24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
In the beginning...
, May 22, 2001
This review is from: Madonna (Audio CD)
These days, many people compare Madonna's early music to Britney Spears or the Spice Girls, but there really is no comparison. Today's bubble gum pop stars have a host of producers, songwriters, and stylists to create a cookie-cutter image for them that can be marketed to the mainstream. Madonna, however, was a very different story. At the time she recorded this album, Madonna was living in the ghettos of New York City, and hanging out at clubs that were largely populated by minorites. In other words, she was NOT part of the mainstream! In addition, most of the songs on this album began life as demos that Madonna wrote and recorded HERSELF in a tiny apartment without the help of a host of producers or marketing execs. She also had developed her own unique fashion sense. Madonna didn't have to consult a crew of stylists; even when she was penniless in New York, she had her own style down pat! Unlike today's manufactured pop princesses, Madonna was a true musical and visual artist at work, long BEFORE she signed a record contract.
That said, this album invented dance-pop as we know it. Highly synthesized and highly danceable, this was the style of music that took the 1980s by storm, and still exists today in many forms (including the electronica that Madonna currently dabbles in!). The album was revolutionary, because it brought the underground worlds of urban dance music and punk into the mainstream world of pop. The punk elements are heard in the scorching single "Burning Up", which prominently features an electric guitar and a rock-like bassline, but in a clubby, danceable song. Also, Madonna's personality comes through very strong on this album, so you never feel like you are listening to an anonymous "dance diva". Even on pedestrain fare like "I Know It" and "Physical Attraction", Madonna sings with so much conviction that you KNOW she means it!
When the album was first released, people assumed Madonna was African American, and her music was played primarily on R&B stations... she was not immediately accepted by the pop world, and was truly a cutting-edge "fringe" artist who redefined pop. In addition to being a great historical document, this album is worth buying because it's so much FUN! What party is complete without classics like "Holiday", "Everybody", or "Lucky Star"? These songs have stood the test of time, because, unlike Britney and Co., Madonna is an innovator, NOT an imitator, and she has been innovative since day one, as this album proves.
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