Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.
Today’s edition, in honor of what truly is a remarkable career, we press play on Madonna’s ‘Evita’ era. An era, which kicked off towards the end of her ‘Bedtime Stories’ and influenced the shape and sound of 1998’s ‘Ray Of Light’.
Step back in time below…
She may not have known it then, but the 1994 release of ‘Stories’ would no doubt serve as the catalyst behind what many would agree was the strongest creative era of Madonna’s career.
An era, she used to lobby for the role of ‘Evita’ with the Haussman directed clips, ‘Take A Bow‘ and ‘Something To Remember‘s ‘You’ll See’.
Peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, ‘Bow’s video and subsequent chart success marked yet another triumph for R&B driven music in the decade, with BabyFace responsible for the direction she took on the jam and its supporting album.
Winning her the role of Eva, ‘Donna’s portrayal of the political icon earned her a reported $1 million but served to strengthen her brand on a far deeper level, by way of vocal lessons she took in preparation for the musical.
Under the pupilage of ‘CATS‘ producer Andrew LLoyd Webber, the mezzo-soprano saw her entire range utilised in ways prior projects hadn’t warranted. On this era, she told ‘Spin‘:
“I studied with a vocal coach for Evita and I realised there was a whole piece of my voice I wasn’t using. Before, I just believed I had a really limited range and was going to make the most of it.”
So, with a new found confidence in her voice and the birth of daughter Lourdes birthing a new outlook on her craft, 1997 saw her begin work on the William Orbit driven ‘Ray Of Light’. An album, the saw the icon ditch the sex and sass found on ‘Erotica‘ and swim toward a new creative shore.
A shore, that gave the world ‘The Power Of Goodbye’ and the haunting…’Frozen’.
Peaking at #11 and #2 on the Hot 100 respectively, both singles saw sales of the album pushed to the commercial height of 16 million units moved worldwide, going 4x Platinum in the US, 6x Platinum in the UK and 7x Platinum in Russia.
While eras that followed failed to serve the magic ‘The Evita Years’ did, its ‘time’ marks one of the greatest ‘moments’ in Pop music- marking the only time the ‘Material Girl’s craft was allowed to take center stage and solidifying her status as one of the world’s greatest musicians.
With today’s scene lacking the emotion and artistry we were introduced to on ‘Light’ and ‘Stories’, here’s hoping the coming years see a number of her a number of her less talented Pop daughters pull from the era to deliver material and videos just as riveting.