I don’t consider Madonna a great musical force, but she shouldn’t be diminished too much, as she has written some great tunes and her cultural imprint has impacted whatever female flavor of the month is being pitched to young girls since she came on the scene. She also has made some great videos, which really show off 80’s fashion. My favorite song from her debut record was Burning Up. It’s very poppy and dated, but undeniably sexy.
Madonna’s follow-up, Like a Virgin was a smash. At this time she appeared in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan and the theme song just might be the best female dance club song, Into the Groove. Infectious. Bonus is that in the video you get some glimpses of Rosanna Arquette in her prime. The same Rosanna that Toto wrote their song about and Peter Gabriel wrote In Your Eyes for.
I would argue that True Blue is Madonna’s best record, as Papa Don’t Preach, Open Your Heart, and La Isla Bonita are all great singles. Live to Tell is her best ballad. The video features clips from her boyfriend at the time, Sean Penn’s movie.
Ok, I was wrong, Madonna’s next record, Like a Prayer is her best. It is the only Madonna album that is good from start to finish. Like a Prayer is heavily influenced by Prince, who happened to play on a couple of the songs. One of these was Keep it Together. I have chosen a live version of it from the Blond Ambition tour. Get past the annoying English accent she uses at the beginning and it shows her great live show skills.
I have included a song she did for her Greatest Hits that came out in 1990, the steamy Justify Your Love. This one still pushes boundaries.
Here is the first cover I ever heard of a Madonna song. Lords of the New Church version of Like a Virgin.