Thursday, September 29, 2011

271. Going to a Go Go. And then coming home from a went went

Album: Going to a Go Go
Aritst: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Year: 1965
Genre: Soul


  1. The Tracks Of My Tears
  2. Going To A Go-Go
  3. Ooo Baby Baby
  4. My Girl Has Gone
  5. In Case You Need Love
  6. Choosey Beggar
  7. Since You Won My Heart
  8. From Head To Toe
  9. All That's Good
  10. My Baby Changes Like The Weather
  11. Let Me Have Some
  12. A Fork In The Road

There's a band who in their time recorded more number one hits than Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys combined. They are undoubtedly the most successful group of musicians in the history of recorded music and it's a fair bet that the average music lover couldn't even name a single member. They're known as The Funk Brothers and for years they made a living turning up every working day to Motown studios and laying down the instrumentation for whichever vocalists were recording on that day. They played with the Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Night and the Four Tops. Their hit records include Papa Was a Rollin Stone, My Girl, Stop in the Name of Love, Baby Love, Heatwave, I heard it through the Grapevine, Midnight Train to Georgia, War and loads of others.

Part of the reason nobody has heard much about them is because they were predominantly anonymous on record. They were never credited individually and there are dozens of classic Motown albums and singles which simply credit instrumentation to "The Funk Brothers". Personally I believe every member of the group deserves full credit for their music. Especially Jack Brokensha who played percussion and was from Adelaide. I think it's vitally important that we recognize the contribution that an Australian made to one of Rock and Roll's greatest legacies.

But while we're hailing the Brothers of Funk we shouldn't forget the voices that played with them. Don't go thinking that the guys holing the instruments were the only talents in the studio on this release. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles not only possessed golden voices they were all capable songwriters. Going to a Go Go is an album that collects the latest six singles they released along with their accompanying B-sides. The six hits are perfect songwriting and rest of the tracks are no mere filler either.

Motown really was an incredible place. It's stable of musicians changed the music landscape for better and forever. You owe it a debt of thanks and showing your appreciation by listening to some Smokey Robinsons and the Miracles. If only repaying all debts were this enjoyable.

Influenced by: The Funk Brothers
Influenced: The Rolling Stones

Highlight: The Tracks of my tears
Lowlight: From Head to toe

Favourite Amazon Customer Review quote: "THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME WAS DONE A GREAT DISSERVICE to this fantastic group by only inducting their lead singer , especially since other , more highly - praised MOTOWN groups who HAVE BEEN INDUCTED, never wrote A SINGLE LYRIC OF MUSIC !!! "

-Some people use capitals all the time. Others write entirely in lower case. This is the first person I've read who SUFFERS from sporadic CAPS LOCK dependence.

So is this album one of the Miracles of modern music or not? Let me know below.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

272. Nightbirds- never heard of it...oh wait.

Album: Nightbirds
Artist: Labelle
Year: 1974
Genre: Pop


1. Lady Marmalade
2. Somebody Somewhere
3. Are You Lonely?
4. It Took A Long Time
5. Don't Bring Me Down
6. What Can I Do For You?
7. Nightbird
8. Space Children
9. All Girl Band
10. You Turn Me On

Sometimes I look at the next album that the top 500 throws at me and profess total ignorance. When I first saw Nightingale by Labelle I thought "Never heard of it and never heard of them". A quick glance at the track listing revealed an album full of tracks that had never crossed my musical path before. It's nice to sit down and listen to something completely and utterly new...

...with the exception of track one which was instantly recognizable and something I'd heard a million times before. You might not know the name Labelle. You might not even recognise the name of the track Lady Marmalade but if I told you it contained the line "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" You'd have the same aha moment that I did. "Oh yeah, that Hey Sister Soul Sister song, that Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Here song." Yes that song. You've heard it a million times before on all sorts of things. It's in your head now and I'd be fairly sure it's not entirely unwelcome.

It's a catchy song Lady Marmalade and unlike most catchy pop songs it's doesn't rely entirely on one refrain getting stuck in your head. The whole song is catchy and it's got a good funk groove underneath and a fine beat. It helps that the members of the band (yes Labelle is a band) have some great voices.

If you've heard the original version of Lady Marmalade and thought "I really like that song" then can I recommend you check out the rest of Nighbirds. It's an album full of funky soulful pop and hard not to like.

Highlight: Lady Marmalade
Lowlight: Space Children

Influenced by: Sly and the Family Stone
Influenced: The Fugees

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "My transaction went very smoothly. My merchandise arrived sooner than promised and in excellent condition. I would definitely do business with this seller again."

-As recently as November 2010. How many times people- you review the album and not the service! Sheesh.

So was Lady Marmalade a pleasant surprise or something you wish people would stop spreading? Let me know below.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

273 The Slim Shady LP. Still not really a nice guy.

Album: The Slim Shady LP
Artist: Eminem
Year: 1999
Genre: Hip Hop


  1. Public Service Announcement
  2. My Name Is
  3. Guilty Conscience
  4. Brain Damage
  5. Paul
  6. If I Had
  7. '97 Bonnie & Clyde
  8. Bitch
  9. Role Model
  10. Lounge
  11. My Fault
  12. Ken Kaniff
  13. Cum On Everybody
  14. Rock Bottom
  15. Just Don't Give A Fuck
  16. Soap
  17. As The World Turns
  18. I'm Shady
  19. Bad Meets Evil
  20. Still Don't Give A Fuck
There's a band that don't appear on this countdown called The Barenaked Ladies, a Canadian group who had a small measure of success in the nineties. Their signature tune is a catchy ditty called If I had a Million dollars The following is a list of some of the things the Barenaked Ladies would  do if they had a Million Dollars:

Buy you a house complete with furniture and a car. Build a tree fort. Buy a fake fur coat, an exotic pet and the remains of the elephant man. They would also like to buy a green dress, some art and a monkey.

The following is from the song called If I had by Eminem:

"But if I had a million dollars
I'd buy a damn brewery, and turn the planet into alcoholics
If I had a magic wand, I'd make the world suck my dick
without a condom on, while I'm on the john
If I had a million bucks
it wouldn't be enough, because I'd still be out
robbing armored trucks
If I had one wish
I would ask for a big enough ass for the whole world to kiss"

If you think Eminem's lines are hilarious and sum up your views on life then he's the guy for you. If you thought the Barenaked Ladies lines were kind of charming then I'd suggest Eminem is not your thing. Eminem doesn't really have a middle ground. You either find his vitriol speaks directly to soul or goes against everything you stand for. The world can be divided into Eminem fans and everyone else.

Personally I'm a fan of the Barenaked Ladies. They're daggy, nerdy, geeky, overweight, goofy and a lot of fun (or at least they were for a while). They're not rocking any boats, breaking any taboos or scaring any mothers but they still released some great albums back before the started to take themselves too seriously.

Having said that Eminem deserves full credit for what he was able to achieve. He strode confidently into a world in which white people had no credibility and managed to become a huge success. He's been on top of the hip hop world for over a decade now which is no small achievement. My hat's off to the guy.

The Slim Shady LP documents Eminems' desire to be a millionaire. Now that he's achieved that aim I hope he's happy but something tells me he isn't. I'd be interested to know if he has bought that brewery and how the "turn the world into alcoholics" plan is working out.

Highlight: My Name is
Lowlight: Any track that goes for under a minute.

Influenced by: A desire to aquire wealth
Influenced: Millions of teenage boys all over the world to open their wallets.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This Cd hasn't been released yet, and all we've heard is "My Name Is". But this guy has potential."

-So you gave the album four stars based on the one single you'd heard? Seriously people, listen to the album at least once before you jump on Amazon.

So is Eminem worth a Million Dollars or nothing at all? Let me know below.

Friday, September 16, 2011

274. The Mothership Connection. Make my funk the P Funk

Album: The Mothership Connection
Artist: Parliament
Year: 1975
Genre: Funk


1. P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
2. Mothership Connection (Star Child)
3. Unfunky UFO
4. Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication
5. Handcuffs
6. Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
7. Night Of The Thumpasorus Peoples

Okay I'll try and make this clear: Dr Funkenstein put the secrets of funk into the pyramids for future generations. Sadly Sir Nose D'voidoffunk created the Placebo Syndrome in an attempt to propagate unfunkiness and put everyone in the Zone of Zero Funkativity. Starchild, an agent of Dr Funkenstein, with the help of The Lollypop man (The long haired sucker) uses the Bop Gun to make Sir Nose, and the entire of humanity achieve Funkentelechy and all is good.

Actually there's quite a bit more to the story but I'll stop there because I think the point has been made: George Clinton is a lunatic. While most of his contempories were writing lyrics about social justice or the joys of disco, Clinton decided he wanted to try and combine funk with science fiction. He gave his albums a bizarre storyline in which the cosmic forces of good and evil waged war with the funk as their battle ground. He started an entire mythology which he wove throughout subsequent albums and live shows (and in all probability dreams and acid trips). The guy is a certified oddball in no uncertain terms and a quick google image search will provide you with enough visual proof if any is required.

What seperates Clinton from other madmen is that George is a massive talent. So massive in fact that he created his own "Talent-gravity" that sucked nearby talented people into his orbit. Over the years Clinton has worked with an incredible array of funk's finest musicians. People who can really play and appreciate a groove have gravitated to George like he was a cosmic death star emitting tractor beam rays of pure funk power. And when they enter his orbit, George is able to craft them into a tight unit that somehow share his strangely lunatic vision.

The Mothership Connection should be a total disaster. It's too full of musicians, proudly inspired by illicit substances and too determined to get by on simply a good baseline and some wacky ideas. The truth of the matter is that Clinton is not only able to keep the disparate talents in check he can turn them into something even greater than the sum of their parts. He creates enough loose discipline in the studio to produce greatness and even manages to replicate it for three hours onstage.

Most people who have put on a P-funk album have had a: "Bloody hell! Where has this been all my life?" reaction. Maybe it's your turn to have one now.

Influenced by: James Brown and sci fi movies
Influenced: Anyone who claims their basslines are funky

Highlight: The opening track, but it's by no means downhill from there.
Lowlight: Handcuffs

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: The only reason I didn't give you a 5 is the tape case was broken on one end. I had to get an old one I had and replace it. Don't worry about it...Sandra

-Poor Sanda. This album had only five star ratings until she came along with a three star rating based on a broken tape cover. She now endures the ire of amazonians who want the albums five star rating preserved.

So do you want to make your funk the p-funk or would you rather they all just funked off?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

275 Rhythm Nation 1814- The other Jackson

Album: Rhythm Nation 1814
Artist: Janet Jackson
Year: 1989
Genre: Pop


  1. Interlude: Pledge
  2. Rhythm Nation
  3. Interlude: T.V.
  4. State Of The World
  5. Interlude: Race
  6. The Knowledge
  7. Interlude: Let's Dance
  8. Miss You Much
  9. Interlude: Come Back Interlude
  10. Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  11. Livin' In A World (They Didn't Make)
  12. Alright
  13. Interlude: Hey Baby
  14. Escapade
  15. Interlude: No Acid
  16. Black Cat
  17. Lonely
  18. Come Back To Me
  19. Someday Is Tonight
  20. Interlude: Livin'... In Complete Darkness

Before she perpetrated the world's most famous Wardrobe Malfunction, and before she started to look like a black version of her famous brother, Janet Jackson was a musical force to be reckoned with in her own right. She was a huge star who racked up some really impressive achievements. For example I had no idea this album generated 7 singles, all of which went to at least number 4 in the US charts. Incredibly one of these singles went to number one in 1989, another hit number one in 1990 and another managed to top the charts in 1991. Three consecutive years with a number one single from the same album.

There's no reason Folk or Rock music should have a monopoly on social justice lyrics. Just because Bob Dylan used six-strings to spread his message doesn't give guitarists exclusive rights to comment on issues throughout the world. Having said that it still feels odd when dance music features lyrics like: 
"Drugs and crime spreadin on the streets
People can't find enough to eat
Now our kids can't go out and play
That's the state of the world today"

It's just odd to think of dance music and politics meeting: "This is a great club, I love the dancing and the atmosphere"  "Really? I come here for the blistering social commentary"

It doesn't help that Jackson's lyrics aren't what you'd call subtle and could be accused of lacking depth: "Prejudice No!
Ignorance No!
Bigotry No!
Illiteracy No!"

They're sentiments I can get behind but they don't seem especially well argued. But fair credit for trying something brave in a genre that isn't really known for lyrical complexity.

The other bold move Jackson made was releasing Black Cat, a song that is basically rock and roll. It features a bold guitar riff and a guitar solo that is way beyond the quick 4-bar melodic burst that most pop records allow if they let axemen anywhere near their songs. Black Cat proves that Jackson could have easily fronted a rock group.

If you've ever listened to dance music and thought "This is all very well but I can't help but feel it's not addressing global poverty" this album could be for you. If you, like me, struggle to get into dance music then Black Cat could be your way in, at least to a depth of one track.

Highlight: Black Cat
Lowlight: The opening attempts at social justice

Influenced by: Her brother and a social conscience.
Influenced: Beyonce and others like her.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "forget all the wannabe pop princesses today. This album is what good pop music should be. Raw, edgy, soulful, meaningful. Janet."

-Can any album that took 8 months to record really be called raw?

So is Janet your least favourite or your preferred Jackson? Let me know below.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

276. Anthology of American Folk music. A folk-load of tunes

Album: Anthology of American Folk Music
Artist: Various
Year: 1952
Genre: Folk


Volume One: The Ballads

  1. Dick Justice – Henry Lee
  2. Nelstone's Hawaiians – Fatal Flower Garden
  3. Clarence Ashley – The House Carpenter
  4. Coley Jones – Drunkard's Special
  5. Bill And Belle Reed – Old Lady And The Devil
  6. Buell Kazee – The Butcher's Boy
  7. Buell Kazee – The Wagoner's Lad
  8. Chubby Parker And His Old Time Banjo – King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O
  9. Uncle Eck Dunford – Old Shoes And Leggings
  10. Richard Burnett And Leonard Rutherford – Willie Moore
  11. Buster Carter & Preston Young – A Lazy Farmer Boy
  12. Carolina Tar Heels, The – Peg And Awl
  13. G.B. Grayson – Ommie Wise
  14. Kelly Harrell And Virginia String Band, The – My Name Is John Johanna
  15. Edward L. Crain – Bandit Cole Younger
  16. Kelly Harrell And Virginia String Band, The – Charles Giteau
  17. Carter Family, The – John Hardy Was A Desperate Little Man
  18. Williamson Brothers, The And Curry (2) – Gonna Die With My Hammer In My Hand
  19. Frank Hutchison – Stackalee
  20. Charlie Poole And The North Carolina Ramblers – White House Blues
  21. Mississippi John Hurt – Frankie
  22. William And Versey Smith – When That Great Ship Went Down
  23. Carter Family, The – Engine 143
  24. Furry Lewis – Kassie Jones
  25. Bently Boys, The – Down On Penny's Farm
  26. Masked Marvel, The – Mississippi Boweavil Blues
  27. Carolina Tar Heels, The – Got The Farm Land Blues

Volume Two: Social Music

  1. Uncle Bunt Stephens – Sail Away Lady
  2. Jilson Setters – The Wild Wagoner
  3. Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers – Wake Up Jacob
  4. Delma Lachney And Blind Uncle Gaspard – La Danseuse
  5. Andrew And Jim Baxter – Georgia Stomp
  6. Eck Robertson And Family – Brilliance Medley
  7. Hoyt "Floyd" Ming And His Pep-Steppers – Indian War Whoop
  8. Henry Thomas – Old Country Stomp
  9. Jim Jackson (2) – Old Dog Blue
  10. Columbus Fruge – Saut Crapaud
  11. Joseph Falcon – Acadian One-Step
  12. Breaux Freres – Home Sweet Home
  13. Cincinnati Jug Band, The – Newport Blues
  14. Frank Cloutier And Victoria Cafe Orchestra, The – Moonshiner's Dance Part One
  15. Rev. J. M. Gates – You Must Be Born Again
  16. Rev. J. M. Gates – Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting
  17. Alabama Sacred Harp Singers – Rocky Road
  18. Alabama Sacred Harp Singers – Present Joys
  19. Middle Georgia Singing Convention No. 1 – This Song Of Love
  20. Rev. Sister Mary Nelson – Judgement
  21. Memphis Sanctified Singers – He Got Better Things For You
  22. Elders McIntorsh And Edwards' Sanctified Singers – Since I Laid My Burden Down
  23. Rev. Moses Mason* – John The Baptist
  24. Bascom Lamar Lunsford – Dry Bones
  25. Blind Willie Johnson – John The Revelator
  26. Carter Family, The – Little Moses
  27. Ernest Phipps And His Holiness Singers* – Shine On Me
  28. Rev. F.W. McGhee – Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room
  29. Rev. D.C. Rice And His Sanctified Congregation – In The Battlefield For My Lord

Volume Three: Songs

  1. Clarence Ashley – The Coo Coo Bird
  2. Buell Kazee – East Virginia
  3. Cannon's Jug Stompers – Minglewood Blues
  4. Didier Herbert – I Woke Up One Morning In May
  5. Richard "Rabbit" Brown – James Alley Blues
  6. Dock Boggs – Sugar Baby
  7. Bascom Lamar Lunsford – I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground
  8. Ernest And Hattie Stoneman – Mountaineer's Courtship
  9. Stoneman Family, The – The Spanish Merchant's Daughter
  10. Memphis Jug Band – Bob Lee Junior Blues
  11. Carter Family, The – Single Girl, Married Girl
  12. Cleoma Breaux And Joseph Falcon – La Vieux Soulard Et Sa Femme
  13. Blind Lemon Jefferson – Rabbit Foot Blues
  14. Sleepy John Estes And Yank Rachell – Expressman Blues
  15. Ramblin' Thomas – Poor Boy Blues
  16. Cannon's Jug Stompers – Feather Bed
  17. Dock Boggs – Country Blues
  18. Julius Daniels – 99 Year Blues
  19. Blind Lemon Jefferson – Prison Cell Blues
  20. Blind Lemon Jefferson – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
  21. Cleoma Breaux And Ophy Breaux And Joseph Falcon – C'Est Si Triste Sans Lui
  22. Uncle Dave Macon – Way Down The Old Plank Road
  23. Uncle Dave Macon – Buddy Won't You Roll Down The Line
  24. Mississippi John Hurt – Spike Driver Blues
  25. Memphis Jug Band – K.C. Moan
  26. J.P. Nestor – Train On The Island
  27. Ken Maynard – The Lone Star Trail
  28. Henry Thomas – Fishing Blues
There are some albums on this countdown that have been a breeze to review. Not long ago I heard a new Beach Boys album which was so short I could knock it off four times in the course of a day's commuting. One day is often all it takes to go from total ignorance of an album's existence to being able to hum most of the tunes. But the American Anthology of Folk music was a much bigger investment of time. Six CD's full of folk tunes. A week of dedicating listening on the train wasn't even enough to hear it all the way through once. In anticipation of the size of this task I started listening to the anthology months ago. It's fair to suggest I'm happy to see the back of it now.

I was fascinated to hear The Anthology mainly because it's impossible to read about Bob Dylan without this coming up. Bob was basically obsessed with the Anthology and according to some reports even broke into a friend's apartment to steal a copy. Along with the works of Woody Guthrie, these discs (or the original 12 sides of vinyl) formed the basis for Dylan's musical heritage. This is what he listened to, studied and learned from. These discs gave us Bob so we owe them a debt of thanks- but do they hold up today?

Most people will find the Anthology a pretty hard slog. The tracks are one take, low-fi recordings of performers crowding around a lone microphone. The Anthology wasn't compiled from the original studio masters but from old records that archivist Harry Smith managed to track down. Far from being a polished collection of well crafted studio productions these are badly preserved snapshots of the only time these performers set foot in the studio. It's rough and raw in every sense of the term. It's also folk. Not folk/rock or any other variant, it's the music of the people which is ironic because today not too many people actually want to hear it.

Make no mistake about it folk can get pretty demanding after a while. The recording process hasn't done a lot of the voices any favours and many of the singers come across as thin, reedy and nasal. The lone singers often come off the best but the larger groups (usually someone named Reverend with a bunch of backing singers) suffer from a mono mix that makes it them sound more like sentient air-conditioners than human beings. The subject matter can also become pretty draining after a while. Suffering plays a large part in the folk singer's life and they're determined to share the experience with us in every possible way. The definite highlights of the collection are the blues tracks. Blind Lemon Jefferson might have an extremely silly name (how many lemons aren't blind?) but he was a true bluesman in every sense of the word. 

The Anthology of American music is an important release. It's a vital collection of songs that might otherwise be lost to us and it was instrumental in turning a young Robert Zimmerman into Bob Dylan. An edited highlights package might make a pleasant listen but unless you're a real folk enthusiast the entire package is probably best avoided. Listening to all six discs in a row might be enough to make you write a blues song of your own.

Influenced by: Live music. Nobody on this disc was learning songs from their CD players.
Influenced: Bob.

Highlight: The Blues tracks
Lowlight: The length.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "let me just say that listening to the anthology of american folk music was a big contributor to my decision in switching my college major from sculpture to ethnomusicology."

-I'm guessing it doesn't really matter which of those two he finally graduated in, he probably ended up in the same career path. 

So is six discs of folk more than you can bear or not nearly enough? Let me know below.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

277. Aladdin Sane- I'm sorry but I'm still not getting it.

Album: Aladdin Sane
Artist: David Bowie
Year: 1973
Genre: Rock


  1. Watch That Man
  2. Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)
  3. Drive-In Saturday
  4. Panic In Detroit
  5. Cracked Actor
  6. Time
  7. The Prettiest Star
  8. Let's Spend The Night Together
  9. The Jean Genie
  10. Lady Grinning Soul

I can't see any reason why I don't like The Thin White Duke. I respect the guy, I admire him in a lot of ways, the only possible thing that annoys me about him is the fact that I keep hearing his name pronounced in two different ways (is the Bow pronounced like the bow of a ship or the bow that goes with an arrow?). But Aladdin Sane was yet another Bowie album that I couldn't get into. So in desperation I went to a popular forum and asked people why they like Bowie.

The responses (which are genuinely true and not made up) ranged from the vague:
  • "I just like his music"
  • "it's that ineffable quality"
  • "There's nobody quite like Bowie and that's what I think like most."
To the odd:
  • "Why are boobs good?"
  • "David Bowie allows us all to do something absolutely outrageous like wear an eye patch or paint lightning bolts on our wangs."
Most responses included recommendations of other albums that I should give a try. Some I'd heard already and didn't like but others were coming up in the countdown and I will run into eventually. A lot of people expressed a degree of incredulity that anyone could not like Bowie.

In the mean time I can only say that while I understand the appeal of boobs I think there must be something more to Bowie than just an excuse to paint a lightning bolt on your penis (as if one was needed). I'll report back when I find out what that is.

Influenced by: A desire to reinvent
Influenced: Wang artists everywhere

Highlight: Panic in Detroit
Lowlight: Lets spend the night together

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This album, THE GREATEST ALBUM OF THE '70S, is like listening to Jean Genet, the post-war gay criminal novelist."

-What an odd point of comparison.

Do you love this album? Please tell my why. I really want to know.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

278. The Immaculate Collection.

Album: The Immaculate Collection
Artist: Madonna
Year: 1990
Genre: Pop


1. Holiday
2. Lucky Star
3. Borderline
4. Like A Virgin
5. Material Girl
6. Crazy For You
7. Into The Groove
8. Live To Tell
9. Papa Don't Preach
10. Open Your Heart
11. La Isla Bonita
12. Like A Prayer
13. Express Yourself
14. Cherish
15. Vogue
16. Justify My Love
17. Rescue Me

It's a fair testament to Madonna that I know almost every song on this album. I'm not a pop fan by any stretch of the imagination, I don't like pop generally and specifically I can't stand eighties pop. My idea of hell is being locked in a room and forced to listen to "Smash hits of the 80's" over and over again. The only way it could be worse is if I was joined in the room by someone who squealed with delight at each new song and insisted on telling me what memories it brought back.

But almost every song on this release I knew and in some instances knew quite well. Somehow throughout the eighties the songs on this album penetrated my subconscious. Even though neither of my parents ever listened to popular radio (it was classical only in my home) and my older brother was always into rock, I heard all these songs. I didn't listen to pop radio and never watched MTV so why do I know all the words to Like a Virgin? How did they get in my head? It's like Madonna's music is so ingrained in the human psyche we all know her music even though we never hunted it out. There are bushmen of the Kalahari singing Holiday over and over again to themselves and wishing a coke bottle would fall from the sky and knock them out cold to provide some relief.

Consequently I don't think I need to actually review this album. Look at the titles, you know all those songs. Even though I can't recall ever actually hearing them they're all there in my head and they're in yours as well. If that fact makes you smile then why not put on Immaculate Collection and enjoy the best that eighties pop has to offer? If you're annoyed that Maddonna's musical children are trespassing in your head then put on something else in a futile attempt to exorcise Papa don't preach from your mind. Either way take the time to apprecate how it's possible for someone to make music so ubiquitous it penetrates the mental defences I always erect in order to try and prevent eighties pop from ever penetrating my psyche.

Influenced by: A desire to combine commerical success with reinvention
Influenced: Any woman currently singing pop music.

Highlight: Like a Prayer
Lowlight: Crazy for you

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "For all you young ladies out there, you might find Madonna to be a role model in some way. But after seeing her Playboy spread, I feel as though I should share with all of you a message as a public service, and I hope you take heed: nice girls shave their armpits."

-Did you hear that? Nice girls shave their armpits. If you females have any hair in your armpits you are apparently not a nice girl. Thank god this guy came along and gave us a foolproof way of spotting girls who weren't nice. And good of him to scour the pages of playboy looking for girls who weren't nice to warn us about.

So is this collection Immaculate or is the name inaccurate? Let me know below.