Consumer Guide Album
Madonna: Music [Maverick, 2000]
Anybody who denies that Madonna made great singles in the '80s is a boob. Run all together on The Immaculate Collection, they constitute the greatest album of her mortal life. But except for the debut, the albums per se from that period strove for schlock when they didn't stoop to filler. In the early '90s, she essayed great longforms--an ambition that presupposes good songs while cultivating consistency and flow. Then she got scared and discovered God, two not unrelated experiences that rendered her great singles and good songs more middlebrow. So rejoice that from Vocoder to cowgirl suit, she's got her sass back. Pretending to be cheap, she sometimes--as on my favorite moment, the processed-munchkin hook of the perfectly entitled "Nobody's Perfect"--really is cheap, which is essential to the illusion. All the songs are good, all chintzy. Which combo provides just the right consistency and flow.