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Madonna's most underrated and overrated album, why?


Prince of Darkness
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I will start this off with a less obvious choice than most for underrated and I am going with Music. I know it was a commercially successful follow up to ROL and produced a number one hit and yet I feel like today it is an album that is talked about less than American Life, Bedtime Stories and Erotica which are all supposedly more underrated. I devoted some time to actually listen to this record all the way through and it is fantastic and very ahead of its time, I dont hear fans say anything bad about Music because I never see it being discussed at all. My choice for overrated has got to be Like a Virgin, so many people know about this album, it was instrumental in her career and sold tons of copies, and yet I have always thought the lead singles were some of Madonna's weakest of the 80's. Not saying it is a bad album by any means, it just gets overhyped by old school fans who are judging based on nostalgia. This coming from a guy who became a fan in 1983. 

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Ok, I'm gonna be the second - I guess - unpopular one. For me, it is a pain, how overrated and over-mistified Confessions is. It was and is a great album and it was a very strong era speaking of image and style. But other than that it is simply high quality retrodisco, nothing else... so for me it is the most overrated one. As for underrated - I guess it is up to anybody, and it depends on when you become a fan. My fandom started in 1996 with Evita, and for me, the most underrated record is American Life, but yeah, for today Music is also a bit forgetten, compared to Ray of Light e.g. But it is only a massive private opinion,  nothing more - of course I love all her legacy, some more, some a bit less (yeah, poor MDNA, I'm sorry...) :)

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Most underrated: "MDNA". Pure unfiltered Madonna, dance, revenge, pain and fun. All at once.

Most overrated: "True Blue". Sorry, I know it's an essential album and I like it but... there's something very "blockbuster" and "shiny" and "polished" about it. It doesn't have the edge the rest of her albums have. I think it's, by far, her safest album. "Live To Tell" was a huge risk, I'll give her that.

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Underrated: I'm Breathless

Great arrangements, vocals and overall consistency. Only drawbacks are the Casio keyboard sounding parts on some songs instead of a more authentic sound for the era it was going for, and the cash-in of Vogue is a bit disjointed.

Overrated: Madame X

Take your pick, it's a fracking mess.

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Underrated: MDNA

There is a great pop record in there among a couple of awful filler tracks and the worst single choices ever.

Overrated: Madame X

I'm jealous of fans who enjoyed this era. If you had told me M would spend 2 years on an era with multiple music videos, a theater tour, a new persona, and that I wouldn't connect to any of it, I would have not believed you. But here we are.

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Overrated: True Blue

It lacks cohesiveness to me. It sounds like a collection of great songs that have nothing to do with one another plus some really bad fillers.

Underrated: Madame X

Definitely one of her best works and I really believe that people just don't like it because she didn't write that many songs with a traditional pop song structure and refrain. 

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8 hours ago, Prayer said:

Most underrated: "MDNA". Pure unfiltered Madonna, dance, revenge, pain and fun. All at once.

Most overrated: "True Blue". Sorry, I know it's an essential album and I like it but... there's something very "blockbuster" and "shiny" and "polished" about it. It doesn't have the edge the rest of her albums have. I think it's, by far, her safest album. "Live To Tell" was a huge risk, I'll give her that.

I would definitely not say True Blue was her safest record by any means. Papa Dont Preach and Live to Tell were both controversial tracks and she had radically reinvented an image and style that had made her so famous with Self Titled and Like a Virgin. Confessions has always been her safest album to me, especially coming off of Ray of Light, Music and American Life, all three  of which were experimental. I still love Confessions though, because it is basically dance floor perfection but it is not an innovative record  

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1 hour ago, Blond Ambition said:

I would definitely not say True Blue was her safest record by any means. Papa Dont Preach and Live to Tell were both controversial tracks and she had radically reinvented an image and style that had made her so famous with Self Titled and Like a Virgin. Confessions has always been her safest album to me, especially coming off of Ray of Light, Music and American Life, all three  of which were experimental. I still love Confessions though, because it is basically dance floor perfection but it is not an innovative record  

I totally get your point, "Live To Tell" was a risk and the change of image too. But the music and the lyrics of the rest of the album? I'm not that sure. I wasn't aware of it at the time, of course, but I find "Papa Don't Preach" was more gimmicky than really controversial?

Don't get me wrong, they're all PERFECT pop songs, and that's why the album sold millions of copies and made her an established global superstar. But "Open Your Heart", "White Heat", "Where's The Party", "True Blue", "Jimmy Jimmy" or "Love Makes The World Go Round" are completely safe Madonna lyrics. It's a cute polished album, but not sexy or edgy like the first two.

The album is Madonna trying to achieve the Michael Jackson's blockbuster perfection of "Thriller" or later "Bad" - and doing it perfectly.

Of course this is just my point of view and, of course, I completely understand why "True Blue" was essential in her journey and one of her most important albums. Without "True Blue" there wouldn't be "Like A Prayer", "Erotica" and all the creative freedom that came after.

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2 hours ago, hankypanky2021 said:

underated - american life 

overrated - like a virgin ( urggg her worst album ) 

What? really? LAV?  the first two albums are so fresh and alive, full of energy and joy ....... pieces of truth and innocence.... how dare you?:smile:  

Underrated: American Life (yet you just have to listen to the album to understand the masterpiece)

Overrated: COADF (it's fun but not as memorable and adventurous as many of her other albums)

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Overrated: WTF, maybe Madonna is overrated because her first albums happened in a different time. MDNA is only fillers and leftovers if you want to go that way...

Don't take me into your overrated conversations.

Underrated: Bedtime Stories

Listening to it right now, it's killer work despite the Babyface tracks... Every album has its expendable songs.

Each step in M's discography is a teaching of freedom and self-expression.

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Most overrated.....

Like a Virgin is the most overrated album as Madonna did not write many of the singles.  It just does not feel like a Madonna album to me, not in the same way that Rebel Heart or Ray of Light introduces us to her most intimate and secret parts.  Like a Virgin is more manufactured than any other M album.  She seemed to be less in control of her art than in any other effort.  Madonna's writing makes a "genuine" Madonna song/album, not just her unique pop sound.  

 

Most underrated....

Madame X... It is a brave and insanely, unique album.  It sounds like nothing else that anyone had previously released and is both current and mature in the best sorts of ways.  It is an album that none of her contemporaries would be able to or willing to create.  MX is Madonna on top of her game once again.  Madonna is trailblazing again and ignoring the trends.  

 

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Underrated - Madame X. I honestly believe it would've been regarded as a career highlight if it were released by another artist, especially if they were younger. It's daring, experimental and overflowed with fresh ideas (almost 40 years into her career!).

Which mainstream pop star would even think of fusioning music genres such as latin pop, portuguese fado, batuque, afrobeat, disco, art pop, reggaetón, trap, house, dancehall, morna, Indian music and funk in the same album?

Lyrics referencing gun control, Joan Of Arc, Tchaikovsky, the Cape Verde Bakukadeiras and several marginalized groups, while singing in Spanish and Portuguese?.

In my opinion, this record proves why Madonna is still miles ahead of the pack and it restored my faith in her artistry after three "fun" but derivative dance records. My only complain is that "Ciao Bella" is too good to be relegated as an obscure bonus track, as it would've fit with "I Don't Search I Find".

Overrated - Like A Virgin. While it was certainly a landmark moment in pop culture, I agree that it feels deliberately calculating and manufactured to appeal to teenagers.

I love the era because of its iconography - the videos, the singles, the fashion, the wannabes, the media hoopla surrounding the Madonnamania, etc. I love her shameless ambition and her wide-eyed innocence as an overnight phenomenon.

However, I feel the album is missing the club edge of the first LP. It's just a bit too polished. I think adding the soundtrack hits (Into The Groove, Crazy For You and Gambler) would've elevated the record.

01. Material Girl
02. Angel
03. Like A Virgin
04. Into The Groove
05. Crazy For You
06. Dress You Up
07. Gambler
08. Pretender
09. Stay

Now that's a killer tracklist. Overall, I understand why it sold bucketloads but it's nowhere near her best work, in my opinion. 

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Underrated: Music. Everyone says that Erotica and Bedtime Stories are her underrated albums, but the fact that it's been almost 30 years later and people are still bringing them up proves that they aren't.

The Music album kind of slips past people's minds despite its success probably because it came after a blockbuster commercial "comeback" / re-invention with ROL and was before the commercial derailment that was AL. Sitting in between those two albums makes it comes across as safe and thus people don't think it's worth giving attention to it. There are some gems in the album that tend to get overlooked.

Overrated: Confessions. The album is not bad but not worth all the hype it got and continues to get. If we remove the tour and major promotion from the equation, it's just a fun call back to disco music with some spirituality slipped in. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Nene Leakes GIF

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