises were gaining momentum at the multiplex (Indiana Jones ranked a sequel, even as the final installment of the original Star Wars trilogy was coming to a close), and with the launch of MTV Music Television, the industry itself would be revolutionized. Several artists and musicians criticized the advent of this emerging new form of media, one singular artist was poised to capitalize on it and emerge on top.

The now-iconic cover photo used for Madonna's debut album.

The music video, and by extension MTV, was made for Madonna. By the time her debut album, the self-titled Madonna hit the music store shelves on July 27, 1983, 40 years ago, her audience was eager to embrace the pop music enchantress. The music industry may have unilaterally declared that “disco was dead” but with her indoctrination onto the pop charts with the synth-dance sound of “Everybody”, her first hit single climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard Club Song charts, and it was hastily produced in order to get her out and into the scene. She wasted no time!

Madonna would follow up with three more hits including “Burning Up”, “Holiday” and “Lucky Star”. Each track and its accompanying video helped her to gain a clear footing in the zeitgeist, and elevate her profile with her increasing fandom.

By the time the video for “Borderline” was on the airwaves, the fifth and final single released from the first album, its video would singe Madonna’s pure provocateur and vampy street urchin style into the public psyche, turning us all into instant “wanna-bees” overnight. Many would outright dismiss Madonna as a “one-hit” wonder, debating her rising popularity as little more than a passing fad that wouldn’t prove the substance necessary to ride the pitfalls of longevity. Madonna would prove them all wrong. Madonna produced by Reggie Lucas, John “Jellybean” Benitez, and Mark Kamins would climb to No. 8 on The Billboard charts and has gone Platinum five times.

Get your “FansEyeView of Madonna’s “Borderline” video in HD here:

MADONNA | by Madonna | is available on most Digital Download stores including iTunes. Download from iTunes here.

A hint of the provocative-nature of her still emerging "boy toy" image graced the back cover of the album.

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