HolidayGuy

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  1. This is pretty sweet- didn't see it posted. (covers accessible on the linked page) http://www.telegram.com/entertainmentlife/20170318/over-borderline-what-70-cover-songs-taught-us-about-madonna Over the Borderline: What 70 cover songs taught us about Madonna By Victor D. Infante Telegram & Gazette Staff March 18, 2017 Madonna is omnipresent in the news: Adopting twins from Malawi, giving a controversial speech at the Women's March in Washington, D.C., dressing as Beauty and the Beast for a Purim costume party. Indeed, Madonna's such a force of nature that it's almost impossible to separate her public persona from her music, and yet, in the wake of Prince's death last year and Michael Jackson's untimely passing in 2009, she's the last standing of the MTV era's titans. There were other giants from the advent of the medium who transformed the music industry, but of them Bruce Springsteen and the late David Bowie were really just passing through. Madonna never left the public stage, and she has a songbook of some of the most recognizable pop tunes around, including "Borderline," "Holiday," "Like A Virgin," "Vogue," "Ray of Light," "Express Yourself," "Material Girl" and more. But with an artist that's so iconoclastic, and so steeped in celebrity, how do you really evaluate her work? We could immerse ourself in her music, digging deep to see what makes it tick ... or we could do as we've done before, and ask a bunch of musicians to cover one of her songs without knowing in advance what it will be or who it's by. This time, more than 100 musicians, producers and videographers across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Canada and Sweden collaborated to cover 70 of Madonna's best- and least-known songs, from more than 30 years' worth of albums. Much like Madonna's own systematic reinventions, the covers were all over the stylistic map, from jazz to techno. Worcester-area singer Lovina teamed with Jillian Suchodolski for a straightforward and heart-wrenchingly beautiful rendition of "Live to Tell," then teamed up with the band Punk Rock Treehouse for a jazzy and cheeky spin on "Hanky Panky." Ukulele advocate Rich "the Amazing Dick" Leufstedt put a Lou Reed-esque spin on "Thief of Hearts," and the band Clinical D — comprising Deborah Beaudry, Sean Revoltah, Dan Morrissey and Jeréme Lawrénce — worked over computer from Worcester, Seattle and England to create a hard-rocking version of "Why's It So Hard?" And then, there were the versions that went far off the deep end, including highly entertaining takes on "Bye, Bye Baby" and "Cherish" from California videographer Jaimes Palacio, "Little Star" sung as a lullaby by Los Angeles writer Luke Y. Thompson to his cat, Toby, and a — ahem — soulful rendition of "Nobody Knows Me" by a California artist identified as Your Pal Satan, in full devilish makeup. Poetry-music fusion band the Duende Project did a fairly straight version of "Borderline" featuring Capri Lanning-Cafaro on vocals, augmented by an original poem by frontman Tony Brown. Rocker Allazzon turned "Vogue" into a metal gladiator anthem with his "I'm Preparing to Die" remix. "Madonna rewrites herself with great skill every so often, and each iteration makes for a fairly clearly defined presentation," says The Vac, of New England's Wetdryvac's Lair, which tackled "Physical Attraction" and "Til Death Do Us Part." It says this versatility opened up the possibilities of reinterpretation, which many of the artists felt was was vital: "At first when I heard we were going to be covering her I was admittedly a little nervous," says Lili De La Mora of California's Kier Delay, "especially since 'Express Yourself' was one of her hits and she sings it with so much sass. I'm more on the mellow spectrum. Once we started working on the song I was able to see it as its own separate thing. Switching up the feel of the music helped." "My song, 'Dress You Up,' doesn't represent the better aspects of her persona, but the sleazy, vapid part," says acoustic musician Matt Robert. "I tried for a genre that seemed diametrically opposed to the original." Likewise, Scott Chandler of California's Operation Mockingbird says, "We obviously have an affinity towards the darker sides of things, and so for even a seemingly upbeat pop song, we were able to focus on the actual lyrics she had written. We magnified the vacillation between the understanding tenderness and selfish frustration that we felt were present in the lyrics into the sound of the music and how it was to be sung." Others turned the songs on their heads, such as Sarah Fard, of the Boston band Savoire Faire, who switched up "Material Girl," singing "We are living in a material world/but I'm not a material girl." Florida's Will Ryan, of the Superb Itch, says "Like A Prayer" "was so specific to her explorations of sexual and religious themes ... When I was working through different versions of the song, I found that it took on a whole other meaning when sung from an old white guy perspective ... In a lot of ways the same song can be stripped of all of its sexual potency just by changing the voice." Mz M of the Deadites says, "We were given 'Like a Virgin.' There's a lot of pressure when you are assigned an artist's breakthrough song ... My first thought was to simply consider a different meaning. Think of the fact that for many, the 'first time' is not a pleasurable experience and go from there. And ultimately that's what came through. Her original is bright and in your face, as was her persona then. We went with a slightly darker but still pop-infused version." WICN DJ Nick Noble, who performed "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" with Sandy Haddon as Wolfpen, says they faced a challenge in "taking a song that is remarkably unmelodious and turning it into ... well, that was the second challenge: ballad? blues? folk? Went with folk ... Sandy had a nice arrangement for the verses and chorus, but the bridge was a challenge — the result was Peter, Paul and Mary do Madonna, and I liked it." Giuliano D'Orazio of Hot Letter took the opportunity "to really do something that embodies dance/electronic music as well as rock 'n' roll" when covering "Impressive Instant." Worcester country musician Stan Matthews "enjoyed the mood of sadness and loss conveyed by the lyrics" when he tackled "Inside of Me." WCUW DJ Steve Blake, of Punk Rock Playhouse, said their song "had a pseudo jazzy shuffle beat and a silly/kinky lyric. It was a large step to turn it into a Damned-ish punk rock thing." For some, the fundamental problem they faced was that they actually enjoyed the song, and needed to find a balance between reverence and making it their own. Katyana Hall of Orange County, California, who performed "Ray of Light" with guitarist Alex Alvarez, said, "I had to try hard not to sing it exactly like she did." Danielle Staples Magario, of Worcester's Fox and the Dragon, says, "We ended up pulling inspiration from Damien Rice and replaced the chords. What's weird is that without trying, the chords we chose lent themselves nicely to her original vocal melody, with a few tweaks and harmonies." On that same note, Worcester-area musician Shane Hall played a fairly faithful rendition of "Sky Fits Heaven," relying on a one-take recording to capture his own nuance and personality. For many musicians, Madonna's lyrics, especially on some of her more recent songs, proved to be an issue. "I can deal with linear 'go nowhere' music," says Your Pal Satan, "but I need a different context for the lyrics so I didn't sound like a moody teenager tweeting their angst." Likewise, Los Angeles singer Beth Marquez, who did a country-ish version of "Push" with musician Jim Scheel, says, "The first couple stabs I took at it nearly pained me physically because the lyrics were so bad." Pernilla Borgström of Sweden, who did "Spanish Eyes" and "Deeper and Deeper," says she "struggled with the chord progression, in both songs. I'm a '90s melodic pop fan at heart, and so tend to approach songwriting from the trusty old C-G-Am-F angle. In 'my' Madonna songs, I felt like there were some tricky twists and turns in the chord progressions, and I found it difficult to connect with them at first. But that was also part of the fun, finding ways to make it work for me, emotionally." Likewise, California musician Luke Johnson, who covered "Erotica" as Me Montana Casio, says that "it was tricky to come up with a guitar part for a song that has such fleeting moments of melody and really only has a vocal melody in its chorus, but there was a certain darkness to the notes I could hear that really lent itself well to some minor chords." Worcester singer-songwriter Sean Ryder, who handled the iconic "Holiday," "felt the need to be cognizant of others love for song, and thus felt the cover should be recognizable/enjoyable by those who truly connected to the song in the first place." And a lot of people connect to her music, some identifying with individual eras, others gleefully going along for the ride with each incarnation. But even those who began the cover-song journey not being outright fans found things to respect in her work. "I think her music swings wildly," says Thompson. "Some of it's really mediocre pop, and then some of it comes close to classic. Of all the '80s music icons who stuck around, she's possibly the most inconsistent. 'Little Star,' which I was assigned and had never heard before, is so much better than any of the familiar songs that it floored me at first." Ryan says that "doing the deep dive into the catalog made me appreciate the 'master of reinvention' aspect of her mythos a lot more. If you had a smash hit album in the early '80s with sweet, meaningless pop, it seems like it would be easy to just ride that gravy train until it kicked you off. But she didn't seem like one to wait around and let the winds shift her. I respect the degree of experimentation she showed even though the juggernaut of mass production tends to keep people penned into their type." Staples Magario says that she appreciates "female artists who are confident in themselves and their sexuality and who can portray that confidence in their art." Lance Roberts-Van Wormer, of Washington, who covered "X-Static Process," muses on the personal significance she holds for him, saying that "even though her success has been through pop/dance music, to me, her all-around aesthetic is straight-up punk rock. For the longest time, mainly during the '90s, her public persona was one big walking middle finger, which I loved. As a mouthy gay kid from a very small Texas town, she was pure inspiration." Ryder says that "despite being an icon of pop music, a multiplatinum-selling artist whose career has spanned decades, she doesn't get the credit she deserves for her musicianship, creativity and songwriting/co-songwriting. Some of the songs are iconic because of her personality and performance. Some are iconic because they are amazing songs."
  2. Thanks, jonski- yes, here is the link (says limited to 4,500, like the last one, I guess): http://recordstoreday.com/SpecialRelease/9291 I got the Angel/ITG single at the local record shop some months back, and I have the MG mix on a CD, so not sure this is a necessary purchase.
  3. So, any ideas as to what will be on this release?
  4. Just a note: "Ghostown" made it to No. 65 in UK sales (and spent two weeks in the top 75)- that's a more comparable showing to GGW, "Masterpiece," any sales-based ranking.
  5. The AC/Classic Hits stations in my area play her decently enough. I hear TIC classics as a whole pretty often/somewhat regularly.
  6. I don't know that it would have fit in any of them (not that all songs she performs fit ever-so-snugly). She must do a "Dear Jessie"/"Little Star" medley at some point, or at least include them in a "whimsical" set.
  7. Yeah, it would be unlikely that Showtime would "own" it forever. HBO aired her other concerts, and they each saw release (well, Blond Ambition-Nice on laser disc, but still a release).
  8. Arnian- the lyrics (except perhaps for the raps) support as much. it's just that she shrewdly didn't market it as such. Along with the marching band, the placement fits very well, given EY and the bit of "She's Not Me."
  9. There was a cone bra in Pat Benatar's "Sex as a Weapon" video (also a Gaultier design), but, of course, it was the one he did for Madonna that set the world on fiyah.
  10. I enjoy GMAYL, even if it's not a patch on her best work. I always took it as her talking to a certain artist who's been heavily inspired by her, but who, since 2011 or so, has gotten very defensive about the comparisons. And its placement on the MDNA Tour was no coincidence.
  11. I got a bottle of the original perfume- course, I haven't used it. I agree, Love Tech- I like it; it has a nice, familiar aroma.
  12. ^Rhino's site said the cloths were a B&N exclusive, so you best have, especially when buying three.
  13. Yah, jonski, I know those were the standard formats at the time. I had gotten I'm Breathless on vinyl when it came out, but then cassette when TIC was released. I didn't get into CDs until 1997. I wasn't given a calendar or cleaning cloth- the injustice. The website said those were for a limited time; and the cloth was for Barnes and Noble customers.
  14. TIC was released on vinyl first time out, right? I had never gotten it, so it will be a new experience in that regard. Listening to music on vinyl is a different experience in itself, though, so...
  15. Got my copy- Main St. Jukebox in Stroudsburg, Pa., had two copies (it had more; apparently it started selling it late last week. Looking forward to being in awe of this masterful release.
  16. I'll probably be swinging by the record shop this a.m.
  17. I don't but could do so in the near future. A couple of notes: Cashbox ceased in 1996, and some 1990s years had multiple weeks without a new chart (one had 10+). Radio & Records ceased in the late 2000s- it and Billboard's airplay charts (derived from radio-station playlists, with songs receiving a set number of points based on their ranks on such playlists) from the mid-1980s through the 2000s were very close to each other (though 19921-1994 had some notable differences between R&R and Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart, the latter a spin-based chart that debuted in Sept. 1992- R&R moved to a spins-based chart either in late 1994 or early 1995).
  18. All of them would have "deserved" to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 if they had the most chart points of all singles in a given week. By the by- there has been life outside the Hot 100 in terms of the pop charts."Material Girl" and Cherish" both hit No. 1 on Radio & Records' CHR/Pop chart, and also No. 1 on the Cashbox chart. Also, "Express Yourself" hit No. 1 on Cashbox and "I'll Remember" was a No. 1 on Radio & Records.
  19. They look real perty, especially the blue record.
  20. Agreed. Album version all the way- more effective, for what she's singing about. I've already made it known that it will be the song to play when I literally become a spiritual being.
  21. "Act of Contrition" makes a great closing track, thematically, for its album. And there are some excellent closers listed- but, "Vogue."
  22. She could never, and should never, release a compilation that doesn't include the classic material from 1983-2005. In any event, another compilation isn't necessary, especially in this day and age. Hopefully a new album is out ~ three years after RH, if not unexpectedly sooner.
  23. Yes, Illuminati- that's the one I was referring to. Love it.
  24. Nice read, and photos- especially the one with the coat, leaning against the wall.
  25. Thanks, jonski- I do recall Jan. 24 now I think of it. The standard release date is Fridays, now, so Rhino is going against the grain and using the one-time release day of the week. :) A local record store, plus an FYE at the local mall, carry vinyl albums, so not sure if I should pre-order or- gasp- go to to the store. I have had a couple of issues on colored vinyl releases (skipping in a couple of spots), but with others, not.