As I did with my review of Madonna's first album (remastered), I will start with comments on the actual track list, followed be comments on the digitally remastered version.
TRUE BLUE, in my mind, is probably Madonna at her most inspirational. Other flashes of excellence like RAY OF LIGHT and LIKE A PRAYER may indeed receive mention, but it is this album that will always peg Madonna as a serious and brilliantly gifted artist. Five songs were released to great success internationally, viz. "Live To Tell", "Papa Don't Preach", "Open Your Heart", "True Blue" and "La Isla Bonita". Moreover, "White Heat" was a fairly large hit in South Africa, and "Where's The Party" stormed the charts throughout the Far East. It is this latter song which begs to be remodelled and re-released in time for Madonna's upcoming Greatest Hits package (the 2nd "Immaculate Collection"). I personally fail to understand why this song was never released internationally in the first place.
The album opens with "Papa Don't Preach" - a superbly composed, poetic tune that sets a rather gloomy ambience. This is followed by "Open Your Heart", an upbeat, inspiring piece which is full of energy and aplomb. "White Heat" ensues, with a child-like theme akin to "cops `n robbers". We are then confronted by some hauntingly beautiful material in "Live to Tell", probably one of Madonna's strongest and most sincere ballads to date. This seriousness fails to last though, for "Where's The Party" lifts the spirits once again, as the lyrics ask us to "free our souls" and "lose control". Succeeding this wonderful dance tune is the title track, "True Blue", a love-inspired pop song, full of imagination and excited girliness. This is followed by "La Isla Bonita", a Spanish-influenced pop tune with catchy lyrics and seductive percussion. "Jimmy Jimmy" is the next track, a bubblegum pop song which is, sadly, the weakest on the album. TRUE BLUE ends on a rather energetic note, with the South American carnival-style influence in "Love Makes The World Go Round" - a fitting finalé to a well-rounded, tireless pop album.
The remodelled version of this 1986 album can simply be described as "impeccable". "Digitally Remastered" it is, and in more ways than one. The entire package has been enhanced, including the lyrics booklet and back cover. Fans will be delighted at the inclusion of a full-length TRUE BLUE picture within the lyrics booklet (as was featured in the original cassette version).
One finds it hard to believe the clarity of each song on this refreshingly enhanced CD. Like the remastered first album, some tunes on TRUE BLUE sound even more dance oriented than before - as their beats are far more distinctive and vibrant. "Where's The Party" and "Open Your Heart" are examples. In fact, "Where's The Party" sounds far more exciting than it originally did! The drums throb, and the synthesisers are lucid and precise. The inclusion of two bonus tracks will please many fans. "True Blue" (The Colour Mix) is definitely one of my favourites. Shep Pettibone was a master at remixing Madonna tracks, and this one is no exception. "La Isla Bonita" (Extended Remix), however, is not characteristically different to the album version - it is merely an extended version, and not nearly as polished as something Pettibone would have performed.
The digitally remastered version of "True Blue" is phenomenal, and is a must for the fan and the musically informed. It certainly is worthy of being nominated "Top 10 Album Of All Time".