Madonna‘s 2003 politically-charged album “American Life” is one of her more polarizing works, but it’s not without highlights, one of which is fan-favorite album track/Europe-only single “Nothing Fails”. The track was co-written by British electronic producer Guy Sigsworth and Welsh singer Jem. Originally called “Silly Thing”, the demo was recorded with Jem’s vocals back in summer 2001 and had never surfaced before… until last week, when Sigsworth finally reached into his vault and sneakily put it on Soundcloud. Though claimed a “work-in-progress demo” and “over ten years old”, the demo is achingly beautiful, even in its raw form. Jem’s pristine, light-as-air vocals carry an ingenue quality, in contrast to Madonna’s seasoned delivery on the finished track. In fact, it wouldn’t sound out-of-place on her excellent debut album “Finally Woken”, which makes me wonder if she ever worked with Guy on her own tracks. I am seriously in love with it, it makes me feel nostalgic for what I call “The OC age”. Oh how I miss her voice. To most people she might have been a poor man’s Dido, but I’d love for her to come back and give it another shot. Thank you, Guy, for sharing with us this lovely gem.
STREAM: Jem – Silly Thing (Demo For Madonna)
You can read the story behind it on Jem’s blog. Apparently, she’s working in film production now?
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Madonna‘s 1986 album “True Blue”, Canadian indie label Paper Bag Records has called upon their roster to cover the album in its entirety. The best part is they’re giving it away for free, in return for your email address. I haven’t heard all the tracks, but the acts seemed to be having fun recording them. My favorite cover so far is the Montreal-based band Winter Gloves‘ reading of her sugar-sweet single “True Blue”. They brought the song closer to its ’60s pop spirit, and sprinkled it with synths and a special saxophone solo! A lovely listen. Check out the cover below, and get the album if you’re interested. Now if only they could have roped in Sally Shapiro to contribute…
LA dream-pop duo The Bird And The Bee recently revamped their official site. To celebrate that, they made an amusingly geeky welcome video. However, the best part is they uploaded a bunch of rarities on Soundcloud! The highlight is an unreleased cover of Madonna’s “Material Girl”. It’s a fun ’80s take, complete with 8-bit synths and a talkbox! The reason for its existence is quite funny, in Inara’s words: “The reason why we covered this song is not very romantic. Greg thought our publishers had asked him to cover the song… but it turned out that he was mistaken.” Love that they goofed around for it because of a mistake in communication. A previously unreleased cut from the “Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future” session was also unveiled, a psychedelic space-pop track called “How Mean Am I”. Greg & Inara are working on a new album, and a clip of them in the studio hinted that it might be ’80s-influenced. I adore everything they do, as well as Greg’s pop production, so it’s exciting news. Stream the cover below.
The Bird And The Bee – Material Girl (Madonna Cover)
The Bird And The Bee – How Mean Am I (Unreleased)