Nightman Listens To – Madonna (Madonna 1983)

My head is about to slip off my shoulders


Greetings glancers, Nightman here again, ready to push play on one of your favourite albums. Today we will listen to pale-faced, Africa-saving, past-it pop Goddess Madonna’s debut album, cleverly titled ‘Madonna’. Released in the hotbed of 80s music known as ‘1983’ ‘Madonna’ was to bring arguably the most important female entertainer of the late 20th Century into the spotlight. But wait, what’s that you say – ‘Madonna isn’t as important as these guys’?



Possibly not, but we are dealing with the higher echelons of Art here, as anyone familiar with the above geniuses will attest. It’s a question for another day, a drunken, cold day. But let’s go back to warmer times and climes, specifically July 1983, NYC. Synth was about to destroy the musical landscape, causing apocalyptic damage which we still feel today, and Madonna’s debut arguably heralded that arrival like a bunch of Jive Angels Egyptian-walking their way through the Pearly gates, fucked off their faces on Coke and ankle warmers. Looking down the tracklist, the only song I definitely recognise is ‘Holiday’, although ‘Borderline’ and ‘Physical Attraction’ sound familiar. We’ll soon find out when I give it a whirl. Only 8 songs? METAL. Alright, lets roll.

Lucky Star: Arrgh! Twinkly synth disasters. Throbbing toilet drums. Aah, the 80s… so so 80s. Singing. Sounds familiar, I imagine I’ve heard this at some point. It’s crap, but still better than today’s crap. It sounds quite innocent, typical lyrics, no boundaries being pushed. Hmm, we’re not even halfway through song yet, what’s left? Dual vocals. It’s catchy enough, but I can’t imagine anyone other than 30-something Divas getting excited about it, and what do they know?

Borderline: A nice little bell intro. Then more disco electro beats. It all sounds very child-like and happy. Oh, I know this one. More love lyrics. Nice melodies. Pitch seems a little too high. Like Minogue, singking through nose. Catchy chorus. This is good stuff, a respectable 80s pop song.

Burning Up: Oh no, drums that sound like claps, no no no. Toilet drums. guitar noyse. I assume these are sex words. Well, it is Madonna. Ah, now we’re into sex positions, along with what appears to be dog-panting. I understand. So even on her first album she’s sexing it up, good stuff. Unfortunately the song as a whole is a bit of a nonsense, and aside from the sex words and noises the music is annoying and the melodies are forgettable.

I Know It: Oh sweet jeebus that intro is horrendous. It sounds like one of the 80s educational vids they showed me in Primary School. In fact, it sounds like Look Around You. Yes, this is highly amusing and looking back from the 21st Century I feel like a god when I say ‘did anyone actually, in all honesty, take this crap seriously?’ The chorus is catchy enough, but get rid of all the synth crap in the background, at best it sounds like an epic fart. You know it.

Holiday: See, this is how to do synth well. Establish your beat, reign that shit in, add some real instruments, and go about your business. 75 years on, this song is still recognizable and effortlessly catchy. Being AMerican though, I’ve never been sure why the song isn’t called ‘Vacation’. I know it doesn’t sound right, but same syllables. It would be so nice. Anyway, it’s still funky, it’s still cheesy as the worst of the decade, but thanks to the melodies it can be forgiven.

Think Of Me: Alarum. Toilet drums. Beat established. Not a lot to say about the verses. Chorus isn’t much better. More love words. Lyrics need some variety, ‘Holiday’ the only interesting lyrical choices. Gets more catchy with the 300th chorus.

Physical Attraction: No, that’s not how you do it. Terrible over the top synth, more clapping drums. Once again, not a lot to say on the versus, and the chorus isn’t great either – not really anything dynamic. More love words with slight sexy undertones. Parts of the latter half sound identical to ‘Borderline’. Synth blips and blaps solo. Again, how does anyone listen to this without weeping? Oh, speaking. What did you say? No, I don’t want you. Why thank you, I’m flattered but my balls belong to another.

Everybody: Oh no, not again. Sex words. Oh, you were speaking about dancing, not the other thing. I don’t believe you. Dancing is AWESOME! It’s exactly the same as walking but with 25% more movement. Seriously, who over the age of 10 actually dances? Yes yes, I know most of you, but come on. Why are there so many songs about dancing? Why not jogging, sitting perfectly still, ice-skating, darts, weight-lifting, scratching your armpits, the sensation of blinking really fast,  clapping your hands the wrong way round, barking with a glove in your mouth? They are all essentially the same as dancing. At least this is sort of catchy, do your thing, but it’s just so embarrassingly puerile that you just have to mock it.

There we have it. Two great songs, a couple of listenable songs, and the rest are childish and funny old relics of a funny old time which should not be listened too with a straight face or ears. Madonna would of course go on to write some amazing songs, this was only the beginning, and there isn’t a lot to recommend it other than novelty. This sold by the billionfull, so obviously I’m wrong. Again.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of it!

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