“We knew we wanted to make a dance record. But you know, there’s so many different levels of dance music and even different categories of house music. So, it was really like, what’s the bass line gonna sound like? Is it gonna be really stripped down and sparse, or is it going to be loaded up? Is it gonna be Chicago house? Is it gonna be U.K. house? It’s like, all over the place. Is it gonna be a little bit of one vocal line? Is it gonna be a whole choir singing? So we were experimenting and trying out different things. They all sounded good, but at the end of the day, we wanted it to sound timeless, also. Not just something of the moment” (Caulfield, Keith (December 21, 2014). “Madonna On New ‘Rebellious and Romantic’ Music, Demo Leaks, ‘Possibly’ Crashing the Grammys and the ‘Crazy’ Sony Hack”. Billboard.)
[one_half padding=”4px 8px 0 4px”]Some people handle adversity better than others and the fact that Madonna is still writing breakup songs at an age slightly more advanced than my own says something about her resilience not only in the field of music but in life as a whole. Yes, this is very much a breakup song, and if you’ve seen the video that goes along with it, full of matadors and a half-naked guy in a jeweled, horned mask, you know the passion Madonna puts into this song. She even does the whole choir thing, again. For someone who has been topping music charts for almost forty years, to still be writing breakup songs is both impressive and a little heart-breaking. Shouldn’t she have found that “happily ever after” love by now?
What’s different about this song, and the reason it reminds me of this photograph from 2009, is that it’s not all down on love, it’s not all hateful toward the lover that left, but rather it is a very positive-sounding anthem for picking one’s self up and moving on. There’s no time for melancholy, it’s on your feet and back into the game. Sounds a little crazy, perhaps, and such an approach may even leave one a little dizzy from the experience, which again, is part of the attitude of this photograph. Broken heart? Yeah, that’s over, I’m going to carry on. Disappointment? Sure, but you’re not stealing my smile. This isn’t a slow dance; it’s a get up, keep moving, don’t-stop-til-you-drop song.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 8px”]The first verse of the song admits that she let down her guard, let someone in who ultimately did her wrong. The second verse, though, is where the determination kicks in. The line, “I deserve the best and it’s not you,” is like a slap in the face and then she follows with these words:
You broke my heart, but you can’t bring me down
I was falling apart, was lost, now I’m found
I picked up my crown, put it back in my head
I can forgive, but I will never forget
There is strength and courage in those lines. Going through a breakup is like being caught in a windstorm, being battered by flying debris coming at you from every angle. You come through with your hair out of place but still a smile on your face? You win.
I found this song appropriate for a Monday, which is also frequently disappointing. No matter what hits you today, don’t let it bring you down; pick up your crown, put it back on your head. Those who live for love are the ultimate winners.[/one_half_last]
Living For Love, an album by Madonna on Spotify