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[Off The Record]
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Madonna
GHV2 ó GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2
(MAVERICK/WARNER BROS.)

As monumental an artist as Madonna is, she has never made a consistently great album. Even The Immaculate Collection was far from immaculate. But thatís one of the many reasons sheís so monumental. Her music travels through so many contexts that it can never be contained by a single album.

Thus itís no surprise that this compilation, spanning the last 10 years of her career, is patchy. This is the period when Madonna failed to reconcile her pretensions with her superb musical instincts. "What It Feels like for a Girl" and, especially, "Take a Bow" observe her superstar life with touching candor, but neither takes you to the brink of death, much less pulls you back from it the way "Music" does. And note how that masterpiece brings the disc to a close instead of the more thematically appropriate "Take a Bow." The programming suggests she survived yoga and motherhood to keep delivering her first and greatest gift: dance music. Reinforcing this impression is the way GHV2 begins with her other masterpiece of the era, "Deeper and Deeper," a song about dancing to a Madonna song.

BY KEVIN JOHN

Issue Date: December 20 - 27, 2001

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