The Material Girl has released a lot of material over her career, so it's only natural that she would release a greatest hits album. Or two. Or three.
Yeah, that's right. Today Madonna drops her third career-spanning greatest-hits collection, Celebration. The 36-track, double CD album covers just about all of her classics ("Like a Prayer," "Ray of Light," "Material Girl") and all of her reinventions (geisha, cowgirl, a brunette), and she even has some new songs. They are (are you ready for this?) Celebration, a trying-too-hard disco track with a thin veneer of sex ("I guess I just don't recognize you with your clothes on," she tells a dance partner), and "Revolver," a double-entendre-laden collaboration with Lil Wayne.
But hold on! Madonna, you forgot to include some of your greatest hits on your greatest hits album. Even if you've rereleased some of these songs before, Celebration is supposed to be, well, a celebration of your entire pop star career. Here's what we would've liked to have seen included:
"This Used to Be My Playground" (1992): The theme from A League of Their Own is not especially memorable, but is one of Madonna's biggest chart hits. Then again, it’s about the passage of time—something a 51-year-old pop cougar might not want to think about.
"Human Nature" (1995): Madonna sets forth her third-wave feminist agenda on this Lady Gaga precursor, in which she criticizes the puritanical reaction against erotica and tells her listeners to "express yourself, don't repress yourself.” At least she lives by her own advice.
"Bedtime Story" (1995): Written by Björk, this is one of Madonna’s strangest and most intriguing songs—to say nothing of the video, in which the star gives birth to doves.
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "You Must Love Me" (1996): You'd think Madonna would want audiences to remember Evita, her most successful foray into acting—the latter song even won an Oscar.
"Drowned World/Substitute for Love" (1998): This is one of the few Madonna songs to deal explicitly with the negative consequences of her fame, and combines a lovely soundscape with contemplative, moody lyrics.
"What It Feels Like for a Girl" (2001): The Guy Ritchie-directed music video featured Madonna killing an old woman with her car, which is maybe not the image Kabbalist Madonna wants to present in 2009. Still, it’s a great song—and the Charlotte Gainsbourg interlude at the beginning is prettier than anything else in Madonna’s discography.
"American Life" (2003): Just because the single was a flop—and Madonna raps—doesn’t mean this track ought to be excluded. Madonna was bashing Bush before it was hip. The only drawback: the rhyme of “soy latte” with “double shot-e.”
"Feel Good Inc./Hung Up" (2006): Madonna performed a version of her disco hit at the Grammys with animated band Gorillaz, lending the tune a spontaneity this album sorely lacks.
"Give It 2 Me" (2008): One of Madonna's most recent singles (and the closing song on her most recent tour) makes an attempt to reclaim pop supremacy after a decade of dwindling sales figures. "Give me a record," she declared, "and I'll break it." Or is she worried—in this era of Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift—that the lyric no longer applies?