Queen of Pop is a term that is thrown around loosely nowadays with this latest bumper crop of female singers. The artist who first inserted that honor into the music vernacular, Madonna, undoubtedly still wears that crown proudly. Her debut album, simply titled “Madonna,” was released 30-years-ago today and it laid out the foundation for her illustrious career along with the many others who followed after. The 8-track record would also give more visibility to the dance music scene.
“Madonna” didn’t exactly propel her career to its peak, but it did get the spunky singer noticed in the music industry. Her big breakout can be credited to 1984’s “Like a Virgin” album. With her first album, though, the 8-tracks on it would become her signature tunes (two would even hit the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart). All heavily dabbed in dance music, bringing a different sound and attitude to the table that showed Madonna’s versatility as a then burgeoning singer-songwriter.
One of the more sincere moments on the album, “Borderline,” is a light mid-tempo tune where Madonna is tired of being led on. “Stop playing with my heart / Finish what you start,” she softly sings over atmospheric synths. It’s a tame track compared to the rest of her debut, but it presented another side to the multifaceted singer. In a complete turnaround on “I Know It,” she is the one walking away from an awful relationship. This other slice of sophisticated pop sees Madonna in control. “You don’t think that I can see but you can’t fool me,” she fires back.
Madonna also first toyed with her sexuality on this album, which is a theme that runs throughout her extensive discography. With “Burning Up,” a rock-tinged dance track, Madge gives an attitude-driven performance, putting herself in a position of power. A bouncing synth line backs her fiery come-ons when she sings, “You’re always closing your door / Well, that only makes me want you more.” Madonna is just as rabid with lust on the more chilled-out “Physical Attraction,” turning the tables with her as the one on the prowl for some loving.
Her whole album is a straight up synth-pop affair, but Madonna really embraces her inner dance diva on the shimmering “Holiday.” Her epic call to celebration is buoyed with some breezy production and jubilant beats. She nailed feel good on the head with this song. “Lucky Star” is another glitzy number where she masters the dancefloor. Wobbly beats and flourishes of synths give weight to her celestial love affair. “Shine your heavenly body tonight,” she sings with flawless wordplay. Madge even channeled her vengeance into a snappy and groove-worthy pop track on “Think of Me.”
Madonna’s debut single, “Everybody,” is the epitome of an ’80s party jam with its simple yet catchy lyricism. “Everybody, come on, dance and sing / Everybody, get up and do your thing,” she demands. It seems like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, et al. heeded Madonna’s call to action on her upbeat, R&B-infused track. Like Helen of Troy in Greek Mythology, “Madonna” was the “face that launched a thousand ships” on the female front of the pop music world.
Listen to the “Madonna” album on Spotify.com
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