The Immaculate Collection
Sire / Warner Brothers Records, 1990
REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/16/1999
After catching the movie Dogma, I was inspired to put on another work by an artist who has been known to piss off the Catholic church: Madonna. With the possible exception of True Blue... wait, scratch even that exception. Madonna was known for creating some great pop songs in the '80s, but she never quite mastered making an album that fully captured all of her talents.
However, like all artists with this deficiency, a "greatest hits" collection is a wonderful thing. And The Immaculate Collection is a damn near flawless greatest hits collection. The '80s and early '90s Madonna is immortalized in 17 classic songs. Beginning with "Holiday," you can hear Madonna start to take more musical risks as she got more successful.
"La Isla Bonita" stands as one of the more experimental pop hits that Madonna had in the '80s. But a casual listener can tell that Madonna could make both dance hits as well as believable ballads. The diva certainly shines on tracks like "Express Yourself" and "Vogue." But songs like "Crazy For You" show a more vulnerable side to Madonna.
With 17 tracks of her best songs, listeners will no doubt side with either the beginning, middle or end of this collection. For me, "Material Girl" represents Madonna at her campy best. Her courage to express her religous convictions with the song "Like A Prayer" also cannot be denied.
Those who bought Ray Of Light already know that Madonna has a certain knack for incorporating popular styles of music into her own. The growing popularity (then) of rap caught Madonna's attention with the song, "Justify My Love." Thankfully, she doesn't rap, but she does incorporate a bass-heavy, stark, throbbing beat as the underlying beat to the song.
It's hard not to give this album an "A," but there're some songs that I naturally skip over. But the songs I don't particularly like, I know still are standard bearers in the world of pop and dance. And The Immaculate Collection does a great job at showing all of Madonna's strengths and few of her weaknesses.
To totally dismiss Madonna is both ignorant and short-sighted. Her incorporation of up-and coming sounds (rap, techno) have made countless people pick up music in a genre where they may not picked up before. And The Immaculate Collection is a great starter CD for any die-hard or casual Madonna fan.