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Madonna on Slant’s Best Singles of the Aughts list

36. Madonna, “Hung Up”
“Hung Up” employs a ticking clock to represent fear of wasted time, but Madonna isn’t singing about aging or saving the world—she’s talking about love. It had been years since Madge sounded this vapid. With its pitched-upward vocals, infectious arpeggio sample from ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight),” and the bridge’s unironic, archetypical key change, the track decidedly points to the past, and it proved that, 20 years into her career, Madonna was still the one and only Dancing Queen. SC

33. Madonna, “Don’t Tell Me”
Madonna’s Y2K-era dalliances with electronica could oftentimes verge on the theoretical, so it’s a tad ironic that the one hit from her Orbit-Mirwais daze that still packs fully loaded pistols is also the most engrossed in chemistry-set beat science. “Don’t Tell Me” is first and foremost a concoction: two parts corn pone, one part glitch, with reliable disco strings to serve as the catalyst. What seals the deal, though, is that lyrically Madonna’s on board too. Tell the peanut butter of acoustic guitars to stay away from the chocolate of digital bass drones, but don’t tell Madonna she can’t eat both and spit back manna. EH

25. Madonna, “Music”
From its generic title to Madonna’s anonymous vocal performance, “Music” is a blank slate of a song. To wit, the song has had almost as many makeovers as Madonna herself. Okay, so not quite that many, but each of the performer’s tours during the last decade has featured a new incarnation of the song: Kraftwerk-inspired electronica, ’70s disco, and most recently, ’80s hip-hop (the next logical embodiment would be ’90s house). If music truly is a universal language, then “Music”—in all of its meta reinventions and retro dialects—might be the best piece of evidence we have that music really does make the people come together. SC

Slant: Best of the Aughts: Singles