Archive for synthpop

The Essential 80’s Vol. 1-5

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 210000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Vol. 4

Love Will Tear Us Apart Again [Joy Division]—-With this track, considered the only close to hit release in the US, this band gained a cult following until Ian Curtis’ death. The band went on to become New Order and conquer the world….but this is where it all started. This bleak and dark tome to love never tires on me.

Wishing [A Flock Of Seagulls]—-The second single from the self titled debut release, this was a bit longer than the average radio single…but played in the dance clubs rather well. The sound is so comforting and familiar I just have to sit here and listen to the entire thing again and again. The space age feel is everywhere on this track!

Der Kommissar [Falco]—-The only hit single for Falco in the US [unless you include the oft heard Amadeus], this track was played every where and even covered by the American band After The Fire. I prefer the German version….its more fun to guess the sentiment. This is another track that never wears on me.

I Love Rock And Roll [Joan Jett]—-Branching out on her solo career after the demise of The Runaways, Jett scored a gigantic hit with this harder rock track then we were accustomed to hearing on 80’s radio. This has energy, aggression and you can dance to it. We love Joan!!!

Supersonic [ JJ Fad]—-Not so much a radio hit as a cult classic, play this for your friends and remind them when Electro really started. Not only is the beat incredible but the vocals are fantastic…..the speed these girls manage to twist words by is mind numbing. A true classic 80’s track.

The Breaks [Kurtis Blow]—-I was never familiar with Blow until I heard this on the soundtrack from Def Jam [?]. Blow has a vocal that is distinct and instantly recognizable. I love how he always sounds like he is out of breath when he raps….this is classic old school!

The Roof Is On Fire [Rock Master Scott And The Furious Three]—-Any one familiar with the origins of rap and the beginning of the movement knows all about this track. If you don’t, become familiar with this house rocker!!!

I’m Not Having It [Special K]—-Built on simple beats and relying on the give and take of the vocal flow, this track was overplayed and feels a little bit old for me…..it’s an ok track…but it has been done over and over before.

Just A Friend [Biz Markie]—-There is nothing redeeming about this song…..I just don’t like it or Biz!!!

Jenny/867-5309 [Tommy TuTone]—-The saddest thing about this single was the simple fact that no one considered listening to the rest of this album….which is damn exceptional. This is a bona fide 80’s hit….but TuTone still records and tours….playing this whether he wants to or not.

Situations [Cetu Javu]—-I know a lot about the 80’s decade, but I sure don’t know this song!!! It is poppy and reminds me a bit of Men Without Hats. It has a very distinct British sound….there is no denying it should have been heard much more…..

Funky Cold Medina [Tone-Loc]—-Built on the distinct vocal of Tone, that deep baritone is instantly recognizable. This was more of a 90’s hit….but it is on here despite that. Following a few hit singles, Loc now does voice-overs on cartoons.

Treat ‘Em Right [Chubb Rock]—-1990…..I won’t argue over brass tacks though. The beat is pure NYC…the flow is slick and smooth. Still a whole lot of fun to listen to!!

 

*** out of 5

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The Essential 80’s Vol. 1-5

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 210000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Vol. 3

Round And Round [Ratt]—-Another of those classic hair bands that really made a huge splash thanks to the distinct vocal flair of Stephen Percy and the unique guitar style of the band. This track is still contagious, infectious and instantly recognizable. This is a track that despite the bands differences, will never fade.

Lost In Your Eyes [Debbie Gibson]—-Along with Tiffany, Gibson was one of the original teeny boppers that had huge singles in the 80’s. Thanks to MTV, shopping mall tours and media exposure we became saturated and tired of them quickly. This song is still pretty quaint and sweet in its way though….it’s a keeper.

Cherry Pie [Warrant]—-Finding huge success in the 80’s thanks to sexy videos and a damn good-looking lead singer, Warrant scored 4 or 5 top ten hits and then the band imploded around drug abuse and in fighting. We are still left with nice gems like this though…..thanks for the memories!!!

It Takes Two [Rob Base]—-Built on a beat that is indelible, the familiarity of this song remains unforgettable. Sampled time and time again in modern rap tracks, that annoying squeal has become part of American culture……and the amazing thing….I like it all over again.

Everytime  You Go Away [Paul Young]—-Paul Young always had a sweet, sexy and sultry sound to his voice. He reminds me of a slight blues singer trapped in the wrong body. This track…..also recorded by 80’s darlings Hall & Oates, I think Young did a much better job. This always gives me that melancholy feel. A true vocal master.

Living On Radio [Trans X]—-Not incredibly familiar with this band for some reason, I have only heard the off track here and there. They seem to be almost pre-goth in the sound…..the vocal a bit distorted and rather dark. None the less, the song is damn danceable and rather contagious.

No Parking [Dazz Band]—-The 80’s allowed for a huge influx of R n’ B on the dance floor as well. Picking up where Disco left off, this music transported across class and color lines to make indelible hits. This track has all the flavor necessary to keep it in rotation even today.

Dancing In Heaven [LaDouce]—-This is a re-make of the original track, but plays just as well. Another track that had a huge impact on the dance floor and across color lines this was just pure fun….a bona fide hit before falling into obscurity.

Walking In L.A. [Missing Persons]—-Powered by great guitar playing and the irresistible squeak of Dale Bozzio’s voice, Missing Persons managed 3 or 4 top ten hits before the band disintegrated. This speaks to the L.A. culture and the music movement that was going on there at the time. I never get tired of this track. Exquisite!!!

I Got It Made [Special Ed]—-The 80’s were a simple time when it came to rap music. Most songs were all about money and flow style. The gang/crack wars were years away. Special Ed gave us a comfortable beat followed up with understandable vocals and a slight story to go along with the entire thing. Oh….such a simpler time!

Oh Sheila [Ready For The World]—-Formed from a conglomeration of artists, this was music simply made to dance too. The groove is infectious and manages to still stay stuck in your head after all these years with just one simple listen. Long live perfect pop music!!!

Fascinated [Company B]—-With a hype beat right from the onset, this track has a dated but distinct sound. The female vocal reminds me of Expose or one of those other generic bands….this is fun and relaxed….a great track to dance to!!! And might I mention….an irresistible chorus!

The Promise [When In Rome]—-Hands down, my favorite song from the 1980’s decade. This song has a nice soft air to it that can make you sad if you need it or jubilant if that is the mood you are in. The vocal is a classic 80’s sounding voice and the sentiment is never aging. I consider this particular song a masterpiece!!!

I Go To Work [Kool Moe Dee]—-Another rapper who made his major impact in the mid 80’s, Moe Dee scored a nice smash with this entire lp. The vocal is a bit more street and hood, but the message is simple and you can feel the groove for hours after you listen to it.

 

**** out of 5

The Essential 80’s Vol. 1-5

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , on 190000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Vol. 2

Don’t Stop Believin’ [Journey]—-Released during the true hey day of this band, it reminds us once again that the 80’s were not just full of synths and swirls. No voice could ever quite match Steve Perry and this song is proof of that. The voice literally soars. With the guitar from Neil Schon, this song is still a classic…..ummmm and karaoke favorite!

Take My Breath Away [Berlin]—-Berlin and Terri Nunn were bona fide stars before hitting this track out of the ballpark. taken from the Top Gun soundtrack, it was hard not to get through a day without hearing it at least once. This still plays so well today. The synth swirls are magic and the emotion is incredible!

She Talks In Stereo [Gary Myrick]—-This is not a track I’m really familiar with, although it does contain all the needed 80’s qualities from the onset. I think maybe someone else sang this at one time or another. This has a familiar sound and a classic 80’s feel. I’ll keep it!!!

Bette Davis Eyes [Kim Carnes]—-CLASSIC!!!!! Delivered with a nice gravel tone, Carnes made everyone aware of who Bette Davis was and scored a huge hit at the same time. This track has a timeless sound….it feels fresh to me every single time I hear it. The slight synth, the guitar and the voice….a great recipe!

I Melt With You [Modern English]—-The definition of the US one hit wonder, this song really was driven by MTV and the stark video. The vocal is incredible….managing to sing but still hang on to that English accent, this is one full CD that I do not yet own. Perhaps soon…and I’ll review it here of course. Still one of my very favorite 80’s songs.

Flashdance [Irene Cara]—-The title track from the timeless movie Flashdance, the song never gets old. Combining an 80’s sound with the still lingering Disco beat this song literally drove people to the dance floor. Not even the best song from the soundtrack, but a staple even in retro clubs today. Classic!!!

Send Me An Angel [Reel Life]—-From the onset, the synths remind you of the decade we are immersed in. The UK slant to the vocal gives the song even more life. This is classic….but has been over played, over mixed and worn out. I still love the sentiment though.

Only The Lonely [The Motels]—-Led my Martha Davis, this band never received the attention that it deserved. The sound was both modern and retro at the same time…always bringing a smile to my face. I listen to the 4 releases they made still today….you can’t escape that sexy sultry voice that Davis has.

Walking On Sunshine [Katrina And The Waves]—-I’m sorry……I hate this song…..even more after the hurricane. NEXT!!!

Salt In My Tears [Martin Briley]—-Another of those rare 80’s tracks I really do not know very well. I love the voice although the music is a bit generic. This reminds me of a weaker Tubes or Loverboy. The chorus is magnificent….the rest of the song falls a bit flat for me.

Honestly [Stryper]—-Known mainly for being a Christian band who threw bibles to the audience, Stryper became a household name with this ballad that still gives me goosebumps to this day. Michael Sweet had a soaring vocal that has withstood the decades incredibly well. A masterpiece of a song!

Cum On Feel The Noize [Quiet Riot]—-Beneath the synth driven 80’s, hair metal was alive and well with bands like Quiet riot…..it made for great MTV programming. This song still holds up well….vocalist DuBrow passed away a short time ago….but he left a great legacy in the music.

Pass The Dutchie [Musical Youth]—-Coming from the poorest parts of the world, this group of young boys made a huge splash in the US with this little track. The success was fleeting but the song is instantly recognizable even today and has stood the test of time incredibly well. The slight reggae feel seemed to appeal to everyone…this is great!

Dream Warriors [Dokken]—-Another hair band that dug the trenches in the 80’s, Dokken scored this hit from the soundtrack of the same name. I never saw the movie and was never a huge fan of the band….the fights and the constant break-ups destroyed the fan base. Still some of the music they produced remains fresh and viable…this….not so much.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart [Bonnie Tyler]—-Just like Meatloaf, Tyler’s career was built on the music of genius Jim Steinman….the sound is all over every track she sang on. This is a great video…the vocal is perfect and the mood is all Steinman. I never tire of this song!

Love On A Real Train [Tangerine Dream]—-So, I’m slow…..I never even knew that this was an 80’s song….oh well….live and learn. This has enough synth to fit in the decade, but the sound is much more New Age than synth-pop. I don’t dislike this stuff, I just need to be in the mood for it.

Let The Music Play [Shannon]—-An accountant turned performer, Shannon scored a number of dance hits in the post-disco era of crowded and sweaty dance floors. The voice draws you in….she sings with gusto and true feeling…it is hard not to get caught up in the energy. Still touring today, Shannon manages to show up on the club charts from time to time….but nothing equals this instant classic!!!

 

**** out of 5

 

The Essential 80’s vol. 1-5

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , on 190000006UTC 12 by marky7235

The 1980s saw the emergence of pop, dance music and New Wave. As the term disco fell out of fashion in the decade’s early years,[1] genres such as post-disco, Italo disco, Euro disco and dance-pop became more popular. Rock music continued to enjoy a wide audience; sub-genres such as New Wave,[2] soft rock,[3] and glam metal emerged and developed a significant following.[4] Adult contemporary,[5] quiet storm,[6] and smooth jazz gained popularity. The 1980s are commonly associated with the usage of synthesizers, thus, synthpop music and other electronic genres featuring non-traditional instruments exploded in popularity. Also during this decade, several major electronic genres were developed, including electro, techno, house, freestyle and Eurodance, rising in prominence during the 1990s and beyond. Throughout the decade, R&B, hip hop and urban music in general were becoming commonplace, particularly in the inner-city areas of large, metropolitan cities; rap was especially successful in the latter part of the decade,[7] with the advent of the golden age of hip hop. These urban genres, rap and hip hop particularly, would continue their rise in popularity through the 1990s and 2000s. A 2010 survey conducted by the digital broadcaster Music Choice, which polled over 11,000 participants, revealed that the 1980s is the most favored music decade of the last 50 years

Vol. 1 The Look Of Love [ABC]—-Forever suave and debonair in fancy suits and accompanied by horns, ABC left an indelible mark with this track. Full of slight movements, vocal blends and great percussion this remains one track from a fantastic release that will just not die.

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades [Timbuk 3]—-What can I really say about this track….I hated it. Truly a one-hit wonder, this southern infused track got on my nerves and stayed there.

One Thing Leads To Another [The Fixx]—-Another band with a debonair look, Cy Curin was the master of cool with an unforgettable voice as well. With many of the songs relying on social issues, the band trudged through many releases and still tours on occasion. This is probably the biggest hit in the catalog….but by no means my favorite. Never gets old though!

Everyday Is Halloween [Ministry]—-This track from pre-Industrial Ministry is still a favorite of mine. It is amazing how a band can change in such a short time. Jorgensen still has that slight evil tone to his vocal, but this is classic dance all the way.

You Spin Me Round [Dead Or Alive]—-Full of Euro-Trash beats and tons of androgyny, this song was guaranteed to be a massive hit. The speed of the song is incredible and drove people to the dance floor around the world. There were more hits to follow, but nothing as massive as this track. It still sounds magnificent today!

Take Me Home Tonight [Eddie Money]—-Not really an essential 80’s track for me, I could take or leave Eddie Money. The song is much more of a straight up rock track without the familiar new wave flavor of many 80’s hits. It still lives on and Money always opens the outdoor music season in Detroit.

Naughty Naughty  [John Parr]—-Not really familiar with the title of this track, but the moment I heard it I felt right at home. Parr had a number of hits from popular teen movies, but managed to make an impact solo as well. The track has a nice rock/new wave mix to it that still works today!

What’s On Your Mind [Information Society]—-The epitome of a one hit wonder, this band, in all of their odd get-up costumes gave a whole new feel to electronic and synth music. Perhaps the band was meant to be visual…on record, the songs are just typical. Live, this band is killer!!!

Missing You [John Waite]—-This former lead vocalist for the 70’s band The Babys, Waite made a huge impact with his debut release and this lead-off single. The song provides a nice break from the constant swirl of 80’s synth and gives us a nice ballad to fall back on in those private moments. Waite has a killer voice and great stage persona.

I Ran [A Flock Of Seagulls]—-Taken from the playbook of MTV stars, this band had an odd look but also the chops to back it up. This contagious, spacy track was the first of many hits for the band before they imploded. The band has reformed from time to time…releasing a new CD about 5 years ago. The sound is the same and this track stands the test of time. Classic!!!

Sister Christian [Night Ranger]—-Reminding us that the 80’s decade was not all swirls and synths, Night Ranger put themselves on the map with this tear jerking ballad. It contains every element necessary…..great guitar….a sad sound and fantastic vocals.

The Roof Is On Fire [Rockmaster Scott & The Furious Three]—-The rap movement in the 80’s literally exploded….but was alive and well in the decade before. I’m not even sure this classic track was released in the 80’s but it still plays well today. The technology and realm of Rap has changed…but the basic formula remains. Flow and Hype!

I Want Candy [Bow Wow Wow]—-Sung by the 16-year-old mohawk Annabelle, this video made the song a bona fide hit all over the world. With classic 80’s sound and a bit of a punk attitude, the band was never able to follow the success of this track…but we have this forever to remember them by!

Tainted Love [Soft Cell]—-Perhaps one of the songs that literally defined the 80’s music movement, this song is still played everywhere and all ways. Remade and covered by dozens of people, no one can come close to the sound of Marc Almond’s distinct sound. This was and is a gay club staple….expect to hear it every time you venture out.

Lean On Me [Club Nouveau]—-Revamping this 60’s classic, Club Nouveau gave this track a whole new life. Filled with a slow, fun groove and a fun style I fell in love with this track from the first listen. The band managed to stick around for a bit, but fell into oblivion that is the 80’s. Still sounds great!

Desire [Gene Loves Jezebel]—-One of my favorite bands from across the pond, this band never received the US support that it deserved. These twin brothers managed a score of hits in Britain but were much more hit and miss here. This track is not an all time favorite, but still plays very well even today. The track has immense energy, a nice sexy feel and an unforgettable vocal.

Everybody’s Working For The Weekend [Loverboy]—-A classic working mans pop metal band, these guys toured endlessly to get the name known. A nice string of top ten hits kept them alive for quite sometime. This is a weekend song for sure…..reminds me of swimming, beer and girls. There you go….a perfect recipe!!!!

 

**** out of 5

 

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The Human League / Credo

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 200000007UTC 12 by marky7235

Credo

Credo is the ninth studio album by The Human League. It is their first studio album since Secrets in 2001.[1] It has been produced by fellow Sheffield act I Monster[2] and is released on Wall of Sound.

The first single from the album, “Night People” was released on 22 November 2010. Follow up single “Never Let Me Go” was released on 1 March 2011. “Egomaniac” was the second single in Germany, Austria and Switzerland because The Human League secured a slot on a major German TV show for a performance of ‘Egomaniac’. The TV programme aired on Friday 4 March and the single was released the same day. In those three territories the album itself was released on Friday 11 March in order to narrow the gap between the TV airing and the album being available. In the rest of the EU the album was released on Monday 21 March in order to narrow the gap between the release in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the rest of the continent. The third single, “Sky” was released on 25 July 2011.

Credo was digitally released in the United States on August 16, 2011, with a physical release one week later.

The Analysis:

Never Let Me Go—-It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the release of Secrets, but from the opening strains of this first track, it seems now like yesterday! The synth lines are so damn familiar and comforting….Phil sounds ageless and the girls add their trademark vocals like they have never lived 30 years since we first heard them. This has a fantastic melody!!!! Simply wonderful!!

Sky—-This second single from the release, is yet another synth heavy but familiar sounding track that transports you back in time effortlessly. Oakey sounds so incredible with his deep baritone…the overdubs are fantastic and the ladies quip in here and there making it yet another classic track in an endless career of pure pop pleasure!!!

Into The Night—-This is brilliant…layered with nice synth lines that play over each other wonderfully well, but the song seems a bit empty to me…..lacking a true inspiration…..none the less, this is the League and the track is all you need it to be.

Egomaniac—-My favorite track on this release, this reminds me of all the best tracks from all the best releases. This is wonderfully produced…full of a deeper synth line and an energy that makes me want to dance for days. The underlying blips and beeps that are included makes this even more classic…a true return to form!!!

Single Minded—-Another of those tracks that seems more filler than inspiration, this is still delivered with fantastic instrumentation and allowing Oakey to sing in his higher tone which has always really made me smile! This is wonderful!!!

Privilege—-Deep and stripped almost bare, this has an almost mysterious and down trodden feel to the whole damn. The lyrics are fantastic and the overdubs of Oakey’s vocals are outstanding!!! A classic, different but wonderful track!

Breaking The Chains—-This begins a bit slow…making me wonder where this track was going…but once the chorus smacks you in the face, you will have a smile. this is infectious and full of pop hooks running through the whole song…this is brilliant!

When The Stars Start To Shine—-This has a marching vibe to this song….a bit of a muted vocal and a most infectious melody. Combine these together and you have yet another classic League track….I love the chanted chorus…..making you remember it for days after you hear it the first time…..this is magic!

Get Together—-A brilliant synth line begins this track and allows the entrance of Oakey and his melodic baritone. This is wonderfully brilliant…the girls add to the chorus and allows this track to become huge during the main chorus…this is brilliant!!!

Night People—-Although this lead off single never charted here in the States, I’m convinced it is brilliant none the less. This song moves!!! The synth line is delivered fast and at a frenzied pace…..with a contagious synth line that takes you back in time. The straight ‘clean’ vocal is so infectious. This is brilliant!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Erasure / Tomorrow’s World

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 2600000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Tomorrow's World

Tomorrow’s World is the fourteenth studio album by English synthpop duo Erasure. The album was released through Mute Records[2] on 3 October 2011 in the UK, and 11 October 2011 in North America.[3]

Tomorrow’s World was written in New York, London, and at Vince Clarke’s cabin studio in Maine, between January and June 2011, following Erasure’s short break, which found Andy Bell recording and releasing his second solo album Non-Stop, and Vince Clarke reuniting with former Yazoo partner Alison Moyet for the Reconnected tour. Clarke used his vintage collection of analog synths for the final touches. All songs are written by Bell and Clarke.[2]

The album was produced by Frankmusik and mixed by Rob Orton, who has previously remixed other well-known electronic artists such as Lady Gaga and Pet Shop Boys.

The first single from the album was “When I Start To (Break It All Down)”, which was released on 23 September 2011.[4] It received its first UK airplay on BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce show.

The Analysis:

Be With You—-Despite the time-lapse and the separate projects this duo are involved in, it is obvious from the first listen that this is a partnership that separation cannot separate. This is a lead off track that makes you feel comfortable and warm all over…as if the band has never been apart. Andy delivers vocals that are classic and the synth power of Clarke is in full form. This is a masterpiece of a track!

Fill Us With Fire—-Reminding me at the onset of a track that belonged on the Erasure release, the tempo magically changes when Bell open his mouth. this is driving and full of the classic dance.disco sounds that made this band HUGE. The sound is a bit more sedate and matches the lower register that Andy has taken on, but still manages to maintain the magic that this band has always had. this is perhaps one of the best Erasure releases in the past 10 years….very nice!!! And this will play live like magic!

You’ve Got To Save Me Right Now—-Vince Clarke has the magical ability to wrap his driving synth around the vocal of Andy Bell in a masterful way…much like he did with the blues driven vocal of Moyet. This is a surprisingly wonderful song….not one of my favorites. but it manages to break up the release with a fantastic differential that is always needed…..great production I think!

What Will I Say When You’re Gone?—-Another of those tracks that you wonder how this duo manages to create into a masterpiece so well…the synths are unique and all over the place while Bell delivers a rather sedate vocal…but when it comes together it is a landscape of emotions and energy. The bombast flows in and out…quiet at times and very loud at others…all the whole delivering a melody that sticks in your brain and refuses to leave you alone…yuet another masterful and unforgettable Erasure track!

A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot—-Kudos for the title of the song alone!!!! This is a building track that comes from the quiet and seems to get bigger and bigger…this is phenomenal and remains one of my favorite tracks on this release…if this does not remind you of the old days, there is something wrong with your memory. Bell has never sounded better and the driving synths from Clarke reminds you that he is true to his sound and vision and that it has never diminished from the Depeche days…..this is fantastic!

I Lose Myself—-This is another of those songs that seems to be built around the sometimes blues vocal tones that Bell manages to deliver ala Moyet. How funny for this band to even mention something about Rock N’ Roll……this is layered and full of deep house sounds that you have not heard from this band in quite sometime…a true return to form, it is nice to know that despite his status Bell has managed to keep his voice….I am still amazed that he tours the way he does…makes me feel a bit inadequate!!!

When I Start To [Break It All Down]—-From the very onset of this single, the lead off from this release, you know that this is a true return to fame. There is no doubt that this duo is very in tune with each other. Bell delivers a vocal that is as good as anything on chorus or other ensuing release. The falsetto is very much in tact as to where it was 10 or 15 years ago….this is magnificent and could not be a better lead off single!!!

Then I Go Twisting—-Once again, from the very onset, Clarke makes himself heard loud and clear. There may be talk of sickness of Techno…but the sound is very much alive and delivered with finesse. Andy says he does not want to let us down….and he does not! This is high energy that allows for both an emotional feel and a dance floor stomper that will play very well tomorrow or in 10 years from now…..a classic that I appreciate now…some might appreciate later!!! Tremendous!

Just When I Thought It Was Ending—-Ending this rather short release…clocking in at just 31 minutes, Bell delivers a more sedate a deeper tone to his voice. The emotive quality is pretty fantastic though…there are some fantastic overlays that make me smile…reminding me of some of the glory days. This will play so well live with the entourage of live singers that the band manages to carry with them…a nice cool down track, this is perfect!

**** out of 5 [For Length Only]

Madonna / Celebration [2 CD Retrospective]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 270000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Celebration

Celebration is the third greatest hits album by American recording artist Madonna, and the closing release under her contract with Warner Bros. Records, her record company since 1982.[1] The release follows her two previous greatest hits albums, The Immaculate Collection (1990) and GHV2 (2001).[2] The compilation was released in many different formats including a one-disc edition and a deluxe double disc. A compilation DVD, entitled Celebration: The Video Collection, was released to accompany the audio versions. The album includes three new tracks, the title track, “Revolver” (featuring Lil Wayne) and the bonus track on some editions “It’s So Cool”.

Celebration was appreciated by contemporary critics who noted the vastness of Madonna’s back-catalogue. The album debuted at the top of the charts in Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Madonna became tied with Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most number-one albums in the United Kingdom, though this tally also includes the soundtrack album Evita which features other artists. In the United States, it debuted in the top ten of the Billboard 200 at seven. In other nations, it debuted within the top ten. The title track was released as the first single of the album. It became Madonna’s fortieth number-one song on Billboard‘s dance chart. “Revolver” was released as the second single from the album, but failed to achieve commercial success.

Disc One:

Hung Up—-The collection begins with some of Madge’s later recordings and her most successful in years. Hung Up is a nice blend of both classic Madonna and dance floor fueled Eurotrash. The french production includes a bit of vocoder, swirling synths and a decadent bass line!!!

Music—-Continuing much in the same vein as the last track, this only convinced the public that Madonna had no intention of giving into age or the changing scene of the Music Industry. This was a ‘comeback’ so to speak, and she did it all rather very well. Again with the french production team and the added sounds of the evolving European Music Scene….this is not a favorite, but has become a classic!!!

Vogue—-Returning to and reminding us of the ‘second’ heyday of Madonna, this was a track that swept the entire globe with its contagious delivery and a fantastic video and dance to go along with it. Madonna still relied on the 80’s synth line of deep swirls and house sounds for this track…even now, it still sounds rather fresh after not listening to it for such a long time. Classic Madonna right here!!!

4 Minutes—-The pairing of two of the world’s biggest superstars was pure management genius and resulted in nothing less than a worldwide smash. With the personalities of both Timberlake and Madonna clashing over a huge Timbaland beat, how could you possibly fail? This is one for history…still plays incredible well and sounds like a huge Clash Of The Titans!!!

Holiday—-Jumping back to the very early Madonna days when she was a quasi-club kid hanging on every bit of advice given to her by Warhol and his entourage, this only served to let the world know that this Detroit girl was going to be a huge star. With classic 80’s beats and a swirling synth line that betrays the time, this was so popular in the gay clubs all over the world…we know stardom when we see it!!!

Everybody—-Another song that betrays the time of the recording, this slight Electro sounding track is still fresh despite the aged beats. Madonna urges us all to join her on the floor and lose control…with the bass synth, it is rather easy to do so. Still sounds rather remarkable.

Like A Virgin—-Like GaGa after her and bowie before her, Madonna is a master at marketing and making a gimmick to promote her music. This classic track is no exception. Using MTV as a pedestal, Madonna produced a video that propelled her to even greater heights. This has never been one of my favorite songs….perhaps I heard it just a bit too much…none the less, this is the quintessential classic dance track!!!

Into The Groove—-This is a bit dated as well, but one of those early songs when I realized that perhaps this girl was here to stay. The vocal is so much better than the earlier things she had done and we hear the first production of that deeper tone of hers that I like so much. This is classic 80’s pop…but still sounds remarkable and makes me want to dance even now!!!

Like A Prayer—-Fueled by a religious overtone and a video that made it overt, this still remains one of my favorite madonna tracks she has managed to produce. the sentiment was so real for me as I struggled with both my sexuality and my religion. It stands the test of time incredibly well and she was triumphantly successful with this. This only helped make her an even bigger superstar!!!

Ray Of Light—-The title track to my favorite Madonna record thus far released, this was a HUGE hit…and not even the best song on the CD. The increasing beat and the Euro-sound makes the track ultra contagious. the remixes for this song are breathtaking and the vocal, in my opinion, is one of the best of her career. A huge hit out of the ballpark and down the street!!! This is brilliance!!!

Sorry—-Another of those tracks that really dug into my brain cells and decided to live there for years, this has so much of the fancy French production that you just knew when you first heard it that it would be huge. madonna has made few musical missteps in her career…she knows what sounds good and what will sell well. She obviously was right again with this one…still love this track!!!

Express Yourself—-This really fell flat for me when it was released. This is still very low on my list of Madonna classics…just never really found a place for me in her catalog. I much prefer the Gaga ‘remake’…..LOL!!!

Open Your Heart—-Led by another marketing coupe with a cute video, Madonna captured the masses with this track. This is another track of hers that really features that deeper tone of her voice that almost makes me feel euphoric…I love it when she sings in that tone. Despite the dated 80’s sound, this is an incredible track with a huge great message!!!

Borderline—-Another 80’s track that manages to play well without seeming to dated, it is the opening strains of the song that really get me. The introduction of the song takes me back to that carefree and joyous time in my life when I had not yet discovered the burden of responsibility. For a song to make you still smile after all of these years is an accomplishment….because music matters!!!

Secret—-Acoustic in nature and featuring that contra-alto vocal that works so well for madonna, this is another very favorite track of mine. This is moody, rather dark and exquisite with deep synth lines and emotion. This is fantastic…I may have to listen to this twice!!!

Erotica—-Featured as a new track on the first Hits collection, Madonna further cemented herself in the hearts of popular culture even more. This is sexy, dirty and quite damn wonderful!!! With familiar 90’s synth lines that were everywhere at the time, Madonna made them her own by her overt sexually suggestive lyrics and breathy voice. This was a triumph and carries a whole other set of memories…this is classic!!!!

Justify My Love—-Also offered as a new track on The Immaculate Collection, this was a WORLDWIDE SMASH….and is still in my top 5 Madonna tracks. I have about every remix of this song you can find anywhere. This is sexual, seductive and at times pretty dirty…but also expressive and full of longing. This is Madge at her best!!!

Revolver [featuring Lil’ Wayne]—-Offered as a new track on this massive collection, Madonna joins forces with the hottest star of the current time to rather mediocre results. For me, this track never really got off the ground….as a matter of fact, I rather dislike this song….it is replayed current music and sounds way to much like a lackluster Britney track.

Disc Two:

Dress You Up—-Another of those early tracks that Madonna used to further her career at the expense of MTV and the annual video awards. No one can deny the brilliance of the woman when it comes to marketing and promoting herself with outrageous behavior and costumes. This sounds a bit dated, but again brings out that deeper tone of her voice I love so much. Rather nice!

Material Girl—-Perhaps the one song that is identified as making this woman a household name, the video and the ensuing live performances proved to the world that Madonna was here to stay. This is still jaunty and exciting…as I listen back on it now, it seems hard to imagine her singing this with much gusto now, but why abandon a shining star….this still shines!!!

La Isla Bonita—-Another very favorite track of mine, this song found an instant place on my playlist simply because it was so different from anything she had produced up to that moment. the tone of voice, the tropical music and the gentle breeze that flows through the song…is still fresh and magical to me. A pure triumph!!!

Papa Don’t Preach—-with a brilliant video, some rather emotional live performances and a rather sedate track for the Queen Of Pop, this is another track that remains on my playlist to this day. I never get tired of the emotional quality of the voice….the message of the lyrics and the undeniable contagion of the synth line. Masterful!!!

Lucky Star—-A track that catches Madonna at her earliest and trashiest. This still reminds me of the later Warhol days and his proclaiming that this youngster was going to be a huge star…when Andy spoke, people listened. This is far to bubble gum for my taste, but it is still hard not to sing along….

Burning Up—-Reminding me of a long-lost Human League track from the onset, this falls a bit flat for me. this sounds rather dated and less than stellar as I listen back on it now. This lacks a certain energy that the Queen always produced in her songs…oh well, you still can’t argue with brilliance can you?

Crazy For You—-Still in my top 10 favorite Madonna tracks, this ballad shows the force and talent of Madonna at her finest. This is heartfelt, emotional and can produce a lonely feeling even after all of these years. This only proved to the wold that this girl could really sing…just a stellar track!!!

Who’s That Girl—-The title track to this filed Motion Picture, the song fared about as well as the movie. this should not be on this release….was this a hit????

Frozen—-also taken from Ray Of Light, this is still one of my very favorite tracks ever produced by Madonna. This is so emotive, full of intensity and has the ability to make me incredibly sad if I catch it at the right moment. This is brilliant in production…there seems to be layers and layers to the music on the song. And the vocal is stellar….taking me to a place I don’t visit often!!!

Miles Away—-This was refreshing to me the first time I ever heard it. It has a unique sound…the French Euro beats combined with a slight acoustic guitar is rather genius. The lyrics are real and relateable…and madonna sounds fantastic…the vocal over lays are incredible…another track I really enjoy hearing from time to time!!!

Take A Bow—-I think, these days, Madonna is at her best when she involves herself in these more heartfelt ballads. this reminds me so much of classic Carpenters….yes, I said it!!! This is exquisite…full of heart ending lyrics, deep emotion and a sadness that makes you wonder what inspired this track. This is genius!

Live To Tell—-Without a doubt, my favorite #1 Madonna track and video….the live versions of this song are rather heart wrenching for me. This is real as real gets…Madonna had a worldwide smash with this track…delivered it in person like no one could imagine and made a lasting impression on millions of people the world over. This is still fresh, new and wrenching…..never forget!

Beautiful Stranger—-This begins with a rather joyous refrain…..full of typical Madonna musings…but the slight Electro feel to the song allows it from becoming anything but ordinary. Madonna is laid heavily on top of the vocal…full of a powerful vibrato that makes me smile and ponder again what inspired this track. This is stellar!!!

Hollywood—-Another of those songs that fell way under the radar for me in the career of Madonna. This has never really found a solid place for me in my favorites from the Queen. To me, this is lackluster and lacks a certain energy that I have come to expect from her. This is not bad, but just not a favorite of mine.

Die Another Day—-What can be better than recording the title track for a 007 movie…..but this falls a bit flat as well. same as the movie did if I recollect correctly. This is too generic to really find a place for me…this is predictable and a retread of 30 other songs that Madonna pulled off otherwise well.

Don’t Tell Me—-This is fantastic, I love this track. the stop and start, the stutter and the missing beat here and there keeps your attention. The stripped down feel of the song allows Madonna to showcase her voice incredibly well. When the swirling synths arrive over the acoustic guitar, you are amazed still at the versatility of the woman who is Madonna!!!!

Cherish—-Ugh…..never liked this track, and it sounds no better to me now than it did then. this is way to bubble gum for me…..next…..

Celebration—-Another new offering released with this retrospective, this has a nice Pet Shop Boys deep house sound that runs through it. I love this track…Madonna continues after all of these years to prove that she is still a force and still relevant. There is little wrong with this track…as Madge prepares to once again enter the studio, she must feel pressure. Can she out-GaGa GaGa……let’s wait and see…..

**** 3/4 out of 5