Something to Remember
|Something to Remember|
|Compilation album by Madonna|
|Released||November 7, 1995|
|Singles from Something to Remember|
Something to Remember is a compilation album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on November 7, 1995 by Maverick Records. It was released after a controversial period in Madonna's career and many critics at this time had speculated that Madonna's career was declining. In response to this Madonna announced this compilation album, which was composed mostly of ballads spanning Madonna's career with a revised version of "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" and three new songs: "You'll See", "One More Chance" and a cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You". The record also featured previously released Madonna singles that had never been featured on her own album, including "I'll Remember" and "This Used to Be My Playground" and altogether provided a softer image for Madonna at a critical period in her career.
In producing the new songs for the album, Madonna worked with Massive Attack, Richard Page, and David Foster, the latter known for his work with such artists as Barbra Streisand. Madonna stated the concept for the album was to make fans and critics alike remember her for her music rather than for her controversial lifestyle. The album was generally well received by critics many of whom noted Madonna's purposefully softer image and music. Commercially the album performed well also, topping charts in Australia, Austria, Finland, and Italy, and peaking within top ten elsewhere. In the United States, it reached number six on the Billboard 200 and was certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of three million units. Worldwide, Something to Remember has sold about ten million copies.
"You'll See" was released as the album's first single on October 23, 1995, accompanied by a Spanish version named "Veras" and a Michael Haussman music video, the song peaked at number six in the United States. "One More Chance" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" were released as singles gaining little commercial response; the latter received a Jean-Baptiste Mondino directed music video at a time when Madonna was pregnant with daughter Lourdes. Other singles included previously released "Oh Father" taken from Madonna's 1989 album Like a Prayer which was released exclusively in Europe while the track "I Want You" was released as a promotional single alongside a video directed by Earle Sebastian.
After a controversy fueled period, Madonna's personal life had started to dominate over her musical career, "She knew it was time to make a change" as said by one anonymous member of her management team who claimed that she wanted to prove there was more to her than the constant media circus surrounding her. J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Madonna: An Intimate Biography, noted that Madonna had previously stated that many of her songs have been overlooked in response to current trends with her long-time friend and producer Mirwais Ahmadzai stating "she hasn't shouted about her musical abilities". Taraborrelli explained "So, whether Madonna released Something to Remember, a collection of previously released love songs, because she had a point to prove or simply to keep a contractual obligation, the fourteen track recording did make a statement." Described as a "love letter from Madonna to her fans and music lovers alike" the compilation seemed to notify her contemporaries of her musical talent with Madonna jokingly commenting "...And these are just my ballads".
During the development Madonna worked with such producers as Massive Attack and Richard Page, but her work on the two tracks, "You'll See" and "One More Chance," saw her work with a well-known producer, which was unusual for Madonna, David Foster had worked with the likes of; Barbra Streisand, Al Jarreau and Earth, Wind & Fire. The packaging included with the release showed Madonna looking "deliciously cosmopolitan" as she wore a tight-fit white cocktail attire, while the back cover artwork is predominantly more playful. The front cover artwork presented Madonna leaning against a wall with an expression of "romantic loss or absorption". Designed as the Madonna album which would appeal to a larger audience in contrast to her previous records, Bedtime Stories and Erotica, the booklet featured red roses inside and a golden yellow flower on the back cover. The title of the album derives from the Madonna song of the same name, featured on Madonna's Dick Tracy soundtrack entitled I'm Breathless. This Patrick Leonard-produced track was listed as the album's title because it had received little attention at the time of the soundtrack release.
The first track selected for use on the compilation was "Love Don't Live Here Anymore", the track remixed by David Reitzas features "weak" and "inexperienced" vocals from Madonna due to the "aggressive" vocal nature of the track. The remixed version in 1996, was quite different from the 1984 version. It began with the sound of violins and Uilleann pipes, followed by Madonna beginning the first verse. As the song progresses, the sound of the violin fades in and the drum machine starts, and the piano is played along with it. As the chorus is sang the third time, a bass drum is also added in the flow. The violin again fades in as Madonna sings "Through the windmills of my eye, Everyone can see the loneliness inside me." Near the end, she utters the chorus a number of times, emphasizing on the word "anymore" and the phrase "live here anymore". It ends with the Uilleann pipes fading out. The song was also treated with remixes in various formats. SoulShock & Karlin made an R&B styled remix; while Marcus Schulz created a house remix. Madonna's voice were paired opposite an energetic beat, coupled with vibrant organ lines and blipping synth effects. The remixes were released as promotional 12" and CD singles on May 6, 1996. The second track has never been featured on a Madonna record, titled "I'll Remember" was written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and singer-songwriter Richard Page and is the opposite to that of the Gaye cover. The track became the theme from the 1994 motion picture With Honors, featuring "smart chords" and "big emotion" it has gained comparisons to the Madonna song "Live to Tell". Written in the style of a late seventies AOR track by acts such as Foreigner, however without as much emphasis on string arrangements, it features slowed dance and soul beats. A synth-keyboard section takes the place of what would be traditionally a guitar section in this type of track with a C-D major chord change at the beginning of the track. Backing vocals start in later verses of the track and lyrically the song reminisces as Madonna thinks back to a good love affair, with Madonna's vocals taking a background to the instrumental. Regarding Madonna's feelings towards the track she said:
"I think most of the time when my records come out, people are so much distracted by so much fanfare and controversy that nobody pays attention to the music. [...] I can't tell you how painful the idea of singing 'Like a Virgin' or 'Material Girl' (1984) is to me now. I didn't write either of those songs, and wasn't digging very deep then. I also feel more connected emotionally to the music I'm writing now, so it's more of a pleasure to do it."
The sixth track, "This Used to Be My Playground" is a new addition to any Madonna album release, the song was released in 1992 and featured as the closing credits for the film A League of Their Own. With a keyboard introduction, the track leads into a string section. As does her 1989 album Like a Prayer the song explores Madonna's childhood as she is pulled between the past and letting go, with the conclusive point that letting go is not an option. With expressive vocals from Madonna, backing vocals enter in the third verse with the track concluding suddenly on a suspended orchestral chord, the structure of the song is seamless where the chorus and verse flow into each other. Something to Remember consists of Madonna's most important ballads. The song selection creates a soft atmosphere, the music is downbeat and "emotionally introverted" with mellow vibes throughout. The album consists of previously released singles, of which none have been featured on a Madonna record, and three completely new Madonna tracks. The emphasis over the record is on Madonna's vocals in an attempt to divert attention away from the controversial studio albums Erotica and Bedtime Stories she had released beforehand.
For the record, Madonna revised the Marvin Gaye track, "I Want You". Produced by Nellee Hooper, in contrast to Gaye's "elaborate" original, the track is based on just Madonna's vocals and the beat produced by Massive Attack. The song starts with a long introduction featuring a hip-hop drum beat with emphasis on the bass section of the instrumental alongside a semi-tonal string figure. The second verse features a harp and a repeating drum loop accompanied with a telephone style bleeping sound. Madonna's vocals at times are accompanied by spoken passages with her overall vocals dominating the track, with lyrics discussing a man that no longer wants her, while Madonna is determined to change his mind. An alternative mix to "I Want You" named the "Orchestral Mix" was released, the original drum track, bass and percussion are removed from the track. The version starts slower with Madonna's vocals entering with a low string bass line only, gradually more string arrangements are added with harp and brass featured in the background of the mix. A moment towards the end of the track hears Madonna's voice with no accompaniment, creating a "dramatic" theme and overall the version features around 20 seconds less than the original.
In addition to these tracks, two new ballads were included; "You'll See" and "One More Chance" were both written by Madonna and musician David Foster. "You'll See" is a low bass track featuring wind chimes and at points a Spanish guitar which presents this sombre E-minor ballad. Throughout the chord changes progression to give Madonna's vocals dominance in the song, and after a minute the percussion starts with a tremolo guitar added later. String synths and drums build the track further with the second verse seeing Madonna harmonize with herself, Madonna was asked whether the track was about revenge to which she replied "No, it's about empowering yourself". Lyrically the song talks of independence after the end of a love affair stating that Madonna will go onto greater things. The next original song, "One More Chance" features an acoustic guitar introduction with "plenty" of chord changes. Lyrically the song features Madonna attempting to win a lost lover back, her vocals are weaker than others featured on the record and features a harmony featuring her vocals and the acoustic guitar in one part.
Critically the few responses were generally positive. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic responded well noting her vocal efforts saying "Throughout the album, Madonna proves that she's a terrific singer whose voice has improved over the years" while generally stating the album was well compiled saying "Not one of the tracks is second-rate, and the best songs on Something to Remember rank among the best pop music of the '80s and '90s". Rikky Rooksby author of The Complete Guide to the Music of Madonna stated "the album lacks the overtly sexual themes of the previous studio albums" adding "You can play this late at night or on a Sunday morning and it won't spoil the mellow vibes". J. Randy Taraborrelli author of Madonna: An Intimate Biography noted the David Foster produced tracks as standouts saying "It was interesting that, with all of his [David Foster] exciting musical ability from which to draw, he and Madonna would come up with two of the most sombre songs she has ever recorded - but such is the excitement of collaboration; one never knows what will come of it". Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a positive review starting with "The Material Girl hasn't lost her touch" while explaining:
"By placing her greatest-hit ballads ("Live to Tell", "Crazy for You", "Take a Bow", etc.) in a new context — that is, separated from her more attention-getting dance music — Madonna reinvigorates them, which is just what a good best-of compilation is supposed to do. The three new songs "You'll See", "One More Chance", and a wonderfully eerie version of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" are consumer enticements that just add to the allure."
In the United Kingdom the album debuted at number three on the issue date of November 18, 1995. In its second week the album dropped a place to number four where it spent two weeks, the album spent twelve consecutive weeks in the top ten before falling to number 11 on February 2, 1996. The album has been certified triple platinum signifying sales of over 900,000 copies in the UK alone. In Austria the album debuted at number 12 on the issue date of November 19, 1995, however seven weeks after the release of the record it topped the chart on January 14, 1996 before dropping to number two the following week, however it regained the top spot for a second run for just one week on the issue date of January 28, 1996. In France, the album debuted at number 12 on the issue date of November 5, 1995 and peaked at number six three weeks later. It was certified double-gold by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) for shipment of 200,000 copies in France. Worldwide, Something to Remember has sold over ten million copies.
|1.||"I Want You" (with Massive Attack)||Nellee Hooper||6:23|
|2.||"I'll Remember" (Theme from the Motion Picture With Honors)||
|3.||"Take a Bow"||
|5.||"Crazy for You"||John "Jellybean" Benitez||4:02|
|6.||"This Used to Be My Playground"||
|7.||"Live to Tell"||
|8.||"Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (Remix)||Miles Gregory||
|9.||"Something to Remember"||
|11.||"One More Chance"||
|14.||"I Want You" (Orchestral) (with Massive Attack)||
|Japanese bonus track|
|15.||"La Isla Bonita"||
|Latin American bonus track|
|15.||"Verás" (Spanish version of "You'll See")||
Charts and certifications
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