Madonna: The Discography Rate - COMPLETE | Page 213 | The Popjustice Forum

Madonna: The Discography Rate - COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by RJF, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. RJF


    Getting a bit of a jump on things for a change as... well, I want my fucking evening for myself for a change! Let me live!

    SCORE: 6.203

    2015 PLACEMENT: 158 of 210 (6.225)
    HIGHEST SCORE: 10 x 1 (@funkyg)
    LOWEST SCORE: 1 x 1 (@NightmareBoy)
    MY SCORE: 4/10

    So believe or not I don't actually hate this as much as my score suggests. I think there is the foundation for a really affecting, bizarre song here. The manic, stream of consciousness delivery in the verses kind of paints a harrowing picture of how there was really no adjustment period afforded to Madonna in the wake of her divorce, and life simply had to keep going on at the same pace that wrecked her marriage. So her listing all of her responsibilities and obligations ends up sounding less like a bad bitch flex and... more like a demented treadmill she can't get off of. Arrogant shrug offs end up sounding like desperate dismissals because if she slows down or examines things too closely it'll come crumbling to pieces. And there would be a really exciting and interesting dichotomy between the two if it was explored; the unbothered baddie blazing through her new life effortlessly against the exhausted shell just going through the motions.

    But like so much of MDNA, we're only afforded a taste of the more interesting stuff, and never the full meal. Martin Solveig basically creates a demented circus for Madonna to go around her unicycle in without a hint of darkness or bite that would maybe add a bit of pathos to the whole thing. Like, lyrically, the song's already there. The middle-eight in particular before she hands off to Nicki is a wrecker:

    I tried to be a good girl
    I tried to be your wife
    Diminished myself
    And I swallowed my light

    I tried to become all
    That you expect of me
    And if it was a failure
    I don't give a...

    Oof. But it just feels glossed over in this funhouse nightmare of a song. I guess overall it's fine, and Nicki's verse is a riot, but I can't help but mourn the potential of the concept when it gets tantalisingly laid out for us like that. What a waste.

    I maintain that Madonna really only mined her divorce artistically when she reached the tour for MDNA. Even here, she at least seems furious as she is ripping that guitar to pieces and roaring down the microphone before the song climaxes into Madonna crumpling to the floor and reaching out for salvation. It's basically Madonna 101 in terms of themes and imagery but it still at least manages to infuse the track with a bit of the feeling I discussed above. The video I found is neither from the actual MDNA Tour release, nor is it from the Olympia show with the world's weakest tripod. It appears to be screen footage from the date at Stade de France, and has better camera work than both other dates I mentioned. Peace!

  2. I know I’ve been skulldragging it but I actually listened to It’s So Cool for what must be the first time in a decade has more redeeming qualities than I remembered. Some of the later verses work well, as do some of the melodic elements. The budget-ass Freemasons x Sophie Ellis-Bextor production sounded diseased upon arrival and the vocal production is horrific. This is pre her fully leaning into warped vocal processing as a choice and so it just ends up sounding like someone put together a vocal from lots of different takes/people and smoothed it all out (poorly).

    I concede it ounce of worth.
  3. RJF


  4. That's a wonderful write up for I Don't Give A. I couldn't agree more.

    I Know It or Shanti/Ashtangi please.
  5. To be frank with you, I've only got time for the Necki Menij version of I Don't Give A.

  6. RJF


    The fact that we're nearly fifty songs in and we've only just begun...
  7. RainOnFire

    RainOnFire Staff Member

    Oh my god the Illuminati performance??? Holy shit.
  8. I actually expected "Illuminati" to go a bit furthur. Didn't know "It's So Cool" was an "American Life" outtake! The demo is great.
    Maki likes this.
  9. I Don’t Give A’s schizophrenic nature is part of why I love it. It was another great live moment too.
  10. My reaction to this elimination? Honestly, I don't give a...

    I don't think "American Life" will lose a song this early (at least it doesn't deserve to), so out of the remaining four:
    - If it's "Ray of Light", the song most likely to leave first is "Shanti/Ashtangi", which I'm relatively fine with.
    - If it's "Bedtime Stories", then it has to be either "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" or "Don't Stop", which I'm relatively fine with.
    - If it's "Like a Prayer", then "Love Song" and "Act of Contrition" may be in danger, which I'm relatively fine with.
    - If it's her debut, the possible first cut may be "I Know It" and I'm not fine with that.
    Skyline likes this.
  11. Act of Contrition had a good run.
    rav4boy, MilesAngel and Maki like this.
  12. I’m rewatching the MDNA Tour and the first section is so incredibly high energy I have to stan but honestly the violence stuff is so uncomfortable in retrospect. She made a wee narrative out of all and sold it to hell and back but ew Michelle.

    The violent imagery coming back post-divorce is very interesting - it really reminds me of What It Feels Like For A Girl, or maybe a return of that character... which of course was a Guy directed video.

    I still find Gang Bang less and less effective as time goes on (she’s got better angry tracks and better experimental bops) but it’s certainly got an interesting place in her canon.
  13. RJF


    I agree, but I also think it still works now because it's deliberately a very... masculine setup that she absorbs, overcomes, and escapes from. I think MDNA's journey from darkness to light is maybe a little trite, but I do like the symbolism in it starting with her in tight, constricting, dark clothes committing acts of violence against oppressors, and ending with her in sparkling, comfortable clothes complete with a pair of sneakers and the stage kaleidoscopic in colour. I initially thought that "I Don't Give A" was actually from the brighter guitar section of the show and was a bit surprised to be reminded earlier that it actually closes the first act, thus acting as part of that rage-a-thon, so at least it fits with my theory of having a darker underbelly.

    I also agree about time making "Gang Bang" lamer and lamer as it has went on, but I still find it effective to a degree. I don't want to say too much at the moment (I'm saving it for its elimination.) but I think a lot of its power and catharsis for her came from the fact that she's very clearly emasculating the target of ire, which is... again, interesting, considering who she was married to.

    Armchair psychology moment: Madonna has repeatedly said that it annoys and saddens her that men are intimidated or uncomfortable approaching her, so I think it's only natural that over the course of her life she's been drawn to men who aren't intimidated by her... but they also never seem all that in awe of her either. From the small flashes we've seen of her men, it's always when she's not traditionally and stereotypically feminine that problems seem to arise. These alpha males come in thinking they're going to be the ones to tame her only to find out that Madonna is the Alpha and Omega, bitch, and it's not going to be that easy. But I think she knows this too, and I think she made several concessions in her last marriage to try and appease that dynamic. And it still wasn't enough.

    There needs to be a balance. Of course she doesn't want to be with someone who is scared of her... but they should also think that she's amazing too, because she is.

    Anyway, more on all of the above in the coming months. We're just at the surface, folks.
  14. K94


    Hmm - Illuminati was done a bitsy wrong, though I can see why it wouldn't do well in this rate. The producer did a good job and it pops off in a cool, subtle way.
  15. RJF


    nn yas
  16. Alright. I have a very unpopular opinion but since some of the opinions I've been reading are horrifying I'm gonna go ahead and throw mine in the mix: There are several tracks on Madame X that needed to be eliminated before Some Girls, I Don't Give A, Sooner or Later, and Dance 2Night. Y'all hate fun and are seduced by pretension.
  17. Fu-na-na....always makes me say and hear ‘what’s my name’ everytime.
    Maki likes this.
  18. Absolutely not. I have the choicey scores to back it up. And what about Sooner or Later is fun beyond the pomp and circumstance of Madonna's night at the Oscars? If anything I'm Breathless could well be Madonna at her most pretentious.
  19. You don't think a song where Madonna spends 3 minutes bragging about how she's irresistible and him putting up a fight is pointless is fun?
    Lila likes this.
  20. Madonna (1983) had a good run
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