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When you're talking about pop music than you quickly talk about Madonna. Born in 1958 they call her the Queen of Pop. This American singer has sold more than 300 million albums and is considered the best-selling singer at all time. The first album was released in the year 1983. She is not only busy with music but is also an actress, director and has many more things. Simply put everyone has ever heard of Madonna.
True Blue is the third studio album of Madonna and was released in 1986. Funny to think that I was only three years old. The album is about love, but also about work, dreams and disappointments. There are unfortunately only nine songs on this album, but again hats off to Madonna who has co-written every song. The songs fit the pop, dance and some rock genre. Below is a discussion of some songs:
Papa Do not Preach
A famous song of Madonna is Papa Do not Preach. It is a somewhat synthetic pop song with a nice drum beat. You hear some raw, clear young voice of Madonna that fits well with the song. The chorus is pretty catchy and it sounds good where the rate goes up slightly. In general it is a great mid tempo song.
Live to Tell
Again this song comes with clear pop influences, but it is generally a slow song and almost a sort of ballad. Madonna's voice is more in the background and sounds soft. What halfway through the song she sings more powerful, but it remains generally calm with the song includes the use of the drums and the guitar.
La Isla Bonita
A more Hawaii like good happy song. It is a mid tempo song with Madonna's voice a little softer. The song remains generally fairly slow with a nice beat.
Love Makes the World Go Round
A more electro-pop like song. It is especially in the beginning the song is more up tempo and the voice of Madonna also sounds a lot rougher and harder. It is a song that here and there becomes faster. A nice up tempo song but not one of the strongest.
An album with clearly more pop rock and dance influences. It's a nice cheerful album with some good up-tempo songs, but I must say that the slow songs certainly sound good. Especially Papa Do not Preach is a more rock-like song. The songs each have their own identity but fit well together and you have a good variety of somewhat fast and slow songs. It sounds generally less pop-like and that is certainly not wrong. Four stars.
Madonna's "True Blue" Album was her third studio release and hit the shops back in 1986, one of her highest selling albums this is a Madonna classic and the songs have stood the test of time well. Providing three Uk number one singles plus another couple of top 5 hits this really is Madonna at her 80's best.
The album opens with "Papa Don't Preach" which was and still is my favourite Madonna song, the choppy violin opening presented us with a more mature sound from Madonna and the lyrics focus on a young woman's pregnancy and her dilemma in what she should do. She is defiant and knows her own mind, but wants the support of her father and pleads with him "don't stop loving me daddy" A rousing chorus and thoughtful verses gave Madonna a UK number 1 single with this and controversy in the US over the single-mother, anti-abortion message it was supposed to contain. It provided a massive change in style from Madonna following the success of the "Like a Virgin" album and set the CD in a new direction for her. A classic Madonna song which rates 5/5 from me.
The second track is "Open your Heart" which gave Madonna a Number 4 chart placing on its single release. A poppy love song which doesn't offend the ears, the lyrics are rhymey and sing-along but is probably more famous for the risqué video that accompanied the release which featured Madonna cavorting around in a tasselled basque providing a peep show for paying punters. It's not a favourite song of mine but fits in well on the album so only gets a 3.5/5 rating from me.
"White Heat" follows dedicated to Jimmy Cagney, its lyrics feature snippets of film dialogue from Cagney's film of the same name and the song is really more of an album filler than anything else. The song is about a one sided relationship and wanting commitment, it's nothing to write home about and is now long forgotten, Madonna performed it live during the "Who's that Girl" tour but it isn't a favourite so only rates 2.5/5 from me.
After an amazing start with Papa Don't preach followed by a couple of "duffers" the next 4 songs are probably the strongest on the album starting with "Live to Tell"
Released before the album and featured on the soundtrack to her then-husband, Sean Penn's film "At Close Range" this was a number 2 hit single in the UK. Very mature lyrics, strong, clear vocals and a definite favourite the song is about keeping secrets "that burn inside of me" and a yearning that one day they can be told. The "secret" is never revealed and speculation surrounding the song was directed at the relationship Madonna had with her father, husband and religion. Was it about sexual abuse? Relationship abuse? No-one knows, but is very personal and thoughtful. The song was critically acclaimed and was the beginning of Madonna being taken more seriously as a force to be reckoned with. The video that accompanied the song is simple but effective and sees Madonna conservatively dressed, sitting on a chair delivering the lyrics. It is a firm favourite of mine and considering it is over 20 years old it still sounds contemporary today. 5/5 for this song
"Where's the Party" follows and should have been released a single rather than Open your heart in my opinion. It is a playful, catchy pop song that celebrates life and is an upbeat track that really is Madonna at her most fun, performed live during the "Who's that Girl" and "Blond Ambition" tours this is another favourite song of mine from the album and rates 4/5 with me.
"True Blue" is the title track and was another number 1 single in the UK. Iconic video featuring Madonna's platinum hair the song is a throwback to the 1950's girl group era and was dedicated to her husband Sean Penn. Not one of Madonna's own favourites and frequently overlooked by her, she refuses to sing the song live anymore probably due to the association with Penn. The song is recognisable instantly and is a fun pop ditty that fans enjoy, not a favourite of mine but a solid pop song that you can sing along to and enjoy. 3.5/5
"La Isla Bonita" is my second favourite song from the album, it was the first time she had experimented with Spanish influences that became a recurring theme in some later tunes and is a trademark song with flamenco beats. It is a reminder of holidays past and lyrically it is perfect and evocative. The song is about a holiday romance and love with Madonna yearning to be "where the sun warms the sky" - frequently performed by Madonna now in nearly all of her tours, it's a massive favourite with me and rates 5/5 and provided Madonna with her third Uk number 1 single from the album.
The last two tracks on the album "Jimmy Jimmy" and "Love makes the world go round" are pretty much just fillers, the former is similar to True Blue in style but is lyrically quite poor and forgettable. "Love makes the world go round" is better and Madonna performed this live at Live Aid, it could have been a single release as its message is genuine, but overall it is let down with not very strong vocals and a clunky chorus that just about manages to squeeze in its over-long title. Both 2.5/5 from me.
Overall then this is probably my favourite album by Madonna simply for giving us Papa Don't Preach, Live to Tell and La Isla Bonita, these 3 songs alone make the album a classic in my opinion. It marked the beginning of the transition from the 'pop tart' that the 'Like a Virgin' Madonna was to a more critically and commercially acclaimed artist that would become an Icon in pop music.
Skip tracks 3, 8 and 9 and enjoy the others and understand why this was a multi-platinum selling album that boosted Madonna's rise to the top of her game. For the 1986 Madonna at the age of 28 this is where it all changed, for me it is her at her best and this is the album that started my obsession with Madonna that lasts to this day.
5/5 Dooyoo stars from me. Forget the controversies that have surrounded her throughout her career and appreciate the album for the songs it gave us.
Madonna's third album was released in 1986 &, continuing the habit she started on Like A Virgin, she choose to collaborate on all the songs that she had a hand in rather than writing any of them herself. This album sees her working with Pat Leonard for the first time
01) Papa Don't Preach:
From the opening notes of this track you can tell it's going to be a hit ~ and a big one at that.
Madonna's got herself pregnant but defiantly tells her Daddy that her & the child's father are in love and that she's going to keep the baby. The backing track was one of Madonna's best (upto that time) & her voice sounds much stronger & more mature than it does on her first two albums. A great song to open with. This was the second single to be released from the album, giving Madonna her second UK number 1.
02) Open Your Heart:
Fourth single released from the album peaking at number 4 in the UK. There's no Pat Leonard or Steve Bray credited for writing this track which might be why I've always thought that it has a different feel to Madonna's other songs from this period.
It's full of synths, drums & a bit of what sounds like a xylophone & Madonna's voice stands up rather well but, as a track, it's never really worked for me & is one of my least favourite singles from her first 3 albums.
03) White Heat:
By Madonna & Pat Leonard. This song is dedicated to Jimmy Cagney & features (slight edited) spoken lines from the film of the same name.
Another strong backing track based about synth, drums & guitar & a strong vocal from Madonna ensures that this is a good track. Some people might dislike the spoken bits from White Heat but I've got a bit of a soft spot for them. This is also, in my opinion, better than Open Your Heart, although perhaps not quite as commercial sounding.
04) Live To Tell:
The ballad was the first single to be released from the album, peaking at number 2 in the UK. It's another Madonna / Pat Leonard collaboration & starts off rather slowly (the vocal doesn't kick in until we're 54 seconds into the song).
There's a steady drumbeat, surrounded by strings and synths as Madonna tells us all how she hopes she'll live to tell the secret that she's learned. But, until then it'll burn inside of her.
A strong contender for the best song on this album & without, a doubt, her best ballad from her first 3 albums (not that ther's much competition on that front).
05) Where's The Party:
A change of pace after Live To Tell with this piece of umtempo fluff from Madonna, Pat Leonard & Steve Bray. It's a pleasant enough track but not up to the standards of Papa Don't Preach, White Heat & Live To Tell.
06) True Blue:
The third single to get a UK release also provided Madonna with her third UK number one hit. This is a Madonna / Steve Bray.
A slight change of pace from the previous song as this is a more mid-tempo track. I don't think anyone would ever claim that this was, lyrically, Madonna's best track but it's rather infectious & light & very pleasant to listen to.
07) La Isla Bonita:
This ballad was the last single from the album to be released in the UK. It reached number 1, giving Madonna three number 1 hits from this album & four in total.
It's a light summery track with bongos & a Spanish guitar added to the usual mix. Bit of the lyric are in Spanish, something which was also used on Who's That Girl, and, all in all, it's pleasant to listen to.
08) Jimmy Jimmy:
Without doubt the most annoying song on the album. If it wasn't enough to have an annoying, repetitive backing track we also get Madonna warbling "Jimmy Jimmy, oh, Jimmy Jimmy" rather too much for my liking. The sort of the you need to listen once just to see what it's like, then skip over when you play the album again.
09) Love Makes The World Go Round:
The album closes with this fairly pleasant song with a distinct South American / salsa-ish vibe. It's another Madonna / Pat Leonard collaboration &, whilst not the strongest note on which to end the album, is a definite improvement on the annoying Jimmy Jimmy.
In terms of overall standards then:-
Excellent: Papa Don't Preach / Live To Tell / White Heat
Very Good: True Blue / La Isla Bonita
Good: Open Your Heart / Love Makes The World Go Round / Where's The Party
Best Avoided: Jimmy Jimmy
This album is, without a doubt, better than Madonna's first album. The comparison with Like A Virgin is perhaps slightly more difficult because there's nothing as annoying as Jimmy Jimmy on there!
This is one of my preferred Madonna albums, benefiting from some sterling pop moments and some stunning cover artwork to moisten the musical palette. Madonna was in her prime at this point and was taking the world by storm.
Who is she:
US singer and actress Madonna Louise Ciccone. She constantly reinvents herself and moves with the times.
On this album:
Despite having been sampled, 'Papa Don't Preach' in its original form remains the best version. That opening with the strings always sets my heart in motion and causes a small flutter to occur. Then her vocals arrive. I noticed Madonna was getting a more rounded tone to her voice, gone were the high pitched deliveries from 'Holiday' and a more mature sound was coming off. The track has a superb chorus in which Madonna declares how she is in trouble, but will keep her 'baby.'
The sheer pop exuberance on 'Open Your Heart' pleases, though her vocals sound a little raspy in parts, despite an enthused chorus. Head instead for 'True Blue' which is more mellow and boasts and warm and potent chorus. I could imagine cuddling up to someone while this played.
My highlight on the whole album is the Spanish tinged 'La Isla Bonita' with the flamenco rhythm and summery vibe it just oozes magic. Madonna sounds like a weight has been lifted here and seems to be more relaxed with the material too.
At a brisk 9 tracks you might feel the album is quite short, but some tracks are more than the bog standard three minute length. Splendid pop music.
Probably the one and only Madonna album I have ever given any real thought to writing about was her third album, True Blue. I dont doubt for a minute that she has just about accomplished everything humanly possible in her career and that her contribution to the vast American music industry will, quite simply, never be matched, yet there is a definite lack of something that has been found in her work ever since this 1986 LP.
Like any decent artist should find, her life to the top, where she tilters now, was a bitter struggle. By the time, she compiled an album of Latin American pop ditties together, she had already seen her fair share of doing work simply for the money. No one, it seems, needs to get their kit off for some sleazy mag just to earn a buck to get into the music industry. Can you imagine recent X factor winner stooping to such levels? (What Simon Cowell might have asked from her will remain just to sing well in the final.) So therefore, it would appear that Mads was truly, the last of a dying breed. There are performers who will do anything to make it big, but as that irritating line of a Meat Loaf track goes..I Would Do Anything For Love But I Wont Do That The business just isnt the same anymore
After putting in enough sweat and tears getting somewhere, she had already packed in 19 UK single chart entries in the space of only three and a half years. A damn sight more than most bands can achieve in a life time. It was through this particular album that she turned the heads and the minds of the very establishment who had put her down as some airhead so far. She blatantly proved through her carefully chosen South American styles songs just how brazen she could be.
Whilst using a simple, yet stunning picture sleeve in a blue hue, she had created an album not yet produced by anyone else. Ditching her cut off gloves and layers of colourful rags, she chose a brighter, more professional style of clean cut out fits to show off her fantastically athletic figure and bright, white hair cut short in the mood of Marilyn Monroe in her heyday. She had been determined to write and work on her songs as apposed to her counterparts who were more than keen to just sit back and sing everyone elses work. She insisted on co producing and composing her work so she could get a feel on how and album was sweated out of an artist rather than recorded by a whole host of technical guys behind thick panes of glass.
From this shy, strictly brought up girl from Michigan, this album allowed her the gratitude and recognition equalled to any other hard working talented artist. She had cracked the proverbial nut through the making of this record. The media wiped the smirks from their faces and straightened their backs. Madonna had arrived.
Producing with Patrick Leonard and ex lover Stephen Bray, she styled an album that was to become a bench mark for her future work, not just on a financial scale but artistically and commercially. Released in July 1986, it heralded the height of Summer. Its charming, hot sun themes where ideal for the market of the year. It was fun, full of energy and life, just the woman herself. It was a wise marketing move to push the release of this album. Given its departure from the factory a few months later, the impact of it would have been so great. As it was, its success relied on how the sales had treated her with her previous to albums. The hastily rushed out self titled dance record hadnt been enough of the impact that she was starving for. Thankfully, a number one slot was waiting for her again (Like A Virgin was the first number one achiever.) Since the difference between Virgin and Blue was the question of number ones, the latter was considered the better of the two. Three number one singles dripped from the album like honey off a spoon. Still in effect, a primary dance album, the strong Latin/American theme gave it light, freedom to move and a soul within itself.
Whilst adding to the thrill of a new sound emerging from this artist came a political and social awareness. Touching on an even touchier subject of dealing with a pregnancy from a teenagers point of view, came the spirited, Papa Dont Preach. Using a thinly based story as the back drop for her accompanying video, Madonna managed to reach out to the young and reasonably desperate without offending anyone. Thus a good ploy to add to the growing numbers in her fan base and at the same time, bringing to the fore an issue that needed to be addressed.
The rather racy Open Your Heart, plays on another under the carpet subject of girlie clubs. Although the music is just a artistic crutch, it is her dealing with certain subjects through her lyrics that make the song stand out. Although there is nothing on this album to suggest that she could, at this point in her career, write anything by herself, her contribution, no matter how small, is still very much visible.
Writing along side keyboard player, Pat Leonard, she dedicated White Heat, to favourite actor Jimmy Cagney whilst also suing a short film cut from the film at the beginning of the track, each track styles at its own speed, racing vigorously through each line like its on some supermarket sweep. She understood quite clearly the need for get up and go full out, dance music. During the mid Eighties, we saw a boom in styles of dance and disco. It was about this time, that different branches of these genres started to take shape thus moving most dance away into RnB, leaving the path clear for the likes of Madonna.
Yet she even knew the importance of the statutory ballad. The kind that we either loathe or love. It was Live To Tell, that gave the ballad thing a whole new meaning. Without sounding dull and sickly to the point of throwing up over a Michael Bolton record, she took the lyrics of this piece and turned them into a determination for survival track. Leaving behind the usual dire guitar riff at the break, she keeps the tune sobering, yet simple and not covered too much in sweetly glitter. She takes us through a quick loop within in the album, pointing us in the right direction for minor, shallow songs. Two tracks appear here that need no analysing. Wheres The Party, is about as interesting, subjectively as it gets that is then quickly followed by the empty, superfluous True Blue, both pretty songs in themselves, that need no delving into any heart or soul for deeper discovery.
The Strong Latin based La Isla Bonita, will stay firmly fixed in our minds as the one track that Chris Tarrant couldnt leave alone. Forever mentioning the misinterpreted line, young girl with eyes like potatoes, this track will fail to be ever taken seriously. Experiencing the dead heat of such a place where this track reminds us is bad enough, having to subject our burning skin to the musical version is another
Dedicating the whole album to her then husband Sean Penn, her rocky, media swamped marriage was increasingly on the rocks even though she describes him on the inner sleeve here, as the coolest guy in the world. I wonder what she says about Guy Ritchie, yet this piece, seems the most independent piece of work up to the date it was produced. It is the first album where she spreads her wings and flies, daringly towards an open window. She doesnt ooze the same girlie, and perhaps under age sex that she did in Like A Virgin, but what she does give us is talented composition and a notability for the outside world. She appears all the more professional, together and self composed through this album. All traits that continue through her recording career.
An important and very significant album all round, but yet dated in its dance themes and lacks anything deeper than sea level. It doesnt matter as since her popularity has waned somewhat in recent years, this is an album that takes us back to that raw, unimaginable quality that was so attractive about her. Dont forget, we were smothered by a world in which she and she alone existed. Girls dressed like her (I did the bleached hair and pumps thing!) and guys just wanted to get into bed with her. We may not feel like that now after twenty years (thank God!) but we still look back through this album as to how it used to be
True Blue was remastered in 2001
Papa Dont Preach
Open Your Heart
Live To Tell
Wheres The Party
La Isla Bonita
Love Makes The World Go Round.
Sire records 1986
HMV - £9.99 delivered
Virgin - £14.99
Amazon.com - $4.50 (used)
If you haven't heard of Madonna before, I have to ask you one question. Only one. What in the hell is wrong with you?! I won't go into the history of the world-famous Material Girl, as many other reviewers have already done so, and quite well may I add. I also won't go into the story behind this album. Because I'm just a lazy sonofa[fill in the blank, please.] Instead, I'm just gonna say one thing- Madonna wants her pretty island and a guy named Jimmy, wants everyone to make love (gladly. Give me Jimmy) and not war, and doesn't want Daddy yelling at her. Fair enough. Now, as is expected of my review... guess what time it is, kids! Oh boy! Shoot yourself with a BB gun, because it's track-by-track time! 1. Papa Don't Preach - We immediately open up the album with an early, controversial shocker/single, amid a dramatic string orchestra (I detect violins) before breaking into a somber, mid-tempo track with a thumping bass line (violins still strumming in the background, along with occasional sprinklings of acoustic guitar and a simple beat) as Madonna's voice, stronger than it had been on her first two albums, begs her father to hear her out. "Papa, don't preach- I'm in trouble deep," Madonna pleads, emotion bleeding through her voice, as she announces that she inadvertently became pregnant... but "I've made up my mind... I'm... keeping my baby! Ooh... I'm gonna keep my baby!" A short Spanish guitar section in the middle only adds to the drama of the song. On another note, just to humiliate my older brother in the event he should ever see this... he used to love this song when he was a baby, but he messed up the words. "Baba Da Grease", anyone? 10/10 2. Open Your Heart - Another single from the album, more controversy via the video as we're yanked into the so ng by a fast-paced bi
t of drums and Madonna's whispered "Watch out!" before synth blares kick in amid the drums and the, as I call them, xylophone synth-beeps and a tiny bit of electric guitar. Madonna is likened to a somewhat-harmless stalker here, as she urges a man she likes to "Open your heart to me, baby! I hold the lock and you hold the key!" She also pulls in the stalker bit as she croons "Don't try to run, I can keep up with you- nothing can stop me from trying!" Christ in a cornfield, is she persistent. It's a bit odd when coupled with the video, where she's dancing in a peep show, wearing a teddy that will live in infamy. That's right, that teddy. Pointy-Boobs, AHOY! Well, that and a little kid's watching the peep-show as well. Little pervert. (Even if he is covering his eyes. Maybe he's watching the pretty tassels on the cone-bra that twirl around on their own). 10/10 3. White Heat - Must not make perverted joke about title. Must not make perverted joke about title... whew. "A copper! How do ya like that, boys? A copper!" I can't identify the movie that clip came from, but I'm guessing that since the liner notes say "Dedicated to James Cagney," he was in it. Drums and synths come in halfway through the clip, then it ends and electric guitar busts in with the bass, strings, and a bit of acoustic guitar, for my favorite Madonna track ever. Halfway through, another clip from the movie plays, and at first I detested the clips... but now I like em. Go figure. Anywho, Madonna's voice shines here as she tells a man flat-out that when it comes to love, "this time, you're gonna have to play my way- come on, make my day!" Umm, Madonna, I think your objective here is to seduce him, not scare him off. Women. 11/10 4. Live To Tell - Starting off with slow "xylophone-synth s", soon ba
cked up by strings and a soft, steady drumbeat, this single is hailed as one of Madonna's greatest ballads ever, even more so than Rain, a stunner from her Erotica album. And I have to agree- with occasional his from the bass, acoustic guitar, cymbal taps, and a bit of electric guitar in the background, Madonna tugs at your heartstrings here as she talks about keeping a very important secret. I have no idea what the secret is. How many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Her original hair color? Who that masked man was? We stop worrying about that as there's a short break near the middle, where the music stops for a second or two, before sliding back in, Madonna's voice still pained and desperate amid more prominent acoustics. White Heat may be my favorite here, but Live To Tell is a close contender. 11/10 5. Where's The Party - If the previous track's got you feeling down, then you're gonna get back up good spirits and shake it all around to this upbeat pop track, with high-pitched synth hits, another strong bassline, some acoustic work, saxophones, electric guitar, and rapid drums as Madonna's velvety voice winds through this song, advising "slow down, don't move too fast, gonna make the good times last, gonna let my hair hang low- I'm ready now!" A great song to play at a party, even with a quick, annoying interlude in the middle where it sounds like people are chattering and laughing and doing god-knows-what. And on another note... "gonna let my hair hang down." You didn't have enough to even do that at the time, Madonna. But she makes up for this with a not-annoying laugh, reminiscent of Fran Drescher, near the end of the song. 9/10 6. True Blue - Strong bass and drums start off... a somewhat-decent track, filled with a bit of strings and acoustic guitar, and a bit of what sounds like piano. A typical "shoop-be e-doop"
; love song, apparently inspired a phrase that then-husband Sean Penn used. A bit of xylophone (or something) can be heard in the chorus, and that's about all I can pick out from the song. Madonna's voice doesn't really seem suited to the lyrics now- had she recorded this song a few years earlier, when her voice was higher and more squeaky, she could master the playful, puppy-love feel of the song perfectly... but she falls a bit short here. But overall, a cute track. 7/10 7. La Isla Bonita - I'm going to quote two members from Epinions, if I may. This is the pretty island song. Madonna wants her pretty, pretty island. Starting off with soft bongo-beats, adding in chirpy synths, Spanish guitar, acoustic guitar, and maracas over the mellow bongo-beats, this is a very summery, mystical song... but it's kinda weak lyrically. "Tropical the island breeze, all of nature wild and free- this is where I long to be... la isla bonita." Basically... she thinks the island is pretty and she wants to go there now. Gee whiz. Despite this, I still love this song, and the images it conjures up- that long shot of Gilligan's island, with palm trees swaying in the breeze, waves lapping at the sandy shore, seven stranded castaways bitching at each other and making nuclear reactors from coconuts and not being able to fix a hole in the damn boat... ::sighs contentedly:: 10/10 8. Jimmy Jimmy - Welcome to Sonic The Hedgehog Meets Madonna. Something like a somewhat-altered sitar backs up heavy synths and a peppy beat (with subtle bass thrown in) and a few high-pitched beeps as she sings about her crush on some guy named Jimmy. I know I've read in a few reviews the name of exactly which Jimmy she's referring to, but I forgot... so I'm just gonna associate him now with this guy I liked in 8th grade. Damn, he was cute. ...Anyway... by the end of the song, you'll be sick of hearin
g his name being repeated over and over. "Where you goin' boy, I see your legs twitchin'. Jimmy Jimmy, oh, Jimmy Jimmmy!" And yes, she says "Jimmy Jimmy, oh, Jimmy Jimmy!" after each line in the verses. Someone please kill me. 6/10 9. Love Makes The World Go Round - Bass, drums, and brass synth open the last original track along with synth-xylophone and a bit of acoustic guitar, overall giving the song a bit of a salsa feel to it. Madonna's voice is still strong here as she urges listeners to "make love, not war" and "don't judge a man 'til you've been standin' in his shoes." Basically, the theme here is just what the song suggests- love makes the world go 'round, so spread a little love! ...or something. A strong ending to the album (well, at least the pre-remix version) even if she does this weird chihuahua squeak near the end. That's downright creepy. 9/10 Sit your [posterior] back down! You didn't think we were done yet? Of course not! Remix time, folks. As the product name suggests, this album is remastered... and Warner decided to mix La Isla Bonita and True Blue for us. Yay. 10. True Blue (The Color Remix) - It's basically the same tune as before sped up a tiny bit, with more drumbeats in the chorus, a more annoying beginning, and more prominent bass. That and it lasts longer, clocking in at 6:39. Kill me now. 6/10 11. La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix) - Slightly more fulfilling, opening with the bongos, more synth hits and maracas, and a series of "aaah-aaah"s from Madonna, amid her crooning of the words "Spanish lullaby." But otherwise, it then slides into almost same song we got for track 7, albeit a tiny bit longer and with more strings during the verses, and a tiny break halfway-through with strings, the bongos, and some steel drums added in. 7/10 <
br> Though the album ended on a somewhat-weak note, and two of the nine original tracks are also a bit weak, overall, this album is a delightful listening experience, although many seem to have forgotten the album as a whole. That's pretty unfortunate, too, since True Blue started Madonna's transition from teenybopper boytoy to the controversial-yet-mature diva she remains today. It may be short on track, but there's no denying that if you like Madonna, then True Blue is truly for you. ...I feel like an idiot saying that. Shoot me.
It has been all quiet on the Madonna music front lately, so I decided to have a trawl through her back catalogue. The first CD I found was this one, and I was amazed to see that it is now 16 years old! Where did my youth go? This album was seen of one of her better ones, and to date it has clocked up nearly 21 million sales worldwide, which is a world apart from the numbers that some of the current artists are managing to sell, and followed up her last release 'Like A Virgin' in such a way to keep the name Madonna in the news for a few more years. The album was released at a time in Madonna's life when she thought life was pretty good. She was married to Sean Penn, and even dedicated the album to him. How these things can stay with you long after they have soured! All of the tracks remind me of a time when I was first interested in music and used to mime in front of my bedroom mirror, dreaming of the day that I would sing on stage in front of millions! I was only 12, so I was allowed to think like that, even if I am one of the most tone deaf people you are ever likely to encounter. 'Jimmy Jimmy' is probably the worst track on the album, as it is quite repetitive, and becomes quite irritating by the end. It is about a James Dean wannabe that Madonna has a crush on. The ultimate sunny day song is on here with 'La Isla Bonita', and with it's Spanish influence, it is so easy to sit back, close your eyes and picture yourself in places Madonna sings about. One thing that is noticeable on this album was that Madonna had not really found an image she was comfortable with and therefore experimented with many styles on this album. One of the best ballads ever is 'Live To Tell'. It is a song which focuses on the effect it will have on the listener. It is dramatic and will grab your attention, and the fact that Madonna's vocals sound unblemished here only add to the strength of the song, and it runs 'Cra
zy For You' close as my favourite Madonna ballad. 'Love Makes The World Go Round' has a South American, almost carnival atmosphere to it. It was the song that Madonna performed in front of the world at the Live Aid concert, and it was so apt at that time. 'Open Your Heart' is a moody song, about unrequited love. It has a great verse which leads into a brilliant chorus, which will have you singing along each and every time you listen. I love the line 'don't try to run I can keep up with you'. The video for this was quite risque at the time, which Madonna loved as she was still firmly in the phase of trying to shock people with every breath that she took. In it she wears only a basque, and does a form of lap dance on a chair which is pretty suggestive. I wanted to be Madonna in the video for 'Papa Don't Preach'. She was so cool with her bleached blonde cropped hair, and the gorgeous boyfriend, because of course I had no real understanding about the subject matter of the song, as it is all about a young girl who gets pregnant much to the disgust of her father, but she begs him to support her as she feels that she can be a good mother. The opening bars to the song still get me going, and I can never resist singing along, especially with the chorus. 'True Blue' is song which I think won Madonna a lot of new fans. It was written about Sean Penn, as it was rumoured that this was one of his favourite sayings. Now it is so sad to listen to the lyrics, as it is so clear that she was sure she had found her soulmate, with such lines as 'the sun is bursting right out of the sky, I searched the whole world for someone just like you' and 'your hearts fits me just like a glove'. All that said it is really a gorgeous love song, and more than deserves to be the title track. 'Where's The Party' is a typical 1980's up tempo pop song with meaningless lyrics, that was
made just to dance to. If ever there was a filler track then this is blatantly it. It really does not fit well on this album, as it is just so average, and I have never managed to work out what she says at the very end. 'Open Your Heart' is another upbeat number, and would feature in my all time Madonna Top 10. Madonna actually co-wrote the track which is not something she does very often, but if this is the result then she should. 'White Heat' is a strange choice amongst the rest of the tracks, but Madonna manages to pull it off. It features the voice of James Cagney at the start of the track, and it is a song that I would never ever have heard unless I had this album, as it is one I am sure she has never played live. It is a decent album, it has not aged as well as some others from the same time, but it is still worth a listen if you are feeling nostalgic.
After the smash success of 'Like A Virgin', Madonna returned, married to Sean Penn, with this album and its iconic cover photo. Yet again, her voice had improved and she also decided to co-produce for the first time. Madonna showed her interest in the latin sound for the first time here, something that would recur later. The album was remastered in 2001, with original artwork (the cover photo minus the lettering) and remixed versions of the title track and 'Papa Don't Preach'. Papa Don't Preach is a real corker of a song. It is more than a bit 'rock' as well as pop. A teenage Madonna tells her father that she is seeing the boy he warned her about and that she is pregnant - and asks him to accept her boyfriend, whom she won't give up. A common if controversial story, this shows how in touch Madonna was with the public. Yet more controversially, she won't give up the baby either, which at the time was taken by anti-abortionists in the US an anthem! Another message is self-empowerment, a theme which would recur through Madonna's lyrics, as the girl takes control of her situation herself and rejects her father's moralising. Lyrically, this is the strongest piece of work Madonna had done up until this point, skilfully picking out a number of aspects of the situation from the father's attitude to abortion to early marriage, to the boy's offer to marry her and the imminent loss of freedom that pregancy will bring. Music-wise, it starts with an orchestral intro before drums kick in, the chorus is punchy and there is a pleasant acoustic guitar solo. Madonna's voice is grainier than her wont, perhaps emphasising the gritty subject matter. A real kick-ass classic Madonna song, bits of the music appear all over the place, e.g. the Vauxhall adverts on TV in 1998-2000 (if you're in the UK). Open Your Heart is another stonking song, punchier and more upbeat than the previous track, opening with a c
ry of "watch out!". Over a continuous percussive battery and through a two-part verse, the song unfolds a tale of unrequited love for someone seen on the street. She won't take no for an answer ("don't try to run, I can keep up with you"), and the song is filled with innuendo ("I hold the lock and you hold the key...I'll give you love if you, you turn the key"). The song was originally written with Cyndi Lauper in mind, but as we well know, Madonna's previous successes torpedoed the Lauper bandwagon. The Temptations also considered this song before Madonna redid some of the lyrics and Pat Leonard but a bass line in to turn it into a rock'n'roll/dance song rather just a rock/pop track. This song has a great rhythm and Madonna really pulls out the stops and also provided us with a controversial video set in a strip joint with a child (her brother?) waiting outside for her and fantasising about being a stripper (but they choose innocence in the end over decadance and depravity)! White Heat is a tribute to the actor Jimmy Cagney, and features his voice with the immortal words "you dirty, rotten...", followed by a spate of machinegun fire. The theme is of Madonna 'holding up' the object of her affections and demanding love in return. The song was inspired by Cagney's 1949 film of the same name (about psychotic gangster Cody Jarrett, who dies when the huge gasoline tank he is standing on explodes). Madonna adds more detective feel by quoting Clint Eastwood's famous tough-guy catchphrase, "make my day". This aural quotation from films gives interest, and has been used by other artists (like Kate Bush in 'Hounds of Love' and Siouxie and The Banshees' in '92 Degrees') to good effect. Otherwise the song is a standard uptempo dance track with synth bass, double-tracked vocals and male backing voices. Despite the different quality of 'Crazy For Y
ou', Live To Tell must have been a great surprise at the time that it came out in 1986. Madonna's voice suddenly sound several shades deeper and more mature. The theme tune to then-husband Sean Penn's film 'At Close Range', it is a real tear-jerking ballad. Madonna describes how her man proved unworthy of her love ("a man can tell a thousand lies, I've learned my lesson well. Hope I live to tell the secret I have learned, 'til then it will burn inside of me"). This has some really beautiful lyrics and another example is "if I run away, I'd never have the strength to go very far. How would they hear the beating of my heart ?". Madonna tackles the theme of child abuse, a very brave move, as her lack of experience in this area of songs could have made the song fall flat on its face with the critics. Music-wise, the strong snare drum adds drama to the track, but this quality is most well provided by the synth strings and electric piano, with heavy metal guitar adding twists of style in tightly controlled doses. Another very compelling ballad, it is surprising to learn that it was recorded from a single take onto a demo (producer Pat Leonard says you can hear the lyrics sheet in Madonna's hand rustle faintly, though I can't quite make that out) - done this way because of the shy, naive, raw and yet powerful delivery by Madonna. It is well worth a listen, and especially since it is one of Madonna's earliest ballads. It is very important in the history of Madonna's musical progression and recognition by others as a serious artist. To this date, the song remains shrouded in mystery but it was the song that made other musicians join in the worldwide fever for this exciting new star. The song is a complete antithesis to her previous songs about love and sex. It was haunting and dark and instead of the customary shrill bubbles resonating from Madonnas vocal cords, we hear a deep, measured, plaintive sound that
only makes the world even more astounded by the new object of their affections. Could Madonna be more than just a sexy pop tart with great dance songs and Marilyn Monroe aspirations?? Could she actually be a great singer/songwriter? America hadn't seen a great female singer/songwriter who was also a star. Carole King decades ago, Joni Mitchell wrote but rarely troubled the summit of the worlds pop charts. And here was Madonna, showing the potential of being all things to everyone. Where's The Party is a song with a theme of staying young, despite working for a living, by partying. Madonna said this song was inspired by a her statement 'where's the party?' which she used to say when she felt that work, The Press and life in general was getting too stressful and she remembered that she was supposed to be having a good time. It is nice and bouncy, but routine (with a standard Madonna arrangement of drum machine, synth and clattering rhythm), until the last part, where Madonna trots out with, "we can make it all right, we can make you dance, we can make a party last all night" at high speed and repeated, which adds a really nice touch to the song, and there is a final twist of humour right at the end - something Madonna does nowadays quite often. This is not one for listening to too closely. If you've having a party, and want to dance, well you know what to do! The title track True Blue, written in the style of early Sixties girl group pop (and a love song for new husband Sean, apparently based on a favourite saying of his) is actually in my opinion one of the weaker tracks on the album. It is too sugary, too I-love-you, for my taste: e.g. the chorus - "true love, you're the one I'm, dreamin' of, your heart fits me, like a glove, and I'm gonna be, true blue, baby, I love you" - ugh! But maybe that's a boy thing and you soppy girls will like it!! The music is in fast compound time and ma
kes use of a doo-wop chord sequence, but the rhymes are too predictable and the tone is saccharine overdose! Not surprisingly, it was a hit (*rolling his eyes as he writes this*). The only moment of interest is when a bass coutermelody starts in the second chorus. Generally, this song wasn't up to being the title track, but hey, that's what true blue love does to ya! Madonna gets right back on track with La Isla Bonita. Madonna's love affair with all things Spanish is clearly evident - many years before Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez and the new Latino sound. Originally written with Michael Jackson in mind (can you imagine that?! Good job he turned it down!), this is a real beauty, as Madonna reminisces about a beautiful tropical island (inspired by the mythical Spanish island of San Pedro) she once went to and the love she found there. The conga-littered intro ushers us quicker than the sweep of a flamenco dancer's skirt and the click of castanets into Madonna's tale of balmy romance. A real classic Madonna track and one of the gems of the album. A health warning, though: this is not one to listen to after your boss has told you that you can't have any leave, scuppering your vacation plans to the Seychelles, or wherever. It'll make you feel sick! Maybe play it on a cold wet afternoon in the city for some well-deserved escapism..."just like I'd never gone, I knew the song" - er ahem! Moving swifty on... ...we come to Jimmy Jimmy. Maybe we should have staying in San Pedro! This is a very lightweight song. It's about how Madonna had a crush on a young tearaway (inspired by Jimmy Dean, whom she actually had a crush on as a girl and whom she fantasised lived in her neighbourhood and moved away to be a big star), who leaves the small ol' town for Vegas, and how she wished she'd told him she loved him, but that it's too late now. More allusions to Jimmy Dean are in the way the boy smashes up hi
s new car, but the waywardness of the male character could also be applied to hubby Sean! "Oop shoo boop oop oop sha la la", she sings like a lovesick teenage girl - ugh! Love Makes The World Go Round is a song written for the Live Aid concert, where Madonna put on a performance of stunning, almost epic standards. The song itself is about pain, poverty and war and how we should fight them - pretty standard charity stuff - but the live performance was something out of this world. The bouncy tune and Latin carnival feel (accentuated with Latin American drums and samba synth bass) prevent the song from being depressing and some of the lyrics are catchy, like: "make love, not war, we say" (hear, hear!) and some are spot-on as well: "don't judge a man 'til you've been standing in his shoes, you know that we're all so quick to look away, 'cos it's the easy thing to do". We see in this song, as in Papa Don't Preach, Madonna the campaigner, for the first time. Bravo, Madonna. However, at best the song is average and not a particularly inspired way of ending the album. Not a bad effort overall - I think the title track was ill-advised and the album is generally of patchy quality with some dud/filler songs e.g. Jimmy Jimmy and Love Makes The World Go Round. This may have led to the under-rating of this album, but there are four awesome classics here – Papa Don’t Preach, La Isla Bonita, Open Your Heart and Live To Tell. It certainly didn't stall in sales, which were HUGE. The unfortunate feel of the album is of great potential mixed with commercialism and there is little cohesiveness between the different songs on this album. Despite this, Madonna shows great promise as a star AND a songwriter here.
So I have finally got round to reviewing what many people see as one of Madonna’s finest albums. The circumstances in which I do so are however quite sad. It is a Saturday night, and I am at home, whilst the majority of other people in the fair city are out having a cracking time on the tiles. ANYWAY, to True Blue…and I’m not talking the re-mastered version which was released to coincide with the tour. I have the original, with no extra bonus tracks on it. I’m undecided on whether to buy the new version or not, I can’t see that there will be too much difference….but you don’t want to know that do you (or should that be dooyoo…hmmm. Maybe I should get out more eh?). This album was released in 1986, and so far has clocked up sales of over 20 million, which tells you something in itself. It was produced by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, familiar names to all Madonna-ites... and released on Sire Records. It is dedicated ‘...to my husband, the coolest guy in the universe’. Hmmm, well she got that wrong eh? As it happened he wasn’t very cool at all, got sent to jail and reportedly smacked Mads about before they got a divorce in 1989. Fortunately for her she found a much cooler Guy indeed, but that’s off on a tangent again. True Blue starts out quite brilliantly, the first 4 tracks on this album are all pretty damn good. The track ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ has memories for me as the first Madonna track I fell in love with (at the grand age of 7!!!) It is a song about being in ‘an awful mess’. Being pregnant, not knowing what to do, and asking Daddy for advice.. There is the string arrangement which opens the song, which we all know well, and which last year was stolen and put into some truly awful dance record. There is kicking rhythm, and some catchy keyboards too, and funky electric guitar. Madonna sounds like she could be in a
mess in this song, there is something in her voice which almost pleads ‘papa don’t preach..’ Everyone must know this song, if they don’t they must have been on Mars for the last 15 years. ‘Open Your Heart’ ranks as one of my favourite all time Madonna songs. It was co-written by the lady herself, like most of the songs on the album. It made me open my heart to the world of music by Madonna. It is high energy from the start, with Madonna telling us to ‘Watch out!’ before the drums kick in, and the catchy keyboard riff. The synths flow throughout, winding their way in and out of the song., and you can also pick out some rhythm guitars. Madonna is telling her boy to open his heart to her, and she does it very well. They were very persuasive lyrics, the boy must have opened his heart. These lyrics would also have persuaded half the male population at this time to open much more. “A copper! How do you like that boys! A copper…”...opens this song, a clip from a film. The music enters in the background, and Madonna begins the song which is ‘White Heat’. Brilliantly catchy chorus “Get up stand tall/ Put your back up against the wall/ ‘Cause my love is dangerous/ This is a bust”. Great stuff. This song seems to be saying that basically, Madonna won’t take any crap when it comes t love. Half way through the film clip kicks in “Come out with your hands up!” It all works well together. The funky 80s guitars are again present, with that slap feel to them. It sounds quite electronic really, but in a very subtle way, not like some of the harsh 80s stuff there is around. The next song on the album has to rate as one of my top 3 Madonna songs…it may well actually be number 1 on my list. ‘Live to Tell’. I listen to it now as I write this and it blows me away for the millionth time. It is just such a powerful song, the music,
and the lyrics and the voice that is singing them. SUPER. Words can not totally describe it. Opening with some subtle keyboards, the drums kick in, amazing. Then Madonna sings. This song always sounds like she has thrown herself into it. It really seems to come from the heart. Is it just my imagination. Anyway, I think she sounds better on this track than at any other time during her early career. I love the bit in this song where Madonna comes in “If I ran away, I’d never have the strength to go very far/ How would they hear/ the beating of my heart…”. Oh that is great. ANYWAY, I think you’ve probably guessed by now that I think this is the best song on the album. I can’t do it justice, let you ears judge. ‘Where’s the party’ follows next. Madonna wants to party…and she did. She did lots of partying. “Where’s the party/ I want to free my soul/ Where’s the party/ I want to lose control”, I often have this thought, although I do try not to lose control…its not pretty. This song I would describe as quite spangly. It has that more of that electronic feel to it, with some sharp keyboard sounds chucked in. It is good to party too I guess, another song you can get up and dance too, but not one of my favourites. Listen out for the really dirty laugh from Madonna about 3 ¾ minutes through!!! ‘True Blue’ is a song for the summer. It is great, and the first background vocals always sound very Cyndi Lauper-ish. The sound of the music is very much the same as other songs on the album, the slap sounding guitars, keyboards, and upbeat rhythms. Nice background vocals too though. This is a song about love, and it oozes happiness. A little smile will appear on your face as you listen, promise. Its not one of my favourite ever Madonna tracks, but it is very good. I want to get up and do a little dance. Next comes another very well known song. ‘La Isla
Bonita’, a very Latin influenced song, again is a song for the summer. Its talk of sun and sky and sea and tropical breezes takes you away. Some great percussion on this track, to back up the drums. “I want to be where the sun warms the sky/ when its time for siesta you can watch them go by/ Beautiful faces no cares in this world…”. Oh my sentiments exactly. Anyway, I don’t feel well qualified enough to review this song...as with many things I actually end up reviewing. ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ is a song that really quite annoys me. I don’t think it is very good lyrically, and I am really fed up with Jimmy’s name by the end, after it being said close to 100 times. It is all quite shooo be dooop and I don’t like all that stuff. It doesn’t seem to flow particularly well either. Heck lets just say I think this song is the worst song on the album and I don’t like it much. According to Madonna ‘Love makes the World go round’. This song is a good end to the album. It is a song about love… obviously, and all the bad things happening in the world and how love could solve it all. Madonna put her love into a rather explicit book of pictures no less than 10 years later. There are a couple of good messages in this song too. I like them anyway. “..everything you do/ comes back in time to you” and “don’t judge a man ‘til you’ve been standing in his shoes”. So that is the album that we affectionately know as True Blue. It is great except for that song about Jimmy. It marks a change from the squeaky more girly voice of the younger Madonna, and marks a new maturity, but no swing away from the dance numbers which is good to see. It is of great importance in Madonna's music career, and spawned 3 very big hits. In short, if you were around in the 80s this is the soundtrack. Any Madonna fan should own it already! Any non-Madonna fan
should take a listen anyway, its pure pop at its best. Now I shall go and contemplate the rest of my Saturday night at home....
This is definitely not a greatest hits album. Many of the tracks are not very well known although overall it is not a bad album. It is the sort of music that you might put on at the start of a party, or as some background music if you were having a buffet or a barbecue. Although most of the tracks are quite lively they are not quite powerful enough to make you feel you want to get up and dance. There are nine tracks on this album: Papa Don’t Preach. This is a song about a young girl who is pregnant and needs the support of her father to make the decision of whether to keep the baby or not. This sounds as if it would be a very emotional song, but it is not. It is a typical Madonna lively track that I really like. Open Your Heart. This is a fairly nondescript track that seems to go a bit too long, but it is OK for some background music. White Heat. This is a good disco dance track. I don’t think I have ever seen Madonna sing this song but I would imagine that it would be a great performance. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Live To Tell. There are some really great instrumental parts on this track. This is one of Madonna’s softer song tracks and I think she does this one extremely well. This slow track contrasts really well with the previous track. (White Heat.) Where’s The Party. From the title of this track you know it is going to be a dance track, but I don’t particularly like this track, it is a bit too corny and could have been sung by almost anyone. There is definitely no Madonna magic here. True Blue. This is the title track for the album and is quite well known. It is also probably one of the best tracks on the album. La Isla Bonita. This is definitely the best track on the whole album. A very powerful song with all of the Madonna magic. There is a great Latin American feel to the music with some of the lyrics in Spa
nish, a lot of people refer to this track as Spanish Lullaby. This is a track that will make you want to get up and dance. Most people will recognise this track straight away. There is also some great acoustic guitar playing. I normally find I have to play this track two or three times. Jimmy Jimmy. Don’t bother to listen to this track, it is awful, just skip straight onto the last track. Love Makes The World Go Round. This typical Madonna dance track that finishes off the album really well. A fast, lively track it will certainly start your feet tapping. The lyrics are a bit corny, but it is OK. Overall this is not the best collection of Madonna songs, but it is quite a pleasant album with some good tracks on it. La Isla Bonita is definitely the best track and although I often play that track more than once, this is not an album that I would play too often. Just bring it out at party time.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Papa Don't Preach
2 Open Your Heart
3 White Heat
4 Live To Tell
5 Where's The Party
6 True Blue
7 La Isla Bonita
8 Jimmy Jimmy
9 Love Makes The World Go Round