it would be unthinkable to not even mention this one particular woman. She of the inexhaustible transformations, she of only one name: Madonna. Since she broke into the scene in 1982, no other pop star has had her name uttered by so many devout worshippers, both men and women and everything else in between. With each decade, each album, and even each song, she manages to change her image, like a serpent sloughing off its layers, effortlessly and enticingly. And entice she did. But more than that she leaves behind her veneer for everyone else to feed off of and gladly devour: from her iconic cone bras to her outrageous shoulder pads, from her American girl phase to her disco/techno one-piece. It’s too many to fit in one sentence, to be honest. Through all this however, one thing remained the same. She became a symbol that encouraged women everywhere to embrace their individuality. She sang of the realities of living in a rising modern world through “Material Girl” and made it okay. Yes, I want shoes, yes, I want money, and yes, I want to wear my clothes all tattered up like this – you have a problem with that? She was wild, and she didn’t care. It translated from her music, to her style, and to her entire identity. If you think about it, it’s hard to think of just one iconic Madonna picture. Unlike so many style icons immortalized forever because of their one famous photograph or film, Madonna afforded a piece of herself to everything, and it’s hard to see a world without her influence making things gold. Age does not seem to be a problem, and in fact, she only seems to be gaining more momentum as decades go by. Numerous other female artists have claimed to be inspired by her but none have been as successful, and indeed her sovereignty as a music and style legend remains cemented. Just our local talent shows and beauty pageants (gay or otherwise) are proof that there is none more idolized than this pop star supernova. While she may not be the first to break the mold, and maybe not the last, she definitely will remain the most prominent. After all, she’s not esteemed the Queen of Reinvention for nothing. IV. But not everyone is into the more rainbow-colored spectrum of pop. For most others, refuge is found under the intense vulgarity of rock. With volumes reaching
maximum and voices breaking boundaries, rock is by far a religion on its own. The faith of its believers lies in the musical prowess of its icons and the words that come out between the riffs, but also, albeit probably less admitted, in their façade – the outer shell that sets them apart from all the bubblegum and glitz of mainstream. Few are considered godlier in the realm of rock than the front man of Queen himself, Freddie Mercury. Just one example of that is his still-secure deity status online as an Internet meme. Like the planet, he burst of hot energy: a kind of heat that burnt the skin of those who were not brave enough, but a warmth that felt uplifting to those who shared the same cries. Always the flamboyant performer, he never gave his audience anything that fell short of his own ostentatious expectations. He was particularly strapping and was always conquered the stage like his own battlefield – but he never did it without style. He could be wearing leather boots and red leotards one minute, then a simple black tank top the next. His was the kind of macho that never completely crossed the line of exasperating. In fact it only kept people guessing for more. His music, much like his clothes, is an assortment of all things hard and dreamy. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” one of the band’s greatest hits, remains to be an encapsulation of what Freddie Mercury himself stood for: a kind of rebellion. Sure he was a rock star that probably enjoyed his nights with all kinds of booze, but he too was the rock star that took pleasure in the company of men. He wore his jackets yellow, he wore his moustache proud and thick, but that didn’t mean he could not be as comfortable in just his jeans. He struck the balance between shocking and undamaging. And while his presence is missed both in the world of music and even in fashion, his death did not go in vain. His grandiosity amplified not only his music but also raised awareness about AIDS, emphasizing that music can go beyond its own borders. V. Perhaps a current list of music and style icons would be deemed incomplete without the name of this crazy/ beautiful woman on the list. From mere mortal to a divine being, Lady Gaga has truly ascended to immaculate superstar prominence.
Triple cover with The Strangeness, RomCom and Low Leaf. Long live OPM!