There's been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere about the new Madonna hits collection Celebration which is scheduled for release at the end of September. Most of the discussion has surrounded the track listing - and, amazingly, they didn't fuck it up. At 36 tracks, there's no way it's going to be definitive, but everything about the song selection and sequencing is very very right. My biggest quibble is that a couple of minor latter-day hits were included ("Sorry" and "Miles Away" being the most glaringly obvious), whereas some bonafide hits were excluded. The exclusion of "I'll Remember" is especially egregious, not to mention songs like "True Blue" and "Rain". I will be the first to admit to my love of the song "Sorry", but does it really merit a spot that could have been occupied by a true hit?
Well, we can argue about the inclusion or exclusion of this track or that trach, but as I was discussing with a blogging friend, no compliation will be definitive. And really, we have to think about who the primary target audience of the package is. Hint: it's not the die-hards. Let's face it, those of us who have been following Madonna's career for 25 years have purchased the songs multiple times already. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll buy it, but I'll basically be spending the $20 on the two new songs, one of which I have already purchased once, and the convenience of having all these songs in one spot. For me, my 66 song Madonna playlist on my iPod containing all her U.S. singles in chronological order is the definitive playlist, but for those who don't have Madonna coded into their DNA, this set is just the ticket. It certainly beats the pants off of the hideously awful GHV2 from 2001 which remains, to this day, the only Madonna album I have not purchased.
While so much is made of Madonna's amazing run of singles, especially in the 80s and mid 90s, sometimes it's the album tracks that really fill in the gaps. This is where the casual fans miss out. Adem did a great review of Like A Virgin a couple weeks back in which he sang the praise of album tracks "Pretender" and "Stay". I'd like to add "Over & Over" to the list of great Madonna album tracks. Those who say that Madonna was just about sex appeal and shallowness at that point in her career would be wise to listen to this song. It has always been one of my favorite of Madonna's album tracks.
The lyrics have rung especially true for me over the past few days - so much so that I decided to change the tag line of this blog to one of the lyrics. It kind of gets back to a big heavy post I did a while back, about success and failure of making changes in my life, taking chances and making things happen rather than letting life happen to me. I was talking to someone about it and was being quietly aggravated with how frustrating it is - having the will to make changes and but not having the follow-through. This person pointed out to me that I need to stop viewing things from the all-or-nothing perspective. There are many points along the continuum between success and failure, a fact that tends to get obscured by my focus on "win" or "lose".
So, as usual, Madonna has the best advice.
Hurry up, I just can't wait
I gotta do it now I can't be late
I know I'm not afraid I gotta get out the door
If I don't do it now I won't get anymore
You try to criticize my drive
If I lose I don't feel paralyzed
It's not the game it's how you play
And if I fall I get up again now
I get up again, over and over
Listen to it, it's totally worth it. And a great forgotten Madonna song to boot. I sometimes really miss this version of Madonna, even though it's not really fair to her because she can't be 27 again.