I can’t state definitively if I’d be alive today if not for the release of Madonna’s self-titled debut album 30 years ago.
I’ve enjoyed some of her later albums more ( Like a Prayer, I’m Breathless, Erotica, and Bedtime Stories), but the Madonna I met in 1983 — the wavy-haired working class girl with the nasally Michigan accent — is the one who fully captured my heart. I was rarely happy, but I always was with her.
I was 9 years old at the time, secretly recording Madonna songs off the radio on what would become my first mixtape. Critics said she couldn’t sing, but I’d memorized each note and found joy in every flaw. There was no adequate way to describe the passion and the not-so-subtle pain in her music, so I never tried. It was simply Madonna.