all about Madonna

Madonna on Slant’s Best Singles of the 80s list

43. Madonna, “Open Your Heart.”
David Byrne once sang, “Watch out, with that attitude you might get what you want,” and it feels as if Madonna has made a career of realizing that ambition by any means possible. It’s funny to think that “Open Your Heart” could have ended up with someone other than the Material Girl. Yes, Cyndi Lauper might have spun something altogether more poignant from this unabashedly sincere and playfully metaphoric love song, but the conviction Madonna reveals throughout, as exhaustible as Patrick Leonard’s fluttering rock-dance bassline, finds her in a strikingly confessional light. As in the song’s polar opposite, 1993’s “Bye Bye Baby,” an anti-love song in which she coyly makes the man do the chasing, Madonna was and always will be credible only at her most naked. EG

28. Madonna, “Live to Tell.”
Madonna’s first and, arguably, most dramatic reinvention was scored by the spare and haunting ballad “Live to Tell,” which wasn’t just a daringly demure introduction to her third album, but also posed a challenge to pop-radio programmers keen on instant gratification: The song begins with almost a full minute of music before the singer starts to tell her tale, and includes abrupt key changes and a half-minute midsection in which nearly all of the music drops out. Of course, it worked like a charm, and “Live to Tell” launched a fruitful professional relationship between Madge and producer Patrick Leonard that would last for more than two decades, and set the stage for the fearlessly autobiographical material to come. The song features one of Madonna’s richest vocal performances, full of soul, yearning, and hurt, with lyrics that can surely resonate with anyone who’s ever endured a detention of silence—self-imposed or otherwise. SC

26. Madonna, “Into the Groove.”
Leave it to Madonna to make the campy, throwaway, opening lines of a B-side into a career-defining mission statement. She’s at her most coy as she speaks, “You can dance, for inspiration,” over the first few bars of “Into the Groove,” the theme from Desperately Seeking Susan and, somewhat inexplicably, the B-side of the considerably less brilliant “Angel.” But who cares that one of Billboard’s technicalities kept the song from charting on the Hot 100: Madonna’s never come up with a more apt assessment of how her music works best. Whenever she’s lost her way artistically, she’s headed back to the dance floor to get her head right. JK

16. Madonna, “Express Yourself.”
It was David Fincher’s music video for this smash from Like a Prayer that introduced us to Shep Pettibone’s remix, which, aside from the lethargic come-and-git-it cowbell that intermittently takes Madonna from the church steeple and straight onto the prairie, matches in its uptempo the soulful fervor of the singer’s call to arms. But MTV doesn’t play music videos anymore, and when I’m listening to this song on my iTunes, it’s the original album version I prefer, as it evokes something altogether more subversive: Fritz Lang’s robot Maria hanging out inside a Detroit dance hall, forcing men to their knees as the big-band sound rocks the house. He has it coming in both versions, but in Stephen Bray’s original Madonna comes fearlessly out of nowhere. EG

7. Madonna, “Like a Prayer.”
With an atypical structure in which the drums drop out completely during each verse and the chorus is all but abandoned halfway through the song in favor of ad libs, what’s now considered a perfect pop song seemed more fit for a church than Top 40 radio at the time. Though she’d evoked religion before, most notably with heaps of rosary beads dangling between her décolleté, it was, perhaps, inevitable that with a name like Madonna, the so-called Material Girl would more seriously explore the faith with which she was so strictly raised. But while there have been about as many interpretations of the song’s lyrics as there are remixes (she’s singing about God, she’s singing about giving a blowjob, she’s singing about giving God a blowjob), “Like a Prayer” begs for a more refined reading than a brainy conflation of spiritual and sexual ecstasy: It’s a song about love. SC

Full list at SlantMagazine.com

  • rabbitbunny

    Madonna is Amazing, Incredible and Brilliant! I am Hung Up on Her! For this reason alone, my favorite song of hers is Her First Reinvention-Live to Tell. This sad and beautiful rock ballad shows Madonna’s true depth as an artist, singer, songwriter and live performer. When I first heard Live to Tell, it was so sad that I started Crying in My Sleep-it’s that beautiful and brilliant. In Live to Tell I can hear the sadness in Madonna’s voice. Simply, Live to Tell is the best song in rock & roll’s life and existence! Madonna Forever!

  • hey little f*ckers

    mdna= a compilation of b-side songs. people with taste don´t like mdna.

  • addicted to Madonna

    am sick and tired of all best singles lists from the 80s!!! This is so boring and tendencial!!! Madonna still makes a great music but the whole fucking media continue to be focused on the past decades of her career trying to say that she was great many years ago… I dont buy it! dont care about this list! This is 2012 and i enjoy her new music. The MDNA is fantastic! The new tour is fantastic!!! I was in ecstasy standing with fans in golden circle, singing and dancing with her!!! Thank you Madonna for your music,energy, power!

    • MOON

      madonna herself doesnt care about her new music… just look at how porly she has promoted her last few singles… U call that queen of pop? she must get out of her semiretirement and start working again on her relevancy, cuz while she is making fitness video, and promoting perfume some Nicky M. is on top of the charts WTF! Yeah MDNA had potential, but her management was lazy and they blew it’s chance to achive something more…

      • aadicted to madonna

        madonna does not care about her music anymore? Please dont be ridiculous! if she did not care about her job anymore then she did not make any new album and she did not go on tour! in my opinion this is the best way (and the only one)to promote the new music- to be on tour! the tour is the promotion!!! dont you see it???Without it you wont sell your album and everyone knows it! just look around everone is on tour! am very happy to see her on stage and yes she is the queen of pop!

      • alex

        people with a long career in music industry don’t chart anymore in singles sales, see for example the evolution in charts of Rolling Stones, Prince or Bruce Springsteen. However they make the biggest shows and still have top 1 albums. No matter how good the new songs are, the radio won’t play them, they only play stupid pop dance songs for people that don’t care for music, just want to hear a pleasant and simple melody with no message at all.

  • K

    All of Madonna’s singles from the 80s should be on this list.

  • receiveMe

    open your heart is one of her best songs ever, also like a prayer is a song that will stand the test of time. it’s very sad that she’s not working with partrick leonard anymore. their last collab ray of light was such a highlight!

    and this list show’s how many important, evergreen hitsongs madonna has made during her unmatched career.

    so then take gaga – her first singles are already forgotten and never played on radio, because they are dump, cheap techno-sound crap without any longlasting-appeal (strangly enough gaga-monsters are complaining here that mdna is cheap dance-sound, altough they now that their “monster-mother” has become sucessful with an even cheaper techno-euro-sound). in 10 year from now nobody will talk about her, like it’s now with poor little britney. AND! britney has been much more sucessfull in the early stage of her career than gaga is now. britney sold so many albums and singles, gaga would dream of (20 mio of her first 2 albums!). in fact britney has been the last new artist till today who has managed to sell 20mio+ from one album. and where is she now? so where will the supposed “new queen of pop” gaga be in 5-10 years with her most sucessfull album selling only 5 mio copies worldwide? and than take in account, that even today femal singers like katy perry a much more sucessfull than gaga, but they heinously don’t get the same attention from media like “gaga”.

    so madonna’s music and her revolutionary attitude and style will there forever and will always be a example. even now with an age over 50 she is still showing us how to stand up and not giving up and give the supid haters a “f*ck up”. love you madonna, forever :-)

    • like a what?

      i don´t care for gaga. but no one will remember madonna´s last output in 10 years. that´s the difference to the songs mentioned above (LAV; LAP;ETC…)

      • http://www.facebook.com/yvana.martin Yvana Martin

        Times are totally different ! I don’t care for Gaga either, but songs are “consumed” today in a totally different way that they were in the 80s and even 90s. Today Madonna’s songs are having the same fate as Gaga’s songs, good or bad !
        By the way as much as I truly enjoy Madonna’s early songs, I also enjoy her latest.
        For me Madonna rules… even more when it is about touring !

  • luca

    Hey what’s the matter,,we have the caca farters once again here on this site?

    • the madonna dictators

      and obviously some dictators who can´t stand the opinion of other m fans…

  • call me gaga if you want

    does she even sing live on her mdna tour??

    girl gone wild, revolver, hung up, vogue, celebration all lip-sync

    • fderr

      of course everything is live-sung at the tour. if you have been there you would know it – or if you had read one of the review. go back into your hole!

  • I tow the line

    so many haters commenting!! f*ck you all!! and this post is not about MDNA, it is about Madonna’s 80s music. Something tells me that if MDNA had been more of a hit, you suckers would be saying it is awesome.

  • turn off the radio

    that was when m´s music was still relevant…

    • Guest

      Classics are always relevant, you smarty

  • sp.ring

    She doesn’t try to fit in sound… I suppose, she has just developed her singing…

  • american life

    i´m happy she released mdna. it is so bad, that it makes me listen to other m albums i haven´t listened to in ages.

  • nobsuloq

    just listened die another day. at the time she still sounded very different. now, she just tries to fit in and sound like the others. quite sad. she lost her own style…

  • luv

    this songs are timeless…
    i bet ggw, tutr, gmayl will not be remembered in a year…

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