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Madonna - Material Girl (1985)

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  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.44
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Material Girl" is a song recorded by American singer Madonna for her second studio album Like a Virgin (1984). It was ...

"Material Girl" is a song recorded by American singer Madonna for her second studio album Like a Virgin (1984). It was released on January 23, 1985, by the Sire label as the second single from Like a Virgin. It also appears slightly remixed on the 1990 greatest hits compilation, The Immaculate Collection, and in its original form on the 2009 greatest hits compilation, Celebration. The song was written by Peter Brown and Robert Rans, while Nile Rodgers produced the track. Madonna explained that the concept of the song was indicative of her life at that time, and she liked it because she felt it was provocative.

"Material Girl" consists of synth arrangements with a robotic-sounding voice chant repeating the hook, "living in a material world". The lyrics identify with materialism, with Madonna asking for a rich and affluent life, rather than romance and relationships. Contemporary critics have frequently identified "Material Girl" along with "Like a Virgin" as the songs that established Madonna as an icon. "Material Girl" was a commercial success, reaching the top-five in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Japan and United Kingdom. It reached the number two position on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, becoming her third top-five single there.

The music video was a mimicry of Marilyn Monroe's performance of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The mimicked scenes are interspersed with scenes of a Hollywood director trying to win the heart of an actress, played by Madonna herself. Discovering that, contrary to her song, the young woman was not impressed by money and expensive gifts, he pretended to be penniless and succeeded in taking her out on a date. She has performed the song in five of her world tours; most of her performances of the song on tour are mimicries of the song's music video.

"Material Girl" has been covered by a number of artists, including Britney Spears and Hilary and Haylie Duff. It has appeared in the films Moulin Rouge! (2001), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Material Girls (2006), and Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Madonna has often remarked that she regrets recording "Material Girl" as its title became a nickname for her in the mainstream media. The song has been labeled an empowering influence for women, and was the subject of debates.

Music video

The music video for "Material Girl" (left) was inspired by Marilyn Monroe's performance of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" (right) in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

The music video was inspired by Madonna's admiration of Marilyn Monroe and mimicked the latter's performance of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It also featured actor Keith Carradine, who played Madonna's love interest. The video was the first to showcase Madonna's acting ability, as it combined the dance routines of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" with the storyline of a man who impresses Madonna with daisies, rather than diamonds. In a 1987 interview with New York Daily News, Madonna said:

Well, my favorite scene in all of Monroe's movies is when she does that dance sequence for 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend'. And when it came time to do the video for the song [Material Girl], I said, I can just redo that whole scene and it will be perfect. [...] Marilyn was made into something not human in a way, and I can relate to that. Her sexuality was something everyone was obsessed with and that I can relate to. And there were certain things about her vulnerability that I'm curious about and attracted to.

The music video was shot January 10 and 11, 1985, at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood, California, and was directed by Mary Lambert, who worked with Madonna in the videos for "Like a Virgin" and "Borderline". It was produced by Simon Fields with principal photography by Peter Sinclair, editing by Glenn Morgan and choreography by Kenny Ortega. Actor Robert Wuhl appeared in the video's opening. Much of the jewelry is from the collection of Connie Parente, a popular Hollywood jewelry collector. The music video was at the same time an exegesis and a critique of the lyrics and Madonna herself. It was on the set of the video that Madonna met her first husband, actor Sean Penn.

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