Considering Madonna’s dominance and constant reinvention of pop music for several decades, it’s difficult to imagine a time when she was simply another struggling performer finding her voice in a changing musical landscape. Madonna’s 1983 debut album may have reflected the MTV-era in its visual appeal, but sonically she was searching among different producers (this album features three) to find her groove. Her preference for dance music would hardly seem the choice for someone looking to establish an enduring career (dance divas weren’t known for longevity) and while her choice of material was spot-on — “Lucky Star,” “Borderline” and “Holiday” are as catchy as they come and worthy of both radio and the dancefloor — they only hint at the complex imagery and musical adventurism that would lead her to bring the avant-garde and the kinky New York nightlife to the mainstream with each ensuing release. “Burning Up” hints at her darker side. “Physical Attraction” standardizes the course she would take. This is where it began.

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