Let's just enjoy Madonna's music

In the early years of our nation's development, it was understandable that censorship was a little heavy-handed, especially when it came to foreign artists. As a result, we lost out on watching many international acts in concerts.

But we have since matured enough to come to terms with being exposed to these acts, or at least I thought so, until the furore over Madonna's tour coming to Singapore erupted .

For a select few who were able to see "banned" shows in the 1970s and 1980s, when we went overseas to study or work, they were something to be grateful for.

Watching these concerts live did little to stunt our growth or twist our minds. We were able to enjoy the music, without worrying too much about what the singer or group stood for.

It was the music itself that we paid attention to, especially if one was an aficionado and understood as well as appreciated the music.

I heard Madonna's music in the 1980s, but was never a true follower. But even to an outsider, her work was ground-breaking, to say the least, and she was always a survivor. That inspired many. She was always able to morph with each passing decade.

In the 1970s, there was much made of the bad influence heavy metal music had on young minds.

Yet, I became an avid follower and collector, even when there were accusations of subliminal messages - some allegedly satanic - being inserted into such music.

This accusation - that there was use of a technique called backward masking to penetrate our subconscious - was levelled at many groups, including Led Zeppelin. I can say, after listening to the group's albums for more than 40 years, that I am none the worse for it.

I will say this much: If not for the music, I don't think I would have made it through life.

I heard Madonna's music in the 1980s, but was never a true follower. But even to an outsider, her work was ground-breaking, to say the least, and she was always a survivor. That inspired many.

She was always able to morph with each passing decade.

There is little doubt that she is a successful entertainer, flamboyant, and always thinking ahead.

Of course, she tends to explore various themes, but that is her mode of expression.

In the final analysis, her concerts are for those who are mature enough, those who do not want to be subjected to dictates taken too far.

This is what music should be about. The opposite would be living in a void and being stifled. I don't think we want to go down that road.

Manoraj Rajathurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2016, with the headline 'Let's just enjoy Madonna's music'. Print Edition | Subscribe