Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “Up Down Suite” by Madonna

Madonna is called the Queen of Pop for a reason. Since the very beginning of her career, she’s been a source of criticism and controversy, but her ability to consistently reinvent her image, sound, and overall persona while cranking out classic and iconic hits (just about more than anyone…ever) has sustained her for over 30 years. There have been certain points over the years that have been more important than others, though. Like A Prayer through to The Immaculate Collection (about ’89-’91) was arguably her most prolific and iconic, with hits such as “Like A Prayer,” “Express Yourself,” “Vogue,” and “Justify My Love” cementing themselves in the history books as seminal pop classics. Ray Of Light was arguably her artistic peak, taking on a more mature role as a musician, songwriter, and performer. Meanwhile, the Erotica era was her most controversial, but in hindsight, her most relevant. It’s sort of the dark horse of her career. Madonna was keen on taking off her clothes, being abrasive, and pushing boundaries far beyond where the public was comfortable going, but it ended up pushing her into a new level of importance. The music was really quite good on its own, though. The album itself produced hits, but one of the era’s brightest moments came in the form of a b-side to the single “Rain,” entitled “Up Down Suite.” The track is a 12 minute dub that features minimal, sultry vocals, but relies on the intricate and unrelenting production to make it so incredible. While embodying all of the important qualities of early-90s dance music, there is something “alternative” about it that is hard to really identify. It feels like a snapshot in time, much like most of her tracks, but “Up Down Suite” still feels good today. If this song were to drop in a club right now, it would have the whole place moving… and they wouldn’t stop for 12 straight minutes. Madonna has a vast pop catalog filled with more hits than is even really fathomable, but this track is one worth seeking out and investing in. This is the Queen of Pop at her most daring, and that can only be a good thing.


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