Continuing on my journey through Madonna’s studio albums, we get to her pop breakthrough, Like a Virgin now. For some reason I never thought I liked this very much, it’s certainly not the first choice if I want to listen to an Madonna album. But here I am, listening away. It’s not that BAD, in fact I suppose with my low expectations it was quite pleasing. Some of the fan favourites from this though, I still can’t get on board with.
PS I think I must have a re-issue because I didn’t think Into the Groove was on this originally…
08 Material Girl – Now what I said about fan favourites doesn’t really apply to this. While I still think it’s a bit naff, it is a great song with a definite image to it. I suppose my main criticism of this album is that it just isn’t as COOL as its predecessor. This feels a bit gimmicky in order to shift a few records and get people talking. I mean, of course it worked, but it just makes me roll my eyes a bit. As an aside it’s a little annoying that this became her nickname for some time (maybe it still is), despite this obviously being a bit tongue-in-cheek, or at least I hope so.
06 Angel – Only looking now at her chart history, she had SEVEN Top 5s in 1985, this coming about midway through. It’s always been a bit of a lost single to me, not one I was familiar with (i.e. it wasn’t on The Immaculate Collecton). It’s alright, I don’t dislike it but the chorus is just a bit blah. The whole THING is a bit blah. BLAH BLAH BLAH. “Oooh, you’re an angel”. I just don’t get why people rave about it. The production is quite nice but in such honourable company as her big singles of this era, it just doesn’t stand up.
07 Like a Virgin – As with “Material Girl”, I can’t criticise it too much because it was pretty much where the whole Madonna show really started taking off. Moreso than “Material Girl” this was really going for the publicity, but now it makes me cringe a bit. I like the song itself to a point, but what was a bit risque at the time just doesn’t mean the same now. It’s classic Madonna so people are going to love it whatever I feel, but it’s not one of my favourites. The re-working of it on the Confessions Tour was pretty special though.
08 Over and Over – I’m not a huge fan of these album tracks, but I do like the tempo of this. The chorus doesn’t do much for me but it’s quite energetic and fun. The middle 8 is pretty good, and to be fair I would rate it highly among the non-singles. I suppose I can’t really complain too much abut repetition, given my raving over the first album.
09 Love don’t live here anymore – This throws me off a bit, as I first met this song on the “93:99” DVD, featuring a video made during her Evita shoot. Was this a single in 1985/6 and also on Something to Remember? Either way, it curiously seems to fit into both eras for her, even stranger since it was a cover of a Rose Royce track from the 70s. Either way it has been a (very) slow burner, I rather like this, really stands out from some of the fluff that’s been on so far.
10 Into the Groove – And YOU CAN DANCE. OMG I love this, drenched in 80s but still feeling fresh. Makes me remember how much I loved “Desperately Seeking Susan”. In fact I only just twigged that DSS was made so early into her career, I always thought she had been pretty established before she turned her attention to films… well whatever. Anyway, it’s a STONE COLD CLASSIC.
10 Dress you up – One of my many little nudges towards Madonna in the early days was a GAP advert where various models covered this. For something that really stuck in my mind, and came around the same time I picked up “The Immaculate Collection” I think. This picks up where “Into the Groove” left off, really 80s but totally great today. I had the Thin White Duke remix before, and he really didn’t have to do much to this apart from beef up the backing (which worked great). I hate to throw out 10s there’s no tomorrow, but what can you DO?
09 Shoo Be Doo – Apart from an atrocious title, I always quite liked this. Really builds up, quite a sweet little ballad that gradually picks up the pace into an amazingly catchy chorus. GORGE. I love the music behind it to, less is MORE. That bit where the beat comes in after the practically acapella first chorus is glorious.
07 Pretender – Oh well it couldn’t last… I never really liked this. Where some of the songs are totally 80s but really fresh, this just feels dated, like a Five-Star cassette album in my attic (I wonder if it’s still there). That lends a certain charm to it, but it’s a pretty cliched formula to a song, with some pretty clumsy lyrics scoring highly on the Des’ree-o-meter of tacky rhymes.
08 Stay – Oh I LOVE the backing, but again the lyrics feel a bit cliched. I can’t imagine it was much different back in 1985 either. Still, I can just pretend not to hear all that… bit of an indifferent ending to the album though. That “True love” bit she keeps saying just makes me thing of “True Blue” so much. SKOO SKOO SKOO SKOODALLY BEE BAP.
A bit of a lumpy start and end, but WHAT a run in the middle. Overall it’s a pretty decent pop album, though there are a number of moments when I am eyeing the “skip” button. I wouldn’t say it’s a classic by any means, more like a fun fluffy 80s album with some TITANICALLY AMAZING tracks holding it all together. Feels like the “X” of its day, like they knew they would have a hit on their hands so just threw a load of songs at it and hoped something would stick. Luckily it paid off more than “X” did and turned Madonna into an A-List megastar, but it just feels a bit flimsy.
Keepers for the iPod: Material Girl, Love don’t live here anymore, Dress you up, Into the Groove, Shoo be doo