The Immaculate Collection – Madonna

Released November 9, 1990 this greatest hits also featured two new singles: “Justify My Love”, which went to #1, and “Rescue Me” which peaked at #9 and highest debuting single by a female artist on the Hot 100 ever. It is the first album to ever use the new audio technology QSound (mimicking 3-D sound). It went to #1 in the UK and #2 in the US and stayed in the Billboard chart for 141 consecutive weeks. It has sold over 30 million worldwide copies making it the best-selling compilation by a solo artist and one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Jason: So this is our second greatest hits in a row. How do you feel about that?

Brad: I’m fine with it. Are you still upset about it?

Jason: No. I’m more okay with The Immaculate Collection because it features two new songs and because of how popular it was.

Brad: Not only the two new songs but also new versions of many of the songs.

Jason: For me here is the big difference between this and ABBA GOLD, which was last week’s album that we reviewed. With GOLD, there isn’t much progression in sound or style from their earliest song to their later ones. You could shuffle that album and it wouldn’t matter too much. However, with The Immaculate Collection the way she matures and changes, not only in her voice but in her style, really shows how she evolved over essentially the same amount of time (less than a decade.) When listening to “Lucky Star” and “Justify My Love” for example you know it’s Madonna but she has really progressed. It’s pretty amazing.

Brad: I agree. She’s constantly changing and evolving and that is why she is my favorite artist of all time. So I’m guessing you like that these songs are basically in chronological order?

Jason: Yes, because it does showcase an evolution. But I did shuffle it a bit when I listened to it recently. I have probably listened to this, gosh, 100 times in my life, maybe that’s an underestimate. So it’s not like I needed much of a refresher. 

Brad: Same here. I love every song on this album and can’t even count how many times I’ve played them. Back when this came out in 1990, greatest hits were so popular because it was the only way to hear all your favorite songs from an artist in one place. Now we have streaming and playlists which has made greatest hits albums less popular. In fact, when new greatest hits albums come out now, they barely make it on the charts.

Jason: I asked on my facebook page what song from this album was everyone’s most and least favorites? Least was “La Isla Bonita” for a lot of people. Most favorite had a few top choices: “Vogue”, “Cherish”, Live to Tell.” What are your top 3 songs on this album and what is your one least favorite?

Brad: My top 3 are “Like A Prayer”, “Crazy For You” & “Vogue”. My least favorite is really tough because I love every song on here. I guess I would choose “Rescue Me” but I do love that song. 

Jason: For me top 3 are “Borderline”, “Crazy for You”, and maybe “Vogue”. I had a maxi-cassingle of “Vogue” with some remixes on it.

Jason: I also like that the Ball scene in NYC inspired “Vogue” which inspired more interest in the Ball scene, which inspired the TV show “POSE” about the Ball scene in NYC which centers around Madonna’s “Vogue.” Phew! Anyway, my least favorite I think is, “Like a Virgin”. I’m tired of hearing it. Speaking of “Like a Virgin”, that was controversial when it came out. A few of these songs and/or videos really sparked controversy.

Brad: Her rolling around on the stage in a wedding dress during her VMA performance of “Like A Virgin” really caused a stir. So did the “Like A Prayer” and “Justify My Love” music videos. She’s so good at pushing buttons and making great art that gets people talking. One of my all-time favorites is when she performed the Marie Antoinette version of “Vogue” on the MTV VMAs.

Brad: I love that the original deluxe box set for The Immaculate Collection includes a giant poster from that performance. I still “cherish” that box set.

Jason: Hey, bad puns are my thing. I remember my parents, sister and I all gathering around the TV when they were world-premiering the “Like A Prayer” video/Pepsi Commercial. I think something like 250 million people watched that commercial when it aired. I don’t think people younger than us understand what a cultural revolution that was. A commercial!

Brad: There were several universal cultural moments like that in the 80s that seem so strange now but I love that they happened. 

Jason: And “Like A Prayer” was controversial because the storyline was essentially that a bunch of white supremacists murder a guy and they blame/kill a black man for it – who is also Jesus.

Brad: By the way, “Rescue Me” is one of 3 of Madonna’s Hot 100 top 10 songs that she has never performed live.  But just last week she released a rehearsal video for her Madame X tour where they are rehearsing that song. I’m excited to hopefully see her perform that in the Fall.

Jason: Cool! Even though it’s your least favorite song on this album (not least favorite Madonna song of all time.) Let’s hope she never performs “This Used to Be My Playground.” What do you think of “Justify My Love”?

Brad: I love everything about it. I like the vibe of it. It is very sexy. It is another huge cultural moment for Madonna. The video was deemed “too sexy” and gets banned from MTV so she releases it on VHS as a video single which I don’t think had been done before and it became an even bigger hit. I love that it marks a shift in her sound that foreshadows what is to come in her 90s albums.

Jason: Everything about this album is iconic and each song has a background story. I am sure we could talk about it forever so let’s wrap up.

Brad: Yeah, I could talk about it forever. I just want to mention one pet peeve I have with this album. Well, not so much with the album but with some Madonna fans in relation to this album. It seems like so many fans of Madonna stopped listening to any new Madonna music after this was released. I won’t dwell on it but it really bugs me when people say “I only like the Immaculate Collection era Madonna” That era is amazing but she has done so much since. That’s all. Just wanted to get that off my chest. So on to the grading. Naturally, I give this album the A+ it deserves. How about you?

Jason: I agree with you especially since “The Immaculate Collection” spans 7 years in her career but like 3 or 4 different iterations of her persona, sound, and message. It’s because some people didn’t like what came next, the SEX book and Erotica album, then Evita and they don’t like that she continued to evolve and grow and change. They actually want the 80’s jelly bracelet Madonna forever. Oh well, their loss. I too give this an A+.

Click here for the complete 100 list.

Below is the crappy, lazy scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.

Here are some images that would have been way better than the one above

“Frozen” isn’t on this album but this is a cool poster.