Song of the Day #4,932: ‘Material Girl’ – Madonna

Continuing my look at 1984, first by counting down my own top five albums of that year.

#4. Like a Virgin – Madonna

Here’s an album I paid no attention at the time of its release, and an artist I actively dismissed for most of the following four decades.

It took last summer’s Madonna deep dive for me to finally appreciate the game-changing greatness of one of the 80s defining artists. And though Like a Virgin landed at #5 on my Madonna album ranking, it’s a worthy enough collection to land at #4 on this list.

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Song of the Day #4,802: ‘Cherish’ – Madonna

Three weeks, 14 studio albums, one icon… today concludes my Madonna deep dive!

As with my first two artist deep dives (Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne), this one limped to a close as Madonna’s last few albums didn’t approach the quality or impact of her early work.

I guess that’s the nature of the music industry, almost without exception. How many decades can you expect your muse to last?

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Song of the Day #4,801: ‘Crave’ – Madonna & Swae Lee

After nearly three weeks of diving into Madonna’s catalog, we’ve arrived at her most recent album, 2019’s Madame X. Released at the ripe old age (by music industry standards) of 61, this is one of the most stylistically interesting records of her career.

Madonna had been living in Lisbon, Portugal, for a couple of years when she was inspired to craft an album that featured not only the sounds of that country, but of the many cultures with which she had come into contact while there.

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Song of the Day #4,800: ‘Joan of Arc’ – Madonna

Madonna’s 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, dropped in March of 2015. It marked a departure from the club-heavy albums she’d been putting out for more than a decade, leaning more on techno-tinged power ballads.

It was also her best record since 2005’s Confessions On a Dance Floor.

Rebel Heart has a large lineup of producers, both big names and small, including Kanye West, Avicii and Diplo. Nicki Minaj returns to feature on a track. But unlike on previous releases, that laundry list of contributors doesn’t overwhelm the final product.

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Song of the Day #4,799: ‘Masterpiece’ – Madonna

Madonna followed up what I consider her worst album so far, 2008’s Hard Candy, with 2012’s MDNA, an electronic pop album informed by her divorce from filmmaker Guy Ritchie several years earlier.

After the lackluster results from the star-studded producer lineup of her previous effort, Madonna enlisted a host of lesser-known producers for this album. Most notably, she brought back William Orbit, who helped deliver one of her best albums in Ray of Light. Orbit’s contributions to MDNA are by far its best tracks.

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