Justify My Madonna

I am definitely the only person on the planet who spent their Sunday afternoon crafting a semi-intelligent analysis of Madonna while watching footballs.

Justify My Love (Orbit 12″ Mix)
Justify My Love (Hip Hop Mix)
Justify My Love (The Beast Within Mix)
Erotica (Kenlou B-Boy Mix)
Erotica (Jeep Beats)
Erotica (Madonna’s In My Jeep Mix)
Erotica (W0 12″)
Erotica (Underground Club Mix)
Erotica (Bass Hit Dub)
Remember when these songs were controversial? Oh, the 90s seem so long ago now.

I still maintain that both of these songs would have been far less controversial if they were, well, better. Neither “Erotica” nor “Justify My Love” are particularly great, especially compared to the stuff that Madonna was putting out just a couple years earlier (“Vogue,” “Like A Prayer,” “Express Yourself”). Shit, “Justify My Love” is barely a song, it’s more of a spoken word rant with some trip-hop grooves tacked on. I’ve always thought that if you want to challenge your audience with your message or lyrics, then the music that accompanies it better be damn good, or at least be catchy. As interesting, experimental and brave as these songs are musically, they completely fail as pop recordings. No one, not even Madonna, can challenge their audience both thematically and musically and expect to get away scott free, especially when the thematic challenges are as controversial as the ones found in these songs.

As uneven as these songs are, I will say that their minimal and sparse nature certainly help lend themselves to some interesting remixes. All of these mixes are pretty good, and some, like William Orbit’s “W0 12” mix of “Erotica” are great reworkings. Even if you’re like me and don’t really dig on the original versions, you should still check out these mixes, you might be pleasantly surprised.

4 Responses to “Justify My Madonna”

  1. Glenn S. says:

    I think this was where Madonna started trying too hard to be hip, forgetting that at heart she was a great pop star. There would still be some good tunes to come down the line (What It Feels Like For A Girl, Beautiful Stranger, Frozen, among others) but they almost seemed to be in spite of Madonna’s quest to be cool, not because of it.

  2. biffbanner says:

    Justify My Love was built out of a loop from Public Enemy’s Security Of The First World from It Takes A Nation Of Millions….so pre-dates trip-hop in that sense

  3. SteveA says:

    Around this time, Madonna, was pushing the edges of taboo in some sense, either through media, video, literature and in her music….it was probably more of a personal statement maybe than any push for musical intellect….these songs do lack in comparison to the Pop songstress’s classic pop…

    In some sense she achieved almost the same thing with tracks like Papa don’t Preach and even Like A Virgin…but this had to be done (i.e. the 90’s erotica thing etc…) in order to make it possible and unapologetic for newcomers like Britney, and GaGa…

  4. Echorich says:

    Justify My Love is so amazing because it’s so far from being a Madonna song. Ingrid Chavez (post Prince and pre Sylvian) and Lenny Kravitz making a pop tone piece with spoken word. Pure.

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