Riddle Me List: Madonna's Rejected

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Madonna divorcing always-sad-in-the-face husband, Guy Ritchie isn't the focus of this Madonna post (though it would be juicy news, considering how much monetary mess the whole divorce is going to be) in fact I'd like to do something different by talking about Madonna's other rejects...her filler songs. We all know that Madonna has a bevy of pop hits to pick n' grab from but it's just nice to revel in the factoid that Madonna had some songs that didn't deserve filler status.

1. White Heat (True Blue, 1986)
"White Heat" has a great edgy, 80's drum machine sound to it, plus it's got some fierce little lyrics ("Get up stand tall/Get your back up against the wall/My love is dangerous/This is a bust"). Though the injection of James Cagney's voice from the 1949 movie, White Heat, is obligatory, but it's not really needed. This is on my top 10 tier of favorite Maddie tracks.

2. Pretender (Like A Virgin, 1984)
As a Madonna fan, I should be worshipping the ground that the song, "Like A Virgin" walks on...but I don't...I spit on it. "Like A Virgin" sure was Madonna's coming out moment, but it's not her best song by a long shot. My votes for best songs off of her sophomore effort go to "Angel", "Dress You Up" and "Pretender". "Pretender" was a woulda-coulda-and-shoulda been single choice, it's got a lot of grit as well as a pulsating dirty beat...courtesy of Chic front man, Nile Rodgers.

3. Sky Fits Heaven (Ray Of Light, 1997)
A trippy track...but wasn't Ray Of Light a collective mirage of trippin' off the techno beats? Still it's actually quite soothing especially when the piano kicks in. It feels like "Ray Of Light" on a diet as the heaviness of "Ray Of Light" is extracted for a more lush and reflective piece. The tempo changes in the song bring to mind something Kate Bush would've created back during her Hounds Of Love days...did I just mention Kate Bush in a Madonna post? Well, some things are possible...

4. Spanish Eyes (Like A Prayer, 1989)
Like A Prayer, to me, was chock-filled with hit potential (okay, I'll refrain from the Prince collabo which was highly disappointing) and "Spanish Eyes" was one of those "missed opportunities". I love the serenity of the song and it's lush guitar strums. Madonna clearly has a love for Latin culture (refrain from A-Rod jokes) as this wasn't the first or last time she tampered with Spanish guitars and percussion. To be honest, this is one of Madonna's best ballads...yes, I said it.

5. Impressive Instant (Music, 2001)
Music wasn't my favorite Madonna album (save for a few tracks) but "Impressive Instant" was always my favorite, simply because it's would make a great title for a book, an album or even a rock band's name. Following the same blue-print of Ray Of Light tunes, "Impressive Instant" has an energetic and chugging beat that doesn't quit. Oh, yes, I'm in a trance.

6. Think Of Me (Madonna, 1983)
An inkling that Madonna did some early 80's funk and did it well...thanks in part to the song's producer, Mtume member, Reggie Lucas. Sure it sounds quite dated and has a real "put on the legwarmers and do the Jennifer Beales" feel to it, but it's still quite a groovin' little song. I always find Madonna's debut album to be quite progressive, in the sense that it was the start of how the 80's was going to sound for female vocalist...brash, fun and stylish. Should've been a single...but maybe it's just best being a gem of a filler...."Think Of Me" is a little firecracker of dancefloor funk.

7. Why It's So Hard (Erotica, 1992)
While Madonna made this song elude some sore of sexual desire during her 1993 Girlie Show (see link above, warning: lots of rubbing)...it really isn't about doin' the do. In fact, the Erotica album as a whole isn't even a full-blown *ahem* blow fest...but I digress. A killer bassline and Madonna sorta-kinda-not-really rapping on a song about equality...I'm so there.

8. Forbidden Love (Confessions On A Dance Floor, 2005)
A techno song can be gorgeous...just listen to "Forbidden Love" and get engulfed in it's aura. Eerie and swelling synths make up the song and Madonna's breathy vocals make it the "Justify My Love" of the millennium. Trip on the visual fantastic when you see the vid (see link above)...all you need is a tablet and a dark room and let the fun n' games begin!

9. I'd Rather Be Your Lover (Bedtime Stories, 1994)
Let me just say this...Madonna's Bedtime Stories was scandalously underrated. It featured Babyface, Dallas Austin and Dave Hall...oh, and Bjork...how could you put that in the "avoid at all costs" bin? It was tough to decide what BS song was worthy to be on this "spur of the moment" list, but it'd have to be "I'd Rather Be Your Lover". It's got that gritty hip-hop strut going on and hello, Me'Shell Ndegéocello is on it. An instant thumbs up! The version I have linked is a rare collabo version with the late rapper, 2Pac, interesting...I wonder if this version had been issued, maybe it would've taken on more notice....

10. Love Makes The World Go 'Round (True Blue, 1986)
How 'bout another from True Blue? Madonna rarely does socially conscious cuts (aside from "Why It's So Hard" and newbie "Hey You") and this was one of the first ones that she concocted. It's perky and is packaged and ready to be lodged in your brain for days. I particularly like the instrumentation during the verses, though it goes into a Calypso frenzy once the chorus kicks in. Quite appropriate that she performed this track at the 1985 Live Aid concert...eons ago.

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