Madonna - Like a Virgin
Album Comparisons: Like a Virgin
Madonna proved to be one of the definitive artists of the 80s, a source of both massively popular hit songs and a beacon of controversy for her confident portrayal and unashamed acceptance of sexuality. Like a Virgin, her sophomore release, was the big one, the album that propelled her popularity all the way into the stratosphere, boasting four singles to reach the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and aided by healthy rotation on radio and the still new MTV. It was the album that made Madonna a household name and a pop superstar. It was also an early all-digital recording, with the compact disc released simultaneously with the vinyl version - a first at the time. So how does the original CD release hold up today, in comparison with the reissue version of 17 years later?

Material Girl

1984 original CD release

Material Girl

2001 remaster

Material Girl

Angel

1984 original CD release

Angel

2001 remaster

Angel

Like a Virgin

1984 original CD release

Like a Virgin

2001 remaster

Like a Virgin

Over and Over

1984 original CD release

Over and Over

2001 remaster

Over and Over

Love Don't Live Here Anymore

1984 original CD release

Love Don't Live Here Anymore

2001 remaster

Love Don't Live Here Anymore

Dress You Up

1984 original CD release

Dress You Up

2001 remaster

Dress You Up

Shoo Bee Doo

1984 original CD release

Shoo Bee Doo

2001 remaster

Shoo Bee Doo

Pretender

1984 original CD release

Pretender

2001 remaster

Pretender

Stay

1984 original CD release

Stay

2001 remaster

Stay
And the winner is: Original 1984 release. I'm a bit dubious as to why an album that was recorded digitally to begin with needs to be "digitally remastered." There is no reason for anyone with the earlier release to purchase this edition - while the packaging and included material are slicker and far more attractive looking, they contain nothing extra of note other than a gatefold presentation of color pages and an admittedly nice additional photograph of Madonna. The bonus tracks (remixes of "Like a Virgin" and "Material Girl") are nothing special. Given that this was a comparatively early all-digital recording released by the music industry, there's nothing to be gained here in the way of improved analog to digital conversion technology or the use of a first generation analog master tape. So why buy this release instead of the older one? Well, it has inferior sound quality, two ho-hum bonus tracks, and a vastly superior print job on the front and back covers of the booklet which features enormously improved contrast and sharpness. If the CD booklet is more important to you than the actual music, then by all means, pick up this "remaster." Otherwise, the earlier 1984 release is the way to go.