In honor of Lady Madonna's 53rd birthday (spare the old jokes 'cause she could kick your ass in under a second and has more money than you ever will), Behind the Hype thinks it appropriate to roll out a list of the pop icon's most undervalued songs. Considering that the musically profuse artist was focused on the post-production of W.E for most of 2011, it seems that she herself has been undervalued for the past eight months. Now that she is in the recording studio with Ray of Light producer William Orbit, we have no doubt that her early 50s will be just as impressive as her early 40s (circa the Ray of Light years). So here they are, ten songs that deserve just as much respect as the hits.
"Miles Away": Hard Candy, M's last album, was not exactly well-received by critics who were none too thrilled by what they dubbed her need to stay current. Using producers Timbaland, Pharrell, and Justin Timberlake, Hard Candy was tinged mostly with hip hop beats. But "Miles Away," her last-ditch effort at expressing lament over her marriage to Guy Ritchie, was an unbridled ode to pop.
"Causing A Commotion": This infectious little ditty is often forgotten because it was on the soundtrack to M's 1987 film Who's That Girl. She performed it live once in 1990 for the Blond Ambition Tour, and ever since, it seems to be a song the Queen prefers to keep in the 80s.
"Bad Girl": Although this song was a single, not to mention it is one of the best Madonna videos of the 90s (need we remind you of the Christopher Walken appearance as the Angel of Death?), its slow tempo and the fact that it was on the critically panned Erotica album tends to shove it out of public consciousness.
"Sooner or Later": In 1991, Madonna made an appearance at the Academy Awards with Michael Jackson to perform this song. Written by Stephen Sondheim for the soundtrack to Dick Tracy, the song won the Oscar for Best Original Song. No one has talked about it since.
"Love Song": Why don't more people know about this song? It's a fucking duet with Prince. What could be better?
"Nothing Fails": Another Guy Ritchie-inspired track, this song was written when their love was still new. Unfortunately, as was the case with "Bad Girl," very few people remember this song because it was on American Life. You probably didn't buy that album.
"Future Lovers": Appearing on her 2005 Confessions on a Dance Floor album, this song is too gay, and therefore too good, for a mainstream audience.
"Skin": This was the song that most accurately explains her nickname at the time, Veronica Electronica. As with all of the tracks on Ray of Light, the lyrics to "Skin" are deeply personal as she wails, "I'm not like this all the time."
"Gambler": What is it with most of M's soundtrack songs going unnoticed? "Gambler" was the quote unquote B-side to "Crazy For You," which was featured in 1985's Vision Quest.
"Over and Over": Sure, this song may be on her seminal Like A Virgin album, but it was eclipsed by the overpowering shadows of "Material Girl," "Like A Virgin," and "Dress You Up." Its message is quintessentially Madonna: Don't let any asshole stop you from doing what you want. And she never has.
Happy Birthday Madonna.