Alright: who said their safe word? Mine was "hydrangea". SCORE: 9.545 11 x 8 @m_dimitrov @rdp @Angeleyes @dylanaber @Aester @Fuchsia @Lila @wintersleep 2015 PLACEMENT: UP 5 - 12 of 210 (9.089) HIGHEST SCORE: 10 x 94 (@RJF @nikkysan @Tigerlily @Vasilios @aux @Raichu @No hay banda @dodoriazarbon @eatyourself @nanafan @djmakemewet @discoteca @maverick_79 @tylerc904 @sfmartin @OSHi @2014 @Remyky22 @Cutlery @Suburbia @matthew. @soratami @GimmeWork @Endothelium @Mirwais Ahmadzaï @Andrew.L @Mjg0806 @relby @elear @paullypaul @Ana Raquel @Andy French @fatyoshi @Up Down Suite @CasperFan @torontodj @1991 @Sail On @Babylon @Syzygyz @Dreampopboy @NightmareBoy @BreatheBox @FridayNight @Daniel_O @Coochi @Hurricane Drunk @muddleddreams @scottdisick94 @Drew @Fortune @Sideout @MilesAngel @RetroPhysical @Zdarlight @joeee @Xanax @TrueBeliever @Jimmyandroid @JonBcn @Candy Perfume Girl @joe_alouder @Miss Lange @Michael17 @Mister_G @Sleepycat @phoenix123 @Pop Life @K94 @clowezra @Rogue @TheChoirgirlHotel @KingBruno @Remorque @Digital Ghost @Trinu 3.0 @LTG @RainOnFire @nametag @Markus1981 @sexercise @Mr Blonde @Music Is Death @FrozenNight @strangekin @Chezam @japanbonustrack @fancygreen @Bangers&Bops @Weslicious @Beautiful Child 2 @Touchofmyhand @Maki @beyoncésweave) LOWEST SCORE: 6.5 x 1 (@Phonetics Boy) MY SCORE: 10/10 Girl, it was camp. After probably the most dramatic run for any album in the rate, Erotica leaves us as "Deeper And Deeper" discovers just how deep it can go. Still, what a showing. The album comfortably makes its way into the Top 10, with "Deeper And Deeper" climbing five spots and gaining a whopping half point on its original average. The stans turned out, it seems. I also believe that that is the biggest amount of 11/10s for a song so far. I do feel it's also worth noting that "Deeper And Deeper" was #7 from 60 voters and did not move for the rest of the rate outside of a brief jump to #6, which it fought viciously with for the majority of the vote. In fact, #6 only got half a point more in terms of scores. You can even see by the score difference between it and "Drowned World" where it's far bigger than what we've become used to in this rate. It just entrenched itself fast, and wasn't going to let anything past it. I'm always a bit surprised when I remember that "Deeper And Deeper" appeared to come in fits and starts in the studio, as it's easily one of the easiest, breeziest things on the album. They just couldn't seem to find their way into it easily. Shep recounts the issues in the Erotica Diaries that I linked back when the title track was eliminated: "Ninety-eight percent of the time, the vocals recorded in my apartment were the keeper vocals, the ones you hear on the album. It took about two or three days to write a song from beginning to end. Still, sometimes even after they were done we'd want to change the flow of the song and ask the song a few questions: Where should the chorus hit? Should it be a double chorus? Sometimes Madonna would call me in the middle of the night and say "Shep, I think the chorus should go like this," or "I hate this verse, fix the bass line." Deeper and Deeper was one of those songs she always had a problem with. The middle of the song wasn't working. We tried different bridges and changes, but nothing worked. In the end, Madonna wanted the middle of the song to have a flamenco guitar strumming big-time. I didn't like the idea of taking a Philly house song and putting La Isla Bonita in the middle of it. But that's what she wanted, so that's what she got." And... you can kind of see what the problem is when it gets laid out like that. "Deeper And Deeper" is long; at 5:33 it is hitting the dangly thing at the back of all our throats, and yet it always feels like it races by in an absolute rush. The way it manages to sustain momentum is actually one of the things I don't see praised enough about it; very much like its singer, it doesn't languish at the pit stop for a single second. Yes, the flamenco guitar provides a switch up, but that's really just there to assist in ramping the drama up another notch before swings back in for the last chorus and that "Vogue" interpolation. So once again, Madonna was right and a man was wrong. But Shep generally does fantastic work, so we can forgive him this time I guess. The track just puts pretty much every genre in a blender and manages to still present it sleekly. Like someone turning up for a brunch date looking immaculate when they were out until 6AM the night before getting porked. Soul, house, funk, dance, and pop, all writhing and contorting with one another in bliss. "Deeper And Deeper" is... nearly six minutes of total gay abandon. I mean gay as in happy, but I also mean gay as in limp-wristed, dick-in-the-ass, scissor-sistering, gender-is-a-construct, did-you-stone-those-tights fabulousness. This isn't even Popjustice hyperbole; the song feels like it's deliberately coded as queer, like someone who is on the precipice of coming to terms with who they are and is just on the verge of making the discovery of their life. It's always when I listen to this track that I remember Miss @push the button (where were your scores bitch?) telling us about the first time he ever entered a gay club in 1992, and the first song he heard was "Erotica". It was almost as if mum had been waiting for him to welcome him into this new world with open arms. And then more immediately I think about this rate, and how many people have shared stories about Madonna's music being present during massive life events, and I realise that she's just... always been there, throughout my life. Life should, and is, measured in what Madonna's hair was like at whatever period of time you're talking about. And I don't think things get any gayer than that. So whether or not the song is about being dickmatised or about someone coming to terms with their queerness, I don't know, but I choose to go for the second option. Especially considering the era it was released in, where so many people needed to hear it. Your queerness is not a disease; it is not lethal. It is colourful and vibrant and exciting and deeper than you will ever know, and a lifetime spent trying to swim to its floor is going to be amazing. The first 11/10 giver we're hearing from is @m_dimitrov, who basically echoes me saying the song gay-as-in-happy excellence, "this song never fails to lighten up my mood and bring me joy, I love it so much, the Vogue references at the end fit perfectly, the David's Klub Mix also deserves a mention" I'm not gonna listen that. Happy for u tho. Or sorry that happened. Next up is @Lila, who claims she isn't depressed. Wasn't she claiming the opposite when she was the lowest scorer for "Holiday" a few weeks ago? I sense foolery and fuckery, tbh. Let's see what she has to say for herself. "When I did the 00s rate in 2015, I was 19 and depressed; Intervention, my 11 then, gave me comfort and respite in some of the very worst moments of that time. When I was rating all these songs again, my immediate impulse was to go with Intervention again, but the passing of five years has left me in a very different place in my life, one that, luckily, doesn't have quite as much emotional turmoil in it. Deeper and Deeper is a song of pure, unbridled happiness and joy. My 2015 ended with the Rebel Heart Tour in Manchester, the first time in my life I'd ever seen M live, and of course she performed it. I cried a lot that night because oh my fucking god that's MADONNA, but the highlight of it was hearing her do this. It sounds like heaven, like the best moments of your life all rolled up into one piece of music. As I'm writing this I'm more content with myself than I have been in many years. For someone who let their father mould them, who lived with existential sorrow for a longer time than I'd like to admit, being reminded that you're alive and don't have to hide is still such an incredible thing to hear. Few popstars do real JOY like Madonna, and even she only did it once this perfectly." Wasn't Manchester the night where the show got cut off in half? I guess mum knew you would do "Holiday" dirty five years later. And finally, we close with @rdp, who basically turns me into that GIF of Elmo getting immolated by a jet engine. "I don’t think any other song has been as important in my life as Deeper and Deeper, and I know that sounds a bit hyperbolic, but it’s true. I was born in 1996, so most of Madonna’s work completely passed me by until I started discovering her catalogue when I was 12 or so. By then I was a really shy teenage boy living in south Brazil, starting to realize I wasn’t straight because of some poorly repressed feelings for a classmate. During most of my teenage years, I was really scared of what life being gay was going to be like because most LGBT representation on local media was quite crass. Gay people were often otherized in the country’s ‘humor’ TV programs - they harassed straight men, had weird fetishes, and generally were very surface level characters in most easily acessible media of the time. Gay sex was mostly treated as a gross joke. Listening to Deeper and Deeper and hearing Madonna sing about struggling with her romantic feelings was like a revelation to me. It was an essential piece of my life just when I was starting to realize that love could be seen as something beautiful and worth craving for, not something to be laughed at and joked about. The song’s climax - “this feeling inside, I can’t explain… but my love’s alive and I’m never gonna hide it again!” sounds like a battle cry and it was everything I needed to hear at that point. Even if wasn’t comfortable enough to express my feelings at that moment, things could and would get better. I stopped dreading my future and started dreaming of a point in my life where the Deeper and Deeper lyrics wouldn’t sound like a complete fantasy but a part of my reality. And then… well, I can’t speak for the quality of my interpersonal relationships ever since (and some days I feel I’m just going to be an old lonely gay for the rest of my life), but when I listen to Deeper and Deeper I still get that same feeling of hope that I had from when I first heard it. It makes me want to dance, sing and cry all at the same time. Even from a non sentimental stand point (if that’s possible), It’s simply one of the greatest and most euphoric songs I’ve heard in my entire life." Well. The video for "Deeper And Deeper" is a totem of faggotry. The camp as fuck German man with the terrifying eyes basically chases Madonna around as her sleep paralysis demon while she... attempts to go clubbing with a set of balloons like those girls you see who have hit the club straight after a birthday dinner and still have all the shit they were given as gifts. Containing a man in his underwear being openly ogled while Madonna and friends eat bananas suggestively, Chi Chi La Rue, Joey Stefano, and Sophia Coppela (Oh, word? I only saw Lost In Translation for the first time a few weeks ago! Work.), it's considered a tribute to Andy Warhol and queerness in general. My favourite part has to be that absolutely raucous second chorus where the club is just going wild. The song was also performed during The Girlie Show, received a cabaret performance (wait no come back!!!) on Re-Invention, and even re-emerged on Rebel Heart. I have also included Shep Pettibone's twelve incher at the end for y'all to impale yourselves upon. Enjoy! Erotica OUT.