Saturday, May 20, 2017

Madonna - Secret (1994)

Having received a giant load of backlash from her Sex book, Erotica album and cinematic turd Body of Evidence, Madonna found herself in a sticky situation.  Had she gone too far with her sexcapades?  Had her audience finally tired of her music?  Would she recover from her little fuck up on Letterman?  You wouldn't know it from the single's cover, but The Queen of Pop toned down the sexual themes for her sixth album, exploring R&B sounds and recruiting 90s go-to hitmakers Dallas Austin and Babyface.  I didn't care so much for Bedtime Stories when it was originally released nor for any of the singles, except for Take A Bow.  But years later, I've come to enjoy several of the tracks, particularly songs that weren't released as singles.  

While Secret is not in my Madonna Top 20, it was refreshing to hear a different sound from her.  For the video, shot in black and white, Madonna sings at a jazz club interspersed with shots of her combing the streets of Harlem before reuniting with her lover and a child, who may be Madonna's secret or just her lover's depending on who you ask.   

Secret was filmed in New York, NY

Location: Harlem Establishing Shot
Address: 347 Lenox Avenue between 127th & 128th Street, New York, NY

Harlem has been gentrified tremendously since the video was shot there so not much is recognizable today but the International Bar & Lounge sign was a nice clue for the opening shot of the video...

Location: The Jazz Club
Address: 288 Lenox Avenue between 124th & 125th Street, New York, NY

The Lenox Lounge was a staple of the Harlem scene since the late 1930s. It was finally shuttered in 2012 due to rent increases.  While plans were made to reopen at a new location, they never came to pass and the iconic hangout was demolished just earlier this month.  A Sephora is rumored to take it's place...

Location: Madonna Peruses Harlem
Address: 310 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY

The Solomon's sign was another gift and made this location where Madonna takes to the streets simple to find.  Unfortunately it looks nothing like it used to...

Originally, Madonna had sported a Marlene Deitrich look but director Melodie McDaniel was dissatisfied and felt it didn't go with the theme of the video.  Initially she kept it a secret ;-) from Madonna, but as the day went on she broke her silence and it was revamped.  I think she made the right choice...

Locations Visited: December 2016

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