68 SCORE: 8.148 2015 PLACEMENT: UP 19 - 87 of 210 (7.494) 11 x 1 @theelusivechanteuse HIGHEST SCORE: 10 x 46 (@RJF @nikkysan @Raichu @dodoriazarbon @P'NutButter @eatyourself @HEARTCORE @djmakemewet @discoteca @Euphoria @Doenjang @Angeleyes @Remyky22 @Cutlery @matthew. @Andrew.L @Phonetics Boy @relby @elear @Andy French @fatyoshi @Up Down Suite @godspeed @Sail On @Babylon @Syzygyz @Dreampopboy @NightmareBoy @muddleddreams @Fortune @RetroPhysical @joeee @Xanax @Mister_G @Sleepycat @Lila @evilsin @Digital Ghost @Ramalama @nametag @sexercise @FrozenNight @japanbonustrack @fancygreen @Beautiful Child 2 @Push) LOWEST SCORE: 3 x 1 (@unnameable) MY SCORE: 10/10 Do our demons ever leave us? We can subscribe to every platitude and legitimate recovery method and process technique known in this world, but they're surely always going to be there. We can lock them away, put them to the furthest, darkest reaches of our mind and steadfastly not look at them. We can even face them directly head on and beat them... but they still will have been there, and done what they did. Even gone, you will be the person you are now because you had to fight them in the first place. And for fuck sake, what if something that's meant to be an incredibly joyous, healing, full circle life event actually brings them back from the dead? Who has the energy to go through all that again? This is where we find our heroine at the exit to the maze, a manticore waiting for her with the final sting in the tail. On an album where Madonna reckons with her spirituality more than she ever had before, we finish off with a hint that things are maybe not as smooth as the calm surface suggests. Following "Little Star", a song all about the revelation motherhood turned out to be, it makes sense the next track ends up returning to familiar demons: the death of Madonna's own mother, and how the shadow of that death casts long across the birth of her own daughter. We learn in many ways, but one of them is by example. How do you do the second most important job you'll ever have - the first being a popstar, obviously - if you don't have any point of reference? And once again we come back to that weight of expectation from someone who isn't even around to inflict it; living up to a rose-tinted memory of someone you don't even recall. So our heroine runs. "Mer Girl" holds all of the above in perfect balance. The morbid nature of the lyrics, the production that sounds more like your house settling at night; all creaks and snaps and maybe-silences and think-it-was-the-winds and just-your-imaginations. The vocals like a ghost story winding through the trees. That descending, spiralling, music-box melody that follows "ants marched across my back" frightfully recreating the feeling of something crawling on you; that phantom, irking touch. It also is wonderfully stark outlier in Madonna's discography in the way that... it doesn't actually end her album with any sense of finality here. There are still fights and frights to be had. Scars heal but never fade. You can run, but you can't hide. So you run, and you run, and you run. An easy discography highlight, and one of my favourite Madonna songs of all time. "Mer Girl" was performed as part of the Drowned World Tour, where... it was basically the bun to a "Sky Fits Heaven" sandwich. Enjoy!