Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this music junkie as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. Compact Discs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no files.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Madonna - True Blue (1986)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.

Ain't no Madonna like '80s Madonna. Back in '86, I would have called this unabashed synth-dance-pop album a guilty pleasure, but now I'm (much) older and (slightly) wiser and what's it to you if I listen to this? It's my second favorite Madonna album after the Nile Rodgers-produced Like A Virgin. Five of the albums' nine tracks were released as singles and to say they all did quite well would be an understatement:

 U.S. charted singles: Pop DanceAC
 Live To Tell1
 Papa Don't Preach1416
 True Blue36
 Open Your Heart1112
 La Isla Bonita4

While it may be my second favorite Madonna album, it's the leader of the pack when it comes to cover design - that lovely Herb Ritts photo sure can't be beat. My cassette copy got plenty of playing time on the Sanyo deck in my car at the time, a remarkably unreliable '85 Oldsmobile:

1985 Firenza pictured in its natural habitat

The album's opener, Papa Don't Preach, was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, eventually losing to Barbra Streisand's Broadway Album. The first single, Live To Tell, was featured in At Close Range (a film I have yet to see), starring then-husband Sean Penn. The album is dedicated to Penn, "the coolest guy in the universe." I like the album and was happy to see a cheap copy pop up in a used CD bin so I could enjoy a trip down memory lane. 

Press of the time:
  • Billboard: "reliable sleek dance-floor contenders"
  • Rolling Stone: "Singing better than ever, Madonna stakes her claim as the pop poet of lower-middle-class America."
  • Smash Hits (7½ out of 10): "Definitely enough to keep her fans in the short term, but I doubt it will do her long term reputation much good at all."
  • Stereo Review: "more melodic, less cluttered, and plain just more fun to listen to."
  • Robert Christgau (B): "Critics flock to her uneven product the way liberal arts magnas flock to investment banking"

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #47
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #1
Peak on the Rolling Stone chart: #1

Tracks: 9 tracks, 40 minutes. I dig all the singles, but if I had to pick a top choice, I'd go with Open Your Heart. I also like Where's The Party but usually skip Jimmy Jimmy (the dichotomy of '60s girl group writing with '80s synth bass/drum progamming arrangement just doesn't do it for me). 

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I picked this one up through one of several encounters I had over the years with Columbia House. I'm not sure how many cassettes I got on that initial order (had to be a dozen, right?), but I only remember 3: True Blue, a Stevie Wonder compilation which I wore out playing I Was Made To Love Her over and over and over, and the epic Volume 6 of Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974.

For more information on the brief life of the CD longbox,
go visit The Legend of the Longbox.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Into The Hollywood Groove (2003)

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