Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Song of the Day: 'Baby Love' by Regina

Pardon me if you've heard this one before, but this blast-from-the-past came on at Westside Market last night, then the DJ recounted how Stephen Bray -- aka Madonna's best collaborator -- had presented it to the Material Girl only to have her reject it. At the risk of having Boy Culture up my ass without lube, I must say that it's so Madonna-esque that it -- along with a few other things -- really has me doubting Madonna's contribution to her songwriting after all these years, a talent that has kept her in very high esteem with me when perhaps other things about her did not. When I heard what the original demo of "Open My Heart" sounded like -- versus the version she "cowrote" -- I was concerned. (They sounded exactly the same to me.) Then I remembered how surprised I was when I later realized how much "Like a Prayer" -- which I consider to be one of her other high points -- borrowed from the Staple Sisters' "I'll Take You There" and how "Vogue" was awfully similar to Malcolm McLaren's "Deep in Vogue." (And that one was sung by a woman named Lourdes!) But the clincher was a few weeks ago when I discovered "Ray of Light," the song I have always considered the pinnacle of her adult writing career, was actually (essentially) a cover of Curtiss Maldoon's "Sepheryn," from the duo's eponymous 1971 album. I argued with the queen who broke the news to me -- "'Ray of Light' is not a cover, it's Madonna's greatest triumph!" I argued -- but then I listened to the original and had my bubble burst. (How did I not know about this?) I've always heard superstars just get to tack their names on as cowriters of songs, but I always believed Madonna was different given the fact that her first album was credited nearly entirely to her. Have I been fooled all these years? Whatever the answer is this much is true: "Baby Love" is a finished Madonna song whether her writing credit appears on it or not, and that's got to raise the eyebrows of even her most ardent believers.

1 comment:

dishy said...

The answer, Kevin, is an astounding YES!