Madonna: 10 cuts beyond the hits
From "Like a Virgin" to "Like a Prayer," to name just two of her 12 No. 1s, everybody knows Madonna's hits. But what about her lesser-known songs? Here are 10 of the best deep cuts from her catalog:
1. "Spanish Eyes" (from "Like a Prayer") — This moving Spanish-flavored ballad mourns the death of a friend from AIDS and showcases a vulnerable Madonna pushing her vocals to their limit.
2. "Love Tried to Welcome Me" (from "Bedtime Stories") — Madonna compares her heart to a lonely hunter on this quiet storm "Bedtime Stories" track, which has the sound and feel of raindrops running down a window pane.
3. "Easy Ride" (from "American Life") — Over Mirwais' glitchy production, Madonna looks back at her life and finds she likes struggle more than complacency, and that she wants her mark to be earned rather than handed to her.
4. "One More Chance" (from "Something to Remember") — A sparse acoustic ballad shepherded by super-producer David Foster, with Madonna warming up her pre-"Evita" pipes.
5. "I Want You" (from "Something to Remember") — Madonna's aching cover of Marvin Gaye's 1976 original is full of longing and desire, while the moody production — courtesy of Massive Attack — creates a sense of tightly controlled bombast.
6. "Love Song" (from "Like a Prayer") — What if, at the height of their respective fame, Madonna and Prince made a song together? Guess what: They did!
7. "Incredible" (from "Hard Candy") — One of the Neptunes' busiest productions unfolds over several mini-suites, and builds to one of Madonna's most direct statements: "Sex with you is incredible!"
8. "Nobody's Perfect" (from "Music") — "Music" is hands down Madonna's best-ever album, and Mirwais' experimental production brought out a yearning and a destitution in Madonna that wasn't heard before or since. This is among a handful of tracks from that album that could have occupied this slot; "I Deserve It" or "Paradise (Not For Me)" are just as worthy.
9. "Over and Over" (from "Like a Virgin") — Madonna made her ambitions clear on this upbeat dance track way back in 1984 — "if I fall, I get up again over and over" — so it should be no surprise she's where she is today.
10. "I'm a Sinner" (from "MDNA") — Madonna reunites with William Orbit, and together they have such a blast ripping off their own collaborations "Beautiful Stranger" and "Ray of Light" that they could sue themselves for copyright infringement.
Madonna performs at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday.