Madonna – The First Album 31st Anniversary

It’s a big anniversary today for Madonna fans – today marks the 31st anniversary of The First Album. I just love this album, one of the finest debut albums ever by a pop/electronic artist. All of the songs on the album do sound very similar and it’s Madonna’s least varied album, but there’s something irresistible about those scrappy and raw synths. And it’s got bucket-loads of charm and energy to boot. I far prefer it to Like A Virgin (my least favorite Madonna album). ‘Holiday’ and ‘Borderline’ still stand up as two of the definitive classics of the 80s and two of Madonna’s best singles. However, my favorite track on The First Album is ‘Physical Attraction’. It’s the first underrated Madonna gem and the best album track from her first three albums. It would have done brilliantly as a single I think. Whilst it seems to be a pretty popular song with fans, it’s never featured on any of her tours. On Youtube there’s just a few early performances in clubs recorded in 1983. I would love to see more of The First Album performed on tour actually – Holiday has featured heavily on her set-lists over the years but I think it’s time to hear something like ‘Everybody’ again or the aforementioned ‘Physical Attraction’. Honestly – I don’t think that will happen, which is a shame because The First Album still stands up really well after all these years.

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A New Record Store

Morning everyone – sorry for not posting in nearly two weeks. I’ve spent the last week and a half with a very heavy cold and writing simply hasn’t been an option. I got the cold because I got soaked in a torrential shower on Valentines Day when I rushed into town to pick up a copy of Island Hopping by Joe Strummer on 7″. I still maintain the subsequent illness was for a worthy cause.

Anyway, I haven’t had the chance to write on the blog about my trip on Tuesday 18th February to a record store I hadn’t visited before. Whilst still ill (and clutching a delicious Ferrero Roche milkshake for comfort food), I made the forty minute train journey to Ballymena. I hadn’t actually been to Ballymena before either so it was all quite the adventure.

The store is called Track Records and is situated in Hill St. It’s a lovely little place and the staff are very friendly. They’re also very generous too. I had asked them on Facebook if they had any Clash/Joe Strummer vinyls (they hadn’t). After telling them I’d still call up regardless they very kindly offered to specially get Clash/Joe Strummer items in for me! Top notch customer service indeed. They got some old Mojo/Uncut magazines with Clash covers in specially for me. I was delighted – they’re somewhat more unusual items that would be extremely hard to find here. Track Records are the only record store that I know of that sells vintage music magazines at all actually.

That extremely nice bonus aside, I came away with some great gems, ones I don’t think I’d find in Belfast really. I got a copy of American Life (the single) on 12″ vinyl. I wasn’t actually aware that single was even released on vinyl so it was a real suprise to me. I also got a copy of Like A Virgin (the album) too. The condition was great and I couldn’t refuse the price. I also got Ladyhawke’s first album and the special edition of Melody AM by Royksopp. It’s a lovely shop and I’d definitely go again!

My New Vinyl Endeavour

This is a post I’d never expect I’d ever write. I’m a heavy CD buyer, but I’ve never collected vinyl. That is, until about two weeks ago. My dad was looking at his music collection and in doing so, he unearthed his old vinyls, which he hadn’t seen in goodness knows how long. Me and Dad have a fairly similar music taste so a lot of albums I love were discovered. Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac, Graceland by Paul Simon and Songs From The Big Chair by Tears For Fears being just three examples. Needless to say, I was in my element.

They were just three vinyls in a larger batch he gave to me. The 12″ of Blue Monday has become a particularly prized item in my music collection. It got me thinking though because a few months ago a family friend kindly gave me about a dozen Madonna vinyls. And I have a very limited amount of vinyls myself that I bought in a now closed down vintage store here in Belfast about two years ago. I’ve no turntable so I’ve not been able to hear any of it. And I’ve always wanted one to.  Getting this influx of records has made me finally bite the bullet: at long last, I’m going to get a turntable and start a vinyl collection!

Of course, I’ll need to be limited with my vinyl. I’ve got around about 500 CDs, and there’s just no way I can possibly replicate that on vinyl. It’s just not financially feasible. So I’ve set myself some limitations. For now, I’m only going to collect Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, The Clash/Joe Strummer and Factory Records vinyls (New Order, Joy Division etc). Amazingly, it doesn’t seem too difficult to do. I’ve discovered a great shop in Belfast city centre (situated in Wellington Place) called Dragon Records. I’ve already bought about six vinyls from there. For Factory Records and The Clash/Joe Strummer, they’ll be my main source. I’ve actually already bought some Clash/Joe Strummer and New Order records from there. I’m going to a few other places in the next couple of days too. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new found hobby progresses!

Madonna Vinyl Treats

20131223-132311.jpgThis was a post I was intended to have published two days ago. Things got in the way though, like the combination of necessary duties in preparation for Christmas (still can’t believe 2013 is coming to an end). Added to that I wanted the only posts I made yesterday to be dedicated to Joe Strummer with it being the eleventh anniversary of his death. I do love this time of year but it’s chaotic all the same.

I don’t tend to post about new additions to my music collection, but I’m going to make an exception here. I got a lovely and most welcome gift on Saturday courtesy of a family friend. She knows that I’m a massive fan of Madonna so she gave me some of her Madonna records from her collection. I’ve got some vinyl but none of which are Madonna, so to say I’m delighted as an understatement! The vinyls she gave me were the following (all 12″ records):

  • I’m Breathless
  • Holiday
  • Borderline
  • Rain (picture disc)
  • Like A Prayer
  • Fever
  • True Blue
  • The First Album
  • Papa Don’t Preach
  • Who’s That Girl (Soundtrack)
  • Deeper and Deeper (picture disc)
  • Vogue
  • Bad Girl (with poster)

I’m so pleased with what I got. Some of the records – like the picture discs of Rain and Deeper and Deeper I didn’t even know existed. They’re also my first picture discs too! I also wasn’t aware that the 12″ of Bad Girl came with a poster (reproducing the cover of the vinyl). Rain and Bad Girl in particular are two of my favourite Madonna songs, so I’m thrilled to have 12″ records of them in my collection. Honestly,  I love each song and album that was given to me.  They’ve definitely formed a unique part of my music collection. Now, time to finally get round to buying that turntable….

Link to download Madonna’s Secret Project

madonna-secret-projectLink to download Madonna’s Secret Project

Well here it is folks, the premiere of the Secret Project is finally here! I know I’m not one for posting illegal download links on blogs, but I’m making an exception here. This material was intended to be shared this way. You can download a bundle containing the trailers and a still for the movie, or a larger bundle close to 6GB which contains the trailers, plus the movie itself and an interview with Madonna, amongst other material. It’s all free though (obviously), entering an email only ensures you’re signing up to a mailing list. I’m still downloading the larger bundle which may take a few hours. I’ll be back later with my first impressions once I watch it.

Reviewed: Madonna – Why’s It So Hard?

Erotica, an underrated album. Although thank goodness that’s changing. It contains some of the best songs in Madonna’s career: Words, Thief of Hearts, and Why’s It So Hard. The latter in particular is so quintessentially Madonna I’m amazed more attention isn’t directed towards it. Some of the key themes that underline a lot of Madonna’s work are those of self expression, the right to love who we choose and acceptance of our own individuality. All three of those themes permeate every line of Why’s It So Hard. It compliments the other tracks on Erotica. After defiant, even vengeful songs such as Thief of Hearts and Bye Bye Baby, comes a plea in Why’s It So Hard. You could even interpret the lyrics that it’s Madonna’s plea to her fans, following the backlash of the infamous SEX book.  There’s a definite melancholic tone to Why’s It So Hard. It doesn’t brim with confidence like Express Yourself or Human Nature. I always think there’s a slight element of anger to it too. The lyrics sound like they were written by someone who had experienced some form of discrimination in the past. It’s got that downtrodden, disillusioned feel. In many ways, it’s the song that most bluntly addresses what the Erotica era is about. It remains a hidden gem in Madonna’s body of work. I think it would have done well as a single actually. Sadly, it was consigned firmly to album track status. It’s only been performed (very racily) in The Girlie Show Tour. Having said that, with the Secret Project on the literal cusp of reveal and Madonna’s aim to start a Revolution of Love, Why’s It So Hard might just feature on her next tour. It seems to be a very appropriate song for the projects Madonna is partaking in at the minute. I’d happily see it replace Human Nature to be honest. A very overlooked song.