If you’re looking for a serious thesis about Madonna’s role as the ultimate gay icon (Yes she is, hands down. But debates are welcome!) or how she has endured as an American music phenom by constantly reinventing herself, then look elsewhere. This author has been there, done that… many, many times through the years. Let’s talk about the “Music”! Whether you view Madge as a goddess or a media whore; as a good bitch or a bad bitch; or as underappreciated or overrated, you can’t deny that this compilation of our heroine’s most beloved songs is pure pop candy. In her earliest interviews, Madonna always said that her songs at that time (“Everybody”, “Holiday”) were about having fun and escapism– and the feel of this collection as a whole is definitely more in that vein than the deeper lyrics and themes that she explored later on. That said, a few of her “unsung hero” tracks are here too, like 2003’s “Hollywood”. “Celebration” is available as a single 18-song CD or in a two disc, 36-track set. (PS: The i-Tunes Deluxe Version features 38 tracks, a bonus remix of “Celebration” the single, and another bonus track called “It’s So Cool”.)
     The singles picked from her 25 years in the biz range from her silly but catchy early songs like “Dress You Up” and “Burnin’ Up”, to her newer hits like “Hung Up” and “4 Minutes”. There are also two new songs on the CD. One of them a goofily enjoyable song with rapper Lil Wayne called “Revolver” (“My love’s a revolver; My sex is a killer; Do you wanna die happy?… Bang bang!), and another is “Celebration”, which is the over-the-top climax of bona fide pop escapism I mentioned before — sort of like 198 ‘s “Holiday” on ecstasy. No doubt, most of Maddy’s hardcore fans already have all these songs, plus all the remixes and bootlegs they got their hands on through the years… and a few other Madonna lovers may be upset that some of their personal faves may have been left out. (Where’s “American Pie”? “Bedtime Story”? “Deeper and Deeper”? Or my personal favorite, 1993’s “Secret Garden”…) The way I see it is: Each track is like a past sexual experience: some you may have liked better than others, but an orgasm is always a good thing. And, like great sex, that magic moment in time when you were “Vogue”-ing or cranking up the car radio to “Beautiful Stranger” might be gone forever… but oh, didn’t it make you feel good at the time?!
     Since I always have my eyes on what’s next in pop culture, in the past few years I have unfairly dissed my thirtysomething gay brothers for still worshipping Ms. Ciccione like it was 1985 and the video for “Lucky Star” was playing on MTV. But after re-listening to newly remastered versions (“From the Original Tapes!” the CD cover shrieks…) of timeless pop hits like “Like A Virgin” and “Into the Groove”, then I realize that I might have been a little too judgmental on my fellow homos… and for that I’m profoundly, as Track 11 says, “Sorry”!
     “Celebration”: You know you want it!

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