Erotica

Madonna

Sire, 1992

http://www.madonna.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/14/2006

Wow.

Men can be as forward as they want in music. Squeeze my lemon? Cat scratch fever? Knocking me out with those American thighs? Brown sugar just like a black girl should? Nobody bats an eye. A woman puts forth the same desires and she is excoriated.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Nothing about Erotica is subtle. It's about sex. Pulsating bass grooves. 75 minutes long. Get on board or get out, but you should get on board, because it's Madonna's second best album of her career. Most of the songs concern love and/or sex of some sort, with two social-conscience numbers toward the end that rank up with her best work.

Much of the music, especially in the first half, is rather cold and distant. The title song conjures images of Madonna writhing behind her boy toy on the dance floor, whispering "Put your hands all over my body" in his ear as the DJ does his thing. "Bye Bye Baby" is not a love song, with disinterested vocals telling the breakup story, while the insistent techno of the cover of "Fever" is consciously cold and yet catchy.

The record is made for the dance floor and/or the bedroom -- or, in the case of the hit "Deeper And Deeper," both. "Bad Girl" is a pretty good self-examination ballad, while the driving "Waiting" and "Thief of Hearts" ramp up the emotions a bit more. "Rain" is a beautiful ballad as well; "Words," not so much.

The social songs are the AIDS memorial "In This Life" and the stellar attitude of "Why's It So Hard," featuring help from Lenny Kravitz. But nothing tops the closing "Secret Garden," a sexy pregnancy tune driven by a piano and simple five-note bass riff. It's the best song here, making up for the excesses of "Where Life Begins."

Erotica is top-notch in every way. Screw the critics. Get it on.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-


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