Category: Madonna

Madonna – Like a Prayer

ARTIST: Madonna                        220px-Madonna_-_Like_a_Prayer_album

TITLE: Like a Prayer



SINGLES: Like a Prayer (#1 US, #1 Dance, #1 UK), Express Yourself (#2 US, #1 Dance, #5 UK), Cherish (#2 US, #3 UK), Oh Father (#20 US, #16 UK), Dear Jessie (#5 UK), Keep it Together (#8 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No, since six of the 11 songs are there. Ok, maybe Act of Contrition.

LINEUP: Madonna and all of the hot shot studio musicians of the time, and Prince

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Not missing a beat, Madonna dives into controversy with her image and videos, while not sacrificing the music.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The commercial, the videos, the song “Justify My Love” (not on the album, but the B-side was), and the uproar. IT would be definitely easy for this record by Madonna to be ignored, or just glossed over.

It’s a pretty darn remarkable record.

Madonna’s not just trying for easy peasy pop hits and filler. “Love Song”, a duet with Prince that was co-written and produced with the Purple One, is deliciously weird. The vocal effect in “Express Yourself”, where Madonna sounds like she’s underwater with a synthesizer, is innovative. The lyrics move away from boy-girl stuff toward more spiritual and feminist issues.

It’s an undeniable electropop dance record that addresses many themes and motifs. She moved to being a full-on phenomenon, and an artist worthy of her accolades.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Between True Blue and Like a Prayer, the Who’s That Girl soundtrack was released with four Madonna tracks and a dance remix record was also put out.


 GRADE: A: Definitely a fun album and a touchstone of the era.

Madonna – True Blue

ARTIST: Madonna                                                     true_blue_madonna

TITLE:  True Blue



SINGLES: Live to Tell (#1 US, # 2 UK), Papa Don’t Preach (#1 US, #4 Dance, #1 UK), Open Your Heart (#1 US, #1 Dance, #4 UK), La Isla Bonita (#4 US, #10 Dance, #1 UK)


LINEUP: Madonna, Bruce Gaitsch, Dann Huff, Paul Jackson, Jr., Patrick Leonard, Jonathan Moffett, John Putnam, David Williams, Fred Zarr and others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The album that cements Madonna as the premier pop artist of the 80’s.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Believe it or not, there was pressure on Madonna before True Blue was released. Was she just a flash in the pan that peaked with her last album or was she something more?

Definitely more.

While it sounds a bit dated (the synths and drums are a dead giveaway that it’s mid-to-late 80’s), the songs and performances are strong and endearing. She had the right message for her fans, could go from dance number to ballad without a stretch, and basically defined the sound of the music world in that time frame.

Nine tracks, and most all are great examples of pop music for the time. While it’s not quite packed A to Z with great tunes or ideas, it’s still a great accomplishment and one to listen to from beginning to end.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: She decided to not sing every song in a high pitched voice for this album, and the music was written to match that decision.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple of remixes.

GRADE: A:  Yeah, it’s one to hear, to this day. “True Blue”, the song, is SUCH an earworm for me.

Madonna – Like a Virgin

ARTIST: Madonna                                     220px-LikeAVirgin1984

TITLE:  Like a Virgin



SINGLES: Like a Virgin (#1 US, #1 Dance, #3 UK), Material Girl (#2 US, #1 Dance, #3 UK), Angel (#5 US, #1 Dance, #5 UK), Dress You Up (#5 US, #3 Dance, #5 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Teenagers in the 80’s know the album

LINEUP: Madonna, Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers, Nathaniel Hardy, Tony Thompson,l dave Weckl, Robert Sabino, Curtis King, Frank Simms, George Simms

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The album that launched the video star, the controversial icon, and, well, Madonna being all Madonna all the time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Madonna, plus the engine behind Chic for most of the songs, equals a powerhouse album. The singles dominated the airwaves in 1984 and 1985 (plus two other non-album singles to boot). Yes, she was hyped. The music, though, was as good as the hype.

Nile Rogers’ production is top notch, and adds the right arrangement for all of the songs. The non-single tracks are maybe a bit under the singles in terms of quality, but they still have a good sound, a fun vibe, and Madonna doesn’t half-ass her vocals on them, either, especially since she wrote most of them.

What everyone remembers is her lascivious performance at the original VMAs, but the album was good; good enough that it’s unfortunate that everything else overshadowed it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Tipper Gore thought “Dress You Up” was vulgar. Whatever.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. The European version had “Into the Groove” as a track (not released in the US until later, for a movie) and there’s another version with two remixes.

GRADE: A-:  When you actually listen to the album, it’s good, and the sequencing is spot on.

Madonna – Madonna

ARTIST: Madonna              Madonna,_debut_album_cover

TITLE:  Madonna



SINGLES: Everybody (#3 Dance), Burning Up (#3 Dance). Holiday (#16 US, #1 Dance, #2 UK), Lucky Star (#4 US, #1 Dance, #14 UK), Borderline (#10 US, #4 Dance, #2 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: There are only three other tracks on the thing.

LINEUP: Madonna, Reggie Lucas, Dean Gant, Fred Zarr, and many others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut dance album from wanna-be pop star removes the ‘wanna-be’ from her label, though at times it seems the success is more production based than talent based.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: At the time, this was a record that fit in nicely with the other early 80’s dance floor new wave/pop/new romantic albums that were synth and electronics heavy. Madonna_The_First_Album_international

The singles are ear candy for sure, but no one would ever have guessed they’d have launched a career of an icon. Today, listening to them, you can hear the flashes of the attitude and her becoming Madonna, but right now she’s kind of along for the production ride.

There’s also filler, which takes away from the album as a whole. It’s a great snapshot of dance music in 1983, and definitely has some all-time classic songs. A classic album it’s not.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: In the US, they released “Borderline” as a single before “Lucky Star”, which is opposite of what they did in the UK.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Extended remixes of “Burning Up” and “Lucky Star”

GRADE: B: The filler drags it down, and the production is the star, but there’s no mistaking the exuberance of songs like “Holiday”.