7 Things: Favorite Songs by Favorite Performers #6 – Madonna


(for Monday, November 5)

Growing up, I enjoyed Madonna, but it was really around Evita that I went on a serious Madonna bender. The Evita soundtrack – yes, the movie soundtrack – is positively divine, and most of Madonna’s other albums are strong as far as artistry goes. I wouldn’t dare say everyone should like her, and I know a lot of people don’t, but the level to which people dislike her is beyond bizarre to me.

For the record, I don’t think everything Madonna touches turns to gold by any means – I have seen Shanghai Surprise – but she has turned out some truly GREAT songs and her performances in Evita, A League of Their Own and Dick Tracy aren’t just acceptable. They’re actually good. And you simply don’t stick around at the top of an industry for three decades without a lick of talent.

Seven favorite Madonna songs (Evita and Dick Tracy excluded – or else I might have included You Must Love Me, far from my favorite song from Evita, but filled with memories of dancing my nephew to sleep):

7 – Express Yourself

Come on, girls! Are you gonna tell me this song doesn’t make you want to dance and get all the love you deserve?

6 – Take a Bow

The old feel of the music. The metaphorical theater lyrics. Lovely backing vocals by Babyface. This song is pretty much pop music perfection.

5 – Don’t Tell Me

Wedged into the over-synthesized Music album, Don’t Tell Me is like a breath of real-instrumental air. Lyrically, it’s simple to a point of almost silliness, but it sounds damn good.

4 – Oh Father

One of Madonna’s most passionate renditions of any song she’s ever recorded, she sounds damn near broken on this song and it works so well. And I am definitely in the “Madonna pre-Evita vocal coaching” group. Yes, her Evita coaching made her pronunciation more correct – as became so very obvious in her speech – and even made her voice stronger, but I find that vocal coaching often leads to overcorrecting, which doesn’t benefit anyone.

The video for this song is brilliant, but painful in its imagery.

3 – Live to Tell

A song that sounds the way the lyrics make you feel is the most powerful species in music. It’s something Madonna songs do very well, capturing the feel of the lyrics with each note of the melody. Material Girl does it. Like a Prayer does it. Dear Jessie does it. Take a Bow, Oh Father and this song, to name a few. Basically, listeners start to sink or soar before the first lyric is sung, which is an impressive musical feat to me.

This song has powerful lyrics. I will never get by “If I ran away, I’d never have the strength to go very far” without that tightness of throat it always brings on.

2 – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

The music of this song has such a classic feel, and the lyrics are so intimate. Simply one of the finest aching-heart songs ever.

1 – Crazy for You

This song is sexy as hell. Turn is up loud and it kind of overtakes your senses. Go here if you want to see big-haired Linda Fiorentino thinking it’s sexy along with Matthew Modine’s bare chest –

No really, I swear, that’s what this video contains. 



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