by Liz Smith
I PRAISE Madonna a lot. I know that annoys some of you. Sorry! But I’ve also laced that praise with criticism, or at least my idea of what she might do, or say (or not say) or wear. I admire the fact that she has never taken my advice. Or anyone’s. She has traveled to the beat of her own techno-music.
But sometimes she’s perfect. I do mean her appearance at the massive Met Fashion Gala the other night in NYC. There she was, with long straight hair (gone are the overworked waves), beautiful makeup, and a stylish, whimsical, subtly sexy black gown by the designer Moschino. (Well, it was more subtle than a lot of what The Big M wears. It was certainly more subtle than Beyonce's get-up.) Totally appropriate for the pop goddess she is, and always will be. (Haters, listen up — even if she never has another No. 1 hit, she’ll always be the Queen. Accept that.)
When I saw the photos I wanted to reach in, hand her a microphone and say, “Sing out, Madonna Louise Ciccone — croon those ballads. Do your Dietrich!” Well, that’s my fantasy and problem. It will never be Madonna’s reality. But I am satisfied she looked like this for the Met event. She also looked like she was having fun. (Still rare for this workaholic.)
People — even so-called “fans” — often say she’s desperate to stay in touch with the youth culture. I think she simply enjoys composing and performing edgy material. She likes collaborating with young people. I believe she enjoys the music she makes. If she was “desperate” for a certain kind of approbation, she’d work on an album of standards. Or a “Duets” disc. Not. Going. To. Happen.
Privately, as a woman, she has changed. As an artist? Same as 1983. And if you can’t see it, you don’t know your Madonna.