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Album Review

Although she never left it behind, it's been easy to overlook that Madonna began her career as a disco diva in an era that didn't have disco divas. It was an era where disco was anathema to the mainstream pop, and she had a huge role in popularizing dance music as a popular music again, crashing through the door Michael Jackson opened with Thriller. Certainly, her undeniable charisma, chutzpah, and sex appeal had a lot to do with that — it always did, throughout her career — but she wouldn't have broken through if the music wasn't so good. And her eponymous debut isn't simply good, it set the standard for dance-pop for the next 20 years. Why did it do so? Because it cleverly incorporated great pop songs with stylish, state-of-the-art beats, and it shrewdly walked a line between being a rush of sound and a showcase for a dynamic lead singer. This is music where all of the elements may not particularly impressive on their own — the arrangement, synth, and drum programming are fairly rudimentary; Madonna's singing isn't particularly strong; the songs, while hooky and memorable, couldn't necessarily hold up on their own without the production — but taken together, it's utterly irresistible. And that's the hallmark of dance-pop: every element blends together into an intoxicating sound, where the hooks and rhythms are so hooky, the shallowness is something to celebrate. And there are some great songs here, whether it's the effervescent "Lucky Star," "Borderline," and "Holiday" or the darker, carnal urgency of "Burning Up" and "Physical Attraction." And if Madonna would later sing better, she illustrates here that a good voice is secondary to dance-pop. What's really necessary is personality, since that sells a song where there are no instruments that sound real. Here, Madonna is on fire, and that's the reason why it launched her career, launched dance-pop, and remains a terrific, nearly timeless, listen.

Customer Reviews

Touched For The Very First Time...

Back in the day you could put out an album and it would take months to break the chart.....that is exactly what happened here with Madonna's near classic debut self penned opus. It was released in the UK in the Autumn of 1983 and 2 singles preceeded it with very little if any publicity at all. She did a special on Channel 4's the Tube to great critical success and later would perform Holiday on Top Of The Pops. Holiday itself would steadily climb the chart to number 6 and sell an astonishing 789, 598 copies making it one of her most succesful singles here. The second single released was Lucky Star and with no publicity whatsoever it limped into the chart at number 54.......Borderline faired better reaching number 41 but altogether didnt have the success that she had already had in her native America and Australia. Also the failiure to release Burning Up as a single in the UK was further a mistake on Warners part, it actually had a classic video and appealed more to the UK rock/new romantic scene, still the singles would be re-released with better promotion and ALL would make the top 10 UK chart in 1984. Proof therefore that the songs were quality but seriously lacked the promotion, 1983 was a different place, no internet, no celebrity magazines.....people in the UK by and large relied heavily on dance shows such as Top Of The Pops.....prior to her performance in 1983 Holiday was languishing at number 29, the week after her performance it shot straight to number 12 then steadily rose to number 6. If she had performed ALL her singles on the show when released with better promotion iam 100% positive that ALL would have made the top 10 the first time round. Coincidentally the album took a whole year to make it to number 5 where it peaked in august 1984, a year after its release.....the album was then re-packaged and re-promoted just as Like A Virgin was entering the top 3....shame, the original cover was stunning, simple and remains an iconic cover that in UK format is now near impossible to find, especially on CD format, the latter replacement has now been discontinued and im glad, the original was and still is totally Madonna. And what of the music? In the UK we were obsessed with new romanticism, synth driven dance and ska music, Madonna kind of fitted somehwere between disco and new wave dance, a scene which was very up and coming, it wasnt that the music wasnt good, we had just forgotten what dance truly was. She showed us. Once the airplay had gained and we knew who she was the singles and albums steadily climbed the charts. Her debut album still is my favorite album, its raw quirky-ness, its simple rythms and R&B roots are as infectious as pop music ever was or has been. There were some songs left off the album which didnt make the final cut, songs like Aint No Big Deal and Crimes Of Passion which would, at the time, made it more of a proper album with 10 songs as a posed to 8, and they were good. Still it reached number 5 in the UK charts and went on to sell an impressive 895, 983 copies......not bad for a debut. This was an album which paved the way for the mega-star that would dominate the charts for nearly 30 years and give us such iconic classics as Holiday, Borderline and Luckystar......probarbly the best pop classics of all time, we would have to wait until 1989's Cherish before she got her bubblegum pop groove back, this is a fantastic album and a real timeless listen, full of niaivity and exuberance. A real pop gem.

the best

Best music from Madonna, best image she looked excellent here.


what can one say...the ultimate & original Madonna....listen & dance! x


Born: 16 August 1958 in Bay City, MI

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After stars reach a certain point, it's easy to forget what they became famous for and concentrate solely on their personas. Madonna is such a star. She rocketed to stardom so quickly in 1984 that it obscured most of her musical virtues. Appreciating her music became even more difficult as the decade wore on, as discussing her lifestyle became more common. However, one of Madonna's greatest achievements is how she has manipulated the media and the public with her music, her videos, her publicity,...
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