Thursday, January 29, 2009

Currently Listening: Ray of Light

Famous faces, far off places, trinkets I can buy
No handsome stranger, heady danger, drug that I can try
No ferris wheel, no heart to steal, no laughter in the dark
No one-night-stand, no far off land, no fire that I can spark

The face of you, my substitute for love
My substitute for love
Should I wait for you, my substitute for love
My substitute for love

(You see)

And now I find
I've changed my mind

This is my religion
(from "Drowned World/Substitute for Love")

So, am I totally behind the curve here? I've just "discovered" Madonna's Ray of Light as a work of Christian devotion, and some great meditation music.

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You're frozen... when your heart's not open

You're so consumed with how much you get
You waste your time with hate and regret
You're broken... when your heart's not open
(from "Frozen")

I must own that I've always been sort of down on Madonna, thinking "pop" music largely beneath my enlightened, spiritual, erudite tastes. But I'm slowly discovering the wealth of insight I've been cutting myself off from.

So, for what it's worth, Madonna - if you ever read my blog - I'm sorry. I underestimated you. And good work here. Not just because it's "Christian" (because it isn't at all Christiany or self-important like that), not just because it is great meditation music (you could also dance to most of it, I suppose), but because you surprised me, and it takes a lot to get through my pride to genuinely surprise me. Thanks.

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  • Never underestimate Madonna. I actually wrote my first novel while listening to "Ray of Light." Of course, nothing ever came of that novel, but, uh, whatever. Madonna - a musical force!

    By Blogger Jonathan S., at 11:06 AM  

  • You are behind the curve! This album came out 11 years ago! For depth, though, I think her "Like a Prayer" album has the most of it. "Ray of Light" has good grooves and a sort of spiritual awakening for Madonna.

    But if you really want something to groove to, I highly recommend "Confessions on a Dance Floor." Its nonstop.

    I've been a fan of Madonna since 1986...but I'm losing interest because she's displaying the typical symptoms of a "mid life crisis" (dumping a husband ten years her junior to now currently dating a man twenty-eight years younger than her!).

    Great music, not such a great person.

    By Blogger Sansego, at 2:13 AM  

  • Yes, Mari and I were listening to this back in the early 90s. It is one of her best albums, and one of the most different. Madonna gets credit for constantly reinventing herself, and I always saw this album as coming out in the highest point of her Kabbalah phase, along with some Eastern influence, so meditation/spiritual it is, but not actually related to Christianity in purpose at all - not that it can't be used for that.

    Now, even more interesting is Madonna's current boyfriend - names Jesus. Madonna dating Jesus? Let's see what you can do with THAT? :-)

    By Blogger MIP Christie, at 2:32 PM  

  • My understanding is that, on a personal level, Madonna takes her Catholic devotion very seriously - even while experimenting/expanding with other disciplines like Kabbalah. Perhaps the "Christian" themes I pick up in this work, though, are really just the general human themes of love as a key.

    I thought she was dating that young actor Ashton or something-or-other?! But dating Jesus does open her up to easy snickers.

    By Blogger Christian, at 12:42 AM  

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