Madonna, yet again, seems to have found herself in the centre of an ageism row. Reinventing herself for the umpteenth time, pop’s original provocateur has just released her latest comeback single Medellín’, featuring reggaeton star Maluma. The video dropped last night - and let us tell you, it is nothing less than sensational. Starting with a confession, M then prances around on horses while dressed as a cowgirl - in an eye patch! - switching from blonde to brunette, dancing on tables, and sucking her co-star's toes. It only proves Madame X (as she now calls herself) is still the sexiest woman alive. Honestly, who cares that she's 60?
But, despite being added to the Radio 2 playlist, Medellín’ has not been added to Radio 1’s airwaves. Which, as The Sun reported today, has led many of her fans to accuse station bosses of ageism. ‘It’s a sad reality that for some people in the music business it wouldn’t matter what Madonna released. They’d dismiss it because she’s 60,’ a music insider apparently told the paper, after fans took to social media to share their anger that Madge wouldn’t be being played on one of the country’s most popular stations. ‘Individual stations make their own decisions on the songs they play,’ a Radio 1 spokesperson told Grazia Daily, adding that it’s ‘based on what the audience expects to hear, with no other criteria taken into consideration.’ They also added that it was rare for a song to be added to both Radio 1 and Radio 2’s playlists. But it’s not impossible, when you note that three tracks - Marshmello (ft. his stupid mask-hat-thing) and CHVRCHES’s Here With Me, Mark Ronson and Lykke Li’s Late Night Feelings, and Vampire Weekend’s This Life - have made the cut for both playlists…
Undeniably, Radio 1 is a youth station, aimed at 15–29 age group - and Madonna isn’t a young popstar anymore. But that doesn’t matter. The Latin pop single is sexy, and a lot more contemporary than some of the songs Radio 1 repeatedly play, some years and years after their release. (For example, I heard Katy Perry's Roar today, it was released six years ago!) Not to mention that Madonna will have been an influence on countless pop stars - male and female - on their playlist, so why shouldn’t she be included? It seems strange for one of the biggest names in pop culture to be left off a station that has the power to influence personal music tastes - and the charts, too.
And, also, I do know that - especially since Greg James took the coveted breakfast slot - people above the age range do listen to Radio 1. (And if you listen to the texts being read out in the morning, listeners are often texting in about their children - hinting that the demographic turning the radio dials could be a bit older.) My mum, who thinks Madonna is bloody brilliant, recently made the seismic change of changing her car’s default station to Radio 1, with the reasoning simply that she likes likes the presenters - and she doesn’t mind the music either. Kinda the same reason I listen to Radio 1, even though I’m thirty years younger than her.
The reaction to Madonna being excluded from Radio 1’s list has been huge, and I simply can’t imagine anyone would have been as aghast if she was simply added in the first place. And besides, Medellín’ is undeniably - as the kids would say - a bop.