Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thursday 13 - Obscure Madge edition

Madonna is so well known for her string of hits through the 80s, culminating in “Vogue” in 1990. Granted, some of her hit singles since then haven’t been as memorable, but that doesn’t mean they were any less good. But for this week’s Thursday 13, I thought I’d dig through the back catalog and find my favorite obscure Madge tracks.

Thirteen Favorite Madonna Album Tracks

1) Think Of Me (from Madonna (1983))
You’ll not find anything quite as joyous as the bridge in this one (and Madonna’s bridges are truly the best parts of her songs!) “Think!/Stop wastin’ all my time/Think!/Oh, boy, you could have been so fine/Think!/Hey boy I’m waitin’ on a sign” Although Madge’s debut has a mere 8 songs, there’s not a bad one in the bunch.

2) Can’t Stop (from Who’s That Girl? (1987))
All the Madonna songs on the Who’s That Girl? soundtrack sound like they were rejected from the True Blue album. This is no exception, but just because it was rejected from True Blue doesn’t mean that it doesn’t find a good home here. And besides, any one song on here is 100 times better than the movie!

3) Secret Garden (from Erotica (1992))
This was my favorite Madonna CD for the longest time, and I’ve always loved this song which is the last track on Erotica. The jazzy piano, the cool bass line, and even though it’s kind of a Madonna speak-sing song, the chorus is beautifully sung.

4) I Deserve It (from Music (2000))
“This guy was meant for me/And I was meant for him” I love the Music CD because of the acoustic guitar and country flavored tracks. While I liked what this sound metamorphosed into on American Life, this is Mirwais and Madonna at their base. It’s hard to not think about Madonna and her hubby listening to this song.

5) Paradise (Not For Me) (from Music (2000))
Not initially a favorite. Too weird, too much vocoder, not pop enough. But it was a grower. I think it wasn’t until it was used as an interlude on the Drowned World Tour that I really began to appreciate it. And now, I can’t get enough of it.

6) Supernatural (B-side to the “Cherish” single (1989))
A love song, to a ghost? Yep, believe it. And I love that it’s in a minor key – that’s perhaps my favorite part of the whole thing. Some of the lyrics are a bit on the weird side (“I've got to be a very careful, never know what the neighbors would say/They already think I'm crazy/I wouldn't like to wake up and find myself in the family way/A ghost baby?”) but it’s always fun to see Madge have a little fun.

7) White Heat (from True Blue (1986))
I remember the first time I heard this song – it opens with dialogue from the James Cagney movie of the same name. I was in the kitchen doing dishes and I thought that my brother and sister had turned the album off and had turned on the TV. It’s a pretty derivative little song, but contains the classic Madonna line “’Cause my love is dangerous/This is a bust!” which we always thought would have been her taking her shirt off in a video if they had made one.

8) Future Lovers (from Confessions On A Dance Floor (2005))
The best opening of a Madonna tour. Ever. Hands down. Her coming out of the disco ball to the pounding beats of “I Feel Love”, whipping the male dancers. And having her actually sing “I Feel Love” as part of the song in the concert was icing on the cake.

9) Words (from Erotica (1992))
There are so many good album tracks on Erotica, and the fact that the album was completely forgotten in the wake of the SEX book is a true tragedy. The album is a bit long and does feature Madonna at her most cloying on a couple tracks, but this is not one of them. I remember playing Pictionary with Jeff and some other friends right around the time of this album’s release, and every time we got the “action” card we’d start singing. “But your ACTIONS speak louder than words/And they’re only words unless they’re true." "Words" narrowly edged out "Waiting" which contains the even more classic Madonna line "The next time you want pussy/Just looking the mirror baby!"

10) Over & Over (from Like A Virgin (1984))
Should have been a single and a great driving almost rock beat. And the electric guitars before she launches into the chorus! The best. I would have paid cold hard cash for her to have done this on the Confessions Tour. Or Re-Invention. Or on any tour since the Virgin Tour.

11) Rainbow High (from Evita (1996))
Talk about an earworm! This one will get stuck in your head and never leave despite your best efforts to expel it. This was actually the B-side to “You Must Love Me” which was the original track written for the movie Evita. And I thought that “Rainbow High” was fantastic. Ultimately, I was disappointed by the “Rainbow High” scene in the movie – too much panning around to various crowds in Argentina and not enough Madonna being all regal.

12) Where’s The Party (from True Blue (1986))
This is a true Madonna classic that really hasn’t had a chance to be heard. Sure, she’s done it on a couple tours, but it never got a proper single release and it was every bit as good as “La Isla Bonita!” It did get a great remix treatment on You Can Dance which Jeff and I love because on it they have a bunch of people answering Madonna when she asks “Where’s the party?” (In Chicago! New York City!) and we’d inevitably turn it into small towns around Carroll with population 20. (“It’s in Breda! It’s in Willey!”)

13) Till Death Do Us Part (from Like A Prayer (1989))
A somber one for my last pick. Madonna pulls no punches in this song that is obviously about her divorce from Sean Penn. And only Madonna could pull off such a song without making it sound completely trite and also putting it over an upbeat pop musical track. And of course, the glass shattering is perfect.

That’s it for this week. I’ve carried on for far too long already. And before I'm tarred and feathered by my fellow Madonna fans, yes, I know there's nothing there from Ray of Light. It's not that I don't like Ray of Light, it's just that these were the first 13 to jump to mind. And truthfully, I think the best songs on Ray of Light were released as singles anyway.

Fellow Madge fans, what would have made your list?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not worthy! I think the only songs I know from this list are Rainbow High (thanks for the earworm, Dan) and Where's the Party. I love them both.

And now I have various songs from Evita flowing through my head. Oh but it's sad when a love affair dies, but we have pretended enough. It's best if we both stop fooling ourselves. Which means bum baaaaah, yump. LOL.