Happy 30th Anniversary to Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection, originally released November 9, 1990.

Like so many of my generation, I grew up on a staple diet of ‘80s mullets, sitcoms of every kind, Cabbage Patch Kids and, of course, Madonna. The girl from Michigan covered in lace, hairspray and crucifixes immediately took the world by storm by positioning herself front and center, while provoking a ridiculous amount of discomfort among many of her observers, mostly to do with perceptions of sexuality, both hers and ours.

Smashing down the door that had been cracked open for her by those that walked before her, Madonna’s shock value was so much more than a calculated act, it was shaking up the patriarchy and prompting conversations that had largely remained taboo up until that point. Whilst many of those taboo subjects have now lost their edge and become more accepted, Madonna still manages to spark conversation on a range of topics and for the most part, we still listen.

In late 1990, Madonna again stimulated dialogue with the release of her first greatest hits album, The Immaculate Collection. Given that the singer had only released her debut album Madonna seven years beforehand, it left many wondering “why so soon?” The curiosity paid off. It captivated listeners’ interest and Madonna delivered the goods with fifteen hits from her impressive ‘80s canon and two new tracks, “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me.” The compilation has gone on to sell in excess of thirty-one million albums worldwide and it remains the best-selling compilation album by a solo artist and one of the most commercially successful albums of all time in its own right.

The first three tracks from the album—“Holiday,” “Lucky Star” and “Borderline” —cemented Madonna’s star power as she entered the world of pop. “Holiday” and its infectious upbeat “dance all night” vibe most definitely sets the tone for this album and without sounding facetious, shows just how far Madonna has come. “Lucky Star” continues the catchy, semi-vacuous lyrics, but it is with “Borderline” that we start to see the emergence of a woman who was beginning to master the art of the pop hook. Madonna’s awareness of her words and the art involved in being a true wordsmith was taking place.

By 1984, Madonna’s image was as much a topic of conversation as was her music. Like A Virgin, her second album, took on all the trimmings of the punk influence it aspired to be. Lace, fishnets and of course the crucifix were fast becoming every teen girl’s go-to accessories. A fashion moment was being born, and so was Madonna’s controversial fame.

Like A Virgin was Madonna’s first poke at sexual innuendo and with lines like “It feels so good inside” and “touched for the very first time,” this song not only became a smash for the star, but created a controversy that upset everyone from politicians to the Catholic Church. Madonna had people talking and she reveled in it. Taking a more feminine, female empowered turn with “Material Girl,” sass and dominating the male world were slowly being incorporated within her personal brand. Her feminine, sexual, but incredibly strong disposition coupled with her penchant for not suffering any fools was not only being channeled through her art, taking her to the top, but was also proving to be culturally iconic—something that many modern day singers still reference as a source of their inspiration.