By Ryan Buxton, EnStarz | Aug 16, 2012 10:10 AM EDT
Music's legendary Material Girl is celebrating another year as the Queen of Pop as she turns 54 years old today.
Madonna has been internationally famous for more time than she hasn't, and her near three-decade career laid the foundation for most of today's pop starlets. But she hasn't slowed with age, and with this year's release and promotion of her twelfth studio album, "MDNA," she's continually reminded us what makes her one of the most exciting and provocative entertainers in the world.
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She kicked off 2012 with a show-stopping performance at Super Bowl XLVI. The 114 million viewers who tuned in to see her sing smash hits like "Vogue" and "Like a Prayer" alongside Cirque du Soleil made Madonna's halftime show the most-watched in Super Bowl history.
March saw the release of "MDNA," which became Madonna's eighth No. 1 album in the United States, and the fifth consecutive chart-topper she's released. The record's time at the top didn't last long, with sales dropping off considerably in its second week of release, but critics gave "MDNA" generally favorable reviews, meriting a score of 64 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic. The album is, in many ways, a celebration of all the singer has accomplished - she's said that "MDNA" is wordplay in several forms, one of which represents M's DNA, and the songs are filled with self-referential mentions of the hits that made Madonna a star.
Though she'll have tonight free to celebrate, the "Like a Virgin" provocateur has been busy since May with the European leg of her "MDNA" world tour. She'll perform two more dates in Switzerland and France before kicking off her string of American shows on Aug. 28 in Pennsylvania. The tour has been quite the cash cow, grossing more than $50 million in the first three weeks alone. Projections that the final take could reach as much as $450 million mean it's poised to be one of the highest-grossing tours of all time.
The tour has been rife with the controversy fans have come to expect from Madonna. In France, she drew ire for projecting the image of a French politician with a swastika on his face. In Turkey, she flashed her breast to the crowd during the song "Human Nature." In Russia, she spoke out in favor of free speech and against the imprisonment of the band Pussy Riot, who were punishment for their performance in a Russian cathedral.
As she celebrates her 54th birthday, Madonna is in prime physical condition and making more money than ever, so it's safe to assume she'll be around to celebrate many more with the world. Some love her, some hate her, but no one can deny the woman's got staying power.
Happy birthday, Madonna!
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