The idea of combining the mass appeal of Madonna with niche neo-folk musicians like Devendra Banhart and Lavender Diamond is intriguing, to say the least — and it's exactly the point of Through the Wilderness. The tribute album puts 17 of Madonna's biggest hits in the hands of musicians from around the folk/experimental/electronic music spectrum, and from what I've heard so far, the results are pretty impressive.
Four songs from the compilation, which will be released Nov. 27, are currently streaming on MySpace. Sadly, Lavender Diamond's remarkably faithful take on "Like a Prayer" mostly bored me, but I'm really digging the Tyde's cover of "Hung Up." Ariel Pink's "Everybody" has a ton of synth-y energy, and Giant Drag's version of "Oh Father" gets downright chilling when the chorus kicks in.
This would be cool enough if it were just about the music, but the fact that 25 percent of proceeds go to Madonna's charity Raising Malawi sweetens the deal. To check out a full list of all the songs and artists included on the album, just
Jonathan Wilson — "La Isla Bonita"
Golden Animals — "Beautiful Stranger (Blues)"
Winter Flowers — "Live To Tell"
Mountain Party feat. Devendra Banhart — "Material Girl"
Jeremy Jay — "Into The Groove"
Ariel Pink — "Everybody"
Giant Drag — "Oh Father"
The Tyde — "Hung Up"
Alexandra Hope — "Lucky Star"
The Chapin Sisters — "Borderline"
Apollo Heights — "Dress You Up"
The Bubonic Plague — "Who's That Girl?"
The Prayers — "Cherish"
Lion of Panjshir — "Crazy for You"
Lavender Diamond — "Like A Prayer"
Siddhartha — "Holiday" (iTunes only)
Pangaeans — "Impressive Instant" (iTunes only)