"Connect to the sky, future lovers ride there in mission style. Would you like to try?"
I'm sure that many will be surprised to see this under AL and Erotica. It is truly a killer album, but I find that the cotrast between when it works, and when it doesn't, is so noticeable, that it detracts from the experience.
It's a sonic tour-de-force, featuring the sharpest and most techno-orgasmic production of her career. The seguing of the whole album works beautifully, and really adds to the experience.
However this is also it's downfall. The production is so much a part of the experience, that sometimes the lyrics seem just "attached" to the beats, and therefore seem like filler.
However, she has some awesome tracks, such as Hung Up, Get Together, and my personal favourite, Future Lovers. The clunky lyrics of I Love New York seem not to make me dislike it at all, something I know fans are divided on. *remembers* Ooh! Isaac is sublime too.
However, what also irks me is that there's a track called Forbidden Love on the album, when she'd already released a song called Forbidden Love on Bedtime Stories. This just strikes me as dismissive of previous work, forgetful, like she might not have even been making an effort with the first (entirely different) song of the same name.
"And inside, we're all still wet. Longing and yearning. How can I explain how I feel?"
I used to listen to this a lot more, and it's odd...it has one of the most cohesive overall feels of any of her albums I own (without being too samey), yet I'm rarely tempted to play through the whole thing.
Yet, it has my most played track on my entire iTunes, Bedtime Story, written by the godly Björk. Also the best track on the album. Talking of best tracks, it's basically the singles, though all the album tracks flow well, and are..nice. Nothing startlingly good or bad. At all. Just fine.
That's probably the subconcious problem people have with it. While I think she tackled the slow jam Rn'B style well (better than many of the contemporaries at the time), it isn't her thing, and maybe that shows through.
Still a very relaxing album, introspective but with a sense of fun still intact (Don't Stop, and the typical-scathing-Madonna-track, Human Nature.)
Just a sublime track, the missing link between Erotica and Ray Of Light.
"Cosmic systems intertwine, astral bodies drip like wine"
Yep, second last. This record just isn't connected at all. It's like there's 3 different records going on, that have been edited down to a couple of tracks, then put together. Although the same Mirwais beat-production remains throughout a lot of the tracks, there's a clean cut division between the Cowboy bits, the Disco bits, and the Futuristic bits. It just doesn't work for me.
That said, most of the tracks are good. The famous title track still holds up, despite it's simplicity. The beat IS fantastic. The only other dance track on the album as good as this is Impressive Instant, which IMO is better. It's just insane! One of her best tracks ever, actually. The other 2 dance tracks are filler through and through.
(Love the makeshift video this guy did for Impressive Instant, works amazingly)
While I really like Paradise (Not for Me) and Nobody's Perfect, both of which echo back to Ray Of Light, they aren't as complex. Though I do love her use of vocoder on NP to make it a lot more interesting.
It's just so disconnected, it's like she tried out all these styles to only get a few decent tracks from each, so she couldn't settle on one. I guess the title of the album isn't exactly pinning down a genre though..!
"When you do your homework, get up on the dancefloor"
An insult, really. She had proven herself a challenging and foward-thinkng artists throughout the 90's and 00's, always leading the way for those behind her. So this derivative pile of clunk is just sad.
I knew it would be awful when I heard the producers she was getting on board, Timbaland, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake and probably some other similar people. No searching for obscure producers, she dove straight for what was currently popular. This step screamed "desperate", but I gave the album a chance, despite the awful cover art, with font and art that looks like she;s trying to sell to morons who might get confused at small and not bubble-type.
If you can get through one listening (you'll have gained wrinkles from the amount of cringing you do), you'll realise that's it's not a car crash of an album. Just a bit shit. Candy Shop is a joke...it's simple, she could have worked it into something actually sexy and smart. Instead it's a tepid opener.4 Minutes is very catchy, and of course got her the no.1 spot she was obviously craving. Give It 2 Me is also a catchy track, and overall decent. However, I literally lose the will to live when Heartbeat comes on. One of the most annoying songs I've ever heard. Can't really explain why...just completely unexceptional...dull..talk of dancelfoors, getting up on one, being on one...blah blah. Random wails from some collaborator. Awful. First true sign of doom.
There's actually an ok run from there. Miles Away is nice enough, despite it's lyrics that are blatant recycling of old ones. She's Not Me is slightly above the rest, there's a glimmer of fire and passion, but it's extended to 6+ minutes long, as if it's some emotional rollercoaster of a song. In fact, the best bits are the end, where the strings bring to mind American Life or Ray of Light.
Then we get Incredible. Another track with is...fine, but that they had no idea how to resolve, so just left it at 6 minutes 20 seconds. Beat Goes On is actually one of the better tracks, odd vocalisation on it, however.
Dance2Night goes hand in hand with Heartbeat. Spanish Lesson with Candy Shop. As in all 4 are awful(ly ridiculous). The use of numbers in place of words makes Madonna like a mad old woman trying to be cool.
It just makes her look bad...intelligence is gone from this record, no subtlety. Nothing interesting. Whatsoever. She's truly desperate, which is sad. I mean she was successful with Confessions. Amazingly so. So it must an age/pressure thing. To be down with the kids.
Some kids like good music however. She's shown fakeness, like everything else wasn't quite as true as you once took it to be.
By the end of this, you'll want to punch anyone who suggests/asks/tells you to get on a dancefloor.
Best thing about this album is the tour (mostly rubbish setlist, except...)
"And I smelled her burning flesh Her rotting bones Her decay"
Undeniably her best album. The most sophisticated sound she's ever pulled off, mixing anm ethereal spirituality with some kind of underwater disco. She sound genuine, her voice perfect. Her most "out of the mainstream" effort, which actually became the success of the 90's for her.
One of the most unforgettable songs I've ever heard, Mer Girl, closes this masterpiece of an alternative album. It sounds like something Tori Amos would do, which is possibly the biggest cimpliment Madonna can get.
You feel for one of the few times in her discography, that you might be hearing the woman behind the voice, rather than a heavily guarded image.
A very underrated album, and I *think* her worst selling one ever or something. However, it is, in my eyes, a more mature, and satisfactory version of the album preceeding it, Music. It has (infamous) political overtones, but yet contains perhaps her most affecting and personal slow tunes of all the "modern" albums.
People seem to have a hate of the title track, and lead single, which admittedly might not have been the best lead single. However, ignoring commericality, it's awesome, and defiant. Watch the REAL video for it, which she was forced to pull at the last minute;
Die Another Day is famous due to it being a bond theme, and of course is hated by those Bond fans who wanted a big band-esque theme, like every single other one. However, it is still a kick-ass track that goes against the grain.
My personal favourite is probably Mother and Father. I remember listening when I got this album ( I was 11), and being fascinated that this very personal song about her own life and pain was a sharp, thumping dance song. It jarred me, a time when music was only what was on the top ten chart list.
One of the major controversies of her career has been her openess to all aspects of sexuality. The Erotica album (and single) came after her infamoous Blonde Ambition tour (featuring a masturbation scene), and accompanied her photo book, Sex.
However, that is not what makes Erotica a good album. It's the smoke that swirls around every track, that feeling of 30's or 40's bars, sensuality, the danger and excitement. Her breaking away from trational pop music (arugably started with Like A Prayer) really began here. This is a mature (not only in content) album, signifying growth as an artist.
She doesn't mince her words; tracks like the title track, Bye Bye Baby and Thief of Hearts are all to the point and intoxicating. However, the album would be samey if all the songs had the same feel.
Tori Amos Album Rankings (June 2008, 9 months into my Tori Love)
This whole thing is subject to change, and to be honest, all the albums are top notch (well, most), so i'm not disregarding some just cause they're low on the list. Some of my favourite songs by her'll be in the lower ones.
I first got into Björk (my favourite ever musical artist) about 3 years ago, when my dad gave me a whole load of musical files he'd amassed over the years (to get my iTunes going a bit, and to introduce me to new music). I found Debut and Post on there, and knew of her from It's Oh So Quiet, which I loved as a child. I instantly loved both Debut and Post like the children I never had (I was only 13...:D ). Big Time Sensuality in particular remninds me of the months my Design Tech. class spent doing our project folios on the school PC's, when I played the album to death. I just loved that song. One Day, also reminds me of that time, but more accurately, walking to school through the "rocky path", which is like a strya bit of forest in the middle of the city. It's never been a particular fave of mine, but it still means a lot to me.
However, the Björk track that first grabbed me and made me listen to this goddess fully is one that I doubt many other people can claim is their first favourite...
Bearing in mine I was naive musically, the rockiest thing on my iTunes being Garbage etc blah blah, and when this came on my new iPod (I just dumped my whole library on), I was stunned and entranced. I'd never heard music like this, or at least never wanted to own any of it. It was epic and beautiful, scary and foreboding. But it Björk, and from then on, my love has only grown!
Whenever I feel inclined to review a new album, I'll do it here.
First up is the previously eagerly anticipated "Hard Candy" by Madonna, which was released April 28th, IIRC, 2008.
First of all, my general thoughts. I love Madonna, she's one of the few pop artists I can take seriously. After a run of great, innovative, challaneging and attention-grabbing albums (Erotica - Confessions), when I heard the producers/style of this album, my heart sank. I heard 4 Minutes, and while not great by her standard it was ok. When I saw the cover art, my worst fear was confirmed; Madonna is slowly becoming mutton dressed as lamb. She just looked like an old woman, desperate. The cover was piss poor, and the font looked it the album was aimed at children. The candy theme was uninspired, and tarnishes the name of the great film "Hard Candy", lol.
Anyway, I put a MUCH better picture up, instead of the atrocity of a cover. :)
The album opener. Initially I was indifferent to it, as it just has nothing to it. Pretty cliche, but unfortunately, that sets the trend for the album. I've learnt on repeat listens to try and appreciate HC for it's fun quality.
Anyway, one of the tracks I actually quite like now. I mean it's no patch on ANYTHING else she's ever done, but the beat is cool, and the high pitched bit is pretty cool and kinda gives a sense of only being the start of something. Really like the synthy beats near the end, though Pharrel could do with just shutting up.
Tmbaland is ok, and did good work with Bjork, but not so much here. I hate Kustin Timberlake, but to be fair, he and Madonna's voices complement each other here. It's an infectious dance song, and I'm glad it's been successful. The undenialable best track on the album by a mile. Actually a very good song, now I think about it. Really like it.
Bleh at the "2". Please. Whose idea was that? "Madonna! You'll look really cool with numbers pointlessly in your song titles!" *gets a punch from me*
One of the "good" tracks on the album, but it still sounds like she's having a joke, singing this. It just doesn't suit her, really. When she says "Give it to me, YEAH!", it just sounds forced. The backing circus-like music is ok, but kinda reminds me of when it was done better by Gwen Stefani. Overall it's an ok song.
Forgot about the "Get stupid" bit too. What the fuck? It's like i'm back in 1993 or something, when these kind of things were acceptable in music. And i'd prefer to stay intelligent, anyway. The altered vocals evoke Impressive Instant (a good madonna dance song), so that's a plus. But then what's stopping me from just listening to that?
After the bad heartbeat, this quality song kicks in, giving us hope that there might only be the one dud song.
Had this in my head all day, and it should be the 3rd single or something. Only quibble is the reusing of lyrics. (See "I'm So Stupid" from American Life <3 ) However, it's no where near as good as 4 Minutes.
The official start of the "*yawn*" part of the album. Awful, but could have been good. The bit where it picks up (the bit that's not quite the chorus) is good. Apart from that, it sounds ridiculous, both theme and lyric wise.
Who actually believes Madonna talks about "Pimpin' your style"? Also, W T F is 6 minutes doing? Self-indulgent, but stupidly so.
I had to listen to this again, as the minute it's over, I forget it completely. Very dull, but her vocals are ok. On and on the beat goes indeed. TOO long. Sounds like it's going somewhere, but stays frustratingly still. Kanye West adds nothing to it.
Second best song on the album, and a welcome end to the awful flood of crap before it. It's basically Madonna doing Cry Me A River by JT, but since thats the only JT song worth listening to, i'm fine with it.
Intruiging but cheesy opening to the closer of the album. I dislike her vocals here, they sound whiney, plus the beat is stylistically crunchy, but not in a good way. A bit shite really.
So all in all;
Hard Candy by Madonna gets a total of 28 /60 justified loves.
*Don't cry! Or do, the albums mostly bollocks.*
It's a real shame that the public are loving Madonna's worst album so much. Just shows how easy to please he public are. She didn't fail atrociously, but that an album by Madonna fails at all isn't a good sign...