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Madonna - Celebration

Madonna: Celebration

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

MADONNA releases her third “Best Of” collection in the form of Celebration and claims it was inspired by her fans.

It boasts 36 tracks and includes new singles Celebration and Revolver, with Lil’ Jon… although struggles to escape the notion that it’s as definitive as she suggests. For sure, all the classic hits are represented, while the queen of pop has put out a lot of new material since 1990’s Immaculate Collection.

But you can’t help but feel there will be more Best Ofs to come, especially as the singer appears to be in her prime.

That minor niggle aside, Celebration does – like its title suggests – revel in the length, breadth and staggering diversity of Madonna’s music. It underlines her ability to adapt and move with the times, while still retaining a timeless sense of songwriting in her very best material.

Hence, early cheesy pop hits such as Holiday sit comfortably alongside the more brazenly provocative likes of Like A Virgin and Erotica, before coming up-to-date with her dancefloor pleasers 4 Minutes (with Justin Timberlake) and Hung Up.

For my money, Madonna is at her best when keeping things edgy, or pushing boundaries. Her more pop-laced moments feel lazy by comparison and don’t tend to age as well (try listening to the likes of Dress You Up and Open Your Heart without grimmacing slightly!).

The best stuff – and the material that keeps her so consistently on top of her game, and ahead of the pretenders to her throne – are tracks like Material Girl, Vogue and Frozen.

Likewise, Ray of Light, Justify My Love, the aforementioned Erotica and even the more recent Four Minutes and Miles Away – the latter two, especially, displaying Madonna’s apparently effortlessly ability to keep her finger on the pulse of modern trends.

Revolver, her new track, also displays her newfound ability to collaborate well, with Lil’ Jon stepping up to the plate just as impressively as Justin Timberlake.

There are even guilty pleasure highlights from the back catalogue, such as La Isla Bonita, Papa Don’t Preach and Borderline to savour… and to bring back memories of the ’80s and her various videos and fashion trends.

So, contrary to my early reservations about the merits of this double CD package (as well as the inclusion of the odd dud track such as Bond theme Die Another Day), this is still a hugely enjoyable collection that serves as a useful reminder of why we’ve loved Madonna for so long… and continue to do so!

Download picks: Frozen, Ray of Light, 4 Minutes, Justify My Love, Erotica, Vogue, Material Girl, Music, Beautiful Stranger, Live To Tell

Track listing:
CD 1:

  1. Hung Up
  2. Music
  3. Vogue
  4. 4 Minutes
  5. Holiday
  6. Everybody
  7. Like A Virgin
  8. Into The Groove
  9. Like A Prayer
  10. Ray Of Light
  11. Sorry
  12. Express Yourself
  13. Open Your Heart
  14. Borderline
  15. Secret
  16. Erotica
  17. Justify My Love
  18. Revolver

CD 2:

  1. Dress You Up
  2. Material Girl
  3. La Isla Bonita
  4. Papa Don’t Preach
  5. Lucky Star
  6. Burning Up
  7. Crazy For You
  8. Who’s That Girl
  9. Frozen
  10. Miles Away
  11. Take A Bow
  12. Live To Tell
  13. Beautiful Stranger
  14. Hollywood
  15. Die Another Day
  16. Don’t Tell Me
  17. Cherish
  18. Celebration