Monday, November 19, 2012

I'll Remember...1987

In November 1987, Warner Bros. Records commissioned the release of You Can Dance—Madonna's first retrospective—which was aimed at the dance segment of her audience It was an album containing seven of Madonna's songs in remixed format, which was still a revolutionary concept in the 1980s. By the mid-eighties, post-disco dance music was extremely popular and the concept of remix was widely regarded as a new direction of music. Several artists were remixing their tracks and compiling them to create new albums. Mixing was an interpretative process, where the artist was usually involved, but the development was generally looked after the record producer. The different parts of a song, including the lead vocals, background vocals, guitars, bass, synths, drum machine—all went through the process of mixing to sound considerably different from their original counterpart. Mixing determined how loud these instruments were going to sound in relation to each other and what particular sound effects should be added to each instrument. Improvements in studio technologies meant the possibility of shaping the sound of a song in any way, after it has been recorded. The arrangements were it created at the mixing stage, rather than being created previously. A particular vocal phrase could be endlessly copied, repeated, chopped up, transposed up and down in pitch and give them more echo, reverberation, treble or bass.

It was this concept, which intrigued Madonna, while she was developing her third studio album True Blue (1986). She said, "I hate it when people do master mixes of my records. I don't want to hear my songs changed like that. I don't know that I like it, people screwing with my records. The jury is out on it for me. But the fans like it, and really, this one was for the fans, for the kids in the clubs who wanted to hear these songs in a fresh new way." She went to Warner with the idea of releasing her songs by remixing them in a complete dance tune. From Warner's point of view, the rise of remix was a commercial boon, because it meant making more money out of the same piece of music. Instead of paying Madonna to go to studio and record different tracks, they found that allowing her to record the same tracks in different formats was much less costly. Hence they decided to release the album, but gave full freedom to Madonna to choose the producers with whom she wanted to develop the remixes.