Today marks the 21st anniversary of Madonna’s fifth studio album “Erotica.” This album was released along with the companion book “Sex” which was a coffee-table book that featured graphic photographs simulating sexual acts. At the time in 1992, the album and companion book were incredibly controversial.
“Erotica” didn’t prove to be as successful as some of Madonna’s earlier recordings. That sounds a little misleading since “unsuccessful” for Madonna in the 1990s meant that the album peaked at number 2 in the United States and the United Kingdom, and was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and by the British Phonographic Industry. The album also received mostly favorable reviews from critics who commended Madonna for taking risks and releasing an album that had a very confessional tone.
The book “Sex,” which was released one day after “Erotica,” was much more controversial than the album. Both fans and critics felt that Madonna had pushed the envelope too far with the book and its images of sex, sadomasochism and rapper Vanilla Ice. The media covered the release of the book and the uproar surrounding it so extensively that Madonna hardly had to do any press for the book. Despite the backlash, the book sold over 150,000 copies on its first day and topped the New York Time’s Best Seller List. The book has since gone on to be much more favorably viewed as a work of art and is one of the most sought after out of print books.
Since today’s music world has a no shortage of controversial pop stars, let’s take some time to honor one of the most talented and occasionally controversial pop starts of all time.