dirty martini

old music for new people

madonna should have retired in the 80s July 23, 2008

i’m updating this post as the download link expired.

i’m not even going to pretend or aspire to a real appreciation of anything that madonna did after 1989.

at the start of her career, madonna represented a backlash against society. it was punk for people who didn’t like punk music. madonna swore, acted stupid and girly, married a bad boy and wore what the hell she liked.

for me, things started to go downhill when she tried to morph into marilyn monroe for her true blue album in 1986. by the end of the decade she was making good music but the controversy she incited was planned, not accidental. the religion baiting ‘like a prayer’ was pepsi endorsed , ‘justify my love’ had a full length video by jean baptiste-mondino. there was none of the grit left of a girl who worked in dunkin’ donuts to support herself while she recorded a demo.

we loved the electric, synthesised beats, raw vocals and a unique style. we don’t need to see madonna in jean paul gaultier or d&g, anyone with money can wear those labels. messy dirty blonde hair, stretch lace, ripped tshirts and leggings – all of these were her signature style but after desperately seeking susan she seemed to distance herself from the very image that made her.

if madonna had retired almost twenty years ago in 1989, and lets face it she could afford to have done, would her legacy be greater? the erotica phase was an embarrassment, the little girls who had idolised her were rapidly growing into young adults and didn’t need to see their childhood inspiration acting like a depraved teenager. the whole kabbalah thing is a joke, and the marriage to guy ritche makes her seem more likeable, which was never the point of madonna.

the only songs i have really liked from madonna post-dick tracy have been ‘deeper and deeper’, ‘take a bow’ and ‘don’t tell me’. but i could have lived without them. and then – i contradicted myself by listing ten songs by madonna post-gambler that i don’t hate

download madonna originals here

get up

very early 80s pop, almost post-disco soul with a blondie inspired copycat rap at the end. possibly penned as an ode to her time in new york pre-fame. its a long way from this to abba-sampling on ‘hung up’. now that was something i never expected…

crimes of passion

could have fitted easily into ‘like a virgin’ but wasn’t really dancey enough for her debut i suppose. if this had been leaked in 1985 we’d have been in raptures.

don’t you know

this song, recorded in 1981 along with ‘stay’ amongst others, was eventually incorporated into the version of ‘stay’ on the ‘like a virgin’ album. i like this demo, it’s bouncier and has nice zaps and bleeps.

ain’t no big deal

recorded to be madonna’s first single, but left off the album entirely due to a dispute with ex-boyfriend stephen bray, but later rerecorded and used as a b-side.

lucky star – original 12″ mix

posted in its full glory as you can’t have too much ‘lucky star’. one of my favourites and deceptively child friendly which is probably why my parents let me buy it. i wasn’t allowed to dress like she did in the video though. 

spotlight

we didn’t hear this until the ‘you can dance’ remix album in 1987, but it was recorded for the ‘true blue’ album. of course these days it would leak along with the album. makes you wonder what else exists. back then we literally only heard what artists wanted us to.

burning up – original uk version

when i bought ‘the first album’ on cd i was confused. i thought i remembered ‘burning up’ being better, and dancier, than this. it seems in the US and rest of the world, they used a guitar driven mix that I’d never heard. on the UK tape version, we had what was apparently used on only early vinyl copies. its so much better. but the demo version, which i recently discovered, is nice and sparkly, rather than grungey, as well.

physical attraction

i love the bleepy almost aquatic sound to this track. or maybe its because i got back from swimming on the day i was bought ‘the first album’ as an early birthday present and that’s just the association i’m making…this is the full album version cos i love the spoken bit in the middle. i was too young to understand or appreciate the sentiment.

borderline – first album version

again, the version those of us in the UK will be most familiar with as it was on our version of ‘the first album’. i really love this song, more so now.

gambler – dance remix

many people seem to forget about this track as unless you were going to buy the ‘vision quest’ soundtrack, and let’s face it no one was, you could only get this on vinyl. but it’s madonna at her best, the exact reason why we loved her and parents didn’t. at the point this was released, madonna could have sneezed and gone top 10.

crazy for you – soundtrack version

the perennial end-of-the-disco favourite. this song, along with ‘into the groove’ and ‘holiday’ was in the top 10 for most of the summer in 1985 and i played them incessantly. i was in my first year at junior school and madonna was like nothing else we’d seen before. this version goes on a bit longer than the single version i had, i think that’s the only difference

into the groove – original version

it took a while for me to realise that the version on the ‘immaculate collection’ is not the original. its obviously different, and utter crap, but we weren’t so finely tuned to recognise remixes back then. anyway, once i realised, i got rid, and replaced it with this far superior original. shep pettibone should be ashamed of himself.

dress you up – formal mix

this is a very 80s 12″ – ie. a bit longer, some extra beats, a few sound effects. its appeal has been tarnished somewhat by featuring in a gap ad but don’t let that put you off.

angel – 12″ mix

another very 80s 12″, but this one provides some much needed oomph, much as i loved the original.

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ten post-gambler madonna songs i don’t hate April 20, 2008

ok – about six months ago i wrote a post saying that madonna should have retired in the 80s, before the true blue phase, leaving our memories intact.

now, witnessing the desperation of hard candy, i can concede that she was at least still relevant until about 2002. i just hate the ‘producer of the moment’, ‘collaboration of the moment’ and ‘fad of the moment’ bandwagon-jumping – william orbit, justin, mylo, ali g…

she is one of few artists to make it to their second greatest hits album. i’ll laugh if there’s a third…

so. my original post dealt with everything up to gambler. whilst i preferred the ragdoll who stuck two fingers up to the world, i did love her late 80s songs at the time, and even a few past then.

download here

white heat

in the summer of 1986, the arrival of true blue did give madonna fans something new to make up dances to. just hearing the intro to this song transports me back to my old bedroom, with the sun streaming in.

la isla bonita

mainstay of junior school assemblies and talent shows the country wide, if you didn’t love this, and dirty dancing, in 1987, you weren’t a real girl. how annoying were all those people who insisted the title was ‘last night i dreamt of san pedro’ because they didn’t know how to pronounce ‘isla’…joey!

causing a commotion

i remember the cartoon video for this being very cute. madonna’s acting in the film was of course, atrocious, and she had the most annoying squeaky voice. i liked the cougar better.

express yourself

you can’t argue with the sentiment here and it’s probably one of her best songs. lots of remixes…i remember a housey version from top of the pops that i haven’t heard since.

til death do us part

written about her marriage to sean penn, i found it interesting at the time but didn’t understand it. now it makes me cry. she always says sean was the one…

like a prayer

this is the original version, not the horrible immaculate collection butchering. that entire album was a disgrace. if madonna ever actually needed the cash, she could just release a proper greatest hits with all the original unmixed 80s songs.

cherish

well i did love this song at the time, as did everyone else. it was just so happy. not liking ‘cherish’ would be like not liking kittens.

deeper and deeper

ok, i proper loved this one. but madonna should never get more housey than this, and vogue. madonna, for me, inhabits a time before house music.

take a bow

her only decent ballad other than crazy for you. this was from the ‘secrets’ phase, post-erotica. although she didn’t really hit rock-bottom until about 1996 and that junior vasquez track – ‘if madonna calls, i’m not home…’. still, where’s junior?

don’t tell me

the one and only 00s madonna song i like. music, hung up…just nothing to me. way too obvious. this isn’t amazing, it just kind of works.