Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Madonna - The Immaculate Collection 2

Compilation (single artist)

Madonna's 1990 The Immaculate Collection could be the single most consistent greatest hits album ever released. Munificent in its charms and absolutely preternatural in its appeal, there is not a single wasted note to be found amongst its 17 tracks. Its songs flow flawlessly from one to the next, showcasing a young woman in absolute control of her abilities, focused on delivering nothing less than one absolute dance-floor classic after the next. Never one to be satisfied or rest upon her laurels, Madonna continues to push and innovate, and The Immaculate Collection captured her at the peak of her powers: confident, aware and hungry for success.

Yet for some reason none of this seems to sit well with a certain subset of rock-centric dads whose heads collectively exploded in 2008 when Madonna was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. To hear it said, one would think Madonna Louise Ciccone was nothing less than a pox unleashed upon the planet to destroy "real music", such as REO Speedwagon, Foreigner or Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band.

And yet that wasn't the worst of it. Clearly not over the awkward and uncomfortable feelings they first experienced during their initial exposure to the "Like a Virgin" video in 1984, said clueless suburban males have gone well beyond their standard denigration of Jann Wenner and the RNRHOF that occurs whenever the rock hall inducts a woman or artist of color not named Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix.

No, Madonna clearly triggers some emotions that are well deep-seated, nay buried, internally in these fellows. Perhaps it was the fact that she "flaunted" her sexuality (i.e. didn't attempt to camouflage the fact that she was a sexual being) so brazenly, or that she once dated a real live Mexican (named Jellybean, for God's sake!) that so upsets them, but clearly it must have more to do with the style of music she deals in. Call it dance pop, synth pop or freestyle, rock it clearly isn't, which is why the same usual suspects lambasting Madonna as a slut, whore or skank have nothing but admiration and puppy love for Grace Slick, a woman who freely admits to sleeping with all the other original members of the Jefferson Airplane.

Look at this terrible person.

Anyway, lest you think that I'm coming from some sort of anti-rock, anti-old guy perspective, I should point out that I'm very much pro-rock, I currently play in two rock bands and am pushing 40 myself. And as much as I can't stand to listen to old white guys with daddy/ daughter issues slag incredibly talented performers like Madonna due to whatever repressed bullshit they're carrying around with them, I get equally annoyed with Millennials and Gen-Xers who go around trolling classic rock/ pop message boards by chastising their betters for not listening to whatever trendy indie garbage is popular this week. Made-up, contrived phrases such as "rockist" and "dad rock" make me want to grab the nearest hipster and punch him repeatedly.

To wit, there is a large subset of the under-40 crowd who think snark is an adequate replacement for actual humor, and unfortunately they are skilled at using the internet and seem to be taking over most online music communities, even the ones geared towards boomer music. These assholes need to be... well, not lined up and shot, exactly... but at least have their internet taken away until they are capable of posting something with some degree of insight behind it, rather than believing in their own special snowflake-ness to such a degree that they actually think they are markedly smarter than their progenitors.

Oh yeah, well now that I've offended practically everybody, this was about Madonna, wasn't it? Well, I'll just leave it at this: If you hate her, nothing I'm going to say can change your mind. If you have some actual thought-out arguments about her music, I'm inclined to disagree but I can see where you might be coming from. Her studio albums tend to have some filler cuts, no mystery there. While some might argue her lyrics can be prurient and purile, I would argue back that their actually more louche and ludic-- in other words geared towards fun and playfulness rather than hitting you over the head with obvious stupidity in the manner of many of her followers.

The Immaculate Collection 2 focuses on the same era as its precursor, covering Madge's first decade-- from her 1982 debut single "Everybody" to 1992's lush "This Used to Be My Playground". In between you've got your old school club bangers, your pop gems and some first class ballads. If you like Madonna I don't see how you can go wrong, but let us know what you think: The Immaculate Collection 2