Any art intended to inspire or convey feelings of eros, or sexual desire.

In modern Western culture, some of the most common forms of erotica are erotic photography, cinema, literature, and dance. However, other forms of art have also been used to convey eros. In Japan, erotic animation -- aka hentai anime -- is quite common. The ancient Greeks made a great deal of erotic sculpture and pottery. Erotic poetry has also been popular in various cultures and times.

Many have used the word "erotica" in contrast or opposition to the word "pornography". The word "pornography" stems from the Greek words πορνη (porne) and γραφω (grapho) -- literally, "whore writing"; hence, either writing about whores, or writing by whores. Thus, to call an artist's work pornographic is to suggest that the artist is a whore; to call the work erotica is to say that it inspires your eros.

What, you wanted an opinion? A quip, even? Okay, here goes: Erotica is about people enjoying or indulging their lust; pornography is about showing off genitalia.

erotica: depictions of ideas and images in the literary and visual arts that have sexual and erotic appeal and, for at least a selected audience, sexual arousal value, without being condemned as pornographic. More specifically, erotica is congruent with the idealized content of one's idiosyncratic lovemap and is therefore effective in eroticising, arousing, and facilitating orgasm in that individual.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

E2 Madonna Discography

Title:           Erotica
Released: October 20th, 1992
Run Time: 75:46 minutes

Track List:

  1. Erotica
  2. Fever
  3. Bye Bye Baby
  4. Deeper and Deeper
  5. Where Life Begins
  6. Bad Girl
  7. Waiting
  8. Thief of Hearts
  9. Words
  10. Rain
  11. Why It's So Hard
  12. In This Life
  13. Did You Do It?
  14. Secret Garden

"My name is Dita,
I'll be your mistress tonight"

Released at the very peak of her self-assuredness and achievement, this may well be the one album that Madonna wanted to release all along. The first release from her own "Maverick" record label, the album, for the most part, is strongly rooted in the dance genre and reflects the influences of her collaborators: Shep Pettibone and Andre Betts. It's a mixture of "post-AIDS", 90's disco and distlled hip-hop, all with a malevolent undertone. The occasional ballad, and even a (very rare, for Madonna) cover version, are allowed to creep in amongst the fourteen tracks.

"Erotica, Romance"

The first single released from the album was its title track: Erotica. This track built on the infamy of Madonna's "Justify My Love" video/single, (released some two years earlier), as she continued to explore the mirky borders that lie between love, sex, eroticism, fetishism and pornography.

"Give it up, do as I say
Give it up and let me have my way
I'll give you love, I'll hit you like a truck
I'll give you love, I'll teach you how to ... "

As "Dita", (a stylised, art deco dominatrix), Madonna leads on a journey of sexual domination, lust and pleasurable pain. A thrusting bass line couples with crisp percussion and guitar riffs to yield a very 'gritty' feel. Madonna's half-sung, half-spoken delivery is laid over a background of deep sighs and groans - gratification remains just around the corner. Like the single, the accompanying video release strongly follows the lines of Madonna's 1992 coffee-table book, "Sex", with strong themes such as voyeurism, fetish and exhibitionism. The overall effect is extremely dirty - sordid, but almost entirely in a good way. The video was banned due to its explicit sexual content, but Britain's Channel 4 aired it after the watershed before a fascinated audience. It was also shown a total of 3 times on MTV before they decided that 'enough is enough'. Despite very limited air-play, Erotica the single reached number 3 in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and became a huge club hit.


The 'Other' Tracks on Erotica
After the impact of the title track, it's an easy mistake to overlook the others. Fever is a 'clubby' cover of the Peggy Lee classic which retains some of the original jazz feel. Not a personal favourite but still interesting.

Bye Bye Baby is a worthy track that had a limited release as the sixth and final single from the album.

Deeper and Deeper was a great dancefloor success, with its catchy hook and strong 70's feel.

Rain is a timeless Madonna ballad which I feel is the second strongest track on the album. All Madonna fans know this song, even if they don't know it's from Erotica.

Excalibre wisely nominates Bad Girl - a fine ballad whose video featured old acquaintance Christoper Walken, (as her guardian angel?).

Finally, Did You Do It? gets an honorary mention, if only for the fact that it's a remix of Waiting that seems to be about a purported sexual tryst between Madonna and co-producer Andre Betts. Note that this track is only available on the 'uncensored' US release of the album - the 'clean' version is missing this track.

In conclusion, Erotica remains an under-rated Madonna album due to the media's controversial reaction to "Sex", Erotica (the video) and "Body of Evidence" deal. Not that Madonna's ever been one to worry about courting controversy. It was the first Madonna album since 1983 that failed to reach the number 1 spot in the charts, but I'm sure she feels it was worth it. Erotica is another solid milestone in the career of the female artist who epitomises the art of reinvention.

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