Unlike The Immaculate Collection (the first volume of greatest hits that chronicled her hits from Borderline to the Vogue days) that has at least two new songs, there are no new songs at all uin GHV2. This compilation is also a double-edged sword in that it chronicles Madonna’s finest moments as well as her loopier moments. The songs here are noticeably lacking in the fun factor Maddy’s pre-Erotica days are full of. More noticeably, songs from the Erotica album – a severely underrated album in my opinion, eclipsed by her Sex book and The Girlie Show extravanganza – are represented by only two songs. Deeper and Deeper is a second-rate Open Your Heart wannabe, unworthy compared to the noticeably absent Bad Girls (one of her finest tracks ever) and her icy-cold version of Fever. Where’s the beautiful Rain? Talk about criminal omissions! Erotica is here, and it’s still as good as I remembered. Too bad about the inane lyrics.
Bedtime Story is a mesmerizing tour de force, while Human Nature is strangely too subdued for its own good. These two songs represent the Madonna-gone-Massive-Attack years, which well be best remembered as the “What was she doing?!!” years. That vile Cantopop horror Take a Bow that I’ve blanked out of memory is here, alas.
I’m disappointed that the Don’t Cry For Me Argentina here isn’t the dance remix. I miss the background singers going “Oh Argentina!” On her own, this version by Maddy is blah. They should’ve stuck in You Must Love Me, a better track that doesn’t expose her weak vocal prowess.
Madonna’s amazing comeback in the album Ray of Light, which she piggybacks on William Orbit’s musical touches, are represented by the title track (amazing dance track, truly), the insincere and lackluster Drowned World/Substitute For Love (AKA “Exploiting My Daughter So That You’ll Believe How Much I Hate My Life, So Buy My Album Please”), and The Power of Goodbye, a nice, sweet ballad that has Goran Višnjić in the video. I need any excuse I can get to bring up that guy, but really, this is a nice tune but the lyrics are again somewhat on the rubbish side.
Finally, Music, Don’t Tell Me, and Beautiful Stranger are not bad, but at the same time not her best works. What It Feels Like for a Girl is however a fabulous track with lyrics that actually have depths. It is also refreshing to have Madonna, who deliberates pushes the boundaries between genders, sings for once about her own gender.
Lacking the fun factor of The Immaculate Collection and without any rewards for die-hard Madonna fans to buy this album, GHV2 is targeted mainly at part-time Madonna fans. It’s not a bad collection, but still… well, a mellow Madonna isn’t very much fun, to be honest.