Tag: Madonna

Tuesday 8/9/22 10pm ET: Feature LP: Madonna – The First Album (1983)

Madonna (retitled Madonna: The First Album for the 1985 reissue) is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on July 27, 1983, by Sire Records. After having established herself as a singer in downtown New York City, Madonna was signed by Sire president Seymour Stein, due to the club success of her debut single, “Everybody” (1982). She became the sole writer for most of the album’s tracks, and chose Reggie Lucas as its primary producer. Unhappy with Lucas’s production outputs, she invited John “Jellybean” Benitez to complete the album; he remixed three tracks and produced “Holiday”.

Madonna has an upbeat synthetic disco sound, using new technology of the time, including the Linn drum machine, Moog bass and Oberheim OB-X synthesizer. She sang in a bright, girlish timbre, with lyrics about love and relationships. To promote the album, Madonna performed one-off gigs in clubs and on television in the United States and United Kingdom throughout 1983 and 1984, followed by The Virgin Tour in 1985. Five singles were released, including the international top-ten hits “Holiday”, “Lucky Star”, and “Borderline”. Their accompanying music videos were released on the Madonna video compilation, which became the best-selling videocassette of 1985 in the United States.

Madonna peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200, and was certified five-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of five million copies across the United States. It reached the top ten of the charts in Australia, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. The album received generally favorable reviews from music critics and was included in “The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time” by Rolling Stone in 2013 and 2022 saying that “it succeed in introducing the most important female voice in the history of modern music”. The album has been credited for setting the standard of dance-pop for decades afterward, and for pointing the direction for numerous female artists of the 1980s.

  1. “Lucky Star” 5:38
  2. “Borderline” 5:18
  3. “Burning Up” 3:44
  4. “I Know It” 3:45
  5. “Holiday” 6:08
  6. “Think of Me” 4:54
  7. “Physical Attraction” 6:37
  8. “Everybody” 4:57

Madonna – lead vocals, background vocals, cowbell (5)
Dean Gant – synthesizers, acoustic piano, electric piano
Ed Walsh – synthesizers
Fred Zarr – synthesizers, electric piano, acoustic piano (5), Fender Rhodes (5), Oberheim OB-X (5), Moog bass (5), drums (5), co-arrangements (5)
Paul Pesco – guitars (1, 3)
Reggie Lucas – guitars, LinnDrum programming
Ira Siegel – guitars
Curtis Hudson – guitars (5), arrangements (5)
Anthony Jackson – electric bass (2)
Raymond Hudson – bass (5)
Leslie Ming – LinnDrum programming
Bashiri Johnson – percussion (5)
Bob Malach – tenor saxophone
Chrissy Faith – background vocals
Gwen Guthrie – background vocals
Brenda White – background vocals
Norma Jean Wright – background vocals
Tina B. – background vocals (5)

Monday 5/2/22 9am ET: Feature LP: Madonna – You Can Dance (1987)

You Can Dance is the first remix album by American singer and songwriter Madonna. It was released on November 17, 1987, by Sire Records. The album contains remixes of tracks from her first three studio albums—Madonna (1983), Like a Virgin (1984) and True Blue (1986)—and a new track, “Spotlight”. In the 1980s, remixing was still a new concept and technology, by which a particular vocal phrase could be endlessly copied, repeated, chopped up, transposed up and down in pitch and give them more echo, reverberation, treble or bass. Madonna became interested in the concept, noting that she hated when others remixed her songs and wanted to do it by herself.

Madonna turned to her old friend and producer John “Jellybean” Benitez to help her remix the songs, and also enlisted the help of Patrick Leonard, the producer of True Blue. The mixes on You Can Dance exhibited a number of typical mixing techniques. Instrumental passages were lengthened to increase the time for dancing, which undermined the tighter structure of the original pop song. Vocal phrases were repeated and subjected to multiple echoes, panned across the stereophonic sound outlets. At certain points, almost no music is heard except the drums and at other times, the drums are removed with only the hi-hat left to keep time. The album cover denoted Madonna’s continuous fascination with Hispanic culture.

After its release, You Can Dance received generally positive reviews from critics, some of whom noted how the already known songs appeared to them in a complete new structure, calling it an essential album to be played at parties. You Can Dance was a commercial success, earning a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of a million copies, and reaching the top twenty of the Billboard 200. It reached the top ten of the album charts of France, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom, and went on to sell five million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling remix album of all time, behind only Blood on the Dance Floor from Michael Jackson. “Spotlight” was the only single released from the album in Japan, but charted on the airplay charts of Billboard due to radio play and peaked at number 32. You Can Dance has been credited for setting the standard of the remix albums afterward both in terms of concept and commercial success in record charts.

  1. “Spotlight” 6:23
  2. “Holiday” 6:32
  3. “Everybody” 6:43
  4. “Physical Attraction” 6:20
  5. “Over and Over” 7:11
  6. “Into the Groove” 8:26
  7. “Where’s the Party” 7:16

Madonna – vocals, producer
Michael Barbiero – producer
John “Jellybean” Benitez – producer, remixing, sequencing
Stephen Bray – producer
Bruce Forest – producer
Frank Heller – producer, remixing
Mark Kamins – producer
Patrick Leonard – producer
Reggie Lucas – producer
Michael Ostin – producer
Shep Pettibone – producer, record editing, remixing
Nile Rodgers – producer
Steve Thompson – producer, audio mixing
David Cole – keyboard

Sunday 2/20/22 5pm ET: Feature LP: Madonna – Confessions On A Dancefloor (2005)

Confessions on a Dance Floor is the tenth studio album by American singer and songwriter Madonna. It was released on November 9, 2005, by Warner Bros. Records. A complete departure from her previous studio album American Life (2003), the album includes influences of 1970s disco and 1980s electropop, as well as modern-day club music. Initially, she began working with Mirwais Ahmadzaï for the album but later felt that their collaboration was not going in the direction she desired. Madonna took her collaboration with Stuart Price who was overviewing her documentary I’m Going to Tell You a Secret. The album was mainly recorded at Price’s home-studio where Madonna spent most of her time during the recordings.

Musically, the record is structured like a DJ’s set. The songs are sequenced and blended so that they are played continuously without any gaps. The title arrived from the fact that the album tracklisting consists of light-hearted and happy songs in the beginning, and progresses to much darker melodies and lyrics describing personal feelings and commitments. Songs on the album sample and reference the music of other dance-oriented artists like ABBA, Donna Summer, Pet Shop Boys, the Bee Gees and Depeche Mode, as well as Madonna’s 1980s output.

Madonna promoted the album through several live performances and a promotional tour. She embarked on the Confessions Tour in 2006, which became the highest-grossing tour ever for a female artist at that time. Four singles were released from the album. “Hung Up”, the lead single, topped the charts in a total of 41 countries. According to Billboard, it was the most successful dance song of the decade. It was followed by “Sorry” which became Madonna’s twelfth number-one single in the United Kingdom. “Get Together” and “Jump” were also released as singles, both becoming top-ten hits in several countries.

Most critics praised the album, calling it a return to form for Madonna and ranking it alongside her best albums. Madonna was honored with a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2007, as well as International Female Solo Artist at the 2006 BRIT Awards. Commercially, the album peaked at number one in 40 countries, earning a place in the 2007 Guinness World Records for topping the record charts in the most countries, and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Ranked third on “The 99 Greatest Dance Albums of All Time” by Vice magazine, the album is noted as a testament to Madonna’s longevity with the ability to continuously reinvent herself in the third decade of her career.

  1. “Hung Up” 5:36
  2. “Get Together” 5:30
  3. “Sorry” 4:43
  4. “Future Lovers” 4:51
  5. “I Love New York” 4:11
  6. “Let It Will Be” 4:18
  7. “Forbidden Love” 4:22
  8. “Jump” 3:46
  9. “How High” 4:40
  10. “Isaac” 6:03
  11. “Push” 3:57
  12. “Like It or Not” 4:31

Madonna – lead vocals, backing vocals, producer
Stuart Price – producer, keyboard, synthesizer, vocoder, programming, sequencing, sampling
Roberta Carraro – keyboard, bass, drums, harmonica
Yitzhak Sinwani – additional vocals on “Isaac”
Monte Pittman – guitar