“Material Girl”, “Like a Prayer”, “Music”… Madonna, queen of world pop in 14 hits

TOP MUSIC – While an anthology is appearing and all his albums are going to be reissued, a look back at the flamboyant journey of “la Ciccone”. Madonna of planetary pop who has crossed all the modes, from disco to funk, passing by folk or electro, imposing and always revisiting her glamorous, sexy and totally mastered image.

In forty years of career, Madonna Louise Ciccone, coming from Michigan, conquered New York, then America, and the whole planet with a string of hits navigating between pop, disco, funk and electro. Imposing in passing a totally mastered glamorous and sexy image. While an anthology (Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones) and that all his albums will be reissued, here are the choices of the music editor, Burning Up at I Love New York ».

“Burning Up” (1983)

A memory, a discovery. In 1983, a showcase organized by a radio station in the former swimming pool in Orléans, a stone’s throw from Place Denfert-Rochereau (Paris 14e). Where I had learned to swim a few years before. And where a still barely known Madonna presented her second single, the very addictive Burning Up, with its leaping synthetic rhythm. And the apprentice superstar to prove to be already master of her movements, of her presence, of her fierce determination to become shortly, by dint of hard work, the most essential of “lucky stars” from the 80’s. —HC


“Material Girl” (1984)

When the Ciccone kid dreams of being Marilyn, she replays an entire scene from Men prefer blondes and takes the opportunity to put Keith Carradine in the pocket. Swollen. With his uninhibited vulgarity (in schoolyards, it was whispered that it came from porn) and his tempered steel temperament, the sex symbol erects himself boldly. But keep control: Madonna is Marilyn informed, more cucul at all, and who masters hers, buttocks, like a marketing weapon. Virgin and whore, like America. — L.-J. NOT.


“Like a Virgin” (1985)

Before her second album, Madonna had already established herself as queen of the dancefloor, coupled with an international plague (personal experience during a TV shoot for sex machine !). With Like a Virgin, she was driving the point home, in sulphurous Marilyn with poisonous romanticism. The infernal groove announces the perfect loop to come from Into the Groove and the talk never ends, like the cult debate that opens the Reservoir Dogs of Tarantino, to question the meaning of the song. Profession of faith of a beautiful ingenue or confession of a slut? —HC


“Into the Groove” (1985)

How many kids in 1985 bought mittens or lace gloves after watching the clip of Into the Groovea montage of images from the film Desperately looking for Susan ? A dive, all over the world. The piece seems simple but, like all evidence, it relies on a rhythm close to perfection for dancing. A smashing drum machine whipping up an undulating synthetic bass line, as elastic as Susan’s chewing gum. A dancer before being a singer, Madonna has never sacrificed to mediocrity when it comes to making a dancefloor classic. — OdP


“Live to Tell (1986)

If you have the chance, take a look at like a mad dog (edited on Blu-ray by Carlotta), with the very young Sean and Chris Penn and an excellent Christopher Walken. Among its many qualities, the film offers a musical surprise with Live to Tell, more in place in the final credits than in the bland album TrueBlue. The synths, the naive dramatization and the drumstick rhythm resonate well with the blues and half-lights, the good looks of Sean Penn and the disturbing stature of Walken: the aesthetics of the 80s served on a platter. — L.-J. NOT.


“Who’s That Girl” (1987)

The film, a rather comical slapstick comedy, flopped upon release, but didn’t age too badly – ​​and gave Madonna her most compelling role. This goes for the funky title track of the soundtrack, which then portrays a young singer with a playful temperament and whose freshness persists. She’s there chica from Michigan, fan of Latin rhythms, the cheeky brunette with a boyish hat who doesn’t yet take herself too seriously, the sassy but ambitious star, who already fills stadiums and whose rise has only just begun. — A.Be.


“Like a Prayer” (1989)

La Ciccone is 30 years old, coming out of a dark year, her explosive affair with Sean Penn ends in divorce. Tracked by a pack (white), she takes refuge in a church and finds the only support of a Christ (black). The video of Like a Prayer did more talking than the song itself, its profusion of Catholic imagery having displeased the Vatican (and the taste for scandal discouraged Pepsi). It is true that when Madonna says to kneel to send someone to seventh heaven, one can have doubts. But the rhythmic and lyrical fervor carries the piece, the pop Madonna not only sets the crucifixes on fire, she breaks the barrier between profane incarnation and liturgical decorum (organ, gospel choir). A summit. —FG


“Justify My Love” (1990)

“Waaanting, neeeeding, waiiiting…” In a torrid chorus whispered on a hypnotic drum loop, the pop star of the disco years begins his electro transformation. Voice swollen with desire and blond Marilyn, the Madonna has found her glam, which the photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino will sublimate in an erotic and chic clip which will be the first audiovisual work banned from the antenna by MTV. Since then, the singer has multiplied sexual provocations, in a much more trashy way, but never with so much style. — A.Be.


“Secret” (1994)

It’s probably not Madonna’s most complex text – the story of a lover who holds a mysterious secret – but when it was released in 1994, Secret, first single from Bedtime Stories, his sixth album, embodies a bold transformation. Gone is the danceable pop of the 80s, hello folk R’n’B groove with Madonna sauce, smooth and undulating. A success, like the clip, where the queen bitch peroxidized, diaphanous complexion à la Jean Harlow, strolls through Harlem and invests the mythical Lenox Lounge, temple of New York jazz. — J.-B.R.


“Frozen” (1998)

Madonna, who gave birth to her first child, Lourdes, is beginning to turn. On this single announcing the album Ray of Light, she seems to release an overflow of emotion. His voice, pure as ever, hovers over a bed of strings delicately shaken by syncopations of percussion and a few echoes from dub. The goldsmith production signed William Orbit provokes the meeting between classical and electronic music, punctuated by oriental undulations. A dramaturgy worthy of a romantico-epic film soundtrack and a sensuality warmly recommended for a cuddling session emerge. — F.Pé.


“Ray of Light” (1998)

Haloed by her performance in Avoid (1996), the film in which she played the Argentinian diva Eva Perón, Madonna surfs on her planetary aura. Released in 1998 on the album of the same name, Ray of Light Brilliantly continues the musical shift started four years earlier with Bedtime Stories, but this time Madonna explores electro and techno-pop lands, always with that bewitching voice, which has rarely sounded so full. The album is a huge success, and this song, magnificent, is no stranger to it. — J.-B.R.


“Music” (2000)

What if, with this hit that crosses the years without taking a wrinkle, Madonna had revolutionized electro-disco-funk? With its metronomic and powerful beat, its synth sounds coming from another world and its distorted vocals with vocoder and delay, Music has devilishly futuristic dynamics and sound. The kind of piece that hits the mark from the first bars in an evening. Mirwais Ahmadzaï, ex-guitarist of Taxi Girl, achieves a masterstroke here. Madonna grafts onto her composition lyrics celebrating the power of music to bring people together. — F.Pé.


“American Life” (2003)

Unloved song from an unloved album. Madonna is continuing her collaboration with Mirwais, which began on Music. Stripped electro and acoustic sounds. Once again, an early version of the clip (lambasting the US intervention in Iraq) stole the song’s limelight. This one is however worth the detour, alternating voices and moods, beginning a cappella, chanting R’n’B style, purely lyrical in the chorus (sublimating its ambiguity), getting angry further in rap (the piece was sampled by Missy Elliott). Since Material Girl, Madonna has continued to update her tumultuous relationship to the “American dream”. Until posing here as a late emulator of Che. Too confusing for fans? —FG


“I Love New York” (2005)

Tired of hung-up and his ABBA sample? I Love New York hands you his steroid arms, like a bodybuilder’s version of the I Wanna Be Your Dog, of the Stooges, whose piece takes up the bass but not really the trashy spirit of Detroit. In the New York club of the Madonna, heroin has long since given way to ecstasy. Madonna delivers her Confessions on a Dancefloor to the English producer Stuart Price (Les Rythmes Digitales), who plunges them into a deluge of subsonic basses and rises as vulgar as they are effective. “New York is not for simpering little cats. » Is that clear enough? — OdP

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“Material Girl”, “Like a Prayer”, “Music”… Madonna, queen of world pop in 14 hits


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