As a diehard pop music fan (a “stan,” if you will), one of the most frustrating things I encounter in the realm of pop music-dom is when people sing the praises of today’s hottest artists yet seem surprisingly unwilling to recognize the artists that paved the way for them.
Case in point: Madonna.
Especially in recent years, whether as a result of her Super Bowl appearance or her more recent performance at the Grammys, the mere mention of Madonna’s name often seems to elicit a collective groan among a substantial proportion of our generation.
To me, this is extremely disappointing. Yes, artists like Beyoncé and Katy Perry are doing some pretty awesome things in music right now, but there is little doubt they would have nearly as much of an impact on the public without Madonna being such a trailblazer for pop music in the past. And especially in comparison to Madonna's impact in the '80s, quite simply: there is no comparison.
Of course, as trend-setting millennials, I know that the readers of RPM aren’t exactly going to jump on the chance to add a song from the mid-80s onto their playlists (even if there are some pretty flawless bops from that decade to consider). So instead, I decided to take the approach of reviewing one of Madonna’s more (semi-)recent albums you may have missed which is, in my mind, the best "fit" for the RPM readers of today.
Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna's 10th studio album, was initially released to widespread critical acclaim (some even called it superior to her work in the '80s) and pretty impressive sales figures—it sold 6.3 million copies in less than a month in a half. However, why you should care about the album is its unique concept: far removed from consisting of 12 separate tracks, the entire album is actually structured like a DJ set, with each track transitioning flawlessly into the next to form one consistent hour of electronic euphoria (in fact, there are even some traces of EDM to be found in several of the tracks … not bad for an album released nearly 10 years ago!).
With that said, reviewing Confessions on a Dance Floor track-by-track is a bit like reviewing a movie scene-by-scene; you can give definite highlights, but breaking it apart like that takes something away from the body of work as a whole. So instead, I’m going to point you in the direction of a few tracks to sample with the hope that you'll check out the album for yourself and discover that this is not your mom's Madonna of the '80s.
"Hung Up" is the lead single from the album—meaning it is the song you are most likely to have heard from this album. Simply put, it is one of the best dance tracks Madonna has ever released, bar none.
"Sorry," the second single from the album, is probably my favorite out of all the tracks on Confessions on a Dance Floor.
"Jump" is a female empowerment anthem I simply had to include here solely because the parkour-infused performance of the song from Madonna's Confessions tour (above) is absolutely not to be missed.
Finally, in the true spirit of RPM’s focus on music to power the YoPro within you, “Push” is a non-single that is nevertheless a staple of my motivational playlists, so I figured it was worth a mention here.
Like I said, breaking this album apart is extremely difficult to do, and the tracks I’ve highlighted above are just that—highlights of an album that is viewed much better as one cohesive unit. Whether you are a pop music fan or just looking for a good dance-y playlist to jam to at your desk, there is no excuse for you not to check out this album—because I think you'll find that Madonna's Confessions are ones worth listening to.
Whether you’re a pop music fan or just looking for a good, dance-y playlist to get you through your Thursday, Madonna’s Confessions are certainly worth listening to.
Final Verdict: Still "hung up" on this amazing album even after all these years.
Essential Tracks to Check Out: "Hung Up," "Sorry," "I Love New York," "Jump," "Push"