Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Obsession with Madonna The Immaculate Collection

When I was a kid, I had to have EVERYTHING that had the name Madonna attached to it. I garnered the unwanted moniker Mr. Madonna when I was in school. I had every album (LP, cassette and CD), single (45 & cass-ingle) as well as the 12" maxi singles. When The Immaculate Collection was released...of course I had to have it. I didn't care that I had all but two of the songs already on multiple media variations among various singles as well as on the actual Madonna, Like A Virgin, True Blue, You Can Dance, Like A Prayer and I'm Breathless albums. I could have made mix tapes of all of the songs, though in reality it wouldn't have been the same to me. Some of the mixes were "exclusive" and could only be heard on this album and believe you me, it mattered with my OCD Madonna completeness syndrome. Friday, November 9, 1990 I rode my bicycle down to Wal-Mart and spent a big $10 on a cassette consisting of 15 songs I already had plus 2 more I would have on singles in a few months.

Though I loved this album and some of the remixes included, I did find some of the choices for this album a bit odd. Considering it is a greatest hits, it was missing several "essential hits" or at least what I considered great hits. With the exception of Justify My Love and Rescue Me, the first 15 songs were mastered in Q-Sound, this was actually the first album to use Q-Sound audio effects...To this day I cannot tell the difference between the Q-Sound and original versions. Though I loved the new mixes of Express Yourself and Like A Prayer, I found the expansion of Material Girl and Vogue slightly silly. Rather than a fade out as heard on the Like A Virgin album, Material Girl ended with a chorus of men chanting the hook "Living in a material world" with a hard ending. Vogue features 2 seconds of Madonna asking "What are you looking at?" followed by the I'm Breathless/video version with the orchestral intro rather than the single version usually heard on the radio. Live To Tell isn't expanded but they did use a longer mix rather than the edited radio version also. Like A Prayer is noticeably different than it's original album version, in a fresh and dance-able way but the fact they could have edited it and cut out a bit of the extended instrumental sections. I'm assuming the lengths of the songs had something to do with balancing the running times of side A & B of the LP and cassette releases or possibly the fact that CD's back in this day could hold up to about 74 minutes rather than the 80 minute CD's of today.

The artwork was interesting though I  always thought the cover itself was bland, no photo of Madonna? How could that be? She's image driven. Open it up and you see a silver disc with light blue polka dots...getting interesting...The booklet contains photos of Madonna but not in a retrospect of her career as one would assume might be included in a greatest hits collection. The photos are from a Herb Ritts photo session around the time of the release of this collection. My favorite photo from this CD was taken in what appears to be a men's restroom.

I loved this collection for sure but as I said, several "essential" hits were omitted. This is the part where I complain about it but in all fairness, a four track EP was released in Europe to accompany The Immaculate Collection, entitled The Holiday Collection. The Holiday Collection featured a longer version of Holiday, though anything longer than the Immaculate Collection version is torture to me. Also included is True Blue and Who's That Girl and Causing a Commotion from the film Who's That Girl. No where to be found on either recording were the hits Dress You Up, Where's The Party, Angel, Oh Father, Keep It Together, Hanky Panky or the unexpected and relatively unremembered hit from the You Can Dance collection entitled Spotlight. I know there was no room for them on The Immaculate Collection and as awesome as it was to release The Holiday Collection, wouldn't you think instead of four tracks they could have rounded it up to 11 to include the 6 additional tracks I mentioned? One of those songs, Oh Father, is actually featured on the video version of The Immaculate Collection which was released the following Tuesday. One would think the CD and video might feature the same songs but well, it's just a thought.

Since the release of The Immaculate Collection, two other albums, Something To Remember & GHV2 were released to supplement this collection to cover Madonna's career up to 2001. Both were solid stand alone albums but didn't quite cover the "missing" hits of The Immaculate Collection.

2009's release of Celebration was a total reboot of Madonna's greatest hits featuring some of the missing hits and features an amazing retrospect of her work within a deluxe two CD set or a single CD version containing highlights from the the deluxe two CD set. With all that said, I somehow I find myself listening to The Immaculate and Holiday Collections when I'm in a Madonna mood.

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