April 09, 2024

Erotica

By Michael Dango
Bloomsbury, 2023

Book cover of Erotica By Michael Dango This addition to Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series — short books about popular music focusing on individual albums — by Beloit College English professor Michael Dango considers Madonna’s 1992 album “Erotica” and its legacy, drawing on the intellectual traditions at the center of today’s hysteria over critical race theory and on the author’s experiences as a gay man.

In the 1990s culture wars, conservatives saw “Erotica” as proof of the decline of family values while gay men saw it as a celebration of sexual culture. Madonna’s “Erotica” is more sentimental than erotic, and the ambivalence about sex is what makes the album crucial for understanding its time and for navigating culture a generation later.


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