Saturday, July 27, 2013
Madonna - Madonna
The multi-Platinum selling Madonna, co-produced by her then boyfriend John “Jellybean” Benitez, charted at number 28 in Germany, number 20 in Japan, number 16 in Canada, number 15 in Austria, number 10 in Australia, number 8 in France and on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 7 in the Netherlands, number 6 in New Zealand and the UK and number 2 in Sweden.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album at number 50 on its Top 100 Albums of the 80’s list. Entertainment Weekly, in 2008, ranked it number 5 on its list of the Top 100 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years.
Side one starts with “Lucky Star”, which was released as a single first in the UK in September of 1983 where it charted at number 14. Released world-wide after that in early 1984, it went to number 8 in Canada and number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. I like how the opening synths (played by Dean Gant) dance across speaker channels and back again at the start; it is a perfect opening effect. The guitar hooks (played by Ira Siegal) and the bass synths have a very funky groove to them as well.
The final single “Borderline” charted, in 1984, at number 36 in Germany, number 25 in Canada, number 23 in Switzerland, number 12 in Australia, number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 4 on the US Dance chart, and number 2 in the UK. The song has a softer, sentimental side as she sings of a girl who has given all the love she can to an unappreciative boyfriend. Even though it has an up-tempo dance beat, it still made me a bit sad sometimes back in the day; it was my go-to song for unrequited feelings. The backing vocals on this track and some of the others are done by Chrissy Faith, Gwen Guthrie and Brenda White.
“Burning Up”, her second single, was released in March of 1983 and went to number 13 in Australia and number 3 on the US Billboard Dance chart. The mix of instruments, driven by the Reggie Lucas’ drum machine, creates a slinky, stalking strut that makes for an instantly hot dance number.
“I Know It”, released as the B-side to “Holiday”, closes out the first half. I like the bouncy beat and the subtle saxophone (played by Bob Malach) on this one, as well as how Madonna stretches out the word “hopeless” in the early verse.
Side two begins with festive celebration that is “Holiday”. Released in September of 1983, this single went to number 37 in France, number 32 in Canada, number 22 in Italy, number 18 in Switzerland, number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 9 in Germany, number 7 in New Zealand, number 4 in Australia, number 2 in Ireland and the UK, and number 1 on the US Dance chart. My favorite parts of this one are the tropical percussions by Bashiri Johnson and the funky bass by Raymond Hudson.
“”Think of Me”, the B-side to the final single, is next up. Here, Madonna reminds her boyfriend that he needs to focus his attention on her or she will walk out the door. It is actually the perfect pairing with “Borderline” as she now decides to stop being ignored.
“Physical Attraction” was the B-side to her second single; the album version is over six and half minutes of dancing goodness. Ironically, it ties with “Borderline” (the other song on the album written by Lucas) as my favorites from this debut
“Everybody”, the closing track, was the first single Madonna ever put out. Released in October of 1982, it went to number 107 on the US Billboard chart and number 3 on the US Billboard Dance chart.
I will never forget the exact instance when I first heard the entire Madonna album. We were doing move-in for new students at my college (Rochester Institute of Technology) in late August of 1984. Yes, it was over one year after the album debuted. While spending the day in the parking lots unloading cars and putting the new students’ things on the trucks to be brought up to the dorms, one of the girls on our orientation team Joann Corrado had her boom box and a cassette. Joann was an energetic gal who liked to make things fun; thanks to her we all were dancing to the Madonna tracks as we worked. It made the long day go faster.
Shortly after that I made a trip across town to House of Guitars and picked up a copy of the album on vinyl. As I loved to dance (still do), it instantly became a favorite of mine and remains so to this day. For me, it is a solid, over forty minute long, dance workout. If I definitely need to be put into a good mood, the tracks from Madonna do just that. It is for that reason that it is on my “carry everywhere” list (on my iPhone and iPad as well as my iPod).