Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Madonna, Queen of Pop, #10 - 6

Late 90s Madonna... the best kind of Madonna.

Top 10 time! Yeah, you're excited. If you missed our first two acts of this Madonna only countdown, check them out...

Now, let's get straight into some most excellent pop music!

#10 - Drowned World/Substitute For Love
Album: Ray of Light (1998)

I travelled round the world, looking for a home,
I found myself in crowded rooms, feeling so alone.

It's the oldest story in the book. Girl from humble beginnings gets extraordinarily famous, conquers the music world, but longs for the simpler days of years gone by. Yep, oldest story in the book. This ain't no 'Jenny From the Block' though, this is chilled out deliciousness. By dwelling on the pitfalls of fame in a subtle manner instead of flat out saying, "I'm famous, life's so hard, WAHHHH," you never once feel the desire to slap this multi-millionaire across the face. You just enjoy a really memorable and kinda beautiful track. Expect nothing less from Ray of Light Madonna.

#9 - 4 Minutes ft. Justin Timberlake
Album: Hard Candy (2008)

Come on boy, I've been waiting for somebody to pick up my stroll...

Unlike her modern day contemporaries, Madge isn't one of those artists that's felt the need to collaborate on a track every ten seconds. When she does though, it's usually a pretty big deal and the world goes into a meltdown because she's sucking Britney Spears' face off. Departing from the disco sounds of Confessions on a Dancefloor, Madonna brought in some of the biggest names in hip-hop and superpop, Pharrell, Danja and music's man of the moment (2008), Timbaland. Of course, Timbaland brought his fave white-bro, Justin Timberlake, to the party and the monster pop hit '4 Minutes' was created. We laughed, we cried... we screwed our faces up when we thought Timberlake was going to pash Madonna in the back of the car. Most importantly, we danced! Collaborations between two mega-stars should always be this good.

#8 - Take A Bow
Album: Bedtime Stories (1994)

Make them laugh, it comes so easy,
When you get to the part, where you're breaking my heart...

Babyface knew how to write chart topping hits in the 1990s and when he teamed up with Madonna, he sent her to the top of the US Billboard charts with 'Take A Bow' for a seven week run. It stands as her most successful straight-up ballad and it's easy to come up with reasons as to why it was so well received. Let's start with the lyrical content. Gold. GOLD I TELL YOU! Relating a failing relationship to the drama associated with the world of acting delivers line after line that leaves you applauding the creative awesomeness of it all. Madonna's vulnerable vocal delivery never comes across as forced and I'd be willing to put into writing that her voice doesn't sound better than on 'Take A Bow.' There. Did it. What are you going to do about it? I'll give you one negative though... the video is craptacular. Why the Spanish bullfighting?

#7 - Papa Don't Preach
Album: True Blue (1986)

But my friends keep telling me to give it up,
Saying I'm too young I oughta live it up...

Keep your baby, whatever. Just stop dancing like that! All that twirling can't be good for your unborn child, can it? In her bid to become every Catholic parent's nightmare, Madonna took on the controversial topic of teen pregnancy. Look, it was controversial in the 80s alright. They didn't have trash like Teen Mom to make everyone think it was super cool. They were simpler times, they were better times. 'Papa Don't Preach' would go on to become Madonna's fourth single to top the US charts as well as hitting #1 in Australia, Canada, Italy and the UK. It was then butchered by Kelly Osbourne, but the less said about her the better. Seriously, let's not ever talk about it again. Ever.

#6 - Hung Up
Album: Confession on a Dancefloor (2005)

Ring ring ring goes the telephone,
The lights are on but there's no one home,
Tick tick tock it's a quarter to two,
And I'm done... I'm hanging up on you.

This is how you bounce back from a break in commercial dominance. Expectations were high to see if Madonna could rebound after the controversial, awesome and commercially disappointing album American Life and rebound she did. 'Hung Up' took her back to the dance roots that made her a star, threw in a good measure of ABBA disco and went on to become one of the biggest dance hits of the 2000s. The biggest in America. Clubs were filled with the sound of Madonna once more and you'll be hard pressed to find someone that didn't have a good dance to it. You don't like a good dance to 'Hung Up?' You have no soul. Enjoy living a life filled with sadness and a distinct lack of joy. Haha kidding... kidding. But I'm not kidding.

We've heard some amazing songs, but tomorrow our countdown comes to an end with the five greatest Madonna songs. What do you think will be #1?


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