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CELEBRATION: A RETARDATION.


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So, Mr. Brainwash gives us brilliant artwork which coincides with an equally stunning promotional campaign, so of course Warner Bros. botches the audio portion. I'm particularly sensitive to this right now given the quality, care and accuracy that went into the recently re-released Beatles catalog.

26 years in, is no one going to step up to preserve Madonna's recorded legacy?

Lest the tone of this come across as entirely negative (it's really more underwhelmed than anything), this is to serve as final confirmation of what you're getting when you buy the new collection. All of the truly iconic songs are here, though many major hits have been omitted. And that's okay considering --impressively-- it would require double the amount of discs to include all of Madonna's hits in one package.

Here is what is included on Celebration.

There are 15 previously released songs featured in their full-length, original album versions.

  • BURNING UP
  • HOLIDAY
  • MATERIAL GIRL
  • INTO THE GROOVE
  • LIVE TO TELL
  • PAPA DON'T PREACH
  • LA ISLA BONITA
  • WHO'S THAT GIRL
  • LIKE A PRAYER
  • JUSTIFY MY LOVE
  • TAKE A BOW
  • BEAUTIFUL STRANGER
  • MUSIC - MASTERING ERROR: multiple digital pops and clicks that are not part of the original recording can be heard throughout this song.
  • DIE ANOTHER DAY - MASTERING ERROR: Track fades up late due to the incorrectly placed track index on the American Life album. This is ridiculous. The unaffected album version appears on both the US Promo CD single and the Die Another Day film soundtrack, all Warner Bros. releases.
  • HOLLYWOOD - MASTERING ERROR: Track starts abruptly and end of "American Life"'s fade out is audible.

Of these, nine were released as singles in versions that differ from these LP mixes. I would have much preferred the inclusion of the difficult to obtain single mixes, but I'm in therapy and have mostly moved on. Mostly.

Fortunately, five tracks do appear in their official single versions.

  • SECRET (Edit) - though this looks to be the album version with the single fade recreated for this compilation
  • RAY OF LIGHT (Edit) - again, it's more than likely that this is actually the album version reedited for this compilation to match the radio edit
  • SORRY (Single Edit) - the correct single version master
  • 4 MINUTES (Edit) - the correct single version master
  • MILES AWAY (Radio Edit) - the correct single version master

...and one more is a rarity from a US promo CD:

  • HUNG UP ([unblended] Album Version)

Next up, there are five remixes lifted directly from The Immaculate Collection.

  • BORDERLINE (1990) (Q Sound Mix)
  • LIKE A VIRGIN (1990) (Q Sound Mix)
  • CRAZY FOR YOU (1990) (Q Sound Mix)
  • OPEN YOUR HEART (1990) (Q Sound Mix)
  • VOGUE (1990) (Q Sound Mix)

And now we pause to ask ourselves why.

The remaining ten tracks are unique to the collection. The first two are new recordings.

  • CELEBRATION
  • REVOLVER

One appears to be a from-the-vault rarity, likely included by mistake.

  • LUCKY STAR - ALTERNATIVE Q SOUND MIX
  • Virtually identical to the version heard on The Immaculate Collection, though there is noticeably more reverb on the "ee-yeah"'s at the foot of each chorus. The music leading into the first verse is different (on TIC is was edited to match the original 7" version, on here it is not.) The most obvious difference is right at the fade, instead of the chorus it edits to a set of adlibs heard on longer versions of the song, but not heard on the Q Sound version. Odd, but inoffensive as it seems to be a genuine unreleased variation.

  • FROZEN - The full length album version with a short pass of additional strings during the end that extend the song by approx. 5 seconds.

As for the rest, quality control has reached an all time low:

  • EVERYBODY - FAKE EDIT
  • This uses the full length, original 12" version as its starting point (as did the official 7" single version), but is structured differently. While the overall idea for this edit wasn't horrendous, whoever was placed in charge of actually executing the edits needs to be tortured. Slowly... painfully.

  • DRESS YOU UP - FUCKED UP INTRO
  • What the hell happened here? This isn't a mix variation so much as a mastering error... the album version started late with severe tape pinch/phasing issues right at the top. Of the four beats on the intro, all but the fourth are missing.

  • EXPRESS YOURSELF - FAKE FUCKING FUCK.
  • The most offensive. In a failed attempt to kindofsortof recreate the video version, they have taken the complete intro straight off of the Local Mix. The actual, official video version is specially mixed to have echo on the line "Do you believe in love..." which is dry on the Local Mix and therefore not present here. This new monstrosity then cuts incorrectly to the 7" Remix/Edit version and then again where they have BUTCHERED the song right at the bridge. A bad edit jumps the track from the end of the chorus to the repeat of the bridge which kills the structure of the track. This version is unlistenable.

:hotmess:

  • CHERISH - FAKE EDIT
  • The original album version cut to the length of the super-short Immaculate Collection version. AMATEUR doesn't begin to describe how bad these edits have been executed. Poor edits result in creating entirely new lyrics! How about this chestnut... "Can't get away, I won't let to" ?! They render all prior complaints about bad edits on Madonna's releases void. Again, unlistenable. In the cases of "Express Yourself" and "Cherish," why not just use the fucking Q Sound remixes?! They're the exact same length as the fake edits and it's not like there aren't 6 others from that release present here.

  • EROTICA - FAKE Radio Edit
  • The edit points are around the same places as the OFFICIAL radio edit, but are poorly executed. The worst is around 3:30... they cut a beat late making for one of the sloppiest moments on this royalfuckupofacompilation. I don't understand why this needed to be recreated as the official edit appears on countless singles and 2001's GHV2 compilation. Oh. And the "surface noise" on the end of "Erotica" overlaps the beginning of "Justify My Love".

  • DON'T TELL ME - FAKE Radio Edit
  • The least offensive/noticeable fake edit, but incorrect nonetheless. The true radio edit was a unique mix for the very last second that does not feature the "whimsical strings" tag. For Celebration, they have chopped off the end, but the first millisecond of this tag is audible.

Regarding the mastering: It sounds as though noise reduction was used to remove "tape hiss" which is unnecessary on most recordings post 1980. This process kills part of the high end of recordings. In addition, the entire album has a smear of bass over it. I really wanted to like it, but it sounds like a cheap "bass boost" EQ effect was applied to the songs, not proper remastering.

I had accepted the slightly shoddy sequencing, several major omissions and overall lack of consistency and attention to detail with the mixes chosen for this release. I love the look of the entire project, but I cannot understand the use of newly created, butchered versions of songs.

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hey lets not over analyze here im just glad that theres a new compilation worth buying for the moment.

And hey dont worry im sure when she dies (god forbid not in the near future) she will get the Beatles treatment for her catalog....which she rightly deserves...

Lets just freakin buy the album and make it at least as successful as TIC...(wishful thinking) hehehe

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Oh, I analyze the hell out of this stuff. Especially during this Celebration era... I don't mean to annoy anyone. I just want to try and maintain a certain level of accuracy.

I am also overworked, overtired and, yes, a little disappointed. :shy:

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so Mattress can you tell me what's the DEFINITIVE VERSION of Express Yourself? (I'm currently listening to Like A Prayer)

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Guest missy bi_tch

oh if madonna dies tomoro, everything she did would be fking genius that no one ever conjured...

trust me

cherish her while you can...she's 51...how many more decades will we have her? 1 more

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Oh my god! You have clearly much better ears than I, for Ive just picked up on the Dress You up / erotica / cherish edits. What a shoddy job! This is unbelievable - disgraceful!

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My copy has all these weird clicks in "Music". I'm wondering whether I've got a faulty CD or whether it's been stuffed up in the remastering process.... :nocomment: There are some random clicks in "Revolver", too, but they're in time to the beat, so they could be part of the song.

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My copy has all these weird clicks in "Music". I'm wondering whether I've got a faulty CD or whether it's been stuffed up in the remastering process.... :nocomment: There are some random clicks in "Revolver", too, but they're in time to the beat, so they could be part of the song.

:lmao:

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The remastered versions of WTG and LAP sound great. I'm all for having a remastered LAP in it's album version, but I was hoping even more for the 7". The louder bass and harder drums give the song a more dramatic feel. I also wanted Borderline's single mix, but I guess the Q-sound mix is close enough.

If anybody's got LAP's and Boderline's single versions it'd be great if you'd post them.

Wasn't La Isla Bonita a different version on the radio? If I recall it seemed to be an edit of the extended remix.

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Guest ursaminorjim

  • HUNG UP ([unblended] Album Version)

Wait, is this different from the version on the non-megamixed Confessions On a Dance Floor?

And when you say the "album" version of "Into the groove" - is that the Immaculate Collection version? The You can Dance version? Or the real single version (4:40)?

SO disappointing to hear about the amateur edits and Immaculate Collection mixes. That really sucks.

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Guest Pud Whacker

“What? No ‘Hanky Panky’? Is this some kind of joke? Given how obsessive her fans are, it’s a thankless task for Madonna to assemble a two-CD hit collection. But from the opening one-two of ‘Hung Up’ and ‘Music,’ two of her best ever, Celebration kicks off with pure bliss and never lets up. It’s a dizzying, nonchronological spin through the Madonna years, years it makes you feel lucky to be living through. Her hitmaking genius is unmatched and—with the new Eurocheese blast ‘Celebration’ and the Lil Wayne duet ‘Revolver’—undiminished. It’s almost enough to make you forget that they left off ‘Angel,’ which is just plain crazypants.” —Rob Sheffield

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My copy has all these weird clicks in "Music". I'm wondering whether I've got a faulty CD or whether it's been stuffed up in the remastering process.... :nocomment:

I noticed clicks as well --lots of them-- but didn't list them, giving the benefit of the doubt that it was a fault in the files I received. Another mastering error. :(

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“What? No ‘Hanky Panky’? Is this some kind of joke? Given how obsessive her fans are, it’s a thankless task for Madonna to assemble a two-CD hit collection. But from the opening one-two of ‘Hung Up’ and ‘Music,’ two of her best ever, Celebration kicks off with pure bliss and never lets up. It’s a dizzying, nonchronological spin through the Madonna years, years it makes you feel lucky to be living through. Her hitmaking genius is unmatched and—with the new Eurocheese blast ‘Celebration’ and the Lil Wayne duet ‘Revolver’—undiminished. It’s almost enough to make you forget that they left off ‘Angel,’ which is just plain crazypants.” —Rob Sheffield

I read that review last night before I posted this thread, and the entire time I typed I thought: "Pud Whacker is going to quote Rob Sheffield. Pud Whacker is going to quote Rob Sheffield."

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I noticed clicks as well --lots of them-- but didn't list them, giving the benefit of the doubt that it was a fault in the files I received. Another mastering error. :(

Ugh! :( The Revolver ones are intentional (they're in the demo as well, although they sound exactly like bumps on vinyl do), but the "Music" ones are really obvious and distracting, especially since the original version is so pristine. No one else has mentioned them, though, so maybe I've just been unlucky.....?!

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Wait, is this different from the version on the non-megamixed Confessions On a Dance Floor?

No, "Hung Up" is the same as the non-megamixed version. The only prior physical release on compact disc was the US promo, so this marks it's commercial debut on the CD format.

And when you say the "album" version of "Into the groove" - is that the Immaculate Collection version? The You can Dance version? Or the real single version (4:40)?

"Into To Groove" is the full, original 1985 version.

Oh, and Mattress - twenty extra love points for the SWC reference. :lmao:

:lol:

warnerbrosrecords.jpg

"They all want cake."

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