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One of the best albums of the '80s
on 21 March 2014
As I've said in previous reviews, it's difficult for younger generations to udnerstand what impact the release of early Madonna albums had on the youth worlwide, particularly girls. This was released as Madonna changed her image from the exciting Crucifixes / lace tights/ crop tops one, to a much more subdued, jewellery-free one. It shouldn't have worked - she cut her hair, put on less make-up, almost became a tom-boy - it was such a drastic image change you couldn't imagine any of today's stars doing it. But she made a success of it because she is Madonna and she had attutude, but also because the music was just as darn good as that we'd loved on the Like A Virgin album. Madonna was exciting because she was constantly evolving - becasue she showed that not only could a woman be fresh and influential, but she could hold her own with the men when it came to making brilliant music.
So we all awaited this LP with bated breath - woudl it be as good as Like A Virgin? What could possibly top Into The Groove? Would she go back to the long hair and Crucifixes before too long? And this is what she answered us with.
This is, quite frankly, one of the best, most defining albums of the 1980s. Not only did it macth Like A Virgin, True Blue surpassed it. Love Makes The World Go Round, White Heat, La Isla Bonita, Papa Don't Preach, True Blue - all are excellent pop songs of a quality you just don't get these days. Madonna fans knew the instant we heard it that this album was her gift to us - that she hadn't just rushed out some cod disco pap to capitalise on her fame. No, she had taken her time over this, and given us a great album full of pop highlights. We may no longer have been singing Like A Virgin and declaring ourselves Material Girls for a laugh, but we were amazed at the message in Papa Don't Preach, and the great beat behind it. In Open Your Heart, Madonna made the simple removal of a pair of gloves into a sexy move. Every girl wanted to be Madonna in those days.
I don't think any female singer will ever again have the impact Madonna did. She not only gave us great music, but she became a massive part of our popular culture - in fact, she threw up our pop culture and turned it on it's head. Suddenly, in the greed-driven excesses of the 80s world, it was good to be a woman. We weren't second-class citizens anymore - we had a voice and we'd shout until we were heard. Getting noticed was no longer bad manners. And above all else - above the Poison Penn tabloid stories, the Like A Virgin video, the rumoured Marilyn Monroe obsession - Madonna helped us to express ourselves by giving us the perfect soundtrack to our lives. Purely excellent pop.