2010 : Demos : The year that leaked
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We begun this year with only the possible release of 'Revolver' to look forward to and yes we got it, released as a single on itunes in December 2009 and a physical single in the US and selected countries in Feb 2010.
I felt a sort of kick in the teeth as this was the 'official' last single ever to be issued by Warner Brothers and the UK were only able to buy it on import, it was hardly a goodbye, 'end of an era' moment, however I wasn't so upset as I was on holiday in Italy at the time and I bought it while out there which made it even more fun for me.
We had been treated to a picture disc and differnt cover sleeves for the Celebration single (In my opinion they should've left it at Celebration as the closing chapter.)
However, fast forward to August / September 2010 and suddenly there's some buzz about some leaked demos, the first that came to my attention was 'If you go away'. Apparently a track recorded for the 'Hello Suckers' musical that never actually was finished. A very haunting balled, beautiful, almost cold. Madonna sings with emotion that critics easily forget she has due to her fascination with dance and disco tracks.
'Miss You' came along with 'If you go away', a melodic acoustic guitar driven track from the 'American Life' recording sessions. Almost very reminiscent of Madonna's live performance of 'Mother & Father' from the Today show. Just her and the guitar. Very nice, I could've seen this perhaps before 'Easy Ride' on the album but nonetheless.
'It's so cool' came next with 2 versions, so remember the dance version that came with the itunes album edition of 'Celebration' which I absolutely loved, well here we had a 2002 version which was almost acoustic sounding complete with childrens backing choir. I have to say I think this version is fantastic, then there is a 2009 dance demo version, which first of all I thought this is almost fan-homemade but clearly it's the template to the finished itunes release. Both good in their own ways.
OK, let me take a break, in a matter of 30 minutes I'd downloaded 2 brand new tracks from Madonna I'd never heard and 2 different versions of a song I loved. Could my evening get any better...?
Along came 'Infinity' which I have to admit not liking from the second it started, this has happened over the course of my Madonna years, but I always allow tracks chance and chance again until I like it. So 'Infinty' was the original idea to 'Give it 2 me' before The Neptunes arrived which in itself made this interesting, the basic almost hum-drum beat in the background, the lyrical similarity was interesting, the very simple chorus of 'Infinity...infinity...infinity...infinity...infinity...on and on....' did feel like it was lacking something, and I guess that's the purpose of 'the demo'.
'Across the Sky' was leaked earlier in the year, I believe June time, with the humps and the bumps sound of Timbaland, I loved this the second I heard it, Timbaland was all over it with his quips and quirks, however here now came the 'cleaner' version, the Madonna vocal so clear. This is a pop / r'n'b track that I am amazed at not ending up on the 'Hard Candy' album. The lyrics feel beautifully crafted, the harmonies of the chorus are gorgeous and the added sound of Justin Timberlake's vocal just makes this track perfect.
This first night ended on the original 1983 demo of 'Holiday' due to it's age not so clear in sound but extremely exciting and very fascinating. The beat almost sounds faster, the track uses different instruments and some vocal differences, a total gem to add to an already wonderful collection of never before heard tracks and demos.
A couple of days now passed.....
Suddenly out of the blue came 'Broken', 'Animal' and 'Pala Tute'. The fact you're reading this means you like Madonna, I cannot begin to describe to you the feeing I get when material is released whether this is new official material or tracks, demos, from an era passed. I don't even know what to compare the feeling to, like winning a race you've worked so hard to train for. Madonna has such talent in both making people move but also she can be delicate and emotional and unfortuantely for her people like me just want more all the time.
'Broken' the track we'd heard about that was second choice to 'Celebration', this was left off the compilation album maybe it was too similar to the main track, who knows why. It's just as good as 'Celebration' dance move it just lets you go.
'Animal', once again we'd heard about this, and it's got seduction written all over it, I read that it sounds similar to Nelly Furtado's 'Maneater' and I'd have to agree there is a comparison, this track was during the 'Hard Candy' recording sessions and is upbeat and has a cool lyrical content. Very Timbaland and would've sat very nicely on the album.
'Pala Tute', rumours around this track have said it's a song about coffee, original thoughts were that is was titled 'latte' or 'la la', Madonna has performed this chorus in amoung 'La Isla Bonita' on the Sticky & Sweet tours and the 'Live Earth' performance. The song is about love, this version does not include the romanie gypsies which I thought it might have and in comparison to the chorus performances that we know the track is quite mid-tempo and relaxed.
Well the above 3 tracks made me feel like I had a wider understanding of the creation of the 'Hard Candy' album and the 'Celebration' compilation, it's almost like re-watching a movie with the director's commentary on, I know the released albums inside out that hearing all the above demos made me feel I had a better understanding of Madonna's mind and creativity at the time.
It hasn't finished yet.....
So about 3 nights later, 'Set the right' comes along, from the opening grove of the guitar I immediately thought this should've been a single, it's almost a friendly 'American Life' and so should've been included on the album. The track talks about being pushed into a corner and finding justice. The track has such a cool groove I love it.
Along with this came 'Little Girl', from the 'Music' recording sessions, very low-key Mirwais, it's almost like a 'Little Star' part 2, beautifully sung and very delicate. The content is a message to Lola about staying true to herself, remember to say no, don't make the same mistakes. This track is very personal and very beautiful. It also makes me think of 'Like a flower' which was also an unused demo from 'Ray of Light'
To end (so far) this run of leaked tracks is 'I'm in love with love', a heavy guitar based track, it starts off almost sounding like the previous song just finished, Madonna goes rocky which we know she likes as it's very 'I love New York' the original version, so this track must have come from perhaps the 'American Life' pre 'Confessions' era. Cool, hard and makes you want to scream out loud.
Thank you Madonna, although no new official album for 2010 we certainly have enough material here to keep us listening, I have to wonder though where are they all coming from, I'd like to think it was Madonna herself as a treat for fans. In my own little world I can believe this.