Madonna may not be as famous for her covers as much as what she does under her covers, but here is an example of a pop idol servicing an old standard to completion. That this song was recorded on a whim is even better. As the story goes, the backing track was originally meant for another song until Madonna began singing “Fever” to it instead of the intended lyrics, and the world is a better place for it.
#86 “Fever” by Madonna. Madonna began her reign as a pop queen in the 80’s and has continued until this very day, although many may argue that her status is constantly in contention with younger and more contemporary artists. However, no amount of same-sex smooches can change the fact that Madonna is still an influence on her colleagues, even if she has tried too hard to be more like them with her music these past few years.
I remember seeing Rihanna’s video for “Umbrella”. Her all silver look struck a distant memory, which was fully remembered when I viewed Madonna’s video for “Fever” where she dons the original cyber lady look. While the late 80’s and may be seen as her heyday, and she made a rather pronounced comeback in 1998 with her album “Ray of Light”, Madonna’s early and mid-nineties music is some of her best and most original.
While I am not trying to associate her cover of “Fever” with originality, and most musicians spend too much time covering other artists’ material (ahem… Rod Stewart), this track is an example of Madonna’s burgeoning artistry. Having spent an enormous amount of effort breaking into the music business in the 80’s, she then was free to further explore her own style.
While she may have stirred more controversy than interest in the early 90’s, and her work of the time may fall through the cracks of memory, “Fever” shows Madonna’s artistic vision in full swing. Perhaps this swing veered her off course from what producers would call successful, but it is her course and and it’s a fun ride to take. By taking a moment to hearken to the past with this cover, Madonna provides a preview of what is to come in the future.
I have posted *two* renditions of the song. One is the official music video, while the other is a mature, toned down, and groovy live performance from SNL. I found the latter especially notable as it is here that Madonna eschews flair for substance and does it quite successfully.