If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll know now that I’ve reviewed all of Madonna’s studio albums. You can check them all out by clicking “Music” at the top, or just clicking this link, then look for the “Back Catalogue” section.
The 90s have a lot more loose ends than the 80s as Madonna diversified into different projects, and we had a few compilation albums too. That’s not to say these are offcuts, some of them are amongst her best tracks!
The Immaculate Collection
I love “The Immaculate Collection”, it is an essential for long road trips alone, even if it means I get mocked by pre-teens in neighbouring cars while we are waiting at the lights. “Celebration” might be a suitable all-encompassing alternative, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for a bit of old-school, aren’t you?
10 Crazy for you – I can’t get enough of this, I remember having a few moments to it in my YOUTH (whenever that was) and it still stands as one of those evergreen Madonna ballads. It doesn’t feel like this really got the classic status that it deserves, but maybe that has helped it in the long run. Gorgeous lyrics, amazing singalong chorus. AWESOME.
07 Justify my love – Well this was a rather ODD choice to put on a retrospective album as the lead single, given that it’s if anything a direct precursor to Erotica. She didn’t spare the rod in upping the ante, sexing it up with Lenny Kravitz. But you know, I never really rated it. It feels like she just wanted to make a sex track and the rest was just supposed to follow. It’s not bad, I love the backing track but “Erotica” did it better in my opinion. Essential as a mission statement but I think “Erotica” (the album) hit the mark more than this.
07 Rescue me – So this the other new track for the greatest hits collection, and I’m told it’s a FAN FAVE. Well I’m sorry to disappoint but I never really got on board with this. I find nothing dislikeable about it, again it’s a precursor to the “Erotica” album, but it just feels a bit contrived. While “Justify My Love” went all out with the dirty backing music, this just feels like a rather weak dance track. I like it but if she was trying to make it sexy it didn’t really happen.
To be QUITE HONEST I usually finish the CD before the new tracks, but that’s just ME. That’s probably why I didn’t feel too hard done by when “GHV2” didn’t have anything new. At least we got a few new ones on “Celebration” (for better or worse)
Something to Remember
With “Bedtime Stories” seemingly only created to de-sex her image after Erotica, her image was further softened pre-Evita by this ballads collection.
I’ve never really thought of her as much of a balladeer, but bit-by-bit, over the various albums, there was a pretty decent selection of slowies to form “Something to remember”.
08 I want you – So, a collaboration with Massive Attack here. It feels like a remnant of “Bedtime Stories”, but at the same time better than any of the album tracks from it. To be honest I’m not a super-fan of this, I know it’s a bit of fan favourite. It’s an atmospheric track with some lovely strings, but there just isn’t enough to it to compete with her epic catalogue. Gorgeous paranoid video though. Did we really need two versions of the song though?
08 I’ll remember – A lost cut from one of the soundtracks she did, and it even came with a rather uneventful video that I’d never seen until recently. I like the intro that ends up permeating the bulk of the song, but the lyrics are a bit boring. Still, it’s much better as an actual SONG like this than some of the tat on “Bedtime Stories”.
10 You’ll see – Oh NOW we are talking. Love her voice on this, the song is totally compelling too. There are plenty of songs about wronged women, and also those women being stronger afterwards BLAH BLAH, but this is cool and assured, while still feeling emotive and vulnerable. OH I don’t know, I love it. Love the chorus too, “All by MYSELF, I don’t need ANYONE at all”. Awesome.
09 This used to be my playground – The accompanying movie “A League of their own” might have been a bit of a SNOOZE but I love this track. The intro is so gentle and magical, and I’m really starting to relate to it, being on the receiving end of some depressing nostalgia. “And BEFORE you know, you’re feeling old and your heart is BREAKING”… One of the moments that really makes this compilation worth having.
08 One more chance – A bit of a lost track, no video either but it’s a single nonetheless. I’ve always been quite fond of it and I never knew why really. It’s a pretty simple song following the “Don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” template, and while her vocals aren’t really on top form, it’s a nice easy acoustic ballad, which I’m not sure she’s really done so simply.
The rest of the tracks I have reviewed already in their respective studio albums, but I suppose I should talk a little bit about the album. I thought this seemed like an odd compilation given her relationship with greatest hits sets, but the more I think about it, it was really perfect timing. After this point – Evita aside – her music (including ballads) became more experimental, and wouldn’t have fit in with this disc. It’s a great full-stop to the rocky early- to mid-90s era, effectively drawing a line under everything thus far and clearing the way for the biggest reinvention she’d ever pulled off.
I don’t want to bandy words like “timeless” around, but it is a coherent album despite tracks being taken from over 10 years of studio albums (with all but “The First Album” getting picks), even “I’m Breathless” is represented without feeling odd. I also LOVE the cover art, probably the most beautiful she has looked on one.