Okay, so…..the dearly departed Aaliyah once sang to me, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.” So, last night, I decided to apply those coveted lyrics while taking another chance on Madonna’s latest opus, ‘Rebel Heart.” At this time, I’m sorry to say, I have no more dust to shake off when it comes to this album. Believe me when I tell you guys, I’ve tried to get down her new record on several occasions, and now I realize that I…just…can’t. While some tracks are waaay better than others (“Devil Pray,” “Borrowed Time” and maybe, “Unaplogetic Bitch”), and I’m also pleasantly surprised on how Mike Tyson was brought forth in “Iconic.” However, in a ‘Rebel’ nutshell, there’s not enough Aderall in the world to keep me awake during the twenty-five (eek!) track snoozefest that is Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart.” I will give the pushing-sixty (don’t deny it, you know it’s true) Material, um, girl credit for gaining good buzz for her upcoming Grammy and BRIT awards appearances, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what she comes up with. I only wish she would perform something other than “Living for Love,” just saying. I’ve had more fun on a date with a woman…
With that #Rebelshade out of the way, I just want to take time out to say, that really, I…fucking..love..Madonna. I take great pride in chronologically knowing ALL of her singles, the year they came out and where they placed on the Billboard singles charts. (even the ones from ‘MDNA’ Double eek!) In fact, the first tape I ever bought was all white and came in the name of, ‘Like a Virgin.’ Make no mistake, Madonna was and always will be my bitch. However, I’m just not getting down to the ‘Rebel Heart’ era, I mean, hell, I can barely find a “Love” remix that I’m living for (yet), and judging by what I’ve seen and heard from some of you kids, I’m not all alone in feeling this way about Madge’s latest set. With that being said, I’ve been taking stiletto steps into my Madonna music vault as of late and have been rejoicing in some of her most classic albums. Hey, it’s all good if you don’t like ‘Rebel Heart,’ because that’s why she gave us all of these indestructable music treats in the first place, right? Dive in.
1.’Madonna’/1983/’Like A Virgin’/1984
The ones that started it all. Dance and sing, get up and do your thing to these iconic records all day. #NileRodgers4lyfe
2.’The Immaculate Collection’/1990
Okay, so it’s incredibly tough to pick my other favorite ’80s Madonna’s albums, because we all know, they’re fucking brilliant (However, ‘Like a Prayer’=yas.) So I figured, let’s just dive into the collection that features pretty much every single one of her big ’80s hits. From “Material Girl” to “Like A Virgin” from “Express Yourself” to “Like a Prayer,” they’re all on this treasured chest of Madonna classics. Only added to the mix is her signature sonnet, “Vogue,” and two vastly underrated gems, the sensual, “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me,” a track that I’m sure none of you guys have gotten lost in recently. The only thing that would’ve made this collection truly complete if other ’80s Madonna gems, “Spotlight,” “Angel”, “Causin’ a Commotion” and “Who’s That Girl” were added on. However, this will do just fine while I’m drying my tears, err, oops, not listening to ‘Rebel Heart.’
Do I really have to say anything at all? It’s an underrated piece of ’90s deep-house delight that no one really cares about. Pass the sex, please.
“Thief of Hearts”
Certainly another overlooked Madonna wonder and while it may not be doing the most one-armed push-ups of all the albums on the list, it’s still absolutely worth your time and headphones. ‘Stories’ not only began Madonna’s transition into an adult pop-star, but it also contains her longest running number one single, “Take A Bow,” and a Mixtape full of producers (Bjork, Nelle Hooper, Babyface, Dallas Austin) who created sounds that even twenty years later, make every one of these ‘Bedtime Stories’ worth staying awake for. Also, ask yourself, when’s the last time you got lost in candy-coated grooves, “Survival,” “I’d Rather Be Lover’ and “Don’t Stop” and the albums far-out title track. Leave all of that logic and reason behind and just dive in.
5.’Ray of Light’/1998
Yas, yas and hell yas. Not only is this late-’90s set packed with blinding beats, spiritual sonnets and incredible vocals, but it also proved to be the mother of all Madonna reinventions after she returned from her ho-atus and morphed into an enlightened Kabblah Kween. From start to finish, there’s not a bad song on ‘Light’ and I’ll admit, I didn’t like it at first listen back then, but over time it truly grows on you like the zen music flower it was meant to be. All I can say is “Shanti/Ashtangi” all day.
6.’Confessions on a Dancefloor’/2005
First of all, this disco balls lickin’ strobe lit set turns ten(!) this year and before you ask, yes, I’ve already began writing about it. Not only did I come glitter throwing out-of-the-closet to ‘Confessions,’ but this album is easily Madonna’s best piece of later work. From “Hung Up,” “Sorry,” “Jump”, “How High” and the Stardust sampling, “Get Together,” everyone of these tracks, (except you, “Isaac.”) will take you on that dance floor of life and won’t let go until you’re in desperate need of a towel to dry off.
“Get Together” (Peter Rauhofer Private Vocal Mix)