Monday, August 15, 2011

Seven Timeless Songs From the Ageless Diva

Tomorrow (if I get this posted in the next seven minutes) is Madonna’s 53rd birthday. To celebrate, here are seven classic (or semi-classic) songs that FOR ME have passed the test of time. The only restriction I put on my list was that the song had to be at least ten years old. Other than that, I just went by what I still like. They are listed (I’m pretty sure) in chronological order.

Borderline – This wasn’t even my favorite song on her debut album (that would be Holiday), but it was right up there. I didn’t put Holiday on this list because that’s become a timeless anthem. But now when I hear Borderline, I love it even more than I did in 1984. In fact, from the very first note I’m transported back to a time when Madonna was all we talked about, all we thought about, all we cared about. In other words, the gay old days.

Dress You Up -- Most of the Like a Virgin album sounds really dated to me. Even Angel, which I really loved back in 1985, isn’t a song I can just drop into my iPod playlist without some really specific reason for wanting it there. But, this song never gets old for me. My best memory of the Re-invention Tour was when I heard this song start up. You know what doesn’t still hold up though? Those get-ups she wore back then. Look up garish in the dictionary.

Like a Prayer -- Remember when this was a Pepsi commercial? I still remember where I was the first time I saw this video – on MTV (they played videos occasionally back then). This is still one of my five favorite pop songs ever. It’s had some moments at number one (Heaven is a Place on Earth and Since U Been Gone bookended it at number one). I have no idea if this song would have been as popular without all the controversy, but I have to think it would have been. From my perspective it’s her best song ever.

Deeper and Deeper -- This song just gets better and better with age (like me). I will admit now that most of the time that I professed my love for the Erotica album I was completely faking it. I really didn’t get it at all at the time. Other than Rain, there wasn’t really anything on there that I looked forward to hearing. I left that album in the early 90s where I decided it belonged. Then, around 2000 or so I came across a dance mix of this song. It completely won me over. Ever since, I’ve loved this song more and more every time I hear it.

I’ll Remember -- If Like a Prayer is her best song ever, this one is right up there as one of my all-time favorites. I always thought it was a beautiful song, but then when my father was dying in 2004 I played it on a continuous loop with a couple other songs for about six straight months. It’s really only in the last two years that I’ve been able to listen to it again. I’m glad I can. It makes me happy now instead of sad.

Ray of Light -- Remember when this was a Windows commercial? The funny story about this song – actually the entire album – is that I didn’t really like it very much for almost the first year it was out. I kept trying to listen to it at home because everyone loved it so much, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Then one day a friend was at my apartment smoking pot with me and I put this cd on. He freaked out. “What the hell is wrong with this cd?” I don’t know. That’s how it always sounds. He assured me that it was not at all what the cd always sounded like and that I probably had the worst stereo and speakers in the history of music. Later that week I went out and bought a new stereo. I’ve loved this song (and the rest of the cd) ever since.

What It Feels Like for a Girl -- I don’t actually have a lot to say about this song except that for me (only for me), it’s really the last GREAT Madonna song. For about a minute I thought Sorry might be in that realm, but it didn’t hold up for me. And, except when she sings it right after La Isla Bonita in concert, it’s just as enjoyable in Spanish as it is in English.


  1. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the reason why the last "timeless" Madonna song was made in 2000 is because American Idol happened between it and her next album. Your interests completely changed. And that's ok. But I can assure you that she's made timeless music since. "Sorry" is, indeed, up there. But before that there was "Nothing Fails" and after that there is "Give it 2 Me."

    As for your list, I won't argue with much of it. I love all those songs. If you had to pick seven, then those are seven great choices. I agree 100% that "Like a Prayer" is the best song she has ever done (in fact, like with Gaga and "Bad Romance," she will never be able to top it). In fact, I'll say it's as good as any Beatles song and it alone made her worthy of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

    As a side note, these are the songs that she performs least in concert. Except for "Like a Prayer" and "Ray of Light." She's NEVER done "I'll Remember." She's done "Borderline" twice and "Dress You Up" twice.

  2. Oops. I didn't finish. She's also done "Deeper and Deeper" twice and "What It Feels Like For A Girl" only once (but, as you said, in Spanish, so I'm not sure I really count it). And all of this is after 8.5 tours.