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> La Isla Bonita ● 30 Years
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liamk97
post Mar 31 2017, 12:26 PM
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It has been 30 years since the tropical escapism of 'La Isla Bonita' was released as the fifth and final single from True Blue.

Legend has it that Michael Jackson was first presented with the basic instrumental and title of 'La Isla Bonita', but had chosen to decline the offer. During the sessions for her True Blue album, Madonna accepted it in his place and, with the help of the album's main co-producer and writer, Patrick Leonard, she wrote lyrics and a melody that would suit her objective of honouring Latin America's "beauty and mystery". Complete with Cuban drums and Spanish guitar, Madonna provides a picturesque imagery of the exotic San Pedro; a tropical paradise that relieves the body and mind of its troubles. She expresses a desire to be as free as "the beautiful island" - it symbolises the ideal, the absolute pinnacle of being that we all strive for. The angelic sighing and chanting of the title entices the listener to be engrossed in this concept themselves and transports them to utter peace of mind. Reflecting on his work with Madonna, Leonard applauded her ability to find a "lyrical theme that fits the mood of the music" - a summary that's not more apt than it is to describe 'La Isla Bonita'.

The music video shows Madonna portraying two characters: the first is a Catholic woman, plainly dressed, mundane and submissive; the second is a passionate flamenco dancer, dressed in a vibrant, red Spanish dress. Whilst one alternates between praying and lurking behind a curtain, curiously watching but ignoring the invitations to join the Latinos celebrating in the street, the other parades in a bright red room, candles galore, before leaving to join with the dancers, embracing the music and flirting with the men. The latter symbolises the achieving of harmony, also extending the album's message of love and acceptance, but there's a bittersweet undertone to the song as it suggest that, whilst one may express a desire to be free and at peace, the realities of life can often obstruct the ability to reach this point, as portrayed by the first Madonna character.

'La Isla Bonita' is essential Madonna. It was a revolution in her discography at the time and rounds off an undeniably strong set of singles from True Blue. As we conclude the celebrations for one of the 80's most legendary albums, enjoy this 4 minutes of chilled, summery pop bliss and share your comments and memories below.

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liamk97
post Mar 31 2017, 12:27 PM
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I found this video on YouTube that compiles all the live performances in mark of the 30th anniversary. It also plays the extended mix of 'La Isla Bonita' which is definitely my favourite as it makes the most of those beautiful harmonic sighs:

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Joe.
post Mar 31 2017, 12:29 PM
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L O V E. What a classic. One of Madonna's favs too! Isn't it on like most of her tours?
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liamk97
post Mar 31 2017, 12:36 PM
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6 tours, which puts it third for most tour performances, below joint first place for 'Holiday' and 'Like a Virgin' which have appeared on 7 tours each.
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liamk97
post Apr 1 2017, 12:27 PM
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When I first began delving into Madonna's back catalogue, I don't think 'La Isla Bonita' was one I returned to much. I preferred her instant, upbeat stuff and this was just too restraint for me to take much notice of. Thank God for music taste development, because this song is absolutely lush. I adore the deep, yearning vocals and those gorgeous harmonies. It's fun and summery yet sophisticated and elegant. A real treasure in her discography. heart.gif
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