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BALLADEER MADONNA

It seems the art of survival - or continual positive projection - in the world of pop music these days, depends very much on change. If artists fail to recreate their persona - chameleon-like, over and over again - they risk facing accusations of dullness; that they are not fashionable. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in the female ranks. It is not sufficient for an artist to be beautiful and sexy. These characteristics too must be changed often, and remodelled to avoid being bogged down by a stereotype. Two examples of the rock 'n' roll art of move and change are Cher and Madonna, the latter a brilliant illustration of the trend. Her latest disc, 'Something to Remember', showcases her hit ballads and how she has so effectively been able to stay at the top without diminishing credibility in her particular field. (For these purposes, we will forget her unworthy flirtation with sex, that horrible book and her expletive-ridden, cigarchomping appearance on the David Letterman Show.) This collection demonstrates how she has toned down her dominatrix image at relevant times to give contrast and definition to her career. But it offers more than simply a study in rock fashion history. There is also a solid assortment of quality music. It opens with the newish 'I Want You with Massive Attack', a faintly morose and teary plea and quickly moves back in time to her earlier moments : 'Crazy for You', 'This Used To Be My Playground' and 'You'll See'. There is also a nice version of 'Love Don't Live Here Anymore'. So this is more than an exploitative offering. However, Cher's latest package, 'It's a Man's World', cannot be reviewed in a lofty vein. In her past - the most memorable moment for this reviewer being her visit to a US warship amid cheering sailors for 'If I Could Turn Back Time' - she has competed admirably. And she has demonstrated the classic features of the change syndrome. But this is a tired and dull Cher, perhaps attempting to tone down her sexy, boycrazy, rollicking image in this session but failing.
Madonna, Something to Remember (Maverick); Cher, It's a Man's World (WEA) Source : Adapted from the South China Morning Post, 29.12.95 1.This article is primarily: (a) a review of Madonna's new record (b) a review of Cher's new record (c) an analysis of Madonna's success in Hollywood (d) a review of Madonna's career 2. The main point of paragraph 1 is to tell the reader that artists need to: (a) keep an image that the public knows and loves (b) recreate themselves to survive (c) avoid being dull at all costs (d) stay sexy to survive 3. How would you describe the writer's attitude towards Madonna: (a) basically critical (b) negative (c) generally favourable (d) uncritically admiring 4. In paragraph 3 the main point is to: (a) compare Cher's and Madonna's work (b) describe some stories from Madonna's past (c) introduce Madonna's new record (d) detail the contents of the new record 5. In paragraph 3, the writer mentions Madonna's 'unworthy flirtation with sex, that horrible book and the cigar chomping appearance...... ': (a) to criticise her unworthy past (b) to contrast the positive points of her record (c) to illustrate the trend of change in rock 'n' roll (d) to diminish her credibility 6. In paragraph 5 the main point: (a) is to suggest that the record is a waste of money (b) is to describe some stories from Madonna's past (c) is to introduce Madonna's new record (d) is to detail the contents of the new record 7. How would you describe the writer's attitude towards Cher: (a) enthusiastic (b) negative (c) favourable (d) uncritically admiring 8. The writer uses a semi-colon after 'dullness' in paragraph 1: (a) to give evidence for the point made (b) to provide a reason (c) to introduce the consequence (d) to expand on the meaning of this word 9. In paragraph 2, 'prevalent' is closest in meaning to: (a) rare (b) not widely known (c) common (d) unusual 10. In paragraph 2 'This phenomenon' refers to: (a) the recreation of persona (b) the art of survival (c) accusations of dullness (d) prevalence in the female ranks 11. In paragraph 2, 'bogged down' could be replaced by which of the following? (a) enhanced (b) improved (c) restricted (d) engrossed 12. In paragraph 3 'the latter' refers to: (a) a brilliant illustration (b) the trend (c) Madonna (d) Cher 13. Which word has the OPPOSITE meaning to 'toned down' in paragraph 4: (a) to moderate (b) to de-emphasise (c) to give special importance (d) to subdue 14. In paragraph 4 'it' refers to: (a) her career (b) this collection (c) a study in rock 'n' roll history (d) her dominatrix image 15. Why does the writer use a colon in line 12? (a) because the break is stronger than a full stop. (b) because what comes after the colon is a contradiction of what came before it. (c) because what comes after the colon is a development of what comes before it. (d) because what comes after the colon is an example of what comes before it. 16. In paragraph 6, 'admirably' is closest in meaning to which of the following: (a) well (b) ineffectively (c) sufficiently (d) fully

ANSWER KEY: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. A B C C B D B D C A C C C B C A