Today marks the release of CELEBRATION, a career retrospective of 34 hits plus 2 new tracks from the Queen of Pop, Madonna. This compilation also marks the end of her relationship with Warner Music, with all new material going forward being released by Live Nation.
Throughout her carrier Madonna had amassed 12 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 1000 chart and has a record-smashing 40 #1 singles on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs Chart – a feet unparalleled and by far the most of any artist in the over 30 year history of the list.
As I always mentioned in my writings, I started my love affair with Madonna during the Ray of Light era (surprise). Something about the sweeping orchestral arrangement of ‘Frozen’ pulled me in when it first hit the airwaves, it like nothing i have ever heard before. From then on i worked through here back catalogue and become a fan ever since.
As a tribute to this milestone, I thought it would be good to take a trip down memory lane to chart his personal Top10 Madonna Songs and Top10 Madonna Remixes songs of all time. This is a very audacious and difficult list to come up with (she has many hits after all), and is bound to stir up much heated debate with other Madonna fans (Hazry I'm talking to you, hehe).
So without further adieu, go take a leak and grab a coffee or something, this is gonna be a mighty long post.
Dieselfreak’s Top10 Madonna Songs
10 // FROZEN The song that started it all, i remember being very much impressed with the juxtaposition of the cold Middle-eastern gothic vibe of the song against Madonna’s seductive vocals. So addicted I was to this William Orbit produced track that it officially became the first that downloaded illegally! (Remember that MP3 was still a new technology way back in 1992). But don't worry guys, made it up by buying the ultra rare limited edition ‘Ray of light album with the shimmering 3D effect cover. Talk about over compensating here, hehe….
9 // SECRET I love the theme in this Dallas Austin penned song: Happiness lies in your own hands, Madonna yearns to her lover, urging him to reveal his innermost secrets, over an acoustic guitar riff. What that secret is, remains a mystery until this day.
8 // HUMAN NATURE One of the things i love about Madonna is she is unapologetic of who she its. Yes, she is a sexual being…deal with it! And this song perfectly summarises this. And the deviant S&M themed video clip featuring an equally eager chihuahua? Perfection.
7 // HOLIDAY What Madonna top10 would be complete without this concert favourite? This classic Madonna track exudes sheer joy and positivity and still manages to put me in a good groovin’ mood every time. Incidentally, the celebratory theme would recur in her latest single 26 years later.
6 // RAY OF LIGHT Perhaps nothing can top the ephemeral quality of this William Orbit produced title track. Madonna declares that she just got home and got herself a whole universe to command. You know she talks like this cuz she can back it up, hehe. Plus, the groundbreaking video clip is literally lighting in a bottle.
5 // LIKE A PRAYER What is actually her most spiritual, uplifting gospel anthem written by Patrick Leonard has inevitably become one the most controversial songs of all time. This is in no small part thanks to a non-conventional depiction of Jesus in the video clip. Whether the move is intentional or not, Madonna has always been ahead of the curve in pushing the the frontiers of free speech and artistic expression.
4 // I WANT YOU Another sweeping orchestral masterpiece, this Marvin Gaye remake produced by Bristol’s Massive Attack is utterly sublime. In my humble opinion, Madonna performs here her best vocal delivery in a song ever. It is drenched in emotion, yet elegantly understated. Alas, this track was never released as a single despite having a video produced.
3 // IMPRESSIVE INSTANT Hard hitting and club thumping, this Mirwais Ahmadzaï produced track is reportedly Madonna’s (and my) favourite track in the Music album. Its not hard to hear why, the cutting edge vibe invokes long sweaty nights at the clubs. That, and the silly catchphrase I like to singy singy singy , like a bird in a wingy wingy wingy!
2 // GET TOGETHER Probably the best track in the Confessions set, this song by Anders Bagge, Peer Åström and Stuart Price is all about falling in love and having a good time. Yet there is an inexplicable tinge of sadness I couldn't quite put my finger onto. This slow-burning trance number builds and builds into a euphoric crescendo that I always press repeat whenever i hear it.
1 // VOGUE If there is ever possible that one Madonna song that could summarise the essence of her Madgesty its this one. This Shepp Pettibone track is simply irresistible, sophisticated yet divaliciously camp at the same time. Can you name me any other song that gives props to the great Garbo and Monroe, Marlon Brando and Jimmy Dean in the same breath? hehe… The video, with its iconic conic bra outfit (pun intended) launched a thousand failed attempts by yours truly to mimic the choreography, hehe… can anyone give me private lessons?
Dieselfreak’s Top10 Madonna Remixes
8 // CELEBRATION [BENNY BENASSI REMIX] Surprise surprise! hehe… Madonna’s latest single, her 40th #1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs Chart is transformed into a hard bump n’ grind track by Benassi. It become the version of choice to which the video’s are based upon.
6 // DONT TELL ME [VICTORE CALDERONE SENSORY REMIX] Another Calderone masterpiece, this remix lives up to its sensory moniker by starting subtly then gradually adding layers of trancy elements. The country twang from the original Mirwais production remains intact.
5 // LOVE PROFUSION [RALPHI ROSARIO HOUSE VOCAL EXTENDED] What i really love about this remix is that it recalls the feeling of chillin’ with with your poison of choice while eying the beautiful people working it out on the dance floor, hehe…
4 // DIE ANOTHER DAY [DIRTY VEGAS MAIN MIX] Dirty Vegas upgrades the already excellent theme to James Bond into a fast hard hitting number, also used in the ending credits. Michael Colombier’s string arrangement are spliced in for impact. Sigmund Freud analyse this!
3 // DROWNED WORLD / SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE [BT & SASHA BUCKLODGE ASHRAM MIX] This remix is a perfect example of how you can retain the essence of the subtle, understated ballad, yet expand the sonic landscape to great heights.
2 // AMERICAN LIFE [OAKENFOLD DOWNTEMPO REMIX] When the original Mirwais produced lead single was released, the sound was deemed too ‘out there’ for radio that it didn't catch on the airwaves. The politically charged anti-war video didn't help either. But this R&B esque remix by Paul Oakenfold is so irresistibly catchy, so much so that it makes me wonder that perhaps if Warner had released this version instead, it would become another smash hit for Madonna?
1 // WHAT IT FEELS LIKE FOR A GIRL [ABOVE & BEYOND 12” CLUB MIX] What I really love about remixes is general is that it fundamentally showcases the full potential of any particular song. Remixes are unbridled by any commercial considerations and restrictions, brought about by the creative imaginations of the DJs. What matters is how these ‘reinterpreted versions’ manages to entice you hit the dance floor and get lost into the groove, rhythm, beat and melody. It is for this reason that this remix by Above & Beyond ranks as my all time Madonna remix ever.
So there you have it, my two Top10 lists. Hope you enjoy reading this piece as much as i enjoy writing it and encourages you to dust off all your Madonna albums for a spin. Better yet, buy the greatest hits compilation CD and DVD :)
ps: Agree to disagree with my selections? Feel free to add your comments.