As the workday wound down this afternoon, a conversation among coworkers somehow turned to music and the first CD ever purchased. Five of us were sitting in the area with about a 25-year range in ages.
When the early-20s-something guy said his first CD was the “queen of pop,” I was surprised and piped right up with a “me, too.” I was, of course, talking about Madonna (Like a Prayer because that was the first available on CD—I’ve still got the earlier stuff on vinyl). He was talking about Britney Spears. I laughed until I nearly peed. His response was that Britney had blasted through Madonna’s record sales, which in his mind made her the queen. That’s when I really felt the generation gap.
Because one, his information was inaccurate (yes, I looked it up on Wikipedia tonight because I am that petty) and two, young grasshopper, it takes more than record sales to be a queen or king of anything. This conversation continued to bug me through the evening because, as is often the case, there is so much more I wish I would have said. Such as: to be the queen, you have to be an original, not just have made millions by being an amazing copycat; you have to have made a lasting impact.
I will give Britney her due and will even say she may be (have been?) the princess of pop. But that’s where the reign ends. I still have “Into the Groove” on my playlist (which probably says more about me than Madonna’s talent), I still remember the 1984 MTV Music Award “Like a Virgin” performance (flashback here), and after 30 years the original "boy toy" still sells out concerts. That's called longevity. If people are still dancing to “Oops I did it again” 20 years from now, I will track down my young coworker and tell him he was right all along, but for now, I’d say the queen hasn’t been dethroned yet.
That said, I recognize there is a very real possibility that I am merely on the verge of becoming a crotchety old woman who constantly says things like, “You call that music? When I was young…” or "These young Millennials (fill in the blank)..."
I’ll let you be the judge.