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4.3 out of 5 stars
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As a teenager in the 1980s, I absolutely loved Madonna; I refused to go a single day without listening to at least one Madonna song. By the time the 1990s rolled around, the obsession had faded and, while I still liked Madonna, I really didn't keep up with her music (or pop music in general, the poor quality of which finally pushed me over to the oldies stations on my radio). For me, GHV2 is a perfect match. My previous exposure to most of these songs ranged from a little to none whatsoever, so I basically rediscovered Madonna when I bought this collection. Madonna has never gotten the respect she deserves for her music; all I heard about her for many years were criticisms of her movies, jokes, etc. Most of the critics seem to dismiss her music altogether, yet she unleashed some huge hits (not to mention impressive albums) during the 1990s, most of the best of which are included in this retrospective collection. Now I know that Madonna is larger than life and that her music is really only a part of her persona. Many people have disapproved of some of her antics over the years, including myself on occasion, but I have always loved and admired her strength, resolve, and undying commitment to be a complete individual and do whatever she wants to do. It's easy to get lost in all the ephemeral nonsense that surrounds the woman, but her very foundation is her music, and this collection shows what an amazing performer she really is.
Madonna has been around quite a long time now, as hard as that is for me to believe. The reason she is still turning out hits while many other artists from the early 80s are gone and forgotten comes down to her unmatched ability to completely recreate herself. Not only does she adapt to changes in the musical scene, she leads the charge for change herself. Over her career, this has allowed her to excel across a wide spectrum of song types. I'm no dance music expert, but Madonna lays down the most infectious dance beats I know of in songs such as Deeper and Deeper (featuring a brilliant bridge into a part of her earlier song Vogue) and the totally funked up Music. Beautiful Stranger is another great dance song (but I'll never be able to hear this song without conjuring up images from the music video featuring Austin Powers). Of course, Madonna has her naughty side, as revealed in the edited versions of Erotica and – depending on your state of mind - Bedtime Stories. Madonna never looks back or has regrets, a trait I greatly admire, and she makes this fact pretty clear in the sexually mischievous song Human Nature. What It Feels Like For a Girl makes the point even more convincingly as it points out the ways in which men and women are judged by different standards.
Madonna is also the voice behind some of the best love songs of the 1990s. Classics such as The Power of Goodbye, Frozen, and Take a Bow are just beautiful, featuring some of the most moving choruses I've ever heard in pop music. The lyrics, for those who stop to listen to them, are really quite poignant and touching – you won't find any bubble gum pop on GHV2. Then there are the great songs I find hard to classify: Ray of Light is almost cosmic in its appeal and manic in its musical expression. Drowned World/Substitute For Love carries a life-affirming beat in support of its unusually touching message. Then there is Don't Tell Me, a song I like more and more each time I hear it. I remember hearing it for the first time on the radio, as the deejay assured the audience that the "skips" we were about to hear in the early moments of the track were actually supposed to be there. In the 1990s, Madonna was still taking chances, still taking music in new directions, and still turning out some of the best music in the business. GHV2 is a great joy for Madonna fans and ample proof to all the disbelievers out there who deny this remarkable woman's musical talent.
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on 3 November 2001
Madonna's second greatest hits compilation is just as good as 1990's The Immaculate Collection. GHV2 presents the best of Madonna's strangest era from the "Sex" days to her spiritual Ray Of Light era.
This album is a true hits collection. It features such international #1 hits as "Erotica", "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", "Take A Bow", "Beautiful Stranger" and "Frozen". You can see how Madonna has grown as a songwriter and a singer during the 90s. "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" and 1998's smash hit "Ray Of Light" are best examples of her beautiful and powerful vocal talent. You can hear how her voice has changed since the days of "Deeper And Deeper" (1992).
This is a collection that leaves no-one cold. There's upbeat dance tunes (Beautiful Stranger, Deeper And Deeper, Music), lush ballads (Take A Bow, The Power of Goodbye, What It Feels Like For A Girl) and mid-tempo grooves (Secret, Don't Tell Me, Drowned World/Subsitute For Love). It's simply a perfect collection of pop music from the most significant female artist ever.
Even though the 90s were a turbulent decade for the Queen of Pop she managed to record some unforgettable classics. In the end it's the music that matters.
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on 13 August 2004
GHV2 opens with the brilliant dance track "Deeper & Deeper", which ends with the familiar lyrics "You've got to / Let your body move to the music..." from her classic "Vogue". From this, you know what to expect. Polished, mature and likeable pop music from the undisputed queen of pop. Madonna's Erotica phase continues with title track "Erotica", a seductive and slightly scary exploration of human sexuality, which is another classic track in the bag. In fact, so many of these tracks are simply amazing, from the dance-pop of "Human Nature" to the brilliantly produced "Music", that it's hard to describe simply how good this album is. The only dip in quality is during "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" and despite this being a pretty good song, it really doesn't fit here. GHV2 does the unthinkable and manages to rival The Immaculate Collection, which is something that few albums by Madonna have ever done. Good on her!
The only problem is the lack of new stuff. Unfortunately, there are no brilliant new tracks like there were on The Immaculate Collection ("Justify My Love", "Rescue Me"), although this is the first of her albums that "Beautiful Stranger", the bouncy, summery Austin Powers theme, has appeared on.
GHV2 is a must for anyone who missed Madonna's 90s albums, and it gives you just what you want - all killer, no album filler...
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on 24 October 2001
Madonna's second Greatest Hits installment takes all the pop magic of the first and mixes it with fantastic innovation.
Music - a fantastic party track, this Mirwais produced #1 is yet another Madonna signature song.
Frozen - the song that brought Madonna back to prominence in 1998, William Orbit's majestic production transforms Frozen into a masterpiece.
Ray of Light - buliding from a simple guitar line to a towering inferno of sounds, Ray Of Light is perhaps Madonna's greatest work of the last ten years.
Beautiful Stranger - this 60s inspired track, used in the sequel to Austin Powers, sees Madonna getting retro.
Don't Tell Me - this cool, country-dance hybrid makes for relaxing, yet original listening.
What it Feels Like for a Girl - perhaps the only mistake on this album, this track is admittedly rather bland.
Erotica - the song that unfairly heralded Madonna's fall from grace in the early 90s, is here in all it's sex-fuelled, throbbing glory.
Deeper & Deeper - One of Madonna's finest dance tracks of the 90s.
You'll See - this beautiful ballad rivals Frozen for masterful power and excellence.
Secret - Madonna goes R&B. Secret, the lead single from 1994's Bedtime Stories, is as slick as ever.
Don't Cry for Me Argentina - taken from the film Evita, Madonna gives this musical standard an airing, and it's best vocal performance to date.
Take a Bow - overlooked in the UK, but a US #1, Take A Bow combines the R&B prowess of Babyface and Madonna's eastern influence to stunning effect.
The Power of Goodbye - a standout ballad from 1998's Ray Of Light: guitars and strings take the floor, while Orbit's electronica is pushed temporarily into the background.
Bedtime Story - a daring move, this Bjork-penned track showcased Madonna's first steps into the field of electronica.
Human Nature - Human Nature embodies Madonna's "diva"-style attitude. "Absolutely No Regrets."
... And why should there be. This is the finest collection of songs released for many years, perhaps even since The Immaculate Collection in 1990.
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Only the true greats of pop make it to Greatest Hits Volume 2 stage. Half the production line, stage school rubbish that we avoid day-in day-out should think themselves lucky to even achieve Volume 1 status.
With her continued musical greatness in mind, I doubt very much that anyone out there would bet against a Greatest Hits Volume 3 from Madonna appearing sometime around 2011 when the undisputed Queen Of Pop will be more of a Grand Empress Dowager by then!
Whereas lesser mortals are forced to cram anything that even faintly troubled the charts (along with pointless 'filler' remixes) onto their compilations. Madonna, being so enduringly successful, and having a bumper crop of hits to choose from, can afford to leave out Top Ten hits like 'Rain', 'This Used To Be My Playground', 'Bad Girl', 'I'll Remember', 'You'll See', 'Nothing Really Matters' and even No 1's like 'American Pie' , and not lose any sleep, or expected sales - I think the limitations of a 75 minute capacity CD might have something to do with it too!
This collection literally 'hits' the ground running with songs culled from her 'Erotica' period - the hugely enjoyable 'Vogue' and 'Rescue Me' splice that is 'Deeper and Deeper', and the fabulous groove - 'Erotica'. Personally, I am so glad that Madonna chose to include these classics, as I know a lot of (dull) people will feel a bit uncomfortable about her reminding us of her 'Tut! Tut! What isn't she wearing now?' era. But who cares? These are brilliant tracks, worthy of inclusion even if, at the time, she was daring to flirt with lesbianism whilst trying to sell us metal bound books full of 'artistic' black and white photos of herself cavorting around in the altogether (and yes, I DO have one). Good on her!
She immediately answers her crabby critics with 'Human Nature'. Far from being a 'great hit', I don't think that this song remained long in the collective consciousness, or the charts for that matter, to be included here. And, apart from that, it's not much cop by Madonna standards. Madonna also includes three more songs from her 'Bedtime Stories' album; The simple, yet hummingly satisfying - 'Secret', the lovely, almost oriental sounding ballad - 'Take a Bow', and the weirdly wonderful Bjork/Nellee Hooper collaboration - 'Bedtime Story'. I think at this time, Madonna was a bit mixed-up musically and emotionally, and it shows here - She wasn't sure if she was to be an R&B Diva, a Celine soundalikey, or a mad 'pots for rags' Bjork type.
Some may argue that she chose the Dion path, namely her bop free 'Something to Remember' collection that appeared mid-90's. The songs became slower, slushier and bereft of any controversy whatsoever - in fact, the most shocking thing to me was that my parents started to approve of her (!!!!). And then her 'Evita' period, of which 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' is included here. Now I don't like musicals, never have done, never will do, and not even Madonna in all her talents will convince me otherwise. So let's quickly pass on that one, eh?
Thankfully, for most of her true fans anyway, Madonna fled the retiring pastures of Easy FM, and took off back into Orbit (pun intended) with her most seminal work to date - 'Ray Of Light'. We have 'Frozen', 'Ray of Light' 'The Power of Goodbye' and 'Drowned World' included here. All amazing, and all emblazoned with the spooky, kooky aural magic that Mr. Orbit so masterfully conjures.
One more collaborative effort resulted in 1999's groovetastic 'Beautiful Stranger' (Track 8) which like the hero of the movie it is taken from (Austin Powers 2), is an endearing 60s/90s oddity that just makes you want to smile and dance all silly.
Madonna launched her campaign for 21st century world domination by collaborating with a strangely powerful Afghan, who has hardly ever been seen outside of his HQ...NO CALM DOWN! NOT THAT ONE!!!! The reclusive musical wizard, Mirwais Ahmadzai, manages to produce even weirder blippy and thwarpy noises than Orbit and together with Madonna, they came up with the dancefloor killer - 'Music' and the Acid Nashville genius of 'Don't Tell Me'. Which brings us right up to the present day. One can't help but wonder what her next move will be - Electro Aboriginal Skiffle anyone? But whatever it will be, you can be sure that Kylie (God Love Her in her own wonderful right!) and Co will be scrambling for their notepads, whilst we'll all be reaching for the volume control - to turn up au naturellement!
Therefore, a near perfect collection. To be an absolutely perfect musical anthology of Madonna's last decade - my advice would be to dump 'Human Nature', 'DCFMA' and the drearily drab 'What It Feels Like For A Girl'. Bring onboard the powerful 'Rain', the Love Martyr's anthem - 'You'll See', and the strangely hypnotic 'American Pie', and then she could have safely called it The Immaculate Collection II and wouldn't have broken any Trade Descriptions Act.
4 out of 5.
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on 19 November 2001
It is testament to an pop artist's humungous success when they can pick and choose which songs go on their greatest hits albums, instead of cramming them all on and chucking in a few b-sides/album tracks/pointless remixes to make up the numbers. Madonna did it before on 'The Immaculate Collection' (ignoring such gems as True Blue and Who's That Girl?) and she's done it again with GHV2; only 2 of the five Erotica tracks she released appear here, 'You'll See', 'I'll Remember' and the other two Evita tracks aren't present and correct but, perhaps most suprisingly, she omits American Pie - a UK number one (remember, she didn't have that many in the 90s). Madonna's musical influences were all over the place during the last decade and that is reflected here - it is definitely a patchy compilation which contrasts Madonna's successes (pretty much everything from her latter two albums) with her more miscalculated attempts (the awful, unsexy 'Erotica' and uncomfortable-sounding 'Bedtime Story', for example). GHV2 is an interesting listen with some classy tunes; however it lacks the sheer quality of her first hits package, suggesting that after all her experimentation, pop is what she should stick to.
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on 3 December 2001
Like most great artists, Madonna's career also suffered the "lows" during the 90's. However, she continues to amaze her fans by quickly getting into a new "high" unexpectedly. "The Immaculate Collection" is without question one of the best "greatest hits" ever made. Digitally remixed and remastered, TIC closed the 80's and opened the 90's.
GHV2 is not necessarily the sequel to TIC. It is not chronologically arranged, no new tracks included, no Shep Pettibone or Goh Hotoda to engineer or oversee the entire project. While some fans may look for her ballads in GHV2, they were already released in 1995 via "Something to Remember." And since Madonna is known not to "repeat" track releases, she excluded them to pack more materials. GHV2 is a real mixed bag of Madonna's second decade, and for that we should already appreciate such release because this is all for the fans.
While GHV2 closes yet another era of Madonna, fans of the Icon are just waiting again what her new incarnation might be and what "The Immaculate Greatest Hits Collection Volume 3" might sound like!
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on 14 April 2015
In the 1990's, Madonna became more of an album artist than the singles-and-charts-minded entertainer. This may strip something away of her second greatest hits compilation in terms of sheer hitmaking overwhelmingness. However, this album faithfully captures her evolution in the 1990s. From the coy, playful carnality of "Erotica", through dreamy landscapes of "Bedtime Stories" (courtesy of Nellee Hooper, Babyface or Bjork) to cuts off two of her most essential albums - William Orbit-helmed "Ray of Light" and Mirwais Ahmadzai-steered "Music". Meanwhile, she ventured to her most prestigious film ever - "Evita", of which reminder is her version of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" weirdly sandwiched between "Secret" and "Bedtime Story". Also included is the perfect "Beautiful Stranger", while other film songs are left out - like US No.1 "This Used To Be My Playground", the Oscar-winning "You Must Love Me" or the UK smash "American Pie". Nevertheless, the representative collection this is and as a regular greatest hits successor of "The Immaculate Collection" it passes with flying colours. (A note for CD collectors: While all but one song off Immaculate Collection are included on the 2009 compilation "Celebration", that retrospective includes only eight songs of this album, GHV2.)
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on 25 October 2015
her second greatest hits and un like other artists none of the songs are on her first greatest hits so your not getting a repeat album with extra on. only mistake is no new songs like her first greatest hits album so 15 tracks not 17. but still a great collection of hits.
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on 18 November 2001
At first glance this special edition of Madonna's GHV2 does not look much different from the standard version, with a difference of only one track. However the tracks on this album do not run in the standard 'old to new' order creating a completely different feel for the listener.
The album opens with the widely acclaimed Music, a track that marked a huge turning point in musical Madonna's career as it completed her transformation from pop star into electronic Godess.
The hauntingly beautiful Frozen is to follow, and in doing so reminds us of exactly how evocative and powerful Madonna's ballads can be.
Upping the tempo we move to Ray of Light and Beautiful Stranger, both tracks leaving a huge sense of fun shining through.
The next two tracks flow beautifully. 'Don't tell me' is a personal favourite of mine, i love the use of acoustics and the uncomplecated feel they lend to the track.
It is here that the nostalgia starts to creep in, kicking off with Erotica, moving through most of M's more prominent hits of this era. Personally I would have loved for 'Rain' to be included in this compilation, but here is an artist who has the capability to pick and chose from her hits, and has arranged those she has picked perfectly to complement each other.
The inclusion of 'Don't cry for me Argentina' on both the standard and limited edition of GHV2 speaks volumes about Madonna's feelings for the track, and as you listen, you can understand why -it demonstrates a flawless transition into the world of Musical Theatre.
With this, as if the album has then rediscovered it's emotions we stay a while with the ballad theme. The fact that 'The Power of Goodbye' rests easily amongst these older tracks such as 'Take a Bow', showing how eaisily Madonna's music, old and new links together, you can almost see her image changing before your eyes.
The languid 'Human Nature' allows us one more throwback to that beautiful laid back pace that Madonna has made her own, completing the album. All in all, I would recomend this volume of GHV2 both to devoted fans as well as the newer members of Madonna's audience - it is simply brilliant, never failing to entertain or to live up to it's title of Greatest Hits.
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