Madonna is the self-titled debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It was released on July 27, 1983 by Sire Records. The album was re-released in 1985 for the European market with a new design, photography and was renamed Madonna: The First Album. A remastered version of the original album was released in 2001 by Warner Bros. Records with bonus remixes.
In 1982, while establishing herself as a singer in Downtown New York, Madonna met Seymour Stein, president of Sire Records, who signed her after listening to her single “Everybody”. The success of the single prompted Sire to sign her for an album’s deal. For the album, Madonna chose to work with Reggie Lucas, a Warner Bros. producer. However, she was not happy with the completed tracks and disagreed with Lucas’s production techniques, so decided to seek additional help with the production. Madonna then invited her boyfriend at the time, John “Jellybean” Benitez, to help her finish the album. Benitez remixed many of the tracks and produced “Holiday”.
The overall sound of Madonna is dissonant, and is in the form of upbeat synthetic disco, utilizing some of the new technology of the time, like the usage of Linn drum machine, Moog bass and the Oberheim OB-X synthesizer. The songs on the album are sung by Madonna in a bright, girlish vocal timbre, and lyrically talks about love and relationships. Contemporary critics have applauded the album, but Madonna was dismissed by some critics when it was released in 1983. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly named it as the fifth of “Top 100 Best Albums of Past 25 Years.” The album was successful on the charts, reaching number eight on the Billboard 200, and the top ten of the charts in Australia, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It was certified five-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipment of five million copies across the United States. Worldwide the album has sold more than 10 million copies.
Five singles were released from the album, with “Holiday” becoming her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Lucky Star”, her first top-five hit. The album was promoted by The Virgin Tour in 1985. Madonna has often remarked that she wished she had more variety in the songs of the album, and had more creative control. However, critics and scholars have credited the album for popularizing dance music as mainstream genre. It set the standard for dance-pop and pointed musical direction for a host of female artists. The album is also noted for heralding Madonna’s arrival in the music scene and launching her career as a disco diva.