Saturday, October 28, 2006

Feels like the (very) first time

This afternoon has been one of cleaning house in anticipation of company and taking breaks to check e-mail or listen to a few songs here and there. But now that the cleaning is done for the most part (except for me still needing to shower! It's 4:45PM for the love of all things sacred!) I've decided to do something I haven't done in quite some time - listen to the Like A Virgin album all the way through. From start to finish, in order, no shuffle, no skipping, no nothing.

I'm half way through it right now, on "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" -- the end of side one when I had the vinyl album (which is now on the wall of my office.) And I'd forgotten just how good this CD is. It's Madonna just as she was becoming Madonna -- the cultural force that couldn't be stopped no matter how hard people wanted to stop her. Like A Virgin was the first Madonna album I ever bought - and I bought it fairly late in its charting lifetime - probably fall of 1985. "Dress You Up" had already run its chart course, and I don't think they bothered releasing any more singles off of it after that. But I had already sat up and taken notice of this lady people were calling a slut. Her "Material Girl" video had prompted me to buy the 45. "Into the Groove" had been all over the radio that summer. And honestly, in retrospect, I often wonder what took me so long to fall in with Madge.

Like A Virgin is by no means perfect, but it's a good slice of mid-80s pop. Madonna's vocals, while not great, are certainly passable, but it's the unforgettable hooks, the opening bass line of "Like A Virgin," the Mr. Roboto-ish vocals of the men in "Material Girl." And as most songs from this period of Madonna's career, they're almost impossible to separate from the visuals. Madonna cavorting in a wedding dress on stage at the very first VMAs. Madonna all decked out like Marilyn Monroe trying chastising some guy for giving her expensive gifts. And of course, the opening number of the Virgin Tour - "Dress You Up" - used as the video and still probably one of my favorite versions of the song.

Even the album tracks aren't too bad, although Madge's albums have always had their fair share of filler. I listened to "Pretender" for the first time in forever the other day and found it to be not quite as cheesy as I recalled it being.

And 22 years after its initial release, Madonna performs "Like A Virgin" live again this last summer on the Confessions Tour. I was in heaven.

Here's a little blast from the past, since "Stay" is coming up and I don't have much longer.

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