1983, Music

Madonna (1983)

Though I am speaking with the benefit of hindsight, it feels to me as if it would have been easy to imagine in 1983 that Madonna was going to be around for a while. Even at this early stage, she’s a compelling performer and it feels like she’s surrounded herself with the right people.

The songs, most of which she wrote (which surprised sexist me), range from fairly catchy to pretty damn catchy. And the ballads, such as they are, are up-tempo, which helps with this kind of music. The lyrics are pretty middling, but this is ’80s dance pop we’re talking about.

What’s perhaps most impressive, isn’t so much the songwriting as the arrangements and, to a lesser extent, the production. The arrangements draw from a lot of different contemporary trends, including synthpop (!), disco, R&B and other things (even traces of rock music). The integration of these seemingly disparate styles into one thing is fairly ingenious, and singles her out from the other pop stars of the day (who I’m aware of). She’s (relatively) diverse but doesn’t necessarily sound like it. Also, the production hasn’t dated so horribly.

I have been listening to some ’90s Janet Jackson lately and I detect a little early ’80s Madonna in her, so this era seems to have been pretty influential, too.

Not my thing, but I respect it.

7/10

  1. “Lucky Star” by Madonna, produced by Reggie Lucas; 5:37
  2. “Borderline,” written and produced by Lucas; 5:18
  3. “Burning Up” by Madonna, produced by Lucas; 3:45
  4. “I Know It” by Madonna, produced by Lucas; 3:47
  5. “Holiday” by Curtis Hudson, Lisa Stevens, produced by John “Jellybean” Benitez; 6:08
  6. “Think of Me” by Madonna, produced by Lucas; 4:54
  7. “Physical Attraction,” written and produced by Lucas; 6:39
  8. “Everybody” by Madonna, produced by Mark Kamins 4:57
  • Madonna – lead vocals, background vocals, cowbell
  • Tina B. – background vocals
  • Christine Faith – background vocals
  • Dean Gant – synthesizer, piano, electric piano
  • Gwen Guthrie – background vocals
  • Curtis Hudson – guitar
  • Raymond Hudson – bass
  • Anthony Jackson – electric bass
  • Bashiri Johnson – percussion
  • Reggie Lucas – guitar
  • Bob Malach – tenor saxophone
  • Paul Pesco – guitar
  • Ira Siegel – guitar
  • Ed Walsh – synthesizer
  • Brenda White – background vocals
  • Norma Jean Wright – background vocals
  • Fred Zarr – synthesizer, piano, drums, electric piano, Moog synthesizer, Fender Rhodes, Moog bass

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