Madonna celebrates her dance floor legacy with a personally-curated selection of remixes from her 40 year career on Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones.
Coinciding with the Queen of Pop’s latest retrospective celebrations and off the back of her scoring her record-breaking 50th No. 1 single on the US Billboard Club Dance Chart, the anthology release spans the mega-star’s four decades of success, from her eponymous debut album – released in 1983 – to her most recent long-player, 2019’s Madame X.
The result is a comprehensive look at her enduring legacy, organised chronologically, and a journey through the storied years of one of pop’s greats. That in itself is a highlight, as she’s been notoriously frugal when it comes to legacy releases throughout her career, instead favouring creativity and reinvention that’s kept her star shining so bright for so long.
But with her latest milestone, she has one foot firmly in the past, and Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones is the first in a series of reissue projects, which is set to cover Madonna’s studio catalogue, along with soundtracks and live recordings from the past four decades.
On this package – available as a complete 50-track collection and an abridged 16-track release – she focuses firmly on her club legacy and showcases some of her biggest hits and fan-favourite releases that have been reinvented by some of the biggest remixers on the planet. The quality of the songs doesn’t come into question; with hits such as Like A Virgin, Ray Of Light, Express Yourself, Like A Prayer and Vogue all accounted for, the entire album serves as an amped up greatest hits for one of music’s most legendary artists.
Several of the opening songs initially appeared on her classic remix collection You Can Dance and a choice decision is the inclusion of remix edits rather than the full remixes, which were mostly conceived as extended versions of the source material and brought out new elements in the tracks that were often buried in the mix. As a result, the ‘You Can Dance’ remix edit of Into The Groove, for example, loses some of the magic of the original eight-minute version, conceived by JellyBean and True Blue producer Patrick Leonard for the compilation.
It’s surely a decision that’s been made due to time constraints, but one that will undoubtedly jarr fans who have become accustomed to the full-length mixes from various sources over time. However, to have them all in one place, compiled in a neat collection and easily accessible after so long, is most definitely welcome.
On a more positive note, Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones is a wholly varied set, spotlighting a diverse range of collaborators and remixers, the majority of whom put their signature stamp on the music while remaining faithful and respectful to the originals. Towards the latter half of the release, the tracks arguably become more formulaic, probably in line with the commercial club mixes that were being produced at the time. But compared with earlier takes on tracks that have, in some cases, been adopted as definitive versions, it becomes increasingly noticeable that some of her recordings are more suited to contemporary chart trends than others.
However, these are Madonna’s personal selections and, after 40 years at the top, who are we to tell her what she should do? Plus, there are some absolute gems: Junior Vasquez’s mixes of Bedtime Story and Secret are fantastic, as is the Miami Mix of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and Extended Club Mix of Frozen. Pet Shop Boys’ take on Sorry sounds as fresh 16 years on.
When it comes to pop catalogues, Madonna’s is the benchmark for excellence, and as an introduction to the next era in her career Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones certainly whets our appetite for what’s to come in the not-too-distant future.
Whatever she’s got planned, we are ready!
‘Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones’ is available now.