Celebrate with Madonna

By Justin Park

Madonna commemorates three decades of pop supremacy with
“Celebration,” a two-disc greatest hits album that documents the
highs and lows of her legendary career.Despite “Celebration” being
Madonna’s third compilation, the track list casts a wider,
comprehensive net than the constrictive snapshots of the 1990’s
“The Immaculate Collection” and 2001’s “GHV2.” In lieu of
recycling previously released material, the collection offers two
new songs of dichotomous quality, perfectly summing up her
inability to deliver on a consistent level as she once did with
relative ease many years ago. The title track utilizes
a Euro-dance groove, similar to that of 2005’s “Confessions on a
Dance Floor,” in a manner that would put vapid amateurs like Lady
Gaga to shame.”I guess I just don’t recognize you with your
clothes on,” she intones during the song’s breakdown, followed by a
snide chuckle.On the flip side, “Revolver,” a collaboration with
Lil Wayne, is the audio equivalent of diarrhea as his love for
Auto-Tune eradicates whatever relevance it may have had as a
genuine song.Like Van Halen’s “The Best of Both Worlds,”
“Celebration” resembles an inebriated drive into oncoming traffic
where the track list appears to have been hastily stitched together
from the resulting wreckage.The record commences with 2005’s “Hung
Up,” running rampant through 2000’s “Music” and 1990’s “Vogue”
before committing more chronological havoc.Regardless, each decade
is represented well, particularly the anodyne hits of the
mid-1980s, as fans are served with the opportunity to revisit the
good, the bad and the ugly with “Holiday,” “Cherish” and
“Borderline.”However, some tunes are surprisingly absent, such as
1986’s “True Blue,” a love letter to then-husband Sean Penn, which
ranks as one of her most optimistic times before the late 1980s,
which set the stage for a more incendiary personality.1989’s “Like
A Prayer,” an ode to oral sex cleverly disguised as a pop hymn,
attracted the ire of zealots who misgauged and condemned the song
as a slight on religion.The accompanying music video, featuring a
Black Christ, stigmata and burning crosses, exposed the public to a
pop artist who challenged the status quo and fooled with the
insecurities of the sensitive public.Her controversial antics
continued throughout the early 1990s with the unabashed sexuality
of “Erotica” and “Justify My Love,” namely its videos, which MTV
banned almost immediately upon release.Although Madonna has since
abandoned her lascivious persona, “Celebration” proudly highlights
this unique era where she shattered taboos with a few suggestive
lyrics and images.Curiously, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” and “You
Must Love Me” from 1996’s Evita soundtracks are excluded from the
compilation, the latter of which nabbed an Academy Award and a
Golden Globe for Best Original Song.As Madonna meandered into
severe midlife crisis, the quality of her output from 1998’s “Ray
Of Light” onward suffered dramatically as she developed a shameless
reverence for mock spirituality, Pro Tools and faux English
accents.Although nearly 40 singles are omitted due to the
constraints of the format, the restriction proves fortunate for
newcomers who are spared the agony of songs such as “What It Feels
Like For A Girl” and her disastrous rendition of Don McLean’s
“American Pie.”Unfortunately, a slew of grave offenders such as “4
Minutes” and “Die Another Day” remain, reminding fans that modern
legends like Madonna refuse to end on a high note and would rather
milk every creative outlet dry.”Celebration” may not be a
definitive retrospective, but it should appeal to those seeking a
solid, introductory sampler of Madonna’s illustrious career.

Celebrate with Madonna

Celebrate with Madonna

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