How ‘Evita’ Ended Madonna’s Material Girl Era

'Evita' star Madonna wearing white


Madonna will always be known as the Material Girl. Ironically, starring in ‘Evita’ led Madonna to stop feeling so materialistic.

Madonna will always be known as the Material Girl. Ironically, Evita led Madonna to stop feeling so materialistic. She explained some of the reasons she changed as a person. In addition to changing her life, Evita also produced one of the Queen of Pop’s best and most underrated ballads.

The internal contradiction of Madonna’s reactions to ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Evita’

During a 2004 interview posted on Oprah’s website, Madonna explained why she stopped being the Material Girl. “There were many years when I thought fame, fortune, and public approval would bring me happiness,” she said. “But one day you wake up and realize they don’t.”

Madonna said that a certain movie changed her mind about life. “After I made Evita [in 1996],” she recalled. “I’d won a Golden Globe, I was about to have a baby, and life was hunky-dory. But I still felt something was missing.” The fact that Evita convinced Madonna to be less materialistic is ironic as the movie portrays its title character, Evita Perón, as very concerned with her fashion and appearance.

Madonna explained what her life was missing

Madonna was asked what exactly she was missing before her epiphany, “An understanding of my place in the world,” she said. “Before then, I felt controlled by the ups and downs of my life. If things were going great, I was happy. If someone said something negative about me in the newspapers, I got depressed. If I had a relationship that was fun, then I was happy again. If that relationship fell apart, I was down. I didn’t feel in control of my life.”

The “Like a Virgin” singer recalled the time she stopped feeling defined by external things. “The big turning point was when I was about to become a parent,” she remembered. “I wanted to understand what I would teach my daughter, and I didn’t really know where I stood on things.”

How ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Evita’ performed

“Material Girl” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 17 weeks. The tune appeared on the record Like a Virgin. That record topped the Billboard 200 for three weeks, staying on the chart for 109 weeks in total. Like a Virgin produced several other classic singles, namely “Like a Virgin,” “Angel,” “Into the Groove,” and “Dress You Up.” Like a Virgin isn’t as beloved as Thriller or Purple Rain, but it’s arguably on the same level as a 1980s dance album.

The soundtrack album of Evita peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 30 weeks. That record produced two hit singles. The most famous one was “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” which reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 16 weeks. Lesser-known is “You Must Love Me,” which reached No. 18 and spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. While “You Must Love Me” isn’t as much of a stadium crowd-pleaser as “You Must Love Me,” the emotions it portrays are much more complex and layered.

Evita was a mediocre movie but was the catalyst for a critical moment in the Queen of Pop’s life.

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