30 years ago today Erotica, the fifth studio album from Madonna, arrived on UK shelves. It was five days ahead of its planned date of October 19th, due to concerns over the notorious SEX book overshadowing its release.
Yours truly was offered the opportunity to write a retrospective piece on Erotica‘s anniversary by the New York-based online global radio station Radio Creme Brulee. I’d previously done a similar thing for Duran Duran’s Rio turning 40 earlier this year. The article on Erotica 30 is now available to read on their website.
It’s an album I am very familiar with, having included it in my All-Time Top 100 at #60; the list from 2016 which came to form the basis of this very blog some 12 months later. I then revisited it again a few months ago, when creating one of my homemade Super Deluxe Editions.
(Crikey, there’s a lot of self-referencing going on here).
Anyway, the six-disc version of Erotica that resulted from my endeavours is one of my favourites. Now would seem as good a time as any to feature it!
As you can see, there is quite a lot going on. Disc 1 is the original 1992 CD in its 14-track, “Parental Advisory” edition (i.e. the one with Did You Do It? included). Disc 2 has the “Clean” alternative (i.e. the one without Did You Do It? included).
Disc 3 is where my own vision of what might and might not be relevant to the Erotica era comes into play. What if we were to think of Justify My Love as the start of the direction (musically, lyrically, visually) that eventually led to the Erotica album and SEX book? We then have Rescue Me as well, plus – even though it doesn’t share the feel of the singles released either side of it – the gorgeous This Used To Be My Playground. And, going further, is there really much difference between Rain and the 1994 non-album, soundtrack single I’ll Remember?
So we have an entry point (oo-er) of November 1990, and a cut-off point (now, now) of early 1994. Let’s get stuck in!
The running order and track selection of Disc 3 pretty much chooses itself; radio edits and/or 7″ versions of the singles during this period, plus the solitary B-side Up Down Suite. Most acts would kill to have a CD with those dozen tracks as a representation of their entire career, yet this was all within a 5 year window.
Discs 4, 5 and 6 gather up as many of the Remixes as was possible to squeeze in. Some are rather brilliant, some are functional, and a handful aren’t the kind I’d personally want to hear very often. But, you know how it is: completism, etc.
Then, onto the artwork. Erotica‘s front and rear sleeves are powerful images, and added to the controversy surrounding the album on release; one a high-contrast, cropped version of Madonna in a state of (we assume) bliss, while the infamous toe-sucking photo that provided the back cover was even more provocative. The former is included here (in miniature size) on the spine.
For afdpj‘s super deluxe, two other pieces of art from the CD booklet have been utilised. A particularly beautiful shot of Madonna, head in hand, all 50s glamour, adorns the front, while the shades-of-blue typography forms a suitable backdrop to all the text necessary on the rear.
Add in a fake hype-sticker (replete with a Parental Advisory warning!) and we’re good to go!
Did you consider including “Erotic”, the special version of “Erotica” on the CD single included with the SEX book?
Hi Matt, I wasn’t aware of that one! Though ownership of the SEX book as a means of having the track would probably rule it out. Might see if I can find/listen to it online somewhere.