Posted by: nastypen | August 16, 2008

Get Into The Groove, Boy

It’s a double “celebration.” This is my 400th post in wordpress. And today is Madonna‘s 50th birthday. It’s funny life can be pegged down into episodic pop songs, music videos and such. Here’s a look back on the several instances Madonna grooved into my life.


Madonna‘s Lucky Star was playing in heavy rotation in Cebu’s radio station. I was five years old. I was more interested in Manang Padak‘s (she’s stuck in the 70s…Manang Padak introduced Abba to me, we were at White Gold Cebu when she cooed and pointed at an Abba poster….she became “modern” when Roxette became popular) rendition of Debby Boon‘s You Light Up My Life. Hey, I like that song because it sounded sad yet hopeful. Happy songs to me are nursery rhymes played for my baby sister and these are loud and irritating. But Madonna’s dance beats and steps have paved the way for me tap my little fat feet.


I sang Like a Virgin as I skipped to the car. My mother’s eyes widened in disbelief. I asked my older sister, “What’s a Virgin?” She pointed to Woman’s Magazine horoscope special and introduced me to Virgo and eventually to the entire horoscope. I saw the video of Madonna gyrating on a boat at a city submerged in water. I was more disturbed that she was flirting with a man with a face of a lion. Although I distinctly remember I liked Cyndi Lauper‘s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” more. Of course, I had to sing these songs away from my parents and classmates.


Crazy for You!!!! I love this song. I didn’t even get the lyrics. I just wanted to copy Madonna’s dance moves as she sang this onstage in the movie Vision Quest. My sister borrowed the betamax tape for that and I only watched the part with Madonna in it. I was singing in private (with matching dance steps) when my nosy cousin spotted me and laughed at me. Whatever. I learned one important lesson that will stay with me my whole life: Ugly people make fun of all things fabulous.


True Blue album and Papa Don’t Preach was sung by my barbaric classmates in mocking Cebuano as “Papa W’ay Brief” (Papa does not have undies).

The rest of the 80s to 1992

My school denounces Madonna, alongside Boy George, for being sinners and promoting deviant behavior. Ms. Yee enters each classroom proclaiming these songs make Jesus and the Holy Virgin Mary weep and listening to them will make the stars you earn for good deeds in heaven disappear.

Dick Tracy was shown in Cebu. Watched it for Madonna. Scared of Al Pacino‘s overacting in that movie. Madonna performed this song at the Oscars. I laughed twice because she was so nervous onstage, she was shaking and, for my second laughter, it was because she took Michael Jackson as a date to the Oscars.

Watched Madonna’s first documentary Truth or Dare. One scene was she was romping seemingly naked with her gay dancers and I was disturbed that I liked Madonna’s singing voice more than her speaking voice. And nobody with sensible aesthetics calls Madonna a good singer.

1991 was the year Nirvana reached me and they never left. Madonna diminished in my musical hierarchy.

Madonna releases her Sex book. A classmate claimed his brother ordered from the states and he became a hero to sex-starved child barbarians.


I was in Canada. I enjoy the longest time I spent with my father. We watched movies on cable together from Amy Tan‘s Joy Luck Club to Basic Instinct. Manang Padak and I watched The Bodyguard on cable and sang along Lola Whitney Houston. One movie that my father immensely enjoyed watching with me was A League of Their Own.

Madonna has a part there and I think this is her one of two good movies. I like the song of that film…very introspective. One other Madonna film that I wished I was blind and deaf instead of seeing it was her appalling role in that hideous movie Body of Evidence.

She grates the lines to the man with a scrotal face Willem Dafoe “Have you seen them, Frank? Have you seen animals make love, Frank?” She sounded like there was a cauliflower stuck in her nose. And then there was the bed scene with her pouring molten candle wax all over his body. I was laughing and at the same time revolted at myself for watching this.

I saw Vogue and I thought this is the best Madonna video. I love the old Hollywood glamor…the hand movements. But I was singing Soundgarden‘s Spoon Man and yet I had Madonna’s Erotica CD. Her videos were banned.

Back in Cebu, I was at a car when there was a radio contest to identify the song. It was Madonna’s Bye Bye, Baby. Not one listener got it right. I didn’t call.


Senior Year in High School. Mr. Detosil returns our Physics examinations. If we passed by a tenth of a point, we broke out singing Madonna’s “Borderline.”

We had an overnight at the school for a youth group for Christ (yes, I was part of it! It hastened my heretical ways). Instead of praying, the boys brought Gin Pomelo and we were watching the soft porn Howling 4. One classmate Winston got so drunk, he was red all over and starting singing Madonna’s “I Remember” with disturbing intensity. He stopped and decided to run around the gym to shake off the alcohol.

Madonna released her Bedtime Stories album. I loved that album of hers the best. James asked me for the lyrics for the first single “Secret.” I love that song for the infusion of acid jazz. I wrote it down on a piece of pink paper and was laughed at by my classmates.

When the list of those graduating students came up, my good friend Carlo saw that he was “With Honors” and hummed “I Remember,” (Yes, You DID!! I was there standing next to you and was laughing) the theme song by Madonna of that movie with Moira Kelly and Brendan Fraser entitled With Honors. Horrible movie, bearable song.

Madonna’s first song to not breach the top 40 was Bedtime Story. Be that as it may, this is one of my favorite music videos of her for all time. It was surreal and she worked with Bjork for this single. I watched this with friends at my parents’ room and we were all mystified. That video was so visual and so ahead of its time.


First year in college. No Madonna. Just Yano.


Ray of Light. The best album of hers in the 90s. I was a junior desperate for a good PE class. I had no choice but to enroll at….(cue thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening) Weight Training. I saw the equipment and, for a moment, I wanted to shift to Ateneo. The thing that made me stay in that PE for a month was my cute classmates. Eventually, I saw no point in heaving up weights that were used during Alexander the Great’s time and decided to drop. My first of two drops (both PE courses) in my college life. I hummed the song Shanti/Ashtangi (A Hindi prayer that she sang sampled in electronica and caused outrage from Hindus) from that album to buffer my mood as I bid goodbye to grunting and sweating with the boys.

2000 onwards

I think Madonna’s recent albums are mere shadows of her former glorious self. I think she’s a great marketing agent protecting and reinventing her image and brand. I still like the Madonna of the 80s and 90s. Her only recent single that I like is Hung Up because it featured the fabulous Miss Prissy, a fantastic krump dancer. And it sampled an Abba classic. I’m still waiting for that great Madonna single to conquer the world again.

She may be 50 and I know she feels she wants to do more. Be more. This is why I like Madonna. It’s never enough to be just great. She made ruthlessness a virtue.



  1. hahaha OMG Happy Birthday to her madgesty!

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