A review of Madonna’s new album in the (supposedly woke) Guardian provides an excruciating snapshot of ageism in the music industry.
“I feel punished for turning 60”, Madonna recently opined, prompting claims that the Material Girl was looking for excuses when her music just didn’t cut it. But a recent write-up in the Guardian newspaper (which prides itself on its inclusivity) shows Madge has a point.
It’s headlined “Madonna: Madame X review – her most bizarre album ever” and is, quite possibly, the most bizarre album review ever.
In the piece music editor Ben Beaumont-Thomas slags off most of the record and then gives it a solid four out of five stars. So far, so confusing.
But it’s the way he deals with Madonna’s age that is most irritating.
It starts with a line that could have been ripped from a skincare advert: “We all get old, but never at the same time…” And doesn’t let up.
Madge’s hit 2005 album Confessions on a Dancefloor is described as a way for her “to stay out past 4am with dignity”. (Nevermind the 10 million album sales.) But alas, he tells us, “she couldn’t run forever”.
Then it’s on to that kiss. Apparently, Madonna snogged Britney Spears “as if to parasitically extract her youth”. (Really).
There’s even a joke about Madonna looking at herself in the mirror “with seriously reduced depth perception”, just in case the reader has missed all the other allusions to her age.
On Twitter journalist Sali Hughes labelled it a review “by a man who seems preoccupied with the fact that a woman is ageing”.
Make-up artist Caroline Hirons was more succinct: “What a prick.”
Beaumont-Thomas seemed taken aback by the criticism: “Pop music, of the kind she makes, is such a young person’s game that her age is worth remarking on.”
He’s right. It’s not unreasonable to mention the fact that Madonna, the Queen of Reinvention, is still in the game. We’ve done it here at iSingmag in an article celebrating her career. (It’s also fair to slag off her music if it’s bad, as it was at Eurovision.)
But he doesn’t just remark on her age – he labours over it. In a music review.
Interestingly, a recent article by Beaumont-Thomas on Elton John makes no mention of the Rocketman’s age. (What, he’s 72! Surely that’s worth a couple of paragraphs and few prostate jokes? LOL!!).
Nope. No gags about reduced eyesight. No jibes about grasping for dignity. Now, why is that?