Madonna At A Glance

Written by | November 19, 2013 0:08 | No Comments

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Madonna Complex

As last years controversy swirls this year, let us be clear: for all of Lady Gaga’s many gifts, and despite Gaga’s last four albums being vastly superior to Madonna’s last four albums, Gaga is no Madonna. In the 1980s Madonna was pop music and until the 21st century she very seldom faltered. Here is a refresher course:

Madonna (19683) – With boyfriend “Jellybean” Benitz at the helm this is youthful without being innocent, the beats are all disco four on the floor, but the songs are bright and shiny, “Lucky Star”,  “Borderline”, “Holiday” and the dance smasherino “Physical Attraction” -ergo HALF THE ALBUM, are masterpieces – A

Like A Virgin (1984) – It is all over here, two songs, “Material Girl” -a misread ode to self sufficiency and the title track which, on the V<As that year changed her and MTV’s l world with a writhing, sexy, starmaking turn. The rest of the album sputters but it doesn’t really matter – B+

True Blue (1986) – Along with Music, this stands as Madonna’s greatest achievement, a dance pop album of depth and feeling, dedicated to her husband Sean Penn, it has one perfectly written nugget followed by another, included her 1950s pop song worth title track. And, Madonna dealing with her Catholic background somewhat obliquely “Papa Don’t Preach” – A

Whose That Girl (1987) – Pretty good soundtrack album, including the Coati Mundi original, although only three new tracks – B

You Can Dance (1987) – Remixes of dance tracks and some of her better dance numbers all  in one place , plus “Spotlight” a pretty good new one – B

Like A Prayer (1989) – The Prince duet “Love Song” survives as a brilliant banger, or sex and slith. The rest of it is highly persobal, good Catholic girl Madonna ruminating about her family life with moments that reach the heights of her career and moments that don’t – A-

I’m Breathless (1990) – The Dick Tracy soundtrack and a disaster on every single level except for “Vogue” which is exceptional – C-

The Immaculate Collection (1990) – It shouldn’t be a surprise just how well Madonna’s first albums come together as a great hits (including videos of course) album. Flawless – A+

Erotica (1992) – Modern EDM, cool, hard, techno beats once removed from the heat of  sex; check out the cover of “Fever” – A

 

Bedtime Stories (1994) – From EDM to r&b and prevailing New Jack Swing, this has some of the top names in soul, whose co-written “Take A Bow” may well be the most beautiful song Madonna has ever written, and Dallas Austin her added the magic he had given TLC – A

Ray Of Light (1998) – Using the still emerging Pro-Tools, Madonna and William Orbits rid the studio of any other emerges and emerge with a change of direction album of modern electronica; echoing Portishead and Massive Attack but uniquely Madonna, it was a brave, great album – A

Music (2000) – The 21st century beckons with this regrouped flat out wonder of disco pop but without harking back to her earlier days. She was superb on the tour as well – A+

American Life (2003) – This is really really the end, a bad hip hop inspired album. Her worst album – D+

Confessions On A Dancefloor (2005) – I know some folks who swear by this dance album but it hits me as being behind all trends in tend and except for “Jump Up” the writing can’t sustain it – C+

The Confessions Tour (2006) – A fair representation of an OK show – B

I’m Gonna Tell You A Secret (2006) – Confessions tour Part II – B-

Hard Candy (2008) – Two years after “Sexyback”, Madonna hooks up with timberland. Note the Kanye West track – C

Celebration (2009) – Greatest hits pales in comparison to “The Immaculate Conception” – C

Sweet And Sticky Tour (2009) – Completely useless – C-

MDNA (2012) – Modern dance, but the songs aren’t strong enough to sustain it – C+

MDNA World Tour (2013) – A terrible, terrible concert and a terrible terrible album. I included the “Like A Virgin (Waltz) on the playlist for shock value – D

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