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Friday, 7 April 2017

Beauty's Where You Find It


There are plenty of Madonna singles I'll make a case for, from Into The Groove to Ray Of Light and several in between. I even like American Pie. In 1990 she released two singles that are as good as anything she did, splicing pop with house to stay a step ahead of the rest, and pushing pop music into new places. Vogue is a smart pop song, a dance, a homage to 1920s and 1930s style and Hollywood legend, a light shining on the gay club scene, and a celebration of the dancefloor. The rap section is totally memorable and the rhythm can only have come from producer Shep Pettibone's exposure to house music in Europe.

Vogue



Justify My Love was a step further, calculated to cause offence and controversy. Co-written by Lenny Kravitz, drums borrowed from Public Enemy (and Clyde Stubblefield originally), it sets off like a train and Madonna's breathy vocals make it clear there's only one thing on her mind. The video features the full range of button pushers for the TV censors- scenes of a sexual nature, cross-dressing, BDSM and nudity, all par for the course for Madonna in 1990. The Sex book (with Vanilla Ice of all people) was just around the corner. Justify My Love is a great single in its own right though, a chuggy dance pop monster. The video was banned by MTV (obvs) and to watch it you'd have to buy it on VHS. Until Youtube was invented.

Justify My Love



10 comments:

The Swede said...

Two great singles. 'Ray of Light' is a terrific album.

drew said...

Justify My Love is absolutely brilliant, only surpassed for me by Hung Up and Like A Prayer.

Michael Doherty said...

Dress You Up was one of the very first singles I ever bought. Last great track she did. I believe, was the ABBA sampling Hung Up. These two are bona-fide!

JC said...

I like me a bit of Madonna too.

'Vogue' and 'Like A Prayer' are essential. Not so sure about 'Justify My Love' though...

Unknown said...

Remix and Dub of Borderline are peerless

C said...

I agree, both great singles, lots of Madonna to like - a personal favourite is the 'Confessions On A Dancefloor'album.

Echorich said...

Madonna seemed to make a concerted effort to move away from the teasingly risque pop of her 80s releases and become a more upfront and direct artist with the coming of the 90s. Vogue is classic pop but with very obvious subtexts and celebrations. Justify My Love is a breakthrough into a more mature and edgy world of music. It is a song with wonderfully poetic lyrics from one time Prince collaborator Ingrid Chavez (she went on to marry David Sylvian) and minimal/bare music from Lenny Kravitz. Both songs, and their positive reception allowed Madonna to move away from her past and write her own ticket moving forward.

londonlee said...

The William Orbit mix of 'Justify' is sexy and trippy

Swiss Adam said...

Just given that a spin Lee, good version.

That dub mix of Borderline is a winner too.

Hung Up is her last great moment- even though the sampling of ABBA felt a tad desperate perhaps.

acidted said...

Yup, Ray of Light era was great.