E is for Erotica.
1992’s Erotica is a strong album that was underappreciated at the time, and wasn’t helped by Madonna’s literal overexposure in the Sex book and Body of Evidence movie.
Sure, she made bigger-selling albums in the 90s (Bedtime Stories, Ray of Light) but for me, Erotica is the best.
Look beyond the distractions of the Sex book and you’ll find the jazzy, seductive Saint Etienne-esque Secret Garden, with its tinkling piano and spoken vocals, and the Chicago house cover of Fever, softly sung over minimalist beats.
There’s the wonderful Waiting, which acts like a sequel to Justify My Love with hip-hop undertones, and the lush Rain.
At the time I thought Deeper and Deeper was underwhelming but it has become a classic, with its Andy Warhol and Studio 54-inspired video and Vogue samples.
Sure, there are a couple of songs here that I don’t like, and some might find the Shep Pettibone beats a tad repetitive, but the great songs vastly outweigh the weak ones.
Even if you don’t like the music, the cinematic video for Bad Girl, in which Madonna’s character gets the kiss of death from Christopher Walken, is hard to ignore.
I’m not a huge Madonna fan by any means, but I do love this album. There’s something dark, gritty and underground about it.
Stream Erotica below and read Albumism’s retrospective review here.