Discography Guide: Madonna (Part Two)

14 01 2012

This is part two of my complete guide to Madonna’s albums. Part One you can find right here. 

Ray of Light (1998)

Coming off the back of Erotica and Bedtime Stories, Madonna was, perhaps for the first time out of…erm, vogue with pop music on mass. She followed Bedtime Stories with a compilation album of classy ballads (Something To Remember) which did point at what she was listening to at least, with a Massive Attack collaboration opening the album. She then did Evita, which provided her with Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and You Must Love Me, both top ten hits. Two years of radio silence followed Evita, and it has been quite a while since a proper new album, and arguably as far back as 1989 since a great Madonna album.

Ray of Light is a big, bold, brilliant comeback album. Produced by William Orbit (Madonna is always at her best with a great producer to offset her) Ray of Light is a million miles from Bedtime Stories, and perhaps everything else she had done up to that point – despite previous attempts this is her smartest, most grown up record.

She certainly took some risks with it – despite having the obvious hit single of the title track lying around, she chose to announce her return with Frozen, a six minute, broken hearted trip-hop song. It was a masterstroke, it reached No 1 in the UK, and No 2 in the US. Madonna was well and truly back.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Discography Guide: Madonna (Part One)

13 01 2012

As an alternative to the in-depth profiles of an artist, for long established artists I may do these posts which are just about the music (man), going through each album to give you reccomendations on what to buy and what to avoid like an unholy plague. I’ll probably end up doing in depth profiles of these artists as well, at a later date. I’m kicking off with Madonna, mainly because she has just announced she has named her new on MDNA, and it will be out in March, and I’m quite excited. 

 

Madonna Aka Madonna The First Album (1983)

Apparently, after her début single, Everybody (the closing track on her first album), people didn’t even realise Madonna was white (she doesn’t appear on the single’s sleeve), which seems quaint and inconceivable after years of her being an impossibly big pop phenomena. Proof then, that everyone has to start somewhere, and for Madonna it was here, a pop-disco album which of artists that were around at the same time, most calls to mind Prince (who had just made a real break for the mainstream the year before with his 1999), so perhaps it is little wonder people thought that maybe she was black.

Madonna herself is apparently not entirely satisfied with the album, as its too reliant on disco, and she wasn’t in complete control. It used then top-of-the-range synths and drum machines, which all the contemporary reviews comment make it state of the art, but of course mean that it very much now sounds like an album made very much in 1983. But the music wins out, and although Madonna would craft better pop songs later, there are some exquisite tunes here. Read the rest of this entry »