Cover for the two-disc edition of the album
|Soundtrack album by |
Madonna / various artists
|Released||November 12, 1996|
|Recorded||October – November 1995|
(London, United Kingdom)
|Singles from Evita|
Evita is the third soundtrack album by American singer Madonna. It was released on November 12, 1996, by Warner Bros. Records to promote the 1996 American musical drama film, Evita, directed by Alan Parker. The film was based on Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1978 musical of the same name, about First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón. Considered a Madonna album, the soundtrack features Madonna on the majority of the songs, with additional performers including Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce and Jimmy Nail. It consists of reworked songs from the 1976 concept album as well as a new song, "You Must Love Me".
After securing the title role in Evita, Madonna underwent vocal training in order to enhance her singing abilities. The actors were tense during the recording sessions for Evita, since they were from a non-musical background. The musical style for Evita differed from Madonna's previous works and she was not comfortable in recording her vocals inside the studio alongside the orchestra. After an emergency meeting with the principal personnel, it was decided she would record in a separate location. It took almost four months for the soundtrack to be finished. Rice and Lloyd Webber had employed the classical technique while creating the music, taking the central theme, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", and tweaking it to cater to a variety of settings. Through the songs, the soundtrack tells the story of Eva Perón's beginnings, her rise to fame, political career and gradually her death.
The soundtrack was released in two different versions. A two-disc edition which featured all the tracks from the film, and a single-disc edition contained a selection of song highlights. Evita was promoted by the release of three singles—"You Must Love Me", "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall"—the former won the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1997. Critical reception towards the soundtrack was mixed, with AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine calling it "unengaging" while Hartford Courant's Greg Morago praised Madonna's singing abilities. Evita was a commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in Austria, Belgium, Scotland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, while attaining top-ten positions in other major musical markets. In the United States, the soundtrack reached a peak of number two on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified quintuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Background and development
In 1996, Madonna starred in the film Evita, playing the role of Eva Perón, the Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina. For a long time, Madonna had desired to play Eva and even wrote a letter to director Alan Parker, explaining how she would be perfect for the part. Madonna had already enlisted the help of composers Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had originally created Evita the musical. Rice believed that the singer would suit in the title role since she could "act beautifully through music".
However Lloyd Webber was still wary about Madonna's singing, so after securing the role, she underwent vocal training with coach Joan Lader. Since Evita required the actors to sing their own parts, the training helped in increasing Madonna's confidence in the songs. Lader noted that the singer "had to use her voice in a way she's never used it before. Evita is real musical theater — its operatic, in a sense. Madonna developed an upper register that she didn't know she had." She taught Madonna how to sing using her diaphragm rather than just her throat, enabling her to project her voice in a more cohesive manner. Madonna was thrilled to find the newly discovered nuances in her voice and would go home every night, practicing by telephoning her friends and singing to them.
Parker finished writing the script for the film by May 1995. He then visited Lloyd Webber's home in France, and tried to bring him and Rice together for working on the film; the duo had not worked with each other for years after the musical Cricket (1986). While drafting the script, Parker had re-written the last act, removing the repetitive content of the original play. This resulted in Rice and Lloyd Webber composing new music, including the new song "You Must Love Me". Parker knew that the pre-recorded playback would be the main backbone for the filming, hence was wary about the decisions he had to make in the recording studio. He pondered over the script and the music, expecting any questions that the actors would have for later.
Recording sessions began in September 1995, and took place at the CTS Studios in London, with Madonna and co-actors Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. Engineer David Reitzas performed the mixing of the track at Larrabee North Studios, utilizing their Solid State Logic 9000 J series consoles for the mix. For the first day's sessions, music supervisor David Caddick suggested to record "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" with the 84 piece orchestra backing Madonna's vocals. However, Lloyd Webber was critical of the recording arrangements done in the studio. The cast was also nervous. Flick noted that Banderas found the experience "scary" while Madonna was "petrified" when it came to recording the songs. "I had to sing 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber ... I was a complete mess and was sobbing afterwards. I thought I had done a terrible job", the singer recalled. Conductor John Mauceri remembered another challenge the production faced was adapting the stage numbers into a feature film; "On film, it's different than being on stage because the person on the screen in front of you is never farther than someone on the pillow in bed next to you". Parker declared the first day of recording as "Black Monday", since it was "filled with trepidation and nerves ... All of us came from very different worlds—from popular music, from movies, and from musical theater—and so we were very apprehensive".
According to producer Nigel Wright, the lead actors would first sing the numbers backed by a band and orchestra, "then they would go off with Alan and David in a more intimate recording environment and perfect their vocals". However, more trouble arose as Madonna was not comfortable with laying down a "guide vocal" simultaneously with an 84 piece orchestra inside the studio. Also, unlike her previous soundtrack releases, she had little to no control over the project; "I'm used to writing my own songs and I go into a studio, choose the musicians and say what sounds good or doesn't ... To work on 46 songs with everyone involved and not have a big say was a big adjustment", she recalled.
An emergency meeting was held between Parker, Lloyd Webber and Madonna where it was decided that the singer would record her part at Whitfield Street, a contemporary studio, while the orchestration would take place somewhere else. She also had alternate days off from the recording to save and strengthen her voice. Recording the soundtrack was a slow process and took almost four months before it was completed. But Parker noticed at the end of recording that they did not have the new song in place. Recalling in his The Making of Evita essay:
Finally, while I was visiting Andrew at his country estate in Berkshire to play him the tracks we had recorded, he suddenly sat down at the piano and played the most beautiful melody, which he suggested could be our new song. Needless to say, I grabbed it. However, we still needed lyrics and Tim dutifully began to put words to the music. The vast majority of the original Evita score had been done this way: music first, lyrics afterwards. After many weeks of nail biting, Tim was finally cajoled into writing the lyrics that now accompany the music to "You Must Love Me".
Music and lyrical interpretation
Madonna's vocals are featured on 15 of the 19 tracks present in the soundtrack. Other principal vocalists include Banderas, Pryce and Jimmy Nail. Rikky Rooksby noted in The Complete Guide to the Music of Madonna that Evita was stylistically different than the music Madonna had recorded previously. The soundtrack was her most challenging endeavor since the Stephen Sondheim songs recorded for the 1990 film, Dick Tracy. Rice and Lloyd Webber employed the classical technique while creating the music, where a composer takes a central theme and adapts it to a variety of settings, keys and tempos. The central backbone and theme of the soundtrack is "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", and through the songs it tells the story of Eva's beginnings, her rise to fame, political career and gradually her death.
The soundtrack begins with the tracks "A Cinema in Buenos Aires, 26 July 1952" and "Requiem for Evita", both conducted by John Mauceri, dealing with the announcement of Eva's death. Following this "Oh What a Circus" begins, where Banderas takes the lead vocals. Built on the uptempo melody of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", the song has rock influences and piano sounds. After a short interlude by Nail, "On This Night of a Thousand Stars", a distorted electric guitar and bass heralds "Eva and Magaldi / Eva Beware of the City". Here the lyrics talk about warning Eva from strangers in the big city. The sound of train horns, Latin percussion, drums, and light guitars introduce "Buenos Aires", talking about Eva finally arriving in the city. The melody finds Madonna singing in a higher range, and the song has a heavy composition in the middle with guitar, trumpets and discordant music. "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" begins with soft strummed guitar in broken chords, and consists of strings and acoustic guitar played in a subdued manner. Madonna sings about Eva moving from one home to another, portraying an image—the suitcase in the hall—"to express the nomadic nature of modern civilization".
In "Goodnight and Thank You", Madonna and Banderas trade verses, talking about ending Eva's love affairs, followed by Banderas' solo "The Lady's Got Potential", musing about Eva's gradual rise on the society ladder. The gentle ballad, "I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You", is about Eva meeting her husband Juan Perón; its composed of flutes, classical guitar and subdued strings. Military drum beats and a brass section start off "Peron's Latest Flame", where Banderas sings loudly about the general population disapproving of Eva. In the middle of a male backing chorus, Madonna sings her lines, accompanied by stereo tom-tom drum and synth sounds. For "A New Argentina", electric guitar and chorus form the main backbone. Composed as an "uprising hymn", Rooksby noted that Madonna's vocals sounded "aggressive and growling".
The second disc begins with "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", whose lyrics are described as a "string of meaningless platitudes" by Rice, adding that it worked as a speech by a "megalomaniac woman" like Eva, trying to win the favor of the people of Argentina. The composition consist of pizzicato strings, and the song jumps from being light to heavy and extravagant, with one section of it being hummed by choral voices. "High Flying, Adored" has an Elton John like style according to Rooksby, who described the lyrics as narcissistic and a parallel with Madonna's life. "RainBow High" features instrumentation from drums, guitars, horns and strings, with the lyrics being about Eva's materialistic needs.
With "Waltz for Eva and Che", the soundtrack's atmosphere becomes tense, as Banderas and Madonna sing on top of bass and timpani. The bittersweet song "You Must Love Me" starts with the sound of orchestra and piano. Lyrically it talks about Eva's discovery that her husband Juan had actually loved her all along and not merely seen her as a political prop. As the song moves towards the chorus, the piano sounds stop and the cello plays with Madonna belting out the lyrics: "Deep in my heart, I'm concealing, Things that I'm longing to say", when the piano and the orchestra sounds come back again. It proceeds in the same way and gradually fades out. The final track, "Lament", finds Madonna singing in a whispered tone, about Eva looking back at her life on her deathbed. Accompanied by classical guitar and harp, Banderas also sings over Eva's grave, and the track gradually fades out as an anti-climax.
Release and promotion
The soundtrack was released in the United States on November 12, 1996, almost two weeks before the release of the film. It was already in huge demand prior to its release, according to Tim Devin, manager of Tower Records. "People are seriously clamouring for it. We are getting more inquiries about this record than anything else right now," Devin explained to Billboard's Larry Flick. Warner Bros. depended on pre-release press reviews, consumer curiosity and the singles from the soundtrack to keep the interest afloat, until the album was released. Jeff Gold, VP/GM of Warner Bros. declared the release as a "worldwide event that has ignited public interest throughout each stage of its evolution".
Evita consisted of two formats, a two-disc edition titled The Complete Motion Picture Music Soundtrack, containing all the tracks used on the film, and a single-disc edition, Music from the Motion Picture, which contained only a selection of highlights. International release strategy of the soundtrack was similar to that of the United States, with November 25 as the date, and the single-disc edition planned for release later in December. An Evita EP, containing remixed versions of "Buenos Aires", "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall", was supposed to be released but was cancelled.
"You Must Love Me" was released as the soundtrack's lead single on October 27, 1996. It was written specifically for the film with the hopes of obtaining an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. According to Lloyd Webber, the song's main inspiration was to showcase Eva's emotional state at the time as well as her relationship with Juan. The song garnered positive response from music critics, many of them highlighting Madonna's enhanced singing ability. It went on to win the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1997. It was also a moderate commercial success, becoming a top-ten hit in some countries including Finland and the United Kingdom, while reaching the top-twenty in the United States, where it achieved a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina" was released as the second single from the album on February 4, 1997. A separate version called the "Miami Mix", which included re-recorded vocals in English and Spanish and an Argentinean bandoneon in the song's intro, was promoted to radio. Madonna's vocals received positive critical response and the song reached the top-ten of the charts a number of nations, including the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and received gold certifications from five of them.
"Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was the third and final single released on March 18, 1997. Upon its release, the song reached the top ten of the charts in the United Kingdom. The track "Buenos Aires" received remix treatment from DJ duo Pablo Flores-Javier Garza. Warner Bros. was initially reluctant to release the remixes, but decided to finally release it to coincide with the home video release of Evita the film. Flores and Garza kept the Latin composition of the track, while "flattening" the groove to make it suitable for playing in dance floors. They also added a live percussion and keyboard lines to the remix. Larry Flick from Billboard commented that "Buenos Aires" displayed Madonna's "increased comfort and dexterity as a stylist". Following its promotional release in October 1997, "Buenos Aires" peaked at number three on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
|The Baltimore Sun||(negative)|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Herald Journal||(positive)|
|The New York Times||(positive)|
|San Francisco Chronicle||(mixed)|
Evita has received generally mixed reviews from music critics. J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Madonna: An Intimate Biography felt that Madonna's singing sounded "supple and strong", and believed her to be not "at all out of place". Authors Allen Metz and Carol Benson wrote in their book The Madonna Companion that the soundtrack gave Madonna "some of the post-disco queen/sex machine credibility she so desperately crave[d]". Writing for the Hartford Courant, Greg Morago complimented Madonna's vocals and her "remarkable understanding of the material ... While some of the numbers have lost their sharp edge ('A New Argentina' lacks requisite anger), the recording benefits from its concentration on the characters' voices. There is a vibrant, contemporary energy and fearless cinematic sweep to this welcome new stamp on the mythic life of Eva Duarte de Perón".
In her review of Evita, Janet Maslin from The New York Times complimented Madonna's ability to emote the songs calling them "legitimately stellar and full of fire". Stefan A. Meyer, from The Herald Journal, felt that "there's a little something for everyone in Evita. It's a pop-culture clash that is sometimes quite annoying (especially in Rice's left-field rhymes) but still works like a charm". Spin's Annie Zaleski noted that the soundtrack demonstrated Madonna's "astronomical growth as a vocalist ...Evita marked the start of Madonna's Serious Phase, one where she balanced youthful coquettish-ness with a more mature, introspective outlook". Greg Kot from the Chicago Tribune, wrote that "the two-CD soundtrack casts Madonna in a new light. To put it simply, the Material Girl can sing. [...] comparing her performance [on the soundtrack] to that of Patti LuPone, one comes away with a new admiration for her vocal skills. In many ways, she does more with less than her predecessor".
AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave a mixed review calling the soundtrack "unengaging". He theorized that it was due to Madonna's performance. Erlewine commended Madonna's singing but deduced that her vocals made the songs sound like she was "trying really hard to be credible, which makes it difficult to connect with her". While reviewing the film, the San Francisco Chronicle's Octavio Roca's feeling about the soundtrack was mixed, saying that the "delicious irony of Rice's lyrics remains intact, as does the freshness of Lloyd Webber's music". But Roca believed that the Latin influences present in the original songs were missing, due to John Mauceri's "languid conducting of the soundtrack, and most of all by Vincent Paterson's choreography". Barbara Shulgasser, from the same newspaper, was more negative, writing that "all of Evita's songs are slightly above Madonna's limited range. With her thin voice, she peeps out a series of mournful sounds that are painful to endure". Also negative was The Baltimore Sun's J. D. Considine, who felt the soundtrack would disappoint the singer's fans "because Evita just isn't pop music—or, at least, not the kind of pop music Madonna usually makes on her own ... As a result, slogging through Evita is like listening to an opera written by someone who never got beyond learning how to write recitativo". Considine was also disappointed with the vocal abilities of Madonna and co-star Antonio Banderas; "they lack the power and tone to lend this intoned dialog a patina of musicality". Finally, Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly called it a "soundtrack of mediocre '70s rock".
In the United States, Evita debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 chart for the issue dated November 30, 1996. It was the first entry on the chart for a "broadway musical transitioned into film soundtrack" since Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture in 1978. The soundtrack fell to number 28 the next week, before beginning to rise again when the film was released into theaters. Within five weeks it crept back into the top-ten of the Billboard 200 and for the issue dated February 8, 1997, reached a peak of number two on the chart. This was spurred by Madonna winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Sales increased by 17.5% to 122,000 sold for that week according to Nielsen SoundScan. It remained there for two weeks, being kept from topping the chart by No Doubt's album Tragic Kingdom, which only had an 8% sales decline to 143,000 copies.
Evita was present for a total of 30 weeks on the Billboard 200, and ranked at number 26 on the year-end chart. Along with the Billboard 200, Evita reached the top of the Soundtracks Albums chart. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the soundtrack quintuple platinum, for shipment of 2.5 million copies across the country. As of December 2016, the album had sold 2,025,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. The single-disc edition of the soundtrack charted separately on the Billboard 200, reaching a peak of number 167.
In Canada, Evita debuted at number 27 on the RPM Top Albums/CDs chart. It reached a peak of number five on the chart, and stayed for a total of 27 weeks. The single-disc edition also charted separately, reaching a peak of number 91. In Australia, the soundtrack debuted on the ARIA Charts at number six. After fluctuating down the charts for the next few weeks, it climbed into the top-ten in March 1997, and peaked at number five. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certified the two-disc edition as gold and the single-disc edition as platinum for shipment of 35,000 and 70,000 copies respectively. The soundtrack had a similar trajectory in New Zealand, where it peaked at number six on the albums chart, and was present for a total of 18 weeks. The Recorded Music New Zealand (RMNZ) certified it platinum, for shipment of 15,000 copies.
Evita debuted at number seven on the UK Albums Chart and ended up reaching the top of the charts in February 1997, becoming Madonna's fifth number one album in the country. It was present on the chart for a total of 44 weeks and ranked at number 23 on the year-end chart. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified it double platinum for shipment of 600,000 copies. It has sold 733,000 copies as of January 2018 according to the Official Charts Company. Across Europe, Evita reached the top of the charts in Austria, Belgium (both Flanders and Wallonia), Scotland and Switzerland, as well as top-ten in Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Its performance across the European markets resulted in the soundtrack reaching the top of the pan-European Top 100 Albums chart. According to Carol Clerk's book Madonnastyle, the soundtrack has sold a total of 11 million copies worldwide.
|1.||"A Cinema in Buenos Aires, July 26, 1952"||—||1:20|
|2.||"Requiem for Evita"||—||4:16|
|3.||"Oh What a Circus"||5:44|
|4.||"On This Night of a Thousand Stars"||Jimmy Nail||2:24|
|5.||"Eva and Magaldi / Eva Beware of the City"||5:20|
|7.||"Another Suitcase in Another Hall"||Madonna||3:33|
|8.||"Goodnight and Thank You"||4:18|
|9.||"The Lady's Got Potential"||Antonio Banderas||4:24|
|10.||"Charity Concert / The Art of the Possible"||2:33|
|11.||"I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You"||4:18|
|12.||"Hello and Goodbye"||1:46|
|13.||"Peron's Latest Flame"||5:17|
|14.||"A New Argentina"||8:13|
|1.||"On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada (Part 1)"||Jonathan Pryce||1:28|
|2.||"Don't Cry for Me Argentina"||Madonna||5:31|
|3.||"On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada (Part 2)"||Madonna||2:00|
|4.||"High Flying, Adored"||3:32|
|7.||"The Actress Hasn't Learned the Lines (You'd Like to Hear)"||2:31|
|8.||"And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out)"||Antonio Banderas||3:53|
|10.||"She Is a Diamond"||Jonathan Pryce||1:39|
|12.||"Waltz for Eva and Che"||4:31|
|13.||"Your Little Body's Slowly Breaking Down"||1:24|
|14.||"You Must Love Me"||Madonna||2:50|
|15.||"Eva's Final Broadcast"||Madonna||3:05|
|1.||"Requiem for Evita"||—||4:17|
|2.||"Oh What a Circus"||5:44|
|3.||"On This Night of a Thousand Stars"||Jimmy Nail||2:23|
|4.||"Eva and Magaldi / Eva Beware of the City"||5:20|
|6.||"Another Suitcase in Another Hall"||Madonna||3:32|
|7.||"Goodnight and Thank You"||4:17|
|8.||"I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You"||4:17|
|9.||"Peron's Latest Flame"||5:17|
|10.||"A New Argentina"||4:16|
|11.||"Don't Cry for Me Argentina"||Madonna||5:34|
|12.||"High Flying, Adored"||3:31|
|14.||"And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out)"||Antonio Banderas||3:47|
|15.||"She Is a Diamond"||Jonathan Pryce||1:39|
|16.||"Waltz for Eva and Che"||4:12|
|17.||"You Must Love Me"||Madonna||2:50|
|18.||"Eva's Final Broadcast / Latin Chant"||Madonna||5:15|
- The two-disc edition includes the entire soundtrack to the film, (excluding the medley played at the end), while the single-disc edition includes the highlights from the film soundtrack.
Credits and personnel adapted from the 2-CD edition of the soundtrack's liner notes.
- Madonna – principal artist, vocals
- Antonio Banderas – principal artist, vocals
- Jonathan Pryce – principal artist, vocals
- Jimmy Nail – principal artist, vocals
- Andrea Corr – vocals
- Julian Littman – vocals, background vocals
- Gary Brooker – vocals
- Peter Polycarpou – vocals
- John Gower – vocals
- Angeline Ball – background vocals
- Nick Holder – background vocals
- Lorenza Johnson – background vocals
- George Little – background vocals
- Gordon Neville – background vocals
- Laura Pallas – background vocals
- Mark Ryan – background vocals
- Alex Sharpe – background vocals
- Linda Taylor – background vocals
- Fredrick Warder – background vocals
- Andrew Wood-Mitchell – background vocals
- Julia Worsley – background vocals
- Nigel Wright – record producer, audio mixing
- Alan Parker – record producer
- Andrew Lloyd Webber – record producer
- David Caddick – record producer
- Lawrence Dermer – record producer
- Madonna – audio mixing
- Dave Reitzas – engineer, audio mixing
- Dick Lewzey – engineer
- Robin Sellars – engineer
- Mark "Spike" Stent – engineer
- Jake Davies – assistant engineer
- Lee McCutcheon – assistant engineer
- Gustavo Moratorio – assistant engineer
- Matt Silva – assistant engineer
- Dave Wagg – assistant engineer
- Toby Wood – assistant engineer
- Dave Collins – mastering
- Mark Graham – music copyist
- Nick Mera – music copyist
- David Appleby – photography
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||2× Platinum||100,000*|
|Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)||Gold||100,000*|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Platinum||20,000*|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|Norway (IFPI Norway)||Gold||25,000*|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Platinum||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||2× Platinum||733,000|
|United States (RIAA)||5× Platinum||2,500,000[a]|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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