“Holiday” by Madonna (1983)

It’s been a long time…I shouldn’t have left you. But I’ve spent most of the past month prepping my new podcast Detoxicity, and my writing has had to take a pretty significant back seat. But…it looks like the COVID-19 outbreak is going to corral my social calendar plus I’m going to be working from home. So, I might be writing some more just to fill some of the time.

Anyway, while the world seems to be completely freaking out, let’s take this opportunity to visit a simple, happy sentiment. Who doesn’t like having fun? Madonna certainly does (oh, get your minds out of the gutter), and “Holiday”, her breakout hit, was a declaration of pure joy that ear-candied its way into the Billboard top 20 (a place she would visit with every single she released for the next twenty-two years).

The pep and innocence of “Holiday” harkens is a relic of the disco era, and came at a time when dance music (courtesy of acts like Michael Jackson and Prince) was making a comeback in American culture. Of course, in Madge’s adopted home town of NYC, disco had never left. She was ably assisted on “Holiday” by Reggie Lucas (a veteran of the band Mtume, he’d produced songs by Roberta Flack, Stephanie Mills and Phyllis Hyman, who “Holiday” was originally offered to and wisely turned down as the song needed someone with a more childlike innocence to give it a definitive reading) and a nascent John “Jellybean” Benitez (who was making his way in the disco world and conveniently happened to be Madonna’s boyfriend). However, as always, Madonna is the star of the show. She possessed the personality to bring the (admittedly somewhat inane) lyrics to life, and thus, with this song, set herself on a course to become arguably the most famous female artist in pop music history.

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