Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by RJF, Apr 19, 2020.
11 x 3
2015 PLACEMENT: N/A
HIGHEST SCORE: 10 x 74 (@RJF @nikkysan @AshtrayHeart @funkyg @Vasilios @aux @cheida @Jwentz @Raichu @No hay banda @P'NutButter @HEARTCORE @discoteca @rdp @maverick_79 @Doenjang @sfmartin @Angeleyes @Remyky22 @Suburbia @matthew. @madgemad @Endothelium @Mirwais Ahmadzaï @Babyface @Andrew.L @Mjg0806 @elear @Andy French @Up Down Suite @torontodj @theelusivechanteuse @1991 @Sail On @Syzygyz @Dreampopboy @BreatheBox @scottdisick94 @Drew @Robsolete @Fortune @R27 @RetroPhysical @Zdarlight @joeee @Xanax @DinahLee @aaronhansome @Bleu Noir @BEST FICTION @paperboyfriendd @joe_alouder @Miss Lange @Michael17 @Crisp X @Lila @K94 @Rogue @wintersleep @KingBruno @Remorque @Trinu 3.0 @acl @ufint @nametag @sexercise @Mr Blonde @Music Is Life @FrozenNight @Chezam @fancygreen @Bangers&Bops @Weslicious @Touchofmyhand)
LOWEST SCORE: 5 x 1 (@unnameable)
MY SCORE: 10/10
"God Control" never left the Top 25 once during voting. It went a little higher than this, but by the time the vote count went over one hundred, it had pulled ahead to such a degree that it was basically a barrier to everything below it and it settled at #24 for the rest of the vote... which at this time was the final three days out of two months because over half of y'all voted in the last weekend but let me not remember that disgraceful show of disrespect to your host.
"God Control" is a Madonna classic. That's it. That's the statement. No qualifier, no caveat, nothing. It is one of her best songs. Y'all who are about to claim recency bias can eat my ass, because we're over a year out from its release, the album's other tracks aren't even visible on the horizon anymore, and we also have the beleaguered Madame X Tour to factor in where some of y'all were signing her career's death warrant because she cancelled a few shows and posting nonsense that essentially amounted to, "um maybe she should do a tour where she sits in a chair for two hours and performs the hits before retiring?" so it's not like our last memories of the era are cheery ones. It is a sprawling, challenging, exciting, relevant masterpiece in her discography that has more than earned its place amongst fellow gods of pop music in this 9+/10 bracket.
Let's just begin at the beginning for this one and see where we end up. "God Control" is about gun control and, laterally, America's collapsing democracy, where even people who are meant to be fighting for progress are really just fighting for the status quo. It's a desperate situation that isn't unique to America. The class divide is a fissure in society at this point, access to resources has never been more disparate than it is now, upward mobility is a farce, and for some people, the only hope left is that they get to die with a bit of dignity. To get a decent death, have a normal life. When I was reading the US Politics thread in Off Topic the other week, I read an article that 10% of Americans genuinely considered suicide over the last few months because fucking everything is awful and no one is helping us. Madonna's touches on all that during the gritted-teeth opening verse with a shocking amount of awareness and empathy for someone in her position. "When we wake up, what can we do? Get the kids ready, take them to school." is one of her most pointed latter day lyrics because it nails the futility of the situation perfectly. In the face of danger, we are... expected to just keep on keeping on, continuing to put the ones we love in danger. And more than a year out from this song, it gains further meaning as children and young adults everywhere are being forced back into school while a pandemic still has its grip around our throats. Why? Because the machine can't stop. Click clack, click clack, zzzzzp!
Although unconfirmed, I do believe that part of the original inspiration for this song was also the Pulse shootings in 2016. An in interview last year, when asked why she paired such a stark, brutal message with disco music, Madonna actually gave a reason I hadn't even considered: because we are getting killed in nightclubs and at concerts and everywhere else that we consider to be safe and sources of joy and happiness. And... I was instantly brought back to her saying similar things in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015, and reminded of how distressingly frequent this is.
So makes a sad amount of sense. "God Control" is a banger, but it's genuinely disturbing because of it; this clash of joyful abandon with stark horror that Madonna is reminding us of. It also makes us realise how we... kind of normalise it now? This pairing of terror and happiness is just part of our lives now; we process everything so quickly and move onto the next thing, and no one pays attention. Thoughts and prayers are offered, people say lovely things, people move on. And it happens again. The cycle continues. It's something that I've become more and more aware of over the years and it's made me say less and less about everything because it feels pointless. And it's the rage at this cycle that makes "God Control" so brilliant. It is fearless in its plain display of the facts and doesn't sugar coat it for us. An anthem for an exhausted, ravaged, dying world that no one gives a shit about. People continue to die, and people maybe become so desensitised to it that... the loss becomes acceptable. And how even those who are charged to protect us can be the ones to murder us. Is all of this maybe starting to sound a little familiar after the maelstrom of the last few months?
There is, of course, everything that happened with Black Lives Matter this summer, where it did seem like the entire world was waking the fuck up. Maybe. I genuinely do not think that I am equipped to deal with how the two matters converge and I'm not going to do the situation a disservice by attempting to do so, but I do want to acknowledge how it all comes back to the fury that "God Control" illustrates. Feeling powerless and afraid and angry all the time because everything we do to prompt change just isn't enough. And I said earlier in this rate that change typically happens in increments, but we don't have time any more, do we?
The video is a masterclass. Terrifying, shocking but also not, violent, brave, and uncompromising in the message it wants to send. It is not lost on me that Jonas Åkerlund also did "American Life", suggesting to me that Madonna knows exactly who to go to when she needs someone who will meet her on her level. The entire package - song, video, message - proves why Madonna is still so vital to the fabric of pop music. No one else would do this. No one else would set a generation's despair and anger to disco music and have it mean something to this level. This is what she has done her entire career; Madonna challenges, and disorientates. Artists are here to disturb the peace. In Madonna's own words to the criticism she faced at the violence she portrayed in the video, "This is what happens. Guns kill."
Let's check in on the people who gave this their 11/10. Fun fact: this was the latest song in the entire rate to receive 11/10s, and I fully applaud the choice, as I do think you could make a case for this being Madonna's best ever song. Let's kick off with @Sprockrooster:
"This is both classic Madonna and the modern ahead of her time queen of pop merged into one. The song itself is already a solid 10, but the elevation to 11 is due to the music video that hooks and appals you at the same time. This song should have been performed at Eurovision alongside Like A Prayer. Just for the statement of it all."
ffff I cannot imagine the mess if this had been performed at Eurovision, which I definitely said I was never talking about ever again. Next up is @NightmareBoy who, if I recall correctly, has been a fan for literal decades? So it's shocking to see them award such a recent track their 11/10. I wonder why.
"Here we are in 2020, rating Madonna’s epic discography, just a year after she released her last album, a tour-de-force that proved once again that she’s at her best when she has something to say and most of all, when she has the drive and passion to deliver her messages. That’s why I decided to give God Control my 11. Who else could release such a masterpiece, 37 years after her debut? And who else could make its message as powerful, disturbing and urgent? The woman who urged everyone to get up and do their thing in 1982 is now urging people to wake up and do more. This time, dance music is not only her medium of choice, but her weapon. She’s using dance music as a way to get her message heard, and felt. The dancefloor, her place of empowerment and freedom, is no longer that sacred place where everyone can feel safe. That’s what makes the song so powerful and even heartbreaking. And yet, totally irresistible and danceable, because she’s Madonna and she still loves a good mindfuck (thank God!)"
It really cannot be stated enough: the fact that we're talking about a track this in-depth thirty seven years into Madonna's career is... unprecedented. Who else was making work that felt this crucial and needed this far in? She refuses to ever settle, and it's what will always make new material by her exciting.
Watch the best pop music video of 2019, and one of Madonna's best ever, below. The song was performed as part of the Madame X Tour, where it opened the show in a dark theatre to the sound of gunfire, which I can only imagine how attention-grabbing it was for the audience. The song was also performed at World Pride last year.
And that's it. The jig is up; the spy in the house of love has been caught.
It pains me this didn’t make top 20 but I am so proud of God Control for making it this far. It’s truly an incredible piece of art top to bottom and proved that nobody should ever count out Madonna’s ability to create a powerful and impactful statement, not even nearly 40 years into her career.
Also, just going to highlight this paragraph in particular because it is perfection
I still prefer 'Crave' to 'God Control', but it's still a fantastic track and clearly one of Madonna's best from the past decade - I'm glad to see this make it so high into the rate, this will hopefully grow to be a bit of a cult classic for her.
For my 11 it was either between the jarring childish-yet-accepting Mother and Father, the utterly gripping Ray of Light or the sparkly Open Your Heart, but ultimately this album track took the crown for me.
I grew into a Madonna fan a little before she starred in Evita and Ray of Light was yet to come out, when I bought Bedtime Stories, True Blue and Like a Prayer on cd on a whim in the supermarket, of all places. I was given the albums by my mother one by one as gifts, because she herself was a casual fan. I don't think I need to tell y'all that each of Madge's albums represents a certain time in my life and all the feelings that come along when feeling the nostalgia of those years.
But none cuts me as deep as Till Death Do Us Part.
As much as has happened to me in these past few years, I never really knew how much my childhood actually has had an impact on me. I was born out of an unhappy, manipulative marriage in which my father was violent towards my mother and other people in general and was known to scare the town we lived in with his antics whenever you crossed his path. He died in a motorcycle accident, fleading from the police, when I was two.
My mother got into a relationship with one of his best friends, who was just as manipulative, yet in other ways. Instead of being physically violent, he always used to mentally abuse my mom and although he's not the only one to blame for her alcoholic issues, a lot of it stems from her self-esteem crumbling down because of him. And yet she stayed with him. Even when I ran away from home after uni and started the life I'm living today.
I'm still very unlucky to have to call him my stepfather, after my mother died two years ago. I saw things I shouldn't have, like physical altercations, heartbreak and other... things I'm not going to be mentioning, yet they kinda strenghtened me to become the person I am today.
And to me, that's exactly what Madonna did with this song.
The song's sung by three different people. You have the reasonable one, delivering the verses and most of the chorus, but you have the cold, calculated one joining on the post-chorus, paired up with the more desperate and childish persona who wants to hang on to things that just aren't there anymore. The contrast of all that being supported by an incredible pop-beat makes for a heartbreakingly beautiful, yet devastating listen.
In the end there was no other choice, but to grant this my 11.
It's not anyone else's 11, but I'm fucking proud to call it mine.
And it made our top 35, for fuck's sake.
I mean, I gave it a 10, but I'll still take one for the team.
It's always an honour when the girls share something, but especially something like this. Thank you, sis.
Thank you for that write-up!
And thank you for the rate. 2020 needed it.
I teared up a little reading this.
Just rewatched God Control and Dark Ballet’s music videos back to back, and the latter in particular still gives me such chills. Madame X really is her most important record in years and I’m glad that it got the honor of her highest critical scores since Confessions.
Pitchfork, however, can burn and die. x
I haven’t seen the tour performance of God Control since I got the radio edit of the show on my night, but I can’t wait to see it on the DVD and I hope they capture it well. Absolutely abhor the outfit she wore though.
Anyone who says she doesn't have it anymore after releasing God Control last year is just plain wrong. Madame X was done dirty by the press/GP but it will have it's time.
(Madame X... running out of ink if that font is anything to go by.)
Finally some good fucking album to discuss.
I'm not going to go too wild here as I spent all of 2019 waxing lyrical about this album and you're probably sick of hearing me go on about it by now, but yes. What an album.
We're lucky, aren't we? Most people who stan an artist who has been doing this for as long as Madonna has generally don't get material like this to feast on at this point. Hell, there are artists who burn out barely a decade in and all they end up serving are the publicly accepted leftovers because they've got a brand to keep afloat. It's fine, but it's not my bag. I don't have time for bad music. Does anyone? It just doesn't make sense. We're all on this miserable rock for a finite amount of time and I would like to spend as much of it distracting myself from the fact that we're on this miserable rock. I stan Madonna because out of everyone, she wastes my time the least. She is a tireless, creative innovator in perpetual motion and what she's doing next is always going to be interesting because I genuinely don't think she knows how to not be interesting.
There are so many ways to describe this album, but I think, at its core, it's the work of someone who has seen progress in the world and is now watching with horror as that progress looks like it might be dialling back. Look, it's come up a few times in the last few months: Madonna is a stupidly rich and famous white woman in her sixties; her activism is going to be flawed from the jump, but that doesn't mean that she's a sociopath incapable of empathy. So, when faced with a world about to fall off its axis, what does Madonna do? She, at age sixty one, with six children, and an empire to run, grabbed a damn eyepatch and said, "I'm gonna give these redacteds a fantasy." and she did. Because for all that Madame X the album confronts the grim horrors of the world, Madame X the persona is a fucking camp hero, mawma, and she's here to save the day in her trench coat, her dancing shoes, her little jockey helmet (because she's an equestrian, darling!), whatever, depth perception fucked from only using one eye be damned!
It was just an amazing package. A genuinely brilliant album that could stand with her finest works, videos that were honestly some of her absolute best, and an unorthodox approach to touring that proves that she's still, and always, the best one to ever do this. And all nearly forty years in? I just cannot. Madonna, not just Madame X, is a hero. With Madame X, I'm excited to go into the future with her, even not everyone is coming there with us... but then maybe they should just stay in the past where they belong anyway.
Suppose I should keep track of this as we're close to the finish line...
ALBUM RANKING... SO FAR
1. Madonna - 7.767
2. Madame X - 7.205
3. Like A Virgin - 6.959
4. Hard Candy - 6.825
5. Rebel Heart - 6.822
6. MDNA - 6.12
7. I'm Breathless - 5.133
Like A Prayer
Ray Of Light
Confessions On A Dance Floor
And that's more than enough words from me for today. A bit of housekeeping! I'm busy this weekend, so what I'm going to do is give you one elimination tomorrow night since I spoiled you today, then I won't be around to do any eliminations Friday or Saturday. If it were earlier in the rate, I might hand off to someone else to keep momentum going, but I'm seeing this to the end on my own now. I'll be back on Sunday to reveal our Top 20, and we'll go into the new week starting with one elimination a day on Monday.
#23 - tomorrow night
#22, #21 - Sunday
My heart wanted God Control to have reached the masses and made the Top 10, but my head knew it wouldn't, and I'm quite proud it's gotten here.
It's officially her best song since 2005 in this rate, and apart from maybe one or two on Rebel Heart I hold just as high, it's understandable why.
I hope she doesn't toss it aside by the time the next tour comes around, whenever it is, so more people can enjoy it.
"God Control" went much further than I thought, but it's a great and innovative song - I just don't like it as much as most of you, it seems.
And I don't think "God Control" is that superior to the rest of "Madame X", especially when we lost "Extreme Occident" so early.
Also, my prognosis would've been correct if there wasn't for the unfortunate elimination of "Sky Fits Heaven":
I made a graphic to save time for future eliminations.
Poor Rebel Heart dd
Separate names with a comma.