All hail the queen! The one and only Madonna is back. After impressing us for an era she is back pointing her cone-bras at all the hits she delivered over a rather ailing pop decade ? the ’90s.

Eleven years after releasing her first greatest hits “The Immaculate Collection,” (Madonna, the immaculate conception ? get it?) the “boytoy” girl is back with a catalogue of memorable tunes electronically titled “GHV2” ? short for “Greatest Hits Volume Two.”

Why is Madonna such an icon, you ask? Well consider this.

First, without her, Britney, Christina and Jessica would be either sticking their fingers down their throats in hopes of making it in the modeling career or calling you up in the morning to tell you about a MasterCard that will save you money. However, unlike her imposters, who take pride in their untouched hymens, Madonna boldly stated, “Losing my virginity? I thought of it as a career move.”

Second, she is the ultimate trendsetter. Designers from Dolce & Gabbana to Stella McCartney follow her every move. How do you think the jean jacket resurfaced ? from Three’s Company reruns? What about the whole henna trend?

Third, she is the ultimate rebel. When the pope asked to meet her to chat about the “lewd” concert performance she was bringing to Italy, Madonna suggested he stand in line and buy tickets like the rest of the fans.

Moreover, during her Blonde Ambition tour, Madonna went on with her masturbatory antics onstage despite the threat from Canadian police to arrest her.

Madonna also angered many pious heads with her unashamed vocalization of her two abortions, and her video “Like A Prayer” was considered sacrilegious. She is a woman who is not afraid to exude her sexuality ? whether it was with her former husband Sean Penn, a fling like Vanilla Ice or a brief stint with lesbian comic Sandra Bernard.

Fourth, she always reinvents herself. From disco diva to emotional balladeer, virgin to sex kitten, youngster to mother of Lola and Rocco, the first from her fitness trainer Carlos Leon and the latter from her current husband Guy Ritchie director of gangster movies like “Snatch” and Madonna’s next movie “Love, Sex, Drugs & Money.” Wherever she is, she is bound to explore where she is not.

Fifth and finally, her pop music is delicious. Whether it is her first hit song “Holiday” or the current dance No. 1 hit “Impressive Instant.”

Unlike many stars, the ethereal girl developed a persona unlike any other, not afraid to break any rules as long as she broke them with style. The gay icon has even refused an offer to appear on Divas Live. Who needs to be on that show when you are it?

“GHV2” picks up where “The Immaculate Collection” stopped. Including such hits from the sex era, with “Erotica” and “Deeper And Deeper.”

When she released her pornographic book coffee table book aptly titled “Sex,” she also released her unapologetic cat-suit anthem “Human Nature.”

“GHV2” also includes her spiritual finger-symbol Madonna. The thumping “Ray Of Light,” the airy “Frozen,” the dark “Drowned World / Substitute For Love” and the incomparable ballad “The Power Of Goodbye” ? all of which are partly the work of English mastermind William Orbit.

“Secret” and “Take A Bow” shine like pearls of a mellow girl. Yet, recent hits like the guitar-lead “Don’t Tell Me,” and the gender-bending “What It Feels Like For A Girl” make for an upper atmosphere.

Furthermore, the theme song to “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “Beautiful Stranger” is thrown in as a cheerful booster.

“Bedtime Stories,” a collaboration with Bjrk and Nellee Hopper, reminds us of Madonna’s hallucinating time of experimentation and is a tasty treat.

Ironically, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” the theme from “Evita” is the only cover version included, whereas the sexy “Fever” and Madonna’s remake of Don McLean’s “American Pie” do not appear on this album. Furthermore, “Bad Girl” seems to have faded into oblivion and “Nothing Really Matters” is nowhere to be found.The album closes with the club anthem “Music.”

“GHV2” a record of where she has been and a sign of where she is going. The release also coincides with The Drowned World Tour Video/DVD ? rumored to be her last tour. This collection is proof that she is still the queen.

Al-Qatami can be reached at nalqatami@campustimes.org.



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