Remix/Remodel: Assessing Madonna’s Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones

The (former) Queen of Pop celebrates a record-setting tenure on the dance charts with a new, occasionally questionable compilation

Madonna Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones, Rhino 2022

Has anyone been remixed more than Madonna?

Think about how many records she’s released since her first, “Everybody,” almost exactly 40 years ago (October 6, 1982, to be precise). And the fact that remixing has existed for the entirety of her career. And that she’s a dance/pop artist first and foremost, naturally prone to remixing. 

There’s a few of her ballads that didn’t receive official remixes, sure – but the vast majority of her singles have. So many, in fact, that Madonna’s hit Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart 67 times, and 64 of those trips have resulted in top tens. And of those 64, an astounding 50 have topped the chart. (All three numbers are records by far, along with her 75 cumulative weeks at #1; additionally, no artist has topped any single Billboard survey as many times.) To celebrate the occasion, and also to mark both the 40th anniversary of her first single and the 35th of her first remix album (1987’s You Can Dance), we now get the compilation Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones, featuring single-edited versions of each one of these 50 chart-toppers across three CDs (or, of course, streaming).

Early on, her dance hits weren’t actually remixed, but sometimes just extended – though as seen above*, in the case of her first #1 on the dance chart, “Holiday” and “Lucky Star” were listed jointly as “LP Cuts,” a common practice on the chart at the time. Club DJs simply played the songs straight off the album! These two songs spent 5 weeks at #1, a run matched in her catalog only by 2000’s “Music.” Oddly, only “Holiday,” but not “Lucky Star,” appears on Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones. [I include the album’s subtitle because a more compact 16-track version, just titled Finally Enough Love, was released in June.]

 

VIDEO: Madonna “Holiday”

 

VIDEO: Madonna “Lucky Star”

One of this comp’s problems, however, is that these are all tidy single-size versions of what were originally, in some cases, 10-minute-plus remixes. On one hand I get that plenty of more casual pop listeners may just want a “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” edit – but on the other, wouldn’t you think that most listeners interested specifically in this album would want to hear those extended remixes? Giving me the 7” edit of “Like A Virgin” one more time is just… uninspiring. 

What also doesn’t help is the choices of whose remixes to include: both Offer Nissim and Tracy Young get three selections apiece, for example. Offer Nissim’s mixes are alright, but tend to get very samey (spoiler alert: he really likes hard drums). Similarly, Young’s work is solid, but why not mix things up and give us some different contributors? (That said, her Tracy Young Dangerous Mix of “Crave” is deliciously breezy, and features an indefatigable bassline.) Then there’s “Give Me All Your Luvin,’” which is featured in its Party Rock Remix by, I wish I was kidding, LMFAO. (Remember them?) It’s as clunky and stupid as their own singles – and worse yet, the thrusting, kinetic Laidback Luke mix of the same track was right there waiting to be used! (Blame Madonna herself, who reportedly curated the selections here.)

 

VIDEO: Madonna “Give Me All Your Luvin (Remix)”

To be fair, I’m picky when it comes to these things. Shep Pettibone’s fingerprints are all over the selections here, especially on the first disc (“Into the Groove,” “Like A Prayer,” “Express Yourself,” “Keep It Together,” “Vogue,” and “Fever” all appear via his remixes), and I’m not mad at all – and would frankly welcome even more from the man who I think is one of the all-time greatest to ever remix a record. His take on “Groove” (originally featured on Madonna’s epochal 1987 remix album You Can Dance) in particular is the one I consider definitive; the edit featured here doesn’t defang any of its power. 

 

VIDEO: Madonna “Into The Groove (You Can Dance Remix Edit)”

The other chief problem with this collection is the simple fact that the remixes – and dance chart #1s – have been coming fast and furious this century, and a lot of these songs just aren’t that good. Starting with 2003’s American Life, I’ll argue that Madonna’s only made one good-to-great album in the past two decades (2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor), and the last 12 remixes featured here are of songs originally on Hard Candy, MDNA, Rebel Heart, and Madame X – a stretch of work that I don’t think anyone would call her strongest. Conversely, however, even if you take her classic ‘80s work out of the equation, there’s a lot of killers here. Madonna’s ‘90s-into-’00s can stand up against almost any pop artist’s catalog: from “Vogue,” of course, through “Erotica” (featured in Masters at Work’s legitimately sexy Underground Club Mix), to “Secret” and “Bedtime Story” (both remixed by Junior Vasquez), onto the classic Ray of Light singles, Music’s “What It Feels Like for a Girl” (presented here in its breathtaking Above & Beyond Club Radio Edit), culminating with the Dance Floor classics, remixed by the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Stuart Price, and Axwell. I mean, whew.

 

AUDIO: Madonna “Jump (Axwell Remix Edit)”

So, yes, Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones is overstuffed, absolutely too much, a gut-busting buffet, and not all of it’s great. But if you choose wisely, there’s plenty to enjoy here. Dig in.

*(The chart excerpted above is taken from World Radio History’s Billboard archive. This particular chart is the Dance/Disco Top 80 for the week ending September 24, 1983.) 

 

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Thomas Inskeep

Rock and Roll Globe contributor Thomas Inskeep tweets more frequently than he blogs, reviews singles on a regular basis for The Singles Jukebox, and has previously written for SPIN, Seattle Weekly, and Stylus. He lives in Indianapolis, IN.

8 thoughts on “Remix/Remodel: Assessing Madonna’s Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones

  • September 2, 2022 at 8:42 pm
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    This is why I never read reviews of anything. Not of movies, restaurants, music, toilet paper…you get the point. Granted, we all realize that reviews are nothing more than one persons opinion so it baffles me why anyone would let another person’s opinion sway their decision about something. HOWEVER, I decided to read this one for some reason. Mistake. Your title is exactly what I mentioned earlier, your opinion. But, it’s questionable. Upon what grounds do you base your lable of “former Queen of Pop”? Is it your opinion or the facts that you include, beginning in the same sentence and continue into the second paragraph? Record setting numbers which no one else has even come REMOTELY close to breaking. Seems to me, until that happens, Madonna should be given the respect she deserves and the acknowledgment of a career that others have only been able to dream about. Now, I don’t sit in my room all day in front of my Madonna shrine, fighting for Madonna justice. But, why do would you feel the need to include (former Queen of Pop)? If you are going to publish your review, just say I that you don’t care for the way this is that was done. Keep the negative comments to yourself.

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    • September 4, 2022 at 3:26 am
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      I’m completely with you Chris. Let the naysayers be just that hopefully they will wake up one day….

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    • September 4, 2022 at 8:34 am
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      Well said Chris, the one’s who hate have been doing so since Everybody hit the clubs in 83. Whether you like her or not her journey should be admired and respected. She took risks with every album never afraid to sample new sounds which were far from mainstream. For instance Erotica released in 92 which the haters & misunderstood canned. Those same fools said her career was over and now almost 30 years on music buffs are calling it a classic. Thank you Madonna & William Orbit for Ray of Light in 98 it was something the U.S mainstream had never heard with its trance, electronica, universal & guitar infused sound so unique. People will listen to Madame X in the years ahead and it will also receive the praise it deserves.

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      • September 4, 2022 at 3:34 pm
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        I think I’ve had enough not knowing my next wife Madonna I try to listen to her wonderful inspiring music everyday and I truly feel better. Amigo

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    • September 4, 2022 at 3:33 pm
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      I think I’ve had enough not knowing my next wife Madonna I try to listen to her wonderful inspiring music everyday and I truly feel better. Amigo

      Reply
  • September 3, 2022 at 8:56 pm
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    First she’s not the formal queen of pop, she’s the reigning queen and will always be. I’m sorry I think this is a crap review and not from a madonna fan. I for one think most all her music is great….long Live the queen of pop

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  • September 4, 2022 at 9:57 am
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    More irrelevant news of never smiling Madonna. Very boring news indeed…
    Stockholm – Sweden.

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  • September 5, 2022 at 9:14 am
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    Yawn. Another boring review based on opinion and not facts. Madonna will be the queen of pop well after her time on earth is done; just like Michael Jackson and Elvis. To say she is the “former” Queen of pop is laughable. There isn’t a female singer today that doesn’t owe something to Madonna. She too the reigns and ran with them to open so many doors for so many performers today, male or female. Over the course of 5 decades she has been in charge of her career and that is why she remains the Queen.

    Reply

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