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


  1. I agree that Madonna circa 1982-1990 cannot be beat, especially when it came to her singles. She was also moderately great for the next few years. Heck, I'd even say her second album ranks right up there with some of the "greatest of all time" LPs. She changed the game for pop music and like the Beatles can't be blamed if those she influenced were annoying. She had a way of grabbing you emotionally with her vocals -- and if they annoyed some people, well, so did Elvis, the Beatles in their "yeah yeah yeah" period, and even Sinatra.

    The problem I have with "Immaculate Collection," though is that on the original release the songs were remixed to give them a trendy 1990s dance club feel. This might have been changed since and might not be the case on the edition of the CD you've reviewed here. But I remember thinking that when I buy a hit singles compilation, I want the songs to sound like I heard them on radio. Madonna had already put out a remix CD for clubs ("You Can Dance") so there was no need, IMO, to alter this music. Then again, I refuse to listen to George Martin's minor alterations on the CD "Rubber Soul" and "Help," so "rewriting history" is a sticking point with me for any artist.

    -- Tony S.

  2. I wrote an in depth response to your comment and Google ate it. Basically I was just making the point that Madonna's ingenue period (Self-Titled thru True Blue, I guess) and her later "dance floor diva" era were both a direct template for old and new Britney, while Gaga seems to have absorbed her middle Blonde Ambition-era style. So basically all three facets of Madonna's career have led to enormous success for her successors in the pop market. Also I said something about how oldsters who blame her totally for the over the top sexuality of the Top 40 today are missing several other stepping stones since Lesley Gore was singing "It's My Party"... Start with all the hippy bands preaching free love and rebellion and follow that through the cocaine years of Studio 54 and Scarface, and you'll see that things were already moving that way when Madonna came on the scene.

    As for the Immaculate Collection, I'm way into early 90s dance grooves, so the Shep Pettibone remixes work very well for me. However, you can easily the few remixed tracks and replace them with the album versions, and I think it still will all fit on one CD.

  3. Shame this blog died. Some good writing here in addition to the music.


  4. Sorry, I'm working on a solution for long-term file storage and accessibility right now! I hope to have a solution ready to go by week's end.

  5. Madonna Must commercially a new album for that years by the label interscope records... Also, why not a new greatest hits box set to accompany the new album... Greatest Hits Name:"Iconography"...
    A quadruple Cd...
    Please, I Want That compilation for the 32 years of career...

    1) Girl Gone Wild
    2) Erotica
    3) Jump
    4) Into The Groove
    5) Papa Don't Preach
    6) True Blue
    7) Give It 2 Me
    8) This Used To Be My Playground
    9) Secret
    10) Me Against The Music (feat.Britney Spears)
    11) Borderline
    12) Like A Virgin
    13) Hung Up
    14) 4 Minutes (feat.Justin Timberlake & Timbaland)
    15) Ray Of Light
    16) Open Your Heart
    17) La Isla Bonita
    18) Music

    1) Nothing Really Matters
    2) Holiday
    3) Get Together
    4) Rain
    5) Everybody
    6) Human Nature
    7) Nothing Fails
    8) Who's That Girl
    9) Beautiful Stranger
    10) Crazy For You
    11) Turn Up The Radio
    12) Frozen
    13) Hanky Panky
    14) Don't Cry For Me Argentina
    15) Angel
    16) Sorry
    17) Material Girl
    18) Celebration

    1) Drowned World/Substitute For Love
    2) American Life
    3) Hollywood
    4) Oh Father
    5) Live To Tell
    6) Bedtime Story
    7) Lucky Star
    8) What It Feels Like For A Girl
    9) Dress You Up
    10) Another Suitcase In Another Hall
    11) Don't Tell Me
    12) Die Another Day
    13) Give Me All Your Luvin'
    14) Burning Up
    15) Love Profusion
    16) Miles Away
    17) Dear Jessie
    18) You Must Love Me

    1) Deeper And Deeper
    2) Vogue
    3) Keep It Together
    4) Causing A Commotion
    5) Love Don't Live Here Anymore
    6) Bad Girl
    7) Justify My Love
    8) The Power Of Good-Bye
    9) Fever
    10) Express Yourself
    11) You'll See
    12) Take A Bow
    13) The Look Of Love
    14) One More Chance
    15) I'll Remember
    16) Bye Bye Baby
    17) American Pie