|Single by Madonna|
|from the album Erotica|
|Released||October 11, 1992|
|Format||CD, 7", 12", cassette|
|Recorded||January 15–16, 1992
(Manhattan, New York)
June 8, 1992
at Soundworks Recording Studio
(Astoria, New York)
|Genre||Trip hop, new jack swing, dance-pop, R&B|
|Madonna singles chronology|
"Erotica" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna released as the lead single of her fifth studio album of the same name. The single was released internationally in October 1992 by Maverick Records and was later included on her greatest hits albums GHV2 and Celebration. Musically, "Erotica" alternates between spoken-word and vocal performances and contains influences of deep house and Lebanese music while the lyrics are a seductive appeal to cross sexual boundaries.
Critically, "Erotica" initially received mixed reviews but has since been reassessed as a high point of innovation in Madonna's career. The single, though less popular than previous Madonna singles, found commercial success, peaking in the top ten in several countries including Italy, Canada, the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
An accompanying music video was released for the single, which featured a masked Madonna in a leather-esque costume, with a golden tooth and a whip, interspersed with scenes from the making of Madonna's infamous book Sex. Like the book, the single and video were highly controversial, the latter being played on MTV only three times and always after midnight. The song remains banned in a number of territories owing to its sexual content.
- 1 Background
- 2 Composition
- 3 Release
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Reception
- 6 Music video
- 7 Live performance
- 8 Track listings
- 9 Charts
- 10 Cover versions
- 11 References
- 12 External links
In 1992, Madonna founded her own multi-media entertainment company, Maverick, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records), a film production company (Maverick Films), and associated music publishing, television broadcasting, book publishing and merchandising divisions. The deal was a joint venture with Time Warner and paid Madonna an advance of $60 million. As part of this deal Madonna recorded her fifth studio album and released the coffee table book, Sex, at the same time. A stripped-down version of "Erotica" was included as a promotional, single-track CD that accompanied the book. The track, entitled "Erotic", was produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone. The CD came in a special re-sealable mylar wrapper sleeve resembling a condom. The reason for this was to promote safe sex. Although "Erotic" has never been commercially released, a remix by William Orbit can be found on the some versions of the single. In 2008, Madonna included the song with another Erotica album track, "Secret Garden", in her feature film debut as a director, Filth and Wisdom.
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"Erotica" is very known for its sexual undertones towards the song. The song was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone, Anthony Shimkin, while produced by Madonna and Pettibone. "Erotica" continued Madonna's exploration of potent spoken-word vocals (as introduced in "Justify My Love") and was highly controversial when it was released due to its sexual theme and suggestive lyrics. According to Musicnotes.com, published by Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., "Erotica" is published in F-sharp minor. Madonna's vocals span from F#3 to A4. According to Discogs.com, the song features garage, R&B and breaks. The song also features instrumentations off maracas and "shimmering horn riffs". According to Yahoo! Music, "the song itself is very bass-driven and has the same seedy, sexual sound heard on "Justify My Love".
According to Slant Magazine, they described the song as "an ode to S&M." Starting with Madonna saying, "My name is Dita", she invites her lover to be passive and childlike while she makes love to him and leads him to explore boundaries between pain and pleasure. The song has suggestive lyrics, as "Will you let yourself go wild/Let my mouth go where it wants to."
There are three different versions of this song: the original demo, the album version, and the song "Erotic", which was created during the Erotica album sessions exclusively to accompany the 1992 book Sex. The original demo was released on the internet in 2008. The album version of "Erotica" contains a sample of the 1974 hit song "Jungle Boogie", performed by Kool and the Gang. In addition, the song samples "El Yom 'Ulliqa 'Ala Khashaba" ("Today, He Is Held to a Cross") by Lebanese singer Fairuz from her 1962 album Good Friday - Eastern Sacred Songs. In the sleeve notes to I'm Going to Tell You a Secret and the live CD The Confessions Tour it credits an additional composer to have written this song: Antony Shimkin. ASCAP have officially confirmed this.
The single was the first of Madonna's releases to feature the label of her new record company, Maverick. However, the German 7" still has the old-style Sire label although the German 12" features the new Maverick label. Germany also pressed a second 12" of four of the Masters at Work remixes. The sleeve is identical to the first 12" but has a gold rim round the edge of the sleeve.
A 12" limited edition picture disc was pressed by WEA in England and then withdrawn and destroyed as it depicted Madonna sucking Tony Ward's toe. Owing to the recent royal scandal of The Duchess of York being caught topless by paparazzi engaging in a similar act with her then-financial adviser, John Bryan, the pressing of 50,000 copies was recalled and destroyed to avoid embarrassing the British Royal Family, and, to avoid accusations that WEA was cashing in on the scandal. There are fewer than 150 copies known to be in existence.
There is a promo CD of "Erotica" that comes with the Sex book. The sleeve comes in a foil case with a similar logo to the Ray of Light era. The word "Erotic" is over the logo. The song is a stripped-down version of Erotica & has more lyrics.
Surrounding that though the album Erotica received major backlash, the song received controversies and backlash as well. Upon the song's release, the Vatican banned Madonna from entering the state and her music was banned on its radio stations. The song and its accompanying album are also banned in Lebanon. Eventually, the country had announced they would ban Madonna from their state.
Then stills off the music video's song was used in Madonna's infamous book Sex. Much of this footage was utilized for the video for the single Erotica, which Baron directed. An hour of this footage was then compiled for a film that Madonna had played during a party she gave for the release of Sex at New York City's Industria Superstudio. Yet it was a commercial success, the book received negative reviews from critics.
Then in 1993, Fairuz sued Madonna for $2.5 million for plagiarism over the section/sampling. In "Erotica", Madonna repeatedly chants over Fairuz's voice "All over me". An undisclosed settlement was eventually reached between Fairuz and Madonna, but the scandal caused both the single and the album to be banned in Lebanon.
Initially, "Erotica" received mixed reviews from most music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic had highlighted "Erotica" as an album standout. Arion Berger had compared the song to "Justify My Love". He said "But the sensibility of "Erotica" is miles removed from the warm come-ons of "Justify," which got its heat from privacy and romance — the singer's exhortations to "tell me your dreams." David Browne from Entertainment Weekly gave it a more unfavorable review, describing it as "depressingly trite — that between its frigid melody and your scary My name is Dita spoken bits [...]." In 2011, Slant Magazine listed "Erotica" at number thirty-four on their list of the "Best Singles of the 1990s", stating that the song is Madonna's "invitation to the dance, a slithering, sinister snake rising from a gaudily ornate chalice. The beats are, by design, hypnotic—at once alluring and devious. With "Erotica," Madonna promises to get you off, but not without giving you something."".
On October 17, 1992 "Erotica" debuted at a high number 13 in the United States, which at the time of its release placed Madonna in a fifth place tie with Mariah Carey's "I'll Be There" as the highest debut for a song in Billboard Hot 100 chart history. It skyrocketed to its peak of number three the following chart week and charted for a total of 18 weeks. "Erotica" also made the highest debut in the history of the Hot 100 Airplay chart, entering at its peak position of number two, and it also reached number one on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play and number four on the Hot 100 Singles Sales charts. The single was certified gold by the RIAA on December 10, 1992.
Internationally, "Erotica" became another big hit for Madonna, hitting the top five in many markets including Australia, Ireland, Spain, and Sweden, and topping the charts in Italy. In the United Kingdom, Erotica debuted at number 11 on October 17, 1992. Two weeks later it reached its peak of number three. According to the Official Charts Company it has sold 270,000 in the United Kingdom as of 2008. It also topped the European Hot 100 Singles for three consecutive weeks, becoming her eighth number one hit in Europe.
Background and synopsis
The music video for "Erotica" was directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron. There are two versions of the video: the "standard" version which contained no nudity was released in the United States (it can be viewed on Madonna's official web page); and a more explicit version of the video was released only in Europe and Australia, which contained full-frontal nudity of Madonna and variation in the editing. The video was ranked at number 16 on VH1's "50 Sexiest Video Moments". An uncensored version was also made available and features full nudity, fellatio, anal sex and extreme bondage. The video depicts Madonna as a masked dominatrix with a golden tooth and a whip; interspersed are scenes from the making of the Sex book. MTV aired it a total of three times (all of these in the "safe harbor") due to its highly charged sexual content, and it was eventually Madonna's second video to be banned from airing by that channel.
Cameo appearances and promotion
Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini, and Big Daddy Kane appeared in Madonna's "Erotica" music video. In order to imitate the look of old home-made movies, the entire video was shot with Super 8 film. The result was stylish and grainy footage with a rough and dirty quality. The footage of Madonna performing the song in her S&M dominatrix costume was shot on August 22, 1992 at The Kitchen in New York City. The rest of the footage for the video was shot during the New York City photo sessions for her infamous book Sex (many of the photographs in the book are actually stills from this footage) - an hour of this footage was compiled by Madonna and Baron for a film that was made for the party she gave at Industria in New York for the release of Sex, a film that included a soundtrack of French music from the 1920s and 1930s that included songs from such singers as Charles Trenet, Mistinguett, Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf, and Josephine Baker. This film was also given by Madonna to her closest friends. It later leaked out to the public and copies of it were sold on eBay for some time. Today this film, known as the Sex Book Video can be found circulating on the internet in low quality.
According to an interview on MTV in 1992, Madonna defended the video as she stated that the music video is a "fantasy". She continued "The whole video is a fantasy, my book is a fantasy." In the same interview, Madonna was asked about the banning from MTV and said, "MTV plays to a huge audience, and a lot of them are children, and a lot of themes I'm exploring in my videos aren't meant for children, so I understand that they say I can't show it," but she said, "I'm not saying 'Oh I don't need you any more, screw off' [...] it's not like that at all [...] and I accept it".
Madonna performed the Kenlou B-Boy Mix of "Erotica" as the opening song on The Girlie Show World Tour (1993). She later performed it on the 2006 Confessions Tour which included additional lyrics from the original demo which were not included in the final song. In 2012, Madonna performed excerpts from the song during the performance of "Candy Shop" as a medley on the MDNA Tour.
Major formats released for "Erotica":
Chart procession and succession
"It's My Life" by Dr. Alban
|Eurochart Hot 100 Singles number-one single
October 17, 1992 – October 31, 1992
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
"It's Probably Me" by Sting and Eric Clapton
|Italian Singles Chart number-one single
October 24, 1992 – November 14, 1992
"Don't You Want Me" by Felix
"Saved My Life" by Lil Louis & the World
|Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
November 21, 1992
"Are You Ready to Fly" by Rozalla
- The 2000 compilation Virgin Voices: A Tribute To Madonna, Vol. 2 features a cover by Razed in Black vs. Transmutator.
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- Discogs.com, Madonna - Erotic (CD, Single, Promo), Accessed December 22, 2008
- Liner notes of CD booklet Erotica.
- Erotica | Album reviews | Rolling Stone By ARION BERGER, NOVEMBER 26, 1992.
- Cinquemani, Sal (2007-02-24). "Madonna: Erotica". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- Lenig 2010, p. 144
- Madonna - Erotica (Master Copy) All other formats listed below.
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- Madonna Talks Gay Fans, Lady Gaga, 'W.E.' And More In 'The Advocate' Interview The Huffington Post.
- Allmusic review
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